to talk with me a bit about his new rural noir, My Darkest Prayer.
During his virtual book tour, S.A. will be awarding
a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky
randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free
to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too.
a writer whose work has been published in numerous magazine and anthologies.
His story “Slant-Six” received an honorable mention in Best Mystery
Stories of 2016. His life experiences include being a retail
manager, a bouncer, a forklift driver, a landscaper, a roadie, a construction
worker, a mortuary attendant, and he once wore a cow suit when he worked for
Chik Fil-A. He majored in English at Christopher Newport University and now
lives in Gloucester, Virginia.
Please share a little bit about your
inspired by both my childhood growing up in small town Virginia and my current
position as an assistant at a family run funeral home. It tells the story of
Nathan Waymaker a biracial man who after resigning from the Sheriff’s
department finds himself working for his cousin at a local funeral home. Since
joining the staff of the funeral home Nathan has taken several side jobs as a
troubleshooting unlicensed private investigator. He does this partly for extra
money and partly as a way to atone for a past misdeed that cast a shadow over
his life. As the novel opens Nathan is hired by the congregation of a local
church to investigate the death of their minister. Soon Nathan finds himself in
the midst of a maelstrom of sex, violence, and murder.
What inspired you to write this book?
was intimately familiar with while telling the story from the point of view of
a character not often represented in crime fiction. I am also a true crime
addict and so unsolved cases of murder in my hometown and the surrounding areas
provided a template for the mystery that is central to the novel.
Excerpt from My Darkest Prayer:
I handle the bodies.
for a living. I find that gets one of two responses. They drift away to the
other side of the room and give me a sideways glance the rest of the night or
they let out a nervous laugh and move the conversation in another, less macabre
direction. I could always say I work at a funeral home, but where’s the fun in
someone would seem me at Starbucks or that modern day Mecca Wal-Mart wearing my
utility uniform. They would walk up to me and say, “Thank you for your
service.” I’d mumble something like “No, thank you for your support” or some
other pithy rejoinder, and they would wander away with a nice satisfied look on
their faces. Sometimes what I wanted to say was, “I took care of the bodies.
The bodies with the legs blown off or the hands shredded. The bodies full of
ball bearings and nails and whatever some kid could find to build his IED. I
loaded the bodies up and dragged them back to the base, then went back out on
another patrol and prayed to a God that seemed to be only half-listening that
today wasn’t the day that someone would have to take care of my body.”
same warm and fuzzy feeling
What exciting story are you working on
Southern heist novel that will incorporate some characters from a short story I
wrote in 2015 called “Slant-Six.” I am also hard at work on completing the
first draft of a revenge thriller about two fathers, both ex-cons but at vastly
different places in their lives who join forces to seek justice for their sons
who were killed in an apparent hate crime for their sexuality.
When did you first consider yourself a
until I got my first paycheck for a short story I wrote. I know that’s not the
way a lot people see it but I’m a lapsed Southern Baptist and i think i retain
some of that puritanical belief in the value of work being articulated by how
much compensation you receive for said work…
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
assistant. So my time is often limited but I hold myself a strict schedule of
writing five days out of every seven. The five days do not have to be
sequential but I try to write something five days a week. Because of the
unpredictable nature of my job I can find myself writing at 2 A.M. in the
morning or six o’clock at night. I don’t have a real office so i just lock
myself in my bedroom put in my earbuds crank up some rock or hip-hop and write
for at least two hours.
What would you say is your interesting
that irritates the people in my life is that i often act out fight scenes. I
believe in making violence as realistic as possible. i used to be a bouncer and
I try to recreate the chaotic nature of physical violence in my work while
keeping it realistic. Most people who get into a fist fight are not trained in
combat so it can be a whirlwhind of pushing and shoving. So if someone were to
peek in my window when I’m writing a fight scene they would probably see me
jumping and spinning to make sure i get the physics right.
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
Thank you for being a guest on my blog!