Interview with NY Times Best Seller Author, Ace Atkins

Ace.stepsAs a fan I first discovered Ace when I saw that Robert Parker’s stories were being continued after his death.  Ace was selected by the Robert B. Parker estate to continue the bestselling adventures of Boston’s iconic private eye, Spenser.  That led to my wanting to read more of this brilliant author’s work.  And that ultimately led to my wanting to interview him.

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? 

A. I have an office on the square in Oxford, Mississippi. It’s a good place in a historic building with creaky heart pine floors and tall ceilings, filled with lawyers hard at work. I don’t think I could stand to have complete seclusion. I used to work in a big city newsroom – at The Tampa Tribune – and I like all the energy around me as I write.

Q. Do you have any special rituals when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

A. A decent computer, preferably using an old-fashioned IBM clicky keyboard, and a strong cup of coffee. On some projects, I might have a bit of whiskey in the mug. But that’s usually later in the day.

Q. Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

A. I have an extensive collection of rare movie posters and stills, a collection that I started in high school. I also own every original paperback produced by the great John D. MacDonald. <(So do I, Ace!!!)

Q. Do you have a set time each day to write or do you write only when you are feeling creative?

A. I prefer to start work in the morning, no real set time, and then finish by at least 5 p.m. I do not like to work at night unless there is a deadline with edits. When I leave work, I hope to feel exhausted and ready to put up the keyboard for a while. It’s not always possible, but I also hate checking email or seeing the computer or the iPhone until the next morning.

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?Ace

A. Get to work! Procrastination is certainly part of the process. I won’t tell you that part of my day isn’t filled with emails, book straightening, and some time on the internet. But to be a professional writer, you have to know when to cut that cord. The fewer distractions, the less you will be able to put off the writing.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing and for how long?

A. On a good day, when the work is flowing, it will be several hours. I may look up and it’s way later than I imagined. Those are the best days.

Q. Who or what is your “Muse” at the moment ?

A. My dog, Lucky. On weekends, when all the lawyers are at home, she comes to the office and keeps me company. We walk around Oxford to get the ideas going. She is terrific company and doesn’t complain.

Ace.2.Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

A. Although I worked on stories and novels back in college, I don’t think serious writing came until I became a newspaper reporter. I think I was actually a hobbyist until I was paid for my work. I also came under the influence of some terrific older reporters and editors who helped me make huge leaps in my abilities. It was the best education a young writer can have – unfortunately that world, the news biz, isn’t the same anymore.


Don’t miss Part 2 of my interview on July  24th!


‘The Forsaken’ goes on sale July 24th!



In addition to my twice weekly blog I also feature an interview with another author once a month. So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create! 

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