This week, please allow me to introduce you to mainstream novelist, Douglas Carlyle.
Doug Carlyle grew up in Urbana, Illinois where he graduated from the University of Illinois with, of all things for a novelist, a degree in electrical engineering. After a circuitous journey that took him through 26 glorious years in the semiconductor industry, he began writing great fiction. He also married, raised a family, and relocated to the Central Texas Hill Country.
Never being able to choose just one pastime, today he continues to practice his 30-year long medical ministry as a paramedic, while filling in the gaps in his calendar writing, signing, or selling his books.
Doug is a member of the Writers' League of Texas and the Houston Writers Guild.
I asked Doug some questions. Here are his responses:
SGR (Starr Gardinier Reina): What can you tell your readers about Doug that we won't read on your website?
DC (Doug Carlyle): My deepest, darkest secret is that I read very little. I know—blasphemy!
When people ask me if my novels are similar to another published author, I have to defer the question to my wife for the answer. She, unlike me, is an avid reader. I enjoy reading, but I don’t live to read. What’s more, I never make time for it. I always have so much to do, reading just doesn’t get to the top of the list.
At every conference I attend, published authors tell the audience we need to read at least sixty novels in our genre before we write our novel. I am a bad person.
I wasn’t always like this. When I worked in the electronics industry, I was forever traveling, often on long-haul international flights. I would typically have a novel with me to read.
Since I began writing fiction, I find that if I read, it is not enjoyable. I am all too critical. Why did he/she write it in this manner? This dialog is terrible! This character needs to be developed better. I become irritated when I find these authors are doing the very things I am told at workshops, by agents, by editors, by publishers, NOT to do. Worse yet, I find myself losing my writing voice, and replacing it with that of the author I am reading! There’s probably a skill, or a pill, to combat this problem. I’ve yet to discover it.
SGR: Is "In Search of the Fuller Brush Man" your debut novel? If so, what's next on your list? If not, what else have you published? And what is it/they about?
DC: Yes, it is my debut published novel, but not the first I have written. I previously penned a manuscript titled, "Boundaries." I finished this book. Beta readers loved it. Then I discovered 230,000 words is too long for print publishing. So, it will be my next project. I will likely make it a three-part serial, of which the first two parts are finished. My goal for release of this in part, or in its entirety, is 2014.
Having said that, this fall I plan to publish my next novel, "Vinegarone." It is about a modern day shaman who befriends homeless men, taking them to his ranch in isolated Vinegarone (a real place near the Pecos River), where he nurtures them back to a productive, healthy life. One day, he happens upon a homeless woman in much the same straits as the others. He rescues her from a near-death experience and takes her home. This upsets the apple cart to say the least. And, as you can predict, the two fall in love. Once she becomes lucid and can again speak clearly, we discover she is an assistant DA on the hunt for a murderer. It turns out the murderer is also on the hunt for her.
SGR: Finish this sentence as you see fit, creating one paragraph: "I looked down the long gravel drive and what I saw . . ."
DC: I looked down the long gravel drive and what I saw made my heart race. It was that son-of-a-bitch Willie Jenkins walking boldly toward me. I thought I was finished with him yesterday. Apparently, he didn’t appreciate the ass-whoopin’ I gave him. He was carrying a shotgun that was pointed at the ground for now. But I knew it was about to be raised and aimed toward me, and I was unarmed save for the Phillips screwdriver I clenched in my sweaty palm. Dad always said a .38 snubnose in your belt is better than a .45 automatic in the glove box of your truck. Why was he always right?
SGR: What are your thoughts on marketing? What do you do and has it been successful?
DC: Marketing is the means by which you will achieve your personal goals with regard to publishing and distributing your novel(s). As such, the extent to which one pursues the various means to make a sale must fulfill those goals. I do limited marketing on the internet, and it shows. Most of my book sales are in print form. I primarily sell through a handful of independent bookstores and gathering places. My favorite is a local coffee shop. I enjoy signing copies of my book and handing them to my readers following a conversation about the novel. There is an intimacy that I form with my readers that I maintain is impossible to create on the internet. Many authors with whom I engage in chat rooms could care less about meeting their readers in this manner. I could do much more in terms of marketing, but that would require that I become involved with Facebook and Twitter, two technologies that I loathe. I know I am wrong. I simply don’t want to cross that line and become a servant of social media. Yikes! I could expound upon my position ad nauseam, but that requires that we sit across from one another, sharing a favorite libation.
SGR: What do you think about e-books? Do you prefer to read books in hard copy or are you okay with the 'e' technology?
DC: That train has left the station. It does no good for me to object to e-books. It’s America. We all make choices. My wife is a two- or three- book a week reader. They MUST be paperbacks. My youngest daughter, a freshman in college, has a Nook. My father has a Kindle. He still checks out books at the library. They are each happy, therefore, so am I. I don’t have an e-book reader other than the Kindle application on my PC.
On a personal note, books have adorned virtually every room of every house I have owned. I love going to estate sales and antique stores where I can load up on unique books. Some I read; some I flip though; some I simply put on the shelf. They are like art to me. They give me status. I have every National Geographic Magazine printed since July, 1955. I call it, my life in yellow. When I die, I know my three daughters will fight over who gets the books and “Dad’s NGs”. E-books will replace all of this? I don’t think so, certainly not for me.
The biggest problem I have with technology in general is that it has made people that much more sedentary. We are quickly becoming a well-read society, each of us sporting a two-foot wide arse and a sunburn following a five minutes exposure to that yellow object in the sky, and no idea what fresh air or exercise is about.
It would do us some good to walk to the library once in a while, even if it was to download an e-book. Sigh…
Thank you, Doug for taking the time to speak with QueenWriter News as well as your readers and fans. You can find out more about Doug at http://www.dbcarlyle.com.