In Memory of Aimee Thurlo

Bill Crider

1) What's your new book about?
The sweet little piggy on the cover doesn't give much of a clue, does it? The fact is that I've included feral pigs in just about every Sheriff Dan Rhodes book since the first one, and that one came out in 1986. In the intervening years, the number of feral pigs in Texas has grown exponentially, and the porkers have become a serious problem. In the new book, Sheriff Rhodes is faced not only with hogs gone wild but with murder.

2) How do you balance your work and your life?
Life? Who has a life? But seriously, folks, when I had a full-time day job, years ago, I wrote every evening and turned out more work than I do now. I was more disciplined in those days, I suppose, not to mention younger. Now I just write when I feel like it, which is usually in the evenings, probably because of that early discipline.

3) What's your writing process-- do you work from outlines or do you prefer off-the-cuff?
I'm the classic off-the-cuff writer. I've started books with no more in mind than the opening sentence, and that one sentence has grown into a a book and the book into a series. I'm sure my unconscious is at work all the time, but I don't want to give it too much credit. Otherwise it might start demanding 10% of my advances.

4) What advice would you give a new writer wanting to break in? I'm an old-fashioned guy.
I believe new writers should read widely in the genre they'd like to write, that they should learn something about the genre's history, and that they should get out and meet other writers at conventions and workshops. And, of course, they should write.

5) Where do you get your ideas?
My ideas come from anywhere and everywhere. I was casting about for ideas for The Wild Hog Murders when my sister called to tell me she'd read an article about feral pigs and that she thought I might be interested in it. I read the article and started the book the next day. The sentence I mentioned in the answer to number 3 up above came to me when my niece was talking a rat she saw on the seawall in Galveston. The first sentence in a book I called Shotgun Saturday Night came to me after I read a newspaper article about medical waste. And so on.

6) Who are your favorite authors?
When it comes down to real favorites, I go with the classics. I have a long list that begins with Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Ross Macdonald. I really like most of the Gold Medal writers of the '50s: John D. MacDonald, Day Keene, Harry Whittington, Peter Rabe, Vin Packer, Charles Williams, and lots of others. Jim Thompson is a long-time favorite. And on and on.

7) Is there anything you'd like to tell your readers?
Buy more of my books! The sheriff and I need all the help we can get. And we thank you for your support.

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