Author Wednesday returns with a bang (pun always intended) with crime, action, and fantasy writer, Kerry Donovan. I’m delighted to start the new season with such a talented and creative author. His series, The DCI Jones Casebook, features three thrillers, Ellis Flynn, Raymond Collins, and the recently released, Sean Freeman.
Welcome, Kerry! I’m honored you’re the first author after my summer break. I can tell this is going to be an interesting interview.
Hi Pat, thanks for inviting me onto your blog. Great to finally meet you in the flesh, so to speak.
So let’s start it out with a question I like to ask all the authors. When did you first discover your voice as a writer?
Oh Pat, when I find my writer’s voice, I’ll let you know.
Seriously though, I find this quite difficult to answer. Currently, I write in three different genres, crime thrillers, action adventure, and fantasy. I think using the same voice in each would be rather restrictive. I try to set my voice according to the theme of each novel. It’s not easy, but if I keep trying for long enough, one day, I might get it right.
My father, an artist, once told me that if he were ever to be completely satisfied with a finished painting, he’d probably give up and start writing. I can’t paint.
I ask the question because it tells me many things about folks. I’m fascinated because I’ve often wondered if I’ve ever discovered a voice. Glad to know I’m not alone in finding mine. But I have a feeling you have a very strong voice and are simply too modest to admit it. Let’s move along to another favorite question. When were you first able to call yourself a “writer” or “author?”
Again, I’ll let you know. And again, seriously, I’ll call myself an author when people start recognizing me in the street and say, “Hey, isn’t that the author …” That’s unlikely to happen as I live in France and only publish in English. I rarely travel to the UK except to visit my three wonderful kids, and three (soon to be four) gorgeous grandchildren.
I had it happen at the gym the other day. Does that count? Probably not, since I’d just done a book signing there. Sweat and autographs — great combo. So let’s talk about how you write. Do you have any writing rituals?
Don’t really have any. I sit at my desk in front of my PC keyboard in my office in the attic and type. That’s it really. I rarely plot an outline but have an idea where to start and then I let the characters take over. I tried writing in the garden last summer, but the flies annoyed me, and I couldn’t see the laptop screen for the bright sunshine. I guess Hemingway didn’t have the same problem when using his typewriter, eh?
Probably not, but he did write in an attic in Paris, so you better get back inside. Do you try to convey any special messages to your readers, even though your writing happens organically?
I don’t. All I want to do for my readers is entertain them with the best story I can create. If writing a crime thriller, I want to thrill. If it’s a mystery I want to give the reader all the information they need to solve the crime but still give them a surprise ending. I hate stories where the author introduces the killer and the motive in the final scene so the reader can’t work things out for themselves. If writing a fantasy, I base it in the real world but add a little something strange and fantastical. I want the reader to ‘see’ and understand the concepts covered. You won’t find any vampires, werewolves, or ghouls in my books. At least not many. If writing a romance, I want the reader carried away on a sea of love and emo… hang on, I don’t write romances. My wife has told me I don’t have a romantic bone in my six-foot, three-inch body. She’s probably right. In fact, she’s always right, or so she tells me.
All wives are always right. I see you get a little passionate with your answers, so perhaps there’s a romantic fragment in your funny bone. What’s going on with your writing these days? Describe your current projects.
Currently, I have two prime works-in-progress, although my laptop has dozens of unfinished and part finished works, and rough outlines. I like to have at least one book nearly complete—at least close to the beta read level—and one in production.
The nearly complete one, On Lucky Shores, is an action adventure set in the Colorado Rockies and follows down-on-his-luck travelling musician, Chester ‘Chet’ Walker. The story opens with Chet trying to find a gig in the picturesque, and fictional, lakeside town of Lucky Shores. On his way to town, he is involved in a car accident and receives a message from a dying man. In trying to give the message to the man’s daughter, Joey, Chet finds himself embroiled in an eight-year-old secret. He also becomes the target of a ruthless killer or killers who want the secret to remain hidden, and becomes the victim of Cupid’s arrow. Joey steals his heart.
Well, perhaps there is a little romance in my books after all.
My second WIP is the fourth installment of my DCI Jones Casebook series of British crime thrillers. In this story, one of my cast of characters hunts for the crooked cop responsible for the death of another cop. The villain is also involved in the illegal importation of weapons into the UK. I’m half way through the first draft of this one, so it probably won’t be ready for publication until the New Year 2016. As they say, watch this space.
If you’ll have me back closer to the time, I’ll be happy to give you more details. :¬)
I hope you’ll come back! My favorite authors always have a standing invitation. I do think there’s a romantic lurking inside waiting to jump out. You certainly like to keep things interesting from the Rocky Mountains to the UK, all the while living in France. Tell me a bit about the fictional folks in your books. Do you have a favorite character that you created?
Absolutely, he’s Detective Chief Inspector David Jones—never Dave or Davie. He’s a senior detective of the old school. I describe him as a veteran, dogged, empathetic, and successful. He’s about my age, but is slim-built, of less than average height, single (never married), and successful. In fact, he’s nothing like me apart from the age thing.
What stands David Jones apart from most veteran fictional cops is that he’s not allowed his job to make him jaded with life. He’s fiercely loyal to his friends and empathetic to the victims he tries to protect. He’s a tad OCD, but only in that he likes things to remain in order and in the correct place and alignment. David can see when something doesn’t fit and often uses this ‘ailment’ to solve crimes.
In my head, I see David Jones as looking like my dear old father. I love them both, but don’t tell David that, or he’ll look at you funny. He’s old school, see, not at all touchy-feely :).
We need him here in the States to help clean up a few things. Even though he’s your favorite, he’s not much like you except for his age, so if a movie was made about your success as a writer, who would play you?
Without doubt, that would be George Clooney, but he’d have to wear a much grayer wig. Oh, my wife’s just read that and fallen over in hysterics, excuse me a moment while I help her to her feet and give her a glass of water—she doesn’t drink whisky.
As an alternative to George, maybe you could find a James Stewart lookalike. Did I tell you I was tall?
Thanks for having me, Pat. I’ve so enjoyed our chat. Blimey, now I’m a poet.
I hope your wife is all right, but tell her if George Clooney plays you, guess who gets to play her? Oh, that’s right, his beautiful Italian wife isn’t an actress. It’s been my pleasure, Kerry. So good to start off the new season of Author Wednesday with such a fun interview. I’m going to hold you to your word and expect you back with the very next release.
About Kerry: Kerry J Donovan was born in Dublin. He spent most of his life in the UK, and now lives in Brittany with his wife of thirty-eight years. He has three children and three/four grandchildren, all of whom live in England. Family apart, Kerry has three loves: making furniture, sport, and writing (but not necessarily in that order).