AUTHOR: DJ Swykert
BOOK TITLE: The Pool Boy’s Beatitude
GENRE: Quirky and offbeat romance
PUBLISHER: Rebel e Publishing
BUY LINK: www.magicmasterminds.com/djswykert
Please tell us about yourself.
1. I am a former 911 operator writing fiction. I have published a couple of crime novels, but I don’t write entirely in this genre. My latest release, The Pool Boy’s Beatitude, I would categorize as a quirky and offbeat romance, or perhaps literary.
When and why did you begin writing?
2. I like writing fiction because, unlike reality, a story ends the way I want it to.
What inspired you to write your first book?
3. This sounds a bit strange, but a old tough looking character sitting on a chair in front of a house trailer at a garbage dump. He was the man in charge of running the dump and lived in the trailer. He became Raymond Little, my antihero, hero, in Children of the Enemy, which was the first book I ever finished. The first draft was completed in the early 1990’s.
What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?
4. I spend time with my girlfriend. We watch a little TV, ride our bikes, or just hike. We also like to just wander about town.
What are your thoughts about promotion?
5. I hate it. I don’t like to ask people for anything, which would include asking them to read my book, or worse, buy my book. But, unfortunately, publishers, even the Big Five, won’t do it for you, promoting your work is the only way to find readers.
Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?
6. I don’t like the term writer’s block. But I struggle sometimes to move a story forward. The best way out of it is to write your way out. Everything in the universe is derivative. If you just keep writing, whatever strikes you, new and better ideas usually will evolve from the writing, and eventually you end up with a first draft. The real shaping of the story comes through editing the draft, kind of like how a director edits the film they’ve shot into a movie.
Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
7. Rebel e Publishing, Detroit, London, and Johannesburg. I found them on pre-editors and editors and submitted the book to them. They did original artwork for the cover, which I really think is unique, and the editor I worked with, Jayne Southern, did a terrific job helping to shape the story.
What is your marketing plan?
8. I’ve been doing some blog interviews, and I entered The Pool Boy’s Beatitude in the Faulkner competition, it made it to the semifinals. I’m going to enter it in another competition this winter. I also have a publicist, Monica Paul, who does some twitter, Facebook, articles and I have a page on her website.
What are your current projects?
9. I’m working on a novel with a tentative title of Counting Wolves. It’s a story about a retired soldier/cop whose wife has died and he’s lost his zest for living. He retreats to a mountain cabin and while there begins caring and feeding a pack of young wolves.
How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?
Tell us about the current book you’re promoting.
1. Jack Joseph is an alcoholic physicist who drops out and is cleaning swimming pools, or as he calls them, infinite ponds, to support his lifestyle. In space, science believes the expansion of the universe exceeds the speed of light. So, why don't we live in the dark? Jack's darkness is of a different kind, addiction. Jack may understand the God particle, but his own particles remain a mystery. His life is a human orbit around alcohol, broken relationships and trying to stay out of jail. He finds himself caught between two women, one that he loves, and one that he needs, in a constant struggle to redeem his life
What gave you the idea for this particular book?
2. It’s a little autobiographical, built around some of my own tribulations. I’ve always believed, like Carl Sagan, that we are made of “star stuff.” This leads to an interest in particles, quantum entanglement and the fine structured constants of the universe.
What comes first: the plot or characters?
3. The characters always come first. I begin with doing a story built around a character I think will be interesting. Then I look to put him into situations that create the conflict for the story, and from there the chapters all lead to the resolution of the conflict. In a nutshell, that’s how I write a book.
Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why?
4. I probably fear Jack Joseph in the Pool Boy’s Beatitude the most, perhaps because I am an awfully lot like him. We share some of the same personal struggles. But my favorite character is Maggie Elizabeth Harrington, from a book titled with that name, and Alpha Wolves, which is a sequel that takes place ten years later. They are both written in first person female, and it was a real chance to explore themes about animals and the environment as well as her personal thoughts on love and her belief system. They were the most enjoyable to write. I intend to write a third and final story about Maggie, who is a real historic character, a recluse who lived alone in a former mining village that became a ghost town.
Did your book require a lot of research? If so, what kind?
5. They say write what you know. I worked in law enforcement, so I had a background to write police investigative procedures, and of course I had a lot of case histories I could draw on to fictionalize a crime and criminals. I raised a pair of arctic hybrids, which is how wolves entered into the two stories built around Maggie Elizabeth Harrington. I also did a lot of research on wolves, and copper mining. My parents came from mining families in the copper country of northern Michigan. A lot of my knowledge of mining was first hand from my father and relatives and friends. The physics knowledge of Jack Joseph, physicist turned pool boy in The Pool Boy’s Beatitude came from the Internet. I’ve always had an interest and simply asked a lot of questions on the web.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
6. The hardest part of writing any book is the discipline to not let a lot of time go between writing periods. When you get a story rolling the way you want it, you need to maintain the stamina to get the idea down on paper. You can take your time editing, but the first draft you want the emotion of the story to carry onto the page while you still have it in your head and your heart.
How long does it take to write a book, and what is your process?
7. I can usually write a first draft in anywhere from two to about six months. I usually edit the story at least twice, and this takes close to another six months to a year.
What are your current books out right now, and what are the books coming up for release?
8. The Pool Boy’s Beatitude from Rebel e Publishing
The Death of Anyone from Melange Books
Children of the Enemy from Cambridge Books
Maggie Elizabeth Harrington from TL Bliss Press
Alpha Wolves from Magic Masterminds
What advice would you give a new writer starting out?
9. Look at rejection and criticism with an open mind and work to improve. But never lose faith in yourself. Keep typing and submitting.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
1. That’s what girlfriends are for. But I also am very fond of animals, feed every feral cat, raccoon and possum that comes to the door.
What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?
2. I look for stories that are character driven. There are only a handful of original plots in all of literature, so, everything is derivative of one of them. It’s the characters that make a book interesting.
What books have most influenced your life?
3. All of Hemingway’s books. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard. I think Elmore’s ten rules of writing are about the best writing tutorial I’ve ever read.
In space, the expansion of the universe exceeds the speed of light. In a jail cell the speed of light slows, time ages and deteriorates slowly to a crawl. Jack Joseph understands physics. He understands the nature of quarks, leptons, dark matter and the desire to find the God particle. What Jack doesn’t understand is Jack. He has a Masters degree in particle physics, an ex-wife, a sugar mama, a passion for cooking and chronic dependencies he needs to feed. He cleans pools to maintain this chaotic lifestyle. Spinning about in a Large Hadron Collider of his own making, the particle known as Jack is about to collide with a particle known as Sarah.