Wednesday, July 3, 2013

D. J. Swykert, The Death of Anyone

AUTHOR: DJ Swykert
BOOK TITLE: The Death of Anyone
PUBLISHER: Melange Books

Why don't you start with telling us a little about yourself? What genre do you write in and why?
I’m a blue collar person from Detroit. I write stories the way you’d watch a movie and put it down on paper. I don’t consider genre when I write a story. I’m not looking to define a story to a genre, just tell it as I see it. In colloquial terms, you might say: Let the words (chips) fall where they may.

Tell me about your current book which you are promoting.
The underlying theme in my latest book, The Death of Anyone, poses the Machiavellian question: Does the end justify the means? I developed this story around an impulsive homicide detective, Bonnie Benham, who wants to use Familial DNA, a search technique not in common use in the United States. Only two states even have a written policy regarding its use, Colorado and California. Many legal analysts believe it violates Fourth Amendment rights which guard against unreasonable searches and seizures.

How long have you been writing? 
My first serious effort began in my twenties. A couple of short stories and I started, but never finished, a novel. The first thing I ever published were a few poems in The Detroit News weekend edition.

What got you interested in writing, and what inspired you to write your first book? 
The first book I ever finished was called Deuce. It was about a young man with serious scars on the left side of his face. In 2005 I hit a tree in my car and made some pretty serious dents in the left side of my face. Is it life imitating art? Or? I’ve always been one to scribble down observations about things I see, and sometimes I find a story in them.

Do you outline before you write? If not, what’s your initial process?
Most of my long fiction was first written as a short story. I found I liked the character enough to develop a plot for a longer work around the character. I make notes, but don’t use any outline. I get a first draft down on paper, then edit the draft several times. When I think it’s as good as I can write it I begin looking for an editor.

What comes first: the plot or the characters?
The main protagonist, the plot and other characters are developed around my central character.

Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why?
I feel a range of emotions for all characters who make a contribution to the story. I think there are elements of the author in all of your characters. A good writer can conceal himself within his characters very well, but usually, someone who knows you well enough can find you in all of them. I love them, fear, pity, hate, based on how they fit into the story.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? 
The discipline it takes to write every day. Life just has a way of getting in the way.

Did your book require a lot of research? How long does it take to write a book for you?
I was a 911 operator and I knew a lot about how an investigation is conducted, and the science in the book.

What are some of the challenges in your writing process?
Grammar, writing authentic dialogue but keeping it readable.

Describe your writing space. 
Third floor bedroom converted into an office. It’s quiet and away from the rest of the townhouse.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? 

Sit out in the courtyard off the back of the house and ponder the infinite. I never get anywhere, but then it’s impossible to get anywhere in infinite space, that’s why they call it infinite, there’s nowhere to be getting to.

What books or authors have influenced your writing?
In novels it would be Hemingway. I liked the succinct, yet poignant, style to his writing.

What so you see for the future of publishing and e-books?
The electronic readers are here to stay, so the future is going to be in downloaded books. In another generation or two there will be few paper books. It’s like comparing buggies and cars. How many horse drawn carriages do you see? They still exist, but get little use.

What are your current books out right now, and what are the books coming up for release?
I have three books currently available; Alpha Wolves, Children of the Enemy and The Death of Anyone. I have two books that will release this summer; The Pool Boy’s Beatitude and a reissue of the first book I published, Maggie Elizabeth Harrington.

What is your marketing plan?
Book blogs, they are the best place to find readers.

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
Write, edit, when you think it’s as good as you can make it, submit it, and keep submitting.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?
I have a page on an artistic website developed by my publicist. You can find out more about me and my work at:


Detroit Detective Bonnie Benham has been transferred from narcotics to homicide for using more than arresting and is working the case of a killer of adolescent girls. CSI collects DNA evidence from the scene of the latest victim, which had not been detected on the other victims. But no suspect turns up in the FBI database. Due to the notoriety of the crimes a task force is put together with Bonnie as the lead detective, and she implores the D.A. to use an as yet unapproved type of a DNA Search, which raises some Fourth Amendment issues, in an effort to identify the killer. Homicide Detective Neil Jensen, with his own history of drug and alcohol problems understands Bonnie's frailty and the two detectives become inseparable as they track this killer of children.

DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Monarch Review, Lunch Ticket, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, Alpha Wolves and The Death of Anyone. You can find him at: He is a wolf expert.

1 comment:

  1. "Life gets in the way." So true!

    Nice interview and excerpt!