Today and tomorrow, we talk with novelist Eric Wilson, author of Dark to Mortal Eyes and Expiration Date. His latest thriller is The Best of Evil (WaterBrook Press), an Aramis Black mystery:
The tattoos on his arms still reading “Live by the Sword” and “Die by the Sword,” Aramis Black is ready for a fresh start. Determined to set aside his violent tendencies, he opens an espresso shop in Nashville and begins to put his childhood memories behind him. The past isn’t finished with him, though. One ordinary day at the shop, a man is shot before his eyes, speaking dying words to Aramis that are all too familiar.
Aramis realizes that his path to freedom will demand forgiveness–forgiveness from God and forgiveness of others. Along the way, he must uncover the conspiracy behind a centuries-old mystery and the shocking truth of his mother’s death. The question remains: Will Aramis be able to conquer his past, or will evil get the best of him?
* * *
WHAT ARE YOUR WRITING HABITS? Habits are a good thing. I ignore the phone, put on headphones (usually with loud hard-rock music), and face the keyboard with grim determination. I tease the words along, then eventually I feel the passion start heating up. My inspiration comes during the act of writing.
ARE YOU AN "OUTLINE" OR "MAKE IT UP AS YOU GO" WRITER? I do both. I start with a basic theme and character conflict, then see where it takes me. Usually, around the fiftieth page or so, I have to pull the loose plot strings together and have an idea how I'll tie them all together. Of course, sometimes I get myself tied up in knots. But that's half the fun.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ANYONE SAID ABOUT YOUR BOOKS? "Even heathens like it," one non-Christian reader told me. "And you made me think about God more than I have in a couple of years." When I first started writing, those were words I hoped one day to hear.
WHAT IS THE WORST THING ANYONE SAID ABOUT YOUR BOOKS? One reader thought that I glorified sinners, even asking if I was aiming my books for "Christians or sodomites." I answered that I am most definitely aiming for sodomites and other sinners, such as myself, who are in need of God's grace and the love of Jesus.
HOW MANY BOOKS DO YOU READ A MONTH? I read four or five novels a month, and usually a nonfiction title or two. I try to read Christian and secular fiction, to keep abreast with what's out there and the mindset that readers have. One of the great things about being a writer is all the advance copies of books I get. Free is good. Of course, I love to plunk down money to help other writers, but I'm also trying to keep food on my own table at the moment.
AS A READER, WHAT MAKES A BOOK INTRIGUING TO YOU? (WHAT DOES A BOOK NEED FOR YOU TO PICK IT UP?) Certain genres appeal to me at certain times. I love thrillers, mysteries, historical novels, true-life adventure, and literary fiction. I alternate between them. Primarily, though, I am drawn to books with believable characters. Of course, a great cover and a few trustworthy endorsements or reviews help "sell" me.
* * *
Wednesday: Eric Wilson at Davis-Kidd
Come back tomorrow for the conclusion of our Q&A with Eric Wilson. Find him online at WilsonWriter.com, and follow his blog at Amazon.com.
Related link: Q&A: ERIC WILSON, PT 2
More mystery and thriller novelists:
Q&A: JON L. BREEN (Eye of God)
Q&A: MELANIE WELLS (The Soul Hunter)
Q&A: ALTON GANSKY (Director's Cut)
Q&A: WANDA DYSON (Abduction)
Q&A: SANDRA BROWN (Ricochet)