OKAY, OKAY … I know this is a day late, but rather than call it Tuesdays with Mike, well … actually, I'm supposed to be on vacation this week. However, I did want to introduce you to my friend, J. D. Webb. J. D. has always had the writing bug, but needed to earn a living first. So, after four years active duty in the Air Force in the Philippines and Viet Nam in the 60s, he spent the next 25 years in the corporate world (think Dilbert), until his company eliminated his job and he I promoted himself to cobbler – owning a shoe repair business for eleven years. Finally retirement gave him the opportunity to lollygag and write novels; he has had four published so far and he is currently working on three others.
Mike: Thank you for joining us today, J. D. I think your latest book is Smudge, can you give us a short synopsis of it?
J. D. Yes, thank you, my latest book is Smudge: A small-town paralegal wipes a smudge off her ATM screen one night – it’s blood. Then she hears a moan coming from the alley next to her bank. Should she go help? No. But she does.M: Can you give us a quick two sentence synopsis of Shepherd’s Pie and Her Name is Mommy? If I’m not mistaken they both have the same protagonist. And also Moon Over Chicago.
J: Shepherd’s Pie: Mike Shepherd, laid-back Chicago PI, encounters a self-proclaimed survivalist and decides to chase him for the reward. Ferlin Husky Lewis becomes incensed that this PI bozo wants to put him in jail, so he stalks Mike and many of Mike’s friends.
Her Name Is Mommy: Mike Shepherd spots a tot sitting alone on a bench in a busy Chicago mall at Christmastime. Mike and his fiancé talk to the little girl and discover her mother has been kidnapped from the mall. Mike’s quest is reunite the young girl with her mother.
M: As a writer, what is more important: Plot or Character?
J: Okay which came first the chicken or the egg? Same difference. You can’t have a good novel without a plot. It’s what drives the story. And all aspects of the plot must be resolved in the end. Characters are what holds us to the plot. If we don’t care about the protagonists and hate the antagonists you have a boring book. You have to have both to grab the reader and yank him/her along to the end. And the characters have to be believable. The good guy needs to be smart but still have weaknesses and the bad guy must be as smart or smarter. And my philosophy is that good always triumphs over evil; At least in my books.
M: What started you writing?
J: In high school I was thrown into a creative writing class as a result of some mischief I had perpetrated. I’d already loved books. When I wasn’t kicked out of the library I was there picking up a book to read. In creative writing class I had the idea: why can’t I write a book? Even though it took another forty-some years, I got the job done and continue to this day.
M: What are your writing habits? In other words, do you write each day, morning, evening, etc.?
J: Whenever I can. I have a dog with a very small bladder so I’m up at 5 am or so every day. I use that time to do the email, promotion type stuff, then I write till breakfast and at any time I can during the day. For the past year I’ve been full-time caregiver for my wife so my writing has suffered. I grab time where I can. It’s painful in many ways. My wife was my first editor and I miss that. I’m fortunate to have a marvelous writing group which meets each Tuesday night. Without them I’d be lost. I’m grammatically challenged and have these tangents I go off on sometimes that need to be expunged.
M: Do you have anything upcoming?
J: I’m about 20 % done with my next novel called Gulf Terror. What if the oilrig explosion in the Gulf was actually a suicide bombing mission by two terrorists? And what if one of them survived and is now loose in Louisiana planning another mission? Two Homeland Security agents are hot on his trail.
M: This may be a little “inside baseball” to some readers, but how do you market your books?
J: One of the drawbacks to being an author is marketing. Most of us are inept at marketing. I’m learning. I’m on the Internet daily promoting and talking about writing. I am the owner and moderator of the Publishing and Promoting Yahoo group with almost 1000 international members. We offer tips and techniques for promoting and publishing to authors, editors and publishers.
I visit my local libraries to give talks and hopefully get them to buy my books. Also I invite myself to local organization meetings to hawk my books. And just like one famous author I sell them from the trunk of my car. Although so far I’m not quite as successful.
M: Do you have any hobbies or spare time activities?
J: Nope. I gave up golf a few years ago when I was getting more distance from throwing my clubs than from hitting the ball. My wife and I used to travel but since her strokes that has ceased for a time. A caregiver has little time for hobbies. I still love to read but that’s not a hobby – it’s a necessity. I‘ve belonged to a book club for five years and love it. It has forced me to get out of my genre and discover the amazing abilities of many more authors.
M: How can readers contact you?
J: Here is my contact information: Email firstname.lastname@example.org and my website is www.jdwebb.com. I also have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/jdavewebb
M: And where can readers find your books?