I’m happy to welcome Neal Abbott to the author chair today. I met Neal through an author Facebook group and was honored to be a guest on his blog this spring. I’m thrilled he could return the favor and stop by to celebrate his newest release.
QPQ: Glad to have you here, Neal. Tell us about your latest book.
Neal: Bloodhound is my fifth novel. It’s the tale about the pathos of a Depression-era Oklahoma lawman named Oscar Morgan, the city marshal of Blanchard.
QPQ: Blanchard. What a small world. My grandparents grew up in Blanchard, Oklahoma. For those of you who don’t know, Blanchard’s a pretty small town southwest of Oklahoma City. How did you come up with this story idea?
Neal: there are two sources of inspiration. First of all, Oscar Morgan is a relative of mine. He was the marshal of Blanchard in the 1930s and 40s. But everything in my novel is fictional. He was fairly famous for tracking and arresting a serial killer, so I’ve wanted for a while to write a fictional account of his manhunts.
But the story is more than one arrest. I’ve always enjoyed using intertextual layering in my writing. In the past I’ve used such classic tales as Faust, Thomas Supten, Don Carlos, and Aeneas. I’ve wanted to write a novel based on the labors of Hercules, and Bloodhound is that effort. Oscar Morgan endures the same struggles as Hercules, but instead of hunting lions and boars, he’s after bootleggers and thieves, and yes, a serial killer.
QPQ: How is this story different from your other books? How is it similar?
Neal: The similarity is easier to discuss. All of my novels so far deal with a main character who struggles with the choice between doing what he wants to do and what he ought to do. They are all challenged with obstacles and tempted with an easy way out. But in the end they learn that sacrifice is better than selfishness. Oscar Morgan also faces this same challenge.
Bloodhound is different than my previous four novels in that … well, I can’t really see how it is different. All of my novels have their own setting, and all of the characters have their own quirks, but Marshal Oscar Morgan in Bloodhound struggles against interior and exterior forces to be a good person. All of my protagonists fight that noble fight (that is, until my next novel)
QPQ: Interesting. Seems your writing is taking a new direction. What advice do you have for others who want to publish a book?
Neal: There are some things I wish I knew before I started my first novel. Most of these things have to do with the business side of publishing. An author should learn the publishing business, including marketing. And even before you begin writing you should start building you platform. The best way to go about that is with a blog and a social media presence. Also, there are experts out there who can help in ways you will never know until you go after them. There are professional editors, cover designers, and marketers who can help you.
As far as writing advice, keep on writing. You don’t have to be Hemingway to start your first book. Start it and then finish it. Nothing will stick in your craw more than an unfinished manuscript. Make friends of other writers, both local and on the Internet. Get a few readers whose opinion you trust to read your stuff. And never refer to yourself as an aspiring writer. You are a writer!
QPQ: What’s coming next for you?
Neal: In June I plan on starting my sixth novel, Entanglement. It’s a slight departure from my previous books. My main character, Rex Monday, is faced with the same challenge of choosing what he wants to do and what he ought to do. But this time, Rex goes with what he wants to do, and his selfishness ruins his life.
I love Russian literature, and one character type common in 19th century Russian literature is the Superfluous Man. They were the idle rich who chased women, gambled, and often got in duels. Rex lives recklessly and other people pay, but he pays the biggest price at the end.
Bloodhound Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Bloodhound-neal-abbott/dp/150608964X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1430933263&sr=1-1
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/nealabbottcreativewriter
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/neal-abbott/e/B009T36LWK/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_11?qid=1431357361&sr=8-11
Creative Writing Blog “A Word Fitly Spoken”: https://nealabbott.wordpress.com/