“I’ve been a pretty regular guy for a long time now, married, house, grown kids. Before that I was a career criminal, dealing drugs in Los Angeles and pretending to be a professional musician.” – Earl Javorksy
SR: Practice pitching: tell us what your book is about in 30 words or less.
EJ: Paul Simmons’ son is being life-flighted to the ER after a severe beating by local gang members. There’s a quarter million dollars missing from Paul’s bank account.
SR: What’s your new book/work in progress about? What inspired you to write it?
EJ: I have two in the works. One is #3 in the Charlie Miner series, simply because he’s so much fun (in a very dark sort of way) and I already have it plotted, with notes. The other is a more serious book, also plotted and begun, called Sink or Swim. It’s a father-son story based on a true and nearly tragic event.
PI Charlie Miner wakes up looking down at his naked body on a gurney at the morgue, a bullet in its head. When he finds out that he can enter and run the body, he goes home to find out which of his cases might have got him killed.
SR: Your protagonist has to flee the country. Where are they headed to and why that location?
EJ: Mexico. It’s nearby, easy to get lost in, and Paul has been there a lot.
SR: What conspiracy theory is your protagonist most likely to believe in? Roswell? JFK? Princess Diana? What about you? Any conspiracy theories that you think might have some truth to them?
EJ: Most conspiracy nuts subscribe to the gamut of nutty theories—even if they contradict each other. I think that the military/industrial complex and various elected officials plus bureaucrats pull stunts of staggering proportions on a regular basis: Iran/Contra, DEA efforts foiled by CIA, Iraq invasion, etc.
SR: Is your protagonist more likely to go insane or end up in prison?
EJ: Both—his substance abuse problems lead to some very poor decisions.
SR: What’s your protagonist’s greatest fear? Why?
Unleashing the beast within—the darkness that ran his life before recovery. Now it’s snarling and snapping its chain.
SR: Is there something you hope the reader carries away with them after they’re done reading? An insight or philosophy that you wanted to come through in your work?
EJ: This is a human story, hopefully one of redemption, but its subtext is that the so-called War on Drugs is a disaster and that the fascination with intoxication is a cultural problem that requires a multipronged solution.
SR: What’s one thing that you and your protagonist have in common?
EJ: We’re both recovering from substance abuse problems, and we both have built new lives in recovery. The challenge I had in real life is the fulcrum in the book—Paul responds in the manner I managed to avoid, with dire consequences.
SR: If hell was watching one movie over and over and over again, or listening to one song over and over again, what would the movie or song be for you? For your protagonist?
EJ: There was a song in the ’60s called “If You’re Going to San Francisco (Don’t Forget to Put a Flower in Your Hair) that still threatens to launch chunks into my nose. Paul hates opera and heavy metal.
SR: Carpool karaoke. What would be your protagonist’s song?
EJ: Mine would be “Jamaica Farewell” because my wife and I like to sing harmonies to it. Paul’s would be Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues.”
SR: Cage match between you and your protagonist. It’s a fight to the death. Which one of you will be left standing, and why.
EJ: Paul would probably win, only because he’s younger. Unless I could step in and break his ankle while I’m taking a punch. Then I can cream him.
SR: Did you try your hand at poetry as a teenager or use stick figures to illustrate your comic books? Tell us about your early writing efforts.
EJ: I wrote sequences of words that rhymed, followed by an ironic sentence that ended with yet another rhyming word. I didn’t call them poems, I called them word turds. I make no claim to mental health.
SR: Did you set yourself a specific writing challenge with this book? What was it, and what was the reason?
EJ: Assuming we’re talking about my Charlie Miner books, I created a structural puzzle for myself—twice! And I mean a Rubik’s Cube of a puzzle. Charlie, in each book, has severe cognitive problems due to having a bullet in his brain. He picks up glimpses of past events that yield just enough information that he is able to take a step or two forward (along with a few detours and some backsliding).
SR: What was your journey to publication like? What kind of obstacles did you have to overcome?
EJ: I shopped my first book for a few years, got some bites from agents, and finally gave up and just wrote another book. One day I was
SR: Is there something you’ve experienced that’s affected your view of life? Tell us about it and how it changed you.
EJ: Well, as someone who got in a lot of trouble and was a clueless knucklehead for a long time, I would have to say that walking into a room full of people who were just like me but had found a solution to their problems was a transformative experience. Otherwise, I’d be dead, in prison, or pushing a shopping cart around downtown Oceanside with snot in my beard.
SR: You have to flee the country. Where are you headed to and why that location?
EJ: Probably Mexico, just because it’s easy to get to, easy to get lost in, cheap, and I know it pretty well.
SR: Everyone needs an outlet to help them recharge. What hobbies do you have outside of writing?
EJ: I am a basketball fiend—I play at the local gym about six nights a week. And I still love playing music. And surf, although I’m very picky about it.
SR:Do you have any special events coming up? Where can people catch up with you in person or on a podcast?
EJ: My writer friend Dave Putnam and I just did a talk and book signing at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego. The theme of our talk was Two Writers: Opposite Sides of the Law. Dave was a cop for over thirty years. We’ll be doing that at some local libraries, then who knows?
SR: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
EJ: Read, write, take a class. Join a read-critique group. Leave it when the experience gets old, but stay in touch with the people you liked. It helps to be in a culture of writers and not exist in a creative vacuum. Read Strunk and White. Own a copy of The Chicago Manual of Style. Know the rules so can break them. Be satisfied with the intimacy you can create with whoever reads your work and hears you as you want to be heard.
Check out Earl Javorsky’s Soundtrack Sunday Contribution Here
Daniel Earl Javorsky was born in Berlin and immigrated to the US. He has been, among other things, a delivery boy, musician, product rep in the chemical entertainment industry, university music teacher, software salesman, copy editor, proofreader, and novelist. His books include Down Solo and Trust Me, and a sequel to Down Solo called Down to No Good. See more at http://www.earljavorsky.com.