My Interview with Ace Atkins, (Part 2)

Q. HAce.cafeow long after that were you published?

A. Two years after I became a full-time reporter, I sold my first novel. I had finished a novel right after college but it was horrible. It was good enough to get me an agent, but I’m grateful now that no one bought it. One of the major mistakes young writers make is quitting after finishing their first book and waiting for their careers to take off. You must be prepared to write a dozen novels before one works.

Q. What makes a writer great?

A. Hard work and an eye for realism. The better the writer, the more the truth comes out.

Q. and the all important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like? 

A. It changes with each project. I’ve written 15 published novels. And each one, like children, present new and unique challenges. I have had books that were effortless to write and edit. I have had some that I finished only to realize they required a complete retooling. It changes every time.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

A. Everywhere. Every novelist should be a keen observer. Faulkner famously liked to watch and listen to the townspeople here in Oxford, Mississippi where I live. I could hear a story from a cop friend or view a couple in a Walmart. I’m always working and seeking new characters.ACE (2)

Q. What inspired your story/stories ?

A. Real events and real people. My new novel, The Forsaken, is about a horrific incident that occurred in Statesville, North Carolina in the 1970s. Two girls were abducted and only one got free alive. The first chapter of my book is pretty much the way it happened.

Q. Have you? Or do you want to write in another genre`?

A. I’m really into knocking down those genre walls. I want my books to be read as more of general fiction that just a crime story. To turn a Duke Ellington quote: Only two kinds of books. Good and bad.  So I’m open – and into reading or writing – all kinds of novels. The subject matter can be anything as long as it’s a good story.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

A. For the young writers out there, keep working. Don’t get caught up on the business of writing. If you have a good story to tell, it will get through. And as long as you love the process of writing, you’ve got most aspiring authors out there beat! Good luck.

As a reporter, Ace earned a Pulitzer Prize nomination for a feature series based on his investigation into a forgotten murder of the 1950s. The story became the core of his critically acclaimed novel, White Shadow, which earned raves from noted authors and critics.ACEFeedstore_aceatkins-4   Click here to read Part 1.



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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