Today I’d like to introduce you to John Tucker author and generally all round good guy! He’s written numerous books in many genres, and I’m sure you’d all like to welcome him here to LS and learn a little more about him.
Thanks for joining us, John. My first question is why do you write?
I write to exercise my mind in a way that will enthrall and entertain people I know and most I’ve never met. It’s a challenge to come up with the nucleus of a story, toil through it, and complete each individual piece that includes part of my fantasies, dreams, or a little shard of my life.
You mentioned you’re in the IWW, (Internet Writers Workshop) For those of us that don’t know what that is, tell us what you do there.
It’s a critique group where established and aspiring authors meet up to read and share opinions on the others work – how to make it better, how to make it suck less, and exchanging general tips and ideas about writing. You submit a chapter per week (or up to 3000 words if you have small ones) and as people read and edit yours, you’re required to return the favor. Like in real life, there are different personalities involved but the majority of senior members know what they’re doing. You may not agree with their opinions, but they do come from a good place.
Here’s the link —- http://internetwritingworkshop.blogspot.com/
You have a number of novels in your collection; let’s talk a little about some of your favorites. In your novel, Splits in the Skin, you have a bounty hunter searching for his target in a secluded town in the north Georgia Mountains. The felon is the religious leader of the village that has been inbreeding since the Civil War. How on earth did you come up with that concept?
I saw the movie Deliverance as a ten-year-old, which scarred me a bit with the rape scene. While the town of New Eden only has consensual sex, novels before me have maybe a couple of people who engage in incest. I figured writing about an entire town that practices it would be thinking outside the box. All the while I was writing it, I knew a publisher would never touch it, and it would undoubtedly get several nasty reviews on the content. Surprisingly, it hasn’t, but I have had over ten copies returned on Amazon – so it evens out.
For the first 8 chapters, the novel alternates with the hero (Ellis Hardigree) and the villain (Moses Bailey). You get to know the protagonist and catch the start of his romance with a woman from a nearby town who agrees to help him when the law refuses to. The ones that focus on Moses and his New Eden relatives deal with their religious beliefs and their truly peaceful outlook on life. The complaints I get about the book in reviews mostly deal with that moral juxtaposition instead of the incestuous relationships, which means I did my job right.
It’s always good to have people talking about your novels, and debates regarding ethics or religion is a sure way to start the conversation! LOL. The way Ellis and his love interest meet and interact with each other over the course of the book is compelling stuff. Did you have to make their relationship so sad?
The romance between Ellis and Smitty (Smithfield) is both innocent, sweet, and bittersweet at the same time. The fact that her father raped her, and her brother tried to, brings out the moral differences between forced and consensual incest in the novel. Ellis is coming off a bad divorce and despite the baggage he learns about Smitty, it bonds them closer as they seek to capture Moses and take him back to Atlanta.
In Divisive the main antagonist is Dennis Rask, a sociopath who insinuates himself in single-mother dysfunctional families, heals their strife, then tears them apart with lies, manipulations, and jealousy. How did you come up with the character?
Rask was based on Ted Bundy (the charming serial killer) and Robert Mitchum’s performance as the lethal preacher in the old movie Night of the Hunter. Rask is a genial guy who knows how to sweet talk females and, once they’re entangled in his web of deceptions, turns the family against each other in ways that suit their personalities. During the novel, readers will also find a couple of characters that rival Rask with their evilness – a child-beater and a pedophile – two people that provide a gray area between my story’s secondary (amateur) villains and the real one.
Rask has destroyed three families before he meets the Connors in Divisive – the mother Carolyn, seventeen-year-old Elizabeth, and twelve-year-old Emily. Could you tell the reader the different ways he seduces the three women and prepares them for their destruction?
Rask comes to Carolyn as a knight in shining armor, her Mr. Right. He dotes on her, spoils her with gifts, and supplies her with the sex she’s went too long without. With Elizabeth, he keeps away from her for most of the book, waiting for the opportunity to ingratiate himself with her. She eventually gets jealous of how he treats her mom, and her own failures with boyfriends, and sets out to seduce him to get back at her mother. With Emily, he’s a father figure to her. His genuinely sweet attentions, thoughtful gifts, and the quality time he spends with her are the most touching scenes in the book.
Once Rask has won their hearts, he uses Carolyn’s hatred of her daughters and her drug abuse to create jealousy in the household. When he starts a secretive relationship with Elizabeth, he manipulates her emotions to fuel the old fires that used to consume her feelings toward her mother. With Emily, he uses her desires to win her mother’s heart in a way that puts the little girl in a dangerous situation.
The Wisdom of Solomon starts out with a mysterious stranger holding a housewife hostage in her own home. Most of the book takes place in the dining room where he’s tied her up. Despite the same surroundings, you keep the reader occupied with their conversations. Could you tell me how you decided on the questions and answers posed by the captor and captive?
The intruder has been sent to retrieve something from the house but refuses to tell Maritza van Lyle what it is. Instead, he torments her with sexually provocative questions and forces her to answer them with threats to her daughter Alexandra – who’s at school for most of the book. The man also reveals the many skeleton’s in Maritza and her husband’s closet over the course of the book and, eventually, the two former enemies bond with each other . . . or do they?
Maritza doesn’t behave like the usual hostage in books or movies. She’s profane, abusive, and belligerent to her captor. Why did you write her as such?
She’s in an unhappy marriage, she hates her life in general, and she doesn’t give a crap whether he kills her or not. She curses him, struggles to get away despite his warnings, and refused to play his little games with her. It’s only until the man threatens her child when Maritza calms down and starts to turn the tables on the hired assassin. That’s when The Wisdom of Solomon turns into a cat and mouse game where the reader is unsure who’s the cat and who’s the mouse.
Would you say your novels are quite complex, but still easy to read?
Some like Divisive and Romancing the Fox are complex. Divisive opens with the aftermath of Rask’s influence on the Connors family and, through past and present time lines that alternate throughout the book, compels the reader to find out how the characters ended up like they did and how. Romancing the Fox is a complex read because of the character roster. I have 2 main protagonists, 3 main antagonists, and nine secondary personalities, all of them crucial to the entire story – but in different ways.
Others, like Terpsichore in Love and Twelve Doors to Ecstasy feature light, frothy story lines that have the reader laughing at the snarky interactions inside and gasping at the characters various actions for and against each other.
All in all, every one of my novels have a main plot and one to two subplots that keep the reader hooked. Each of my novels have some sort of romance, lots of drama, and tinges of intrigue and danger. Bottom line – My readers won’t be bored.
I should think not! And we all love a good, entertaining read that keeps up glued to the pages! There is a massive influx of indie writers at the moment. Do you have any views on that? Do you believe it’s a good thing?
It’s a great thing. For the last 100 years tradition publishers have held all the cards. They controlled the market, the authors, and held the purse-strings. The internet – including Amazon, Nook, Kindle, and Smashwords – have opened the literary world to everyone.
And it’s a not-so-good thing. I’ve seen so many novels that, for a better word, are a waste of words. No editing, incoherent sentences, underdeveloped characters, and idiotic plots. That’s tainted the words ‘self-published-author’ to a degree that casts a pallor of ineptitude on the movement as a whole.
Another thing that’s killing an author’s chances of making some coin on their books is the ‘Freebie’ route. While there’s pro’s to giving your books away, I think of my novels as my children, and I don’t know too many ‘parents’ that make an effort to give their kids away. (Well…maybe for a few hours. LOL) Brass tacks, if you give your books away, you set a precedent for any potential followers of your work. If you give one title away, they’ll wait until you give the others away. Not a mindset you want to give your followers or the reading public.
I agree with that last part having made my first novel available for free download, managed 1600 and while it’s still selling, people always expect more freebies! lol
You’re a successful writer, have a publisher and obviously have a huge following. What encouragement, or words of advice can you give to new writers, hoping to share their first novel?
I wouldn’t call me successful or popular. I’m growing with every month but I’m still years away from being where I want to be. My advice to new writers is this — Always be promoting, post in groups daily, start blogs to exchange pieces with like-minded authors, start/join author events on Facebook, have local book signings at book store or library venues and, most importantly, don’t publish a book unless it’s the best you can possibly make it.
Excellent advise! Thank you for that!
I have one final question for you, John. What can your followers look forward to in 2015? What are you working on?
I’m almost done with an erotic-thriller called Vergene and a paranormal erotica offering called Violetta’s Voyeur. I’m also 2/3rds of the way through an adult contemporary romance called eTernalMates. When those are done, I’m contemplating sequels to Romancing the Fox (Chasing the Fox), The Little Girl You Kiss Goodnight (The Little Girl Who Cried at Midnight), and Divisive (The Eighth Family).
Thank you for a great interview, John. I’d like to wish you every success for 2015!
If you’d like to read any of Mr. Tucker’s novels, you can find them at the links below, and connect with him on Facebook or twitter.