An Interview with Author John Turney and a Giveaway of His New Crime Thriller Whiskey Sunrise

John Turney and I at the Write To Publish Conference. Glad to have him stop by my blog today.

John Turney and I at the Write To Publish Conference. Glad to have him stop by my blog today.

Glad to have you back. I enjoyed Whiskey Sunrise. I found my heart racing as I watched the story unfold. This crime thriller explores so many aspects of life beyond the horrendous crimes. Please, please make yourself comfortable. Sit down and help yourself to some Ceylon tea while we chat.

Whiskey Sunrise is much different than your first Innocent Blood. Share why.

The two places that really interest me are the American West, especially the Southwest, and Ireland. In both places, people have struggled to live. Struggled against nature—the deserts of the Southwest and the rocky soil of Ireland. Struggled against invaders—various native groups, the Spanish and the Americans in the Southwest, and the various invaders from continental Europe in Ireland. In my Innocent Blood book, while it actually takes place in my hometown of Cincinnati, there are huge elements of Irish folklore. In my latest book, Whiskey Sunrise, I deal with another invasion—the invasion of drugs, guns and people across our southern border. So why the change? Just two things that interested me that I wanted to explore.

Fill in my readers about the premise of your new book.

My second book—Whiskey Sunrise, published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas—takes place in the fictional small town of Whiskey, Arizona. The protagonist is the police chief who, with a small staff, has to take on an emerging and violent drug cartel and a gun running citizen. (I began this project before Fast and Furious.) The chief is separated from his wife and wants to reunite. I added a touch of Navajo mysticism.

What makes Arizona work as the setting for your story?

With all that’s going on in the southwest region of the US, Arizona seemed to be an ideal setting for Whiskey Sunrise. It also allowed me to give it a modern day cowboy feel to the story. So instead of cowboys fighting Native Americans or aliens, this allowed me to explore the themes related to issues of border security.

You touch the surface of Navajo mysticism in Whiskey Sunrise. Why?

The original peoples have a deep religious connection to the world. Although I don’t hold to their traditions, I want to respect it. If only to make my faith in Christ more real to them. I mean, if you disrespect someone’s core beliefs, you can’t expect them to honor yours. We tried that in the 1800’s and it didn’t work. So, I contrast the Navajo beliefs with a character’s deeply held Christian beliefs.

The last sentence of your book tells the reader there is a sequel. Can you tell us what we might expect?

In the sequel, I deal with a terrorist organization working with a drug cartel to wreak havoc in the southwest. Just how…I can’t say.

 

Don’t be such a tease, give us a little more.

(Taps feet and frowns) If you insist. The drug lord from WS returns. His focus is to kill the police chief. Meanwhile, human trafficking is being committed by the terrorists, buildings are being set on fire or exploded and a rare snowstorm sweeps through the southwest

Wow! Sounds intriguing. Writers read. So tell me what’s are you currently reading?

You would ask that. I just finished reading Independence Day by the authors of the film. If you liked the movie, the book follows right along with it. It adds very little to the movie, but it does explain some of the science behind the events. In my meek opinion, the movie is better than the book. Too much telling and not showing. I just started reading Gallows View by Peter Robinson. An interesting mystery combining a peeping tom with a murder and break-ins all taking place in rural England. I am also reading The Writer’s Guide to Psychology by the late Carolyn Kaufman. As a psychologist and a writer, she understood both worlds. A great book for writers to understand why people do what they do, and to take a peek into the world of a psychologist. It’s truly a shame she passed so young in her life. My ebook read is called Division of the Marked by March McCarron. A fun speculative read. Hope to read more from her.

What other things are you currently working on?

I am currently working on writing blogs for my website (www.jturney.com), which was designed by one of the fabulous people at Lighthouse Publishing, Meaghan. I am working on a short story which is a combination of science fiction and police procedural.

What is one thing you learned from writing this book?

Understand, I do not support illegal immigration or amnesty. However, for many who come into our country without going through our normal channels, there is drive of desperation in them to try to escape to a better life. The crossers risk financial loss, humiliation, rape, beatings and even death during their trek. Yes, there are despicable people coming across our borders, but there are also hard-working decent people as well. Perhaps a better immigration policy would help those enter our country who seek a better life and prevent the criminal and terrorist element.

 

You know you want me to ask so here goes. So you think terrorists have come across our borders?

Most definitely. And if the leaders of our country can’t find the resolve to protect our borders, America is in for a world of hurt. Let me give you a “for instance.” I own a house and the small piece of land it sits upon. If I turned a blind eye to people jumping my fence and squatting on my property, it wouldn’t take very long before I wouldn’t have anything left. That is what is happening on a much larger scale in the US.

Now it’s my turn to ask the question I always like to ask at the end of an interview. What advice would you offer other writers?

For writers, I’d say the three important things are: 1) learn the craft of writing. It’s not unlike trying to learn a musical instrument. Practice to get good. 2) Network. Build up a body of friends who are writers. Then help those other writers. 3) Learn some marketing techniques. This is a business, so be serious yet have fun. For readers, I would advise that you support your local writers. If you find one, two or more that you enjoy, email them encouragement. Ask your local library to stock their book. Friend them on Facebook. Give them good reviews on Goodreads or Amazon. If a few readers would do those simple things, it would make a huge difference in a writer’s career.

Author John Turney

Spot on advice. I believe I see a copy of Whiskey Sunrise peeking out of John’s brief case. We are going to give a copy away to one of my commenters. Leave a comment with your email. I’ll contact the winner to get their snail mail address so John can send an autographed copy.

Here is the link:51SDe6990EL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_ 

Whiskey Sunrise

 

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Three reminders for writing conference success

Debut novelist John Turney did all the right research before attending conferences. His novel Innocent Blood  found a publisher because he did his homework.

Debut novelist John Turney did all the right research before attending conferences. His novel Innocent Blood found a publisher because he did his homework.

I received a weird phone call at my day job this week. The caller wanted to set up a blood drive. As the receptionist for a blood collection facility in the Chicagoland area I can easily direct calls like this to a marketing person in their area. However, as I gathered more information it became apparent we were not going to be able to help this young lady. She was calling from Canada. Although our blood supply is low at the moment Canada was defintely out of our service area.

As I prepare for the Write To Publish conference next month this call sparked a reminder in the writer’s side of my brain, a matra that writers need to adher to. Read the guidelines before submitting your manuscript. The extra time you take to fill your tote bog or briefcase with the specifics an agent may request before an appointment makes you appear professional. Don’t hand over the whole manuscript if only the summary or first three chapters are needed. Do your homework before setting up an appointment with an agent or publisher at a conference.  Coming with a proposal or pitch for something they need gives you a better chance for success.

Don’t try to do something new and dramatic.

An agent friend told me he once had a writer drive to his home to present a manuscript in person. The guidelines on his website clearly stated electronic submissions only. He took the manuscript and wrote his rejection note on the cover and handed it back. Ouch! But the guidelines were clear. In the publishing business submitting out of the box gets rejections. The same applies to conferences. No colored paper or funny font sizes. Double spaced, 12 point Times New Roman is  the publishing standard.

Had a great appointment with Susan Baganz, Acquistion Editor for Prism Book Group at the 2013 Write To Poblish Conference.

Had a great appointment with Susan Baganz, Acquistion Editor for Prism Book Group at the 2013 Write To Poblish Conference.

Details, details, details

My young caller probably found my company in a google search but may not have gone to the company website. Had she checked out the website she would have not wasted time calling us based on geography. Click on the link for the agent, publisher or magazine to study the details. Your article on time-management may not fit the theme for magazine A’s upcoming edtions but magazine C is clamoring for it. If your Amish fiction has a scifi twist Publisher Q will be open to your pitch. However, Publisher X has all their Amish fiction slots full and you wasted one of your precious appointments because you missed that detail.

What are some other reminders you find important before attending a conference?