Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mike Nettleton Interview

1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?

After spending most of a lifetime performing morning radio shows, my body clock is stuck in the early-to-bed, extremely-early-to-rise mode. For the same reason, I’m geared to getting my mind revving pretty quickly after I wake up. I try to put my rear end in front of the computer soon after my morning cuppa and reading the funnies and the editorials in the morning paper.

2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?

I am almost exclusively a keyboard person. This goes back to elementary school when a series of handwriting teachers threw their hands up in the air and screamed agggghhh!!!. To this day, the only person who can read my handwriting is me, and that’s not a sure thing. I got a Smith-Corona portable manual typewriter for a high-school graduation present and have never looked back.

3: What do you draw inspiration from?

Almost everything. Articles in the paper, observation of human nature, dreams, memories, left over hallucinations from the sixties. I ’ve always had this tendency to ask the “what if questions.” For example, “Sometimes A Great Commotion” came about partially because of my prior knowledge of a New Mexico family who saw, what they thought was an image of Jesus on the surface of a freshly fried tortilla. I found myself asking what would happen if Elspeth Hunsaker, the local bible-thumper thought she saw some kind of divine image on the surface of a crab cake (we are talking an Oregon coastal community) What if she went online to tout “the miracle of the crustacean” and thousands of pilgrims found their way to Devil’s Harbor. What might happen then and how could it lead to a murder.

4: Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?

I feel like I’m setting myself up for failure that way. Instead, I’m trying to make sure I keep the tushki in the seat for a certain amount of time each day. Two hours minimum, more if I’m going good. Right now I’m revising a novel I wrote 5 years back so I don’t necessarily need to generate anything totally new. So there’s no excuse not to work for the two hours.

5: Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?

Carolyn and I are published by Krill Press, a small print-on-demand publisher in Southern Oregon. Her individual book “Hemlock Lake” is with Five Star, which is a small mainstream press. Our publishers have created our cover art. Ken, at Krill has done a good job of capturing the heart of our stories. We created our own cover art when we were with even smaller presses for our first books. I did a lot of the work using Photo-shop for “The Hard Karma Shuffle,” The Crushed Velvet Miasma” and several of Carolyn’s Casey Brandt books.

6: What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?

Actually, my career has been in the broadcasting business. I’ve written ad copy, audio-video presentations, on air skits and other material as an offshoot.  Writing is just something I’ve always done and finally got serious enough about it to start attempting novels about twenty years ago. If I had to live on what I’ve made writing, you’d find me down along the freeway with a sign “Will Write For Food.”

7: Do you own an ebook reading device?

Not yet, but I think there’s a Kindle or Nook in our future. We still love the feeling of paper pages on our fingertips, but recognize there’s a whole new generation of readers who will do all of their reading on a backlit screen.

8: Who are some of your favorite authors and What are you reading now?

In the mystery/thriller genre, we’ve been fanatical about reading Lee Child’s work. I think the attraction to his character Jack Reacher is the same as college-years attraction to Ian Fleming’s James Bond. You knew he was going to face totally overwhelming odds, outnumbered at least ten-to-one and still come out on top. Michael Connolly, Ian Rankin and yes Stieg Larsson. We’ve seen all three movies made about his “Girl Who” and thanks to subtitles, now speak passable Swedish. Authors I return to time and time again Ray Bradbury, Pat Conroy and John Steinbeck.

9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?

We have book trailers for both Devil’s Harbor books and Carolyn’s mainstream mystery Hemlock Lake. Here are the links. “The Big Grabowski,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M36HSyesec8
“Sometimes A Great Commotion,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUW8cVR7dIk

10: How did you come up with the title of your latest book?

Ken, our publisher at Krill likes titles that sparkle and are evocative of things readers already have an association with. We had less sparkly, evocative titles for both the Devil’s Harbor Books. He came up with “The Big Grabowski” and it fit perfectly. The greedy land-developer and scam artist Vince Grabowski was a fast-talking gold-chain wearing, lecherous and swaggering bully who ends up dead in a tidal pool at the local Sea Lion sanctuary. The association with Coen Brother’s movie “The Big Lebowski” gave it that tone of familiarity. We decided that since “Sometimes A Great Commotion” dealt with logging, a small Oregon Coastal Town and a cast of eccentric characters caught up in a swirl of craziness, it would only be fitting to pay tribute to Ken Kesey’s masterpiece “Sometimes A Great Notion.”

11: What are you working on now that you can talk about?

I’m rethinking a novel that I wrote 5 or so years back and had represented by an agent called “Shotgun Start.” It deals with a disgraced Albuquerque cop who, after being tossed off the force resorts to the only think he knows, hustling golf on local course to make a living. When his ex-wife’s current lover ends up shotgunned to death and the police have video of the murder as proof, he’s hired by his exe’s father to find her before the police do and get her to turn herself in. Although I liked the original version of the story, I’m finding that looking at it with fresh eyes is giving me the opportunity to tighten it, strengthen the characters and make the pace hotter. Next on my plate is a screenplay of our earlier Young Adult Fantasy novel “The Hermit of Humbug Mountain.”

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting getting to hear all these new details about you & Carolyn, Mike! The new projects sound great. Don't ring the death knell for young readers of print--the kids I am surrounded by prefer it!