Friday, February 15, 2013

The Next Big Thing

Dog Island


I’ve been a little lax in my blog for a while (many excuses, not many reasons), but now Lauren Sweet, a terrific writer and editor, tagged me in her blog.  So now I can no longer procrastinate as she talked me into participating in The Next Big Thing interview series, in which six degrees of separation meets the literary chain letter. So thanks, Lauren!

Lauren’s latest book, Alladin’s Samovar, was published in September, 2011.  The book sounds intriguing, and I just bought the Kindle version.  Check it out at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  Here is the Amazon link: .  

The Next Big Thing

What Else I’ve Been Doing: Since releasing Dog Island, I’ve been very busy at my terrific day job.  I have found time to build a website,, and I’ve written a couple of poems.  Three samples of my poetry along with the intro to Dog Island are on the web page.  A Dog Island facebook page has been built as well.

A little more about my first book….

What is the title of the book?

Dog Island.  It’s the story of Cornelius Graham, ex- a lot of things but current beach bum who lives on a remote section of Dog Island.  His idyllic world is shattered when a boat, laden with a dead man, an injured woman, twenty kilos of cocaine, and a half-million in cash runs ashore on his beach.  Cornelius tends to the woman’s wounds and hopes to send her on her way when she recovers.  But everything comes crashing down around him when the people she stole the drugs and money from come looking for revenge.
As they criss-cross Florida looking for a safe haven, romance blossoms between the two fugitives. When Homeland Security shows up, the pair has to decide between right and wrong.  But who are the good guys and who are the bad?

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The original idea came years ago.  I clearly saw the opening scene, but didn’t know where the story was going so it was set aside for a while.  The idea came back to me during a visit to Dog Island, a remote barrier island off the Florida Panhandle.  The house where Corney lives is on the east half of the island, which is mostly owned by the Nature Conservancy.  That’s why there are only three houses on that end of the island.  The story fleshed out from there.
Corpse, cash and cocaine was too much for Cornelius to handle, and he made a couple of wrong turns at the onset.  That’s what brought the wrath of the Russian drug smugglers to his doorstep, and his burgeoning love for Lisa, the wounded woman, drove him deeper into a messy nest of problems.

What genre does your book fall under?

Dog Island is loosely categorized under the mystery genre, but while there is a dead body, it isn’t about that at all.  It more closely matches the suspense genre but has a lot of action in it as well.  With an added dollop of romance along with a pinch of humor, you get an interesting stew.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Easy question, I can clearly see Matthew McConaughey as Cornelius.  Cornelius is southern, tall, and Matthew would be great.  Lisa is a little more difficult, but a top contender would have to be Charlize Theron.  She'd be perfect.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

All Cornelius Graham wants out of life is to play his guitar on the white sands of Dog Island, but life has made other plans.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I really don’t write a first draft, except for perhaps the first chapter.  Once a section is set aside, I start again by reading through the completed work and edit it as I read.  Then more gets added at the end, and the process starts over the next time through.  When it gets too large to handle, a new section gets started and the process begins anew.  So when the ms is complete, it is way beyond first draft.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?  

Dog Island.  We visited my wife’s uncle, who then lived in Carabelle, and had to go there.  Once I stood on the shore, looking out at the clear blue Gulf, I knew that was the place where it all began.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The settings are real.  If you’ve never been to Florida, the real Florida, not the theme park/beach Florida, you’ll get to visit places you never knew existed.

Is your book self-published or represented by an agency?

Dog Island is published by Oak Tree Press, a mid-size publisher out of Illinois.