My blog guest today is Bob Doerr. Bob and I met at the Lexicon Writer’s Conference in Denton, Texas. We hit it off right away. His military background defines him and his writing. Please welcome, Bob Doerr.
Hi Bill, it was nice to meet you and all the other attendees at the conference. I hope to get back there next year.
Bob, you were a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award in 2010 and 2011. You also won the 2011 Silver medal for fiction at the Military Writer’s Society of America’s annual conference. Explain to our readers what the Eric Hoffer Award and the Military Writer’s Society of America are, and which of your novels won distinction.
The Eric Hoffer annual writing contest solicits books published in any manner other than by the big six national publishers. It is a large contest with a couple of thousand submissions each year. International authors can submit, too, as long as their book is in English. While there are individual awards given out in different categories, the best of the rest compete for the big award and are called finalists – unless they win the big prize, of course. My books were submitted in the small independent publisher category. The two that were selected as Finalists were Cold Winter’s Kill and Loose Ends Kill.
The Military Writer’s Society of America is a national organization with around a thousand members. Most members are related in some way with the military and are authors. The Association holds an annual writing contest. In 2011, Loose Ends Kill took the silver medal for Fiction/Mystery. This year Another Colorado Kill is a finalist in the same category.
You grew up in a military family, had a career in the Air Force, and managed to remain married for 38 years. Is your wife a saint?
Calling her a saint may be a little extreme, but she certainly deserves my appreciation for putting up with me for all these years. Of course, our joke is that we would have divorced long ago, but neither one of us wanted the kids or the furniture. Actually, we have great children and now super grandchildren.
With your upbringing and Air Force experience, I would think your novels would be centered on International espionage and combat, instead you focus on crime solving in the southwest and the Rockies. Why did you go this direction?
I selected the southwest as the setting for my books because I’m very familiar with the area, and I think the settings work well in my stories. I decided to write murder mysteries mostly because it was simpler for me to do so. While I actually did have more expertise and experience in the counterespionage arena, due to the classified nature counterespionage there are a lot of restrictions that I would have to be concerned about if I wrote in that genre. That being said, I may dabble in the world of espionage and terrorism in a future work. One of AFOSI’s major missions, like NCIS, is investigating felonies within or directed at the Air Force, so I had plenty of experience with criminal investigations.
Will you continue to use Jim West as your key character, or as Jim Patterson said, “If you don’t buy my book, I’ll kill Alex Cross?
I started writing with a goal of doing five Jim West books. I’ve met that goal now with my fifth book coming out later this year, and I have to admit, I’m torn between doing another West book or something new. In the next thirty to sixty days, I’ll have to make up my mind.
How would you describe your writing style and what authors influenced you?
I like telling stories, and when I write I like to get started with a general idea and let the story develop as I go along. I have some direction in mind, of course, but as I write, plot twists and subplots pop into my mind. I know a lot of good authors who outline everything, some in great detail before they start their book, but that style doesn’t appeal to me. My first book has one chapter that is fairly intense and violent, but in all the books since I’ve tried to keep my writing at the PG-13 level to appeal to a wider audience. A lot of authors have influenced me. The first few that come to mind are Rex Stout, John D. McDonald, and Raymond Chandler.
Describe TotalRecall Publications and your relationship with them. How have they been to work with?
TotalRecall Publications is a small independent publisher that operates out of Friendswood, Texas. We have a good relationship. Since they are a small publisher, most of the editing and marketing is left up to me, but everything else is done by them at their expense. We work together on cover design and title but they have the final word. The covers they have done for me have been great. Overall, we have a good relationship.
What can we expect next from Bob Doerr?
More books, that’s for sure. I enjoy writing. Keep an eye out for my new book No One Else to Kill that should be available in all formats around Thanksgiving.
Do you have any advice to give to up-and-coming writers, tips on learning the craft, publishing, and marketing?
My advice is for them to stay with it. Keep writing – you’ll only get better!
Thanks again Bob for taking your time with us. Good luck in your future endeavors.
Thanks you, Bill.
To buy Bob Doerr’s books, click on this link.
To buy my books, click on this link.