AUTHOR: DJ Swykert
BOOK TITLE: Children of the Enemy
PUBLISHER: Cambridge Books, an imprint of Write Words Inc.
BUY LINK: www.writewordsinc.com
What gave you the idea for this particular story?
Answer: It began with a short story with the character Ray, who is modeled after an actual junkyard operator I saw many years ago in Houghton Lake, Michigan. He was an older man sitting out side of a house trailer at the junkyard smoking a cigarette, sunning himself, surrounded by a world of broken possessions, everything you can imagine. I thought he’d make an interesting character and I wrote a short story with a character coming to the door of the trailer one night and a confrontation occurring between them. Later, I developed a plot around the two adversaries and turned it into a full length story.
Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
Answer: I am a retired 911 operator. I am fulltime at being retired and part time at writing, I have a lot of interests. I generally write during the day, mornings are best, and spend my evenings with social activity.
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Answer: The first thing I ever wrote was a poem to a young art student I was trying to impress. I think I was about sixteen, the poem sucked. But she said she liked it and I took her to the prom. A couple of years later I managed to publish a couple of early poems in a few journals, would read some at the coffee houses in downtown Detroit, and started to believe I could actually write a book. I did try, but it would be quite a few years later before I ever actually wrote a book.
What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
Answer: I’ve always liked reading stories with strong characters. I believe good characters can carry a weak plot, but a great plot will never be able to carry a story with poor characterization. I just hope my readers find the characters interesting, and the story compelling, anything else they get from it is a bonus.
Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
Answer: I’ve written more crime stories than anything else. I worked as a 911 operator for a decade, which gave me a lot of characters to write about, most of whom were not altar boys, or girls.
What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
Answer: This is the easiest question you’ve given me: rejection. We all hate it, not just writers, all of us except for a small band of narcissists; fortunately they’re not a large group in our species. You have to take some positives from your critics and improve your work from the criticism.
Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
Answer: I really did know a Three-fingered Jack Davis. They probably call him Two-fingered Jack by now. The lifestyle of some of the characters is drawn on people I’ve known. But the story itself is completely fictional.
How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
We are both cynical with a strange sense of humor. Ray is a lot tougher than me.
What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
Answer: I didn’t do a lot of research. It’s a fictional story, and I’m familiar with the lifestyles and thinking processes of the characters. I worked in law enforcement, so I can write police procedure.
Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
Answer: Violence bothers me because I know it exists. The violence in the story is excessive. But I wanted the reader to sympathize with certain not so likeable characters, so, I felt it was necessary to distance the bad guys from just the unsavory ones. I think readers will understand why it was written this way by the time they finish the story. As violent as the story is, there is nothing in it that doesn’t happen to people in this lifestyle.
What about your book makes it special?
Answer: I think the characters in the story are likeable, even though they are flawed. There are situations in the story that allow even the worst to redeem them selves. I think people want and need to believe in redemption.
What is your marketing plan?
I’m focusing toward social media like your blog. I think it’s the best way for a beginning writer to find and develop a platform of readers. So, I’ve been pursuing blogs that will do interviews or review the book. I’ve distributed some free copies to Indie bookstores and will a send review copy to a reviewer. I have a friend of mine who is a marketing consultant and she’s been helping me with some promotional ideas.
Where can people learn more about you and your work?
Answer: On my website: magicmasterminds.com. This is a website, where I have a section, but is also open to artists, musicians and photographers to showcase their work. The idea is in the future it will contain a database of artists where viewers can interact with the artists.
Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
Answer: I believe in the principle of write what you know. If you have an idea for a story, research it; find out what you need to know about the story to write it authentically.
What’s in the future for you?
Answer: The future is the same for all of us: temporary and uncertain. But I have a couple of writing projects I hope to finish, another story about wolves for certain.
Children of the Enemy - synopsis
Parson and Swallow have murdered Jude’s wife Ariana, and kidnapped his daughter Angelina, in order to locate Jude who has made off with a large stash of crack cocaine belonging to them.
Raymond Little is a former convict with a second degree murder conviction in his past. He is on a mission to rescue Jude St. Onge’s twelve year old daughter from kidnappers he knows the police will never catch. Ray knows the kidnappers will certainly kill the girl once they recover the drugs from Jude.
Detroit Police Detective Charlie Ebinger asks newspaper reporter Ted Rogers to run a story in hopes of contacting Jude. Ted does reach Jude and Raymond, but refrains from turning them in because Ray persuades him this would only serve to expedite the murder of Angelina. They arrange a meeting with Parson and Swallow to exchange the drugs for Jude’s daughter. During the exchange Jude is killed and Parson and Swallow recover their drugs without surrendering Angelina.
With Ted’s help he kidnaps Parson’s two young sons and a standoff ensues between the men with the children as pawns. The story concludes with a confrontation as they exchange the children.