Chuck Dixon Interview (part 3)

a.comicbookstore.BBTWhen I achieved doing this interview, I won’t lie.  I wanted to run into Stuart’s comic book store and yell, ‘I’m interviewing Chuck Dixon!’ For those of you who have no idea who Stuart is…well you are not living to your full capacity if you’re not watching, The Big Bang Theory’.
Chuck was so generous with his answers so let’s sit back and enjoy the final part.
Q. What makes a writer great?

CD. If a writer’s work can survive a few generations past his initial readership. History is filled with writers who were considered white hot in their era and forgotten only a few years past their death and never re-discovered.

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

CD. Everyone works differently. No writer’s approach is the same as another….. I usually start with the Big a.Dixon.BATman.CoverScene. It’s the moment of highest drama or suspense. It’s Kong atop the Empire State Building or Birnam Wood coming to Macbeth’s castle.

Then I need to create a story to justify that scene or situation. I begin working out the logic that might lead my characters to that moment. How does that bulldozer wind up on the roof of a skyscraper? When does the lead character learn that the man he’s been hunting is his son? Once I’ve worked out a chain of events that makes my story seem like something compelling enough for someone I’ve never met to want to read it, I think about where the story should start.

When I have that opening scene worked out in my head I start writing. Some of the Dixon.cover.2connections are still tenuous in my mind and some of the characters are only sketched in. But I have a skeleton of a plot either in my head or scribbled on a few pages of a notebook. It’s enough for me to start and begin working through the moves for my cast.

I make it through that painful middle passage to the down slope and then, if I haven’t already, work out where I want to end. I always know how I want to end but not always where. I want my main character to come out the winner in the final chapters. That’s in the nature of the escapist fiction I write. But pat endings suck. Sometimes I’ll bring things to an abrupt end as a kind of shock to the reader. Like that final shove against the safety bar at the end of a roller coaster ride. In my first Levon Cade book I ended with a chapter that was like a sad little coda to the action that came before. I felt it added to the grim events that preceded it by showing that there were ongoing implications to what the choices a character had made in the story.

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing/stories?

CD I was sick a lot as a kid. I mean extended hospital stays. I think that kind of isolated me a bit during a A. Simpsons.Dixontime when my brain was developing. I could create rich imaginary worlds just to entertain myself. It also made me an observer as opposed to a participant. All writers are, to some degree, outsiders.

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

CD. I’ve done a bit in the western genre and want to do more. I love westerns more than any other genre. I’d also like to write more straight historical fiction. My Bad Times series, which is a time travel action thing, is way to kind of stick my oar into the historical epic. But I’d like to take a shot at a story set entirely in another era. A straight-up mystery story would be a goal as well. But mysteries don’t come easy to me. I’ve written them in comics form and learned that a workable mystery that is compelling and not contrived is hard work.

levon'snightpegQ. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

CD. I will continuing the Levon Cade and Bad Times series. I’ll have a Levon novella out before Christmas. I’m finishing it now. It’s call Levon’s Ride and it will feature some artwork by a top illustrator.

Did you read Part 1,2 of this fascinating Interview? Click here
DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS featuring INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!      Grant Blackwood (Tom Clancy) in Sept. and Julia London in October and Matt Jorgenson later this winter. Coming in December!  My review of a new release by Dean Koontz,
Ashley Bell.

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