Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Meet D.J. Swykert

Today, I'm proud to introduce D.J. Swykert to you. 

Beside being a wolf expert, D.J. Swykert is a former Michigan 911 operator living in Northern Kentucky. His short fiction and poetry has been published in: The Tampa Review, Monarch Review, Sand Canyon Review, Zodiac Review, Scissors and Spackle, Spittoon, Barbaric Yawp and BULL. "Children of the Enemy," a novel, from Cambridge Books is his latest book. His previous work "Alpha Wolves," a novel, is available on the Noble Publishing website. 

I was able to reach him for a short interview.

QueenWriter (QW): What are your writing practices? Such as, do you write each day? What 'space' do you reserve for your writing?

D.J. Swykert (DJS): When I begin a book it doesn't start with the writing. I am a ponderer. I will think on the theme of my story, what it really is about. Once I have this firmly in my head, I do generally write each day. I am a bit compulsive, once I get a story rolling I stick with it until it's finished, which for the first draft is usually a couple of months. I write a book like I was watching a movie. It’s how I move the story along, chapters being scenes, the end result being me as a director, assembling the chapter-scenes into a coherent story consisting of characters, conflict, and resolution. During the creative thinking on my plot, I have the end of my story firmly in my head; when I write the chapters I devise them so that each points towards resolution of the conflict.

QW: You can bring one book to an island that you will be alone on for 30 days. What would that book be?

DJS: I think I might reread Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls." I've always liked it, and am a believer in its theme, which is the futility of war as a way to solve problems. And it's just a strong story with powerful writing. And long enough to last me thirty days.

QW: Tell us a little about your latest book. And other than the synopsis of your book, tell us why you think readers will enjoy it.

DJS: "Children of the Enemy" is a story about innocents caught up in the Detroit drug business. It's a story I can authentically tell. There is considerable violence, but it was my feeling you could not write it any differently. My idea for the main protagonist, Raymond Little, was a man I saw running a salvage yard, which you might also just refer to as a junkyard. He was sitting on a chair outside of a house trailer, smoking a cigarette, with virtual mountains of scrap metal pieces and junk appliances surrounding him. I imagined him in real life as perhaps a cross between Dirty Harry and James Earl Jones, Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke. I built the story around this image of him. "Children of the Enemy" is about justice, how the system so often fails. I worked in law enforcement. I know that only a third of all homicides are ever solved. People liked Dirty Harry because he gave them fair and immediate justice. Raymond Little in my story does the same and readers will resonate with his street smart integrity. 
QW: What avenues do you use for marketing? What works best for you?

DJS: I like doing spotlights on the different blogs, have done a couple that specialize in crime. You can see a review of "Children of the Enemy" on the Swedish crime blog The Crime House. Those Swedes do like their crime stories, i.e. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I also have a publicist who is the webmaster of an artistic website that goes out to news magazines, media outlets and editors. The site features not only writers, but musicians and artists, and I think this diversity will help grow its audience. I have begun a sales campaign with Indie bookstores, and plan on continuing with it and will perhaps look at a book tour in early 2013 to publicize "Children of the Enemy" and a second crime story I have coming out titled "The Death of Anyone."

QW: What's next on your writing list? Are you currently penning this or is this in the 'thinking' stage?

DJS: I am writing a book titled "Counting Wolves." It's about a retired cop whose wife has died and he retreats to a mountaintop cabin in a remote corner of northern Michigan to try and rejuvenate his survival skills. He encounters a pack of young wolves and begins helping to feed them through the harsh winter. I know where the story is going, but not ready to reveal a lot more about it. I hope to have it ready for the Faulkner Competition next summer and after will look for a publisher.

Thank you, D.J. for taking the time to speak to me and our readers. If you would like to find out more about D.J., you can visit his website at http://magicmasterminds.com/djswykert/ or his blog at www.magicmasterminds.com. If you have any questions for him, you may email him directly at djswykert@hotmail.com or of course, leave your comments here and he will address them.

If you would like to be featured or contribute a blog here on QueenWriter News, simply email me at sreina@queenwriter.com.

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