News and Interviews 2011
The Hinderaker-Ward Experience, With C. J. Box
We taped Episode 15 of the Hinderaker-Ward Experience last night. The podcast features a very fun interview with author C.J. Box (“Chuck” to his friends). We talked about his Joe Pickett books and his latest bestseller, Back of Beyond. We also discussed how one gets to be a successful author, and learned that Box is a long-time Power Line fan. I really do recommend Back of Beyond. It is a good place to start if you are new to Box’s work.
By Mike Stafford on August 1, 2011
First thing’s first: are you a Bookgeek?
Absolutely, yes. Even since I was very young I’ve always been a very voracious reader. One of the reasons I eventually wrote was because I spent a lot of time growing up trying to find books that were written about the Rocky Mountains and Wyoming that I thought were accurately portrayed, and I couldn’t find any.
(For the rest of the interview, click the link)
Thanks for coming over to the blog today, CJ. One of the absolute best part of your series is your main character, Joe Pickett. He's a man of firm principles--so firm that he backs himself into corners because he isn't willing to compromise. And he has complex and believable relationships with his wife, his daughters, his friends, and his dreaded mother-in-law. You've written eleven books in this series and yet Joe springs to life in each book and you push the boundaries of his character and relationships a little further. Can you talk about how you manage to do that?
CJ: Thank you for the very kind words. I never set out with a strategic plan, I have to say. Joe Pickett was to be the protagonist in one stand-alone novel about the Endangered Species Act called OPEN SEASON. Not until the publisher Putnam acquired the manuscript and asked for two more with the game warden and his family did I give it much thought.
Is there anything of Joe Picket in you?
Certainly a little! I’m a Wyoming guy who once worked for state government, and I have a lovely wife and three wonderful daughters. But Joe is Joe. I think there’s a bit of every author in each character he or she creates, but not as much as some readers think.
Have you always wanted to write?
Yes, although I grew up aiming toward journalism, not creative writing. I’m glad now my background was in newspapers and columns, though. Writing clearly and on deadlineareextremely important.
(Click the link for more)
C.J. Box Webcast At The Poisoned Pen, Scottdale, AZ
With the legendary Barbara Peters, owner of the Poisoned Pen:
Welcome to the fifth instalment of Crime Watch's exclusive 9mm author interview series for this year, and the 49th instalment overall. You can check out some of the previous author interviews by clicking on an author's name on the sidebar to the right, on '9mm' on the header bar above, or you can see the first 44 instaments here.
But for now it is time to once again polish off the gun and point it towards a creator of tales mysterious and thrilling. Thanks to everyone for their comments and feedback on the series so far - I really appreciate it, as I know many of the participating authors do as well.
For those new to this rodeo, 9mm consists of the same 9 Murder Mystery questions put to a variety of New Zealand and international crime, thriller, and mystery authors. It’s been fun seeing the variety of answers the authors give to the questions - both in terms of great personal anecdotes and insights, and comparing the influences etc that many authors share. I hope you have all been enjoying the series as much as I (and the authors) have been. Suggestions are always welcome as to who else you'd like to see interviewed. Upcoming interviews include the likes of Kathy Reichs and Robert Crais, amongst others.
But today I am very pleased to share the thoughts and answers of Edgar Award-winning author CJ Box,creator of the terrific Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett series, along with some outstanding standalones, such as BLUE HEAVEN, which won the Edgar Award in 2009 and was one of my 'crime picks of 2010' for the Herald on Sunday (the book was released in New Zealand last year). For that article I described BLUE HEAVEN as: "An absorbing tale of frightened children on the run after witnessing four corrupt policemen gun down a man in rural North Idaho. Something of a crime fiction and classic Western love-child, this is a gripping, intelligent thriller with complex characters, a beautifully-evoked setting, and a ferocious conclusion."
In January I read my first Joe Pickett novel, IN PLAIN SIGHT, and enjoyed it greatly. You can read more about CJ Box at his website here. For those in the UK, you have an opportunity to meet him later this year when he is a guest at the terrific Harrogate Festival (yet another reason to make that event a must-attend). His newest Joe Pickett novel, COLD WIND, isc scheduled for release in the US later this month, and a standalone thriller called BACK OF BEYOND will be released in August 2011. But for now, CJ Box stares down the barrel of 9mm.
9MM: AN INTERVIEW WITH CJ BOX
Who is your favourite recurring crime fiction hero/detective?
I'm a fan of John Sandford's Lucas Davenport, Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch, and Denise Mina's Paddy Meehan -- although I think she's discontinued that series.
What was the very first book you remember reading and really loving, and why?
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller was the book that turned me all around. I'd read plenty up to that point, but Catch-22 made me realize for the first time that a book could rattle the reader to the core and make him think differently about... everything. I've since re-read it four times and get something new out of it every time.
Before your debut crime novel, what else had you written (if anything) unpublished manuscripts, short stories, articles?
I was a newspaper journalist prior to writing fiction. The newspaper I worked for was a very small Wyoming weekly, meaning I did everything -- features, sports, investigative, outdoor, a column, etc. It was the best training ground I can think of for what I do now because it exposed me to every level of small-town life from billionaire ranchers to low-rent survivalists.
Outside of writing, and touring and promotional commitments, what do you really like to do, leisure and activity-wise?
I love to fly-fish. And hunt. And ski. Outdoor stuff. But I'm passionate about fishing and I've been able to fish some of the best trout waters in the U.S. and blue-water ocean fishing outside the U.S.
What is one thing that visitors to your hometown should do, that isn't in the tourist brochures, or perhaps they wouldn't initially consider?
We live outside Cheyenne, Wyoming, home of the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo which is the largest outdoor rodeo in the world. I'd encourage visitors to go to the rodeo grounds even then the event isn't taking place to soak in the magnitude, culture, and unique nature of the place.
If your life was a movie, which actor could you see playing you? Ha! Any answer I could come up with would be ridiculous.
Of your books, which is your favourite, and why?
Very tough question, so I'll duck it. I'm very proud of OPEN SEASON because it launched my career. BLUE HEAVEN is a favorite because of it's structure and depth. It's a big story that is told in 60 hours of real time. NOWHERE TO RUN elicited some strong feelings from readers, and that's a good thing.
What was your initial reaction, and how did you celebrate, when you were first accepted for publication? Or when you first saw your debut story in book form on a bookseller's shelf?
I had three goals. One was to see my book in a library. The other was see it in a bookstore. The third was to see someone reading my book in an airplane. I'm happy to say all those goals have been achieved. I was thrilled...
What is the strangest or most unusual experience you have had at a book signing, author event, or literary festival?
Every year, I sign books in the lobby of Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone Park. It's a humbling experience. Many people come to my table simply to get directions to the toilets or to ask when the geyser will erupt. A few years ago, though, a woman stood in line glaring at me. When she reached the table, she leaned over and spat, "I knew your first wife Linda, you bastard!" and stomped away. The thing is, I'm still married to my ONLY wife, Laurie. I have no idea who Linda is, or was.
Thank you CJ Box. We really appreciate you taking the time to talk with Crime Watch.
What he doesn’t know about living the cowboy lifestyle isn’t worth knowing.
How to ride rodeo
Don’t. The cowboys who participate in rodeo events are professionals. They go to rodeo schools, apprentice until they win enough money to get sanctioned, and after that they put their own money up at every rodeo they enter and hope they place high enough to win some back. Instead, watch the rodeo and ask questions. It’s a real sport.
(For the rest, follow the link)
What are you writing at the minute?
I'm working on the first 150 pages or so of a stand-alone that will be a sequel to BACK OF BEYOND. But within a week or so, I'll have to set that aside and begin the 12th Joe Pickett novel. I've never switched up like this so it will be a new experience, but luckily the projects are very dissimilar in plot and scope so I think it will go (fairly) smoothly. (more)
Hear C.J. Box talk about and read from NOWHERE TO RUN during The Write Question this evening at 6:30 (YPRadio.org) or 7:30 (MTPR.org). Podcast available. http://thewritequestion.blogspot.com/2011/01/cj-box-author-of-nowhere-to...