Tuesday, 1 February 2011
An Interview - C.J. Box
C.J. Box (Chuck) is a proud native of Wyoming. He has worked as a ranch hand, surveyor, fishing guide, a newspaper reporter and editor for a small Wyoming weekly newspaper. With his wife Laurie, he currently owns and runs an international tourism marketing firm. In 2008, Box was awarded the "BIG WYO" Award from the state tourism industry. An avid outdoorsman, Box has hunted, fished, hiked, ridden, and skied throughout Wyoming and the Mountain West. He served on the Board of Directors for the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. They have three daughters. Box lives in Wyoming.
He is the winner of the Anthony Award, the Prix Calibre 38, the Macavity Award, the Gumshoe Award, the Barry Award and the 2009 Edgar Award for Best Novel. His novels are US bestsellers and have been translated into 21 languages. Visit his website at www.cjbox.net
What are you writing at the minute?
I'm working on the first 150 pages or so of a stand-alone that will be a sequel to BACK OF BEYOND. But within a week or so, I'll have to set that aside and begin the 12th Joe Pickett novel. I've never switched up like this so it will be a new experience, but luckily the projects are very dissimilar in plot and scope so I think it will go (fairly) smoothly.
Can you give us an idea of C.J. Box’s typical up-to-the-armpits-in-ideas-and-time writing day?
After conceiving the new novel, doing the research on the topics and issues to be included within it and writing a bare-bones outline, I begin. Each day starts with a workout in the morning and then I go either to my home office in the basement (or, if I'm at my cabin -- my writing corner) and get going. I usually read over and edit the previous day's work, then plow ahead. I try to complete at least one thousand words a day but many days I double or triple that. Some days, unfortunately, I accomplish less. I take breaks to run my dogs (if in Cheyenne) or hike and fish (if I'm at my cabin) and conclude in the early afternoon to concentrate on other work or correspondence. Sometimes, I go late into the night but that's usually as I approach the end of a novel.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I like to be in the outdoors. Luckily, there's plenty of that in Wyoming. So depending on the season and the weather, I fly-fish, float rivers, hike, hunt, ski, bike, or simply wander.
Any advice for a greenhorn trying to break into the genre fiction scene?
Read! Too many fledgling writers don't read enough, or read widely enough. Reading is better than writing if the purpose of reading is to deconstruct what a good author is doing and how they're doing it. Then complete a first novel. Agents rarely have interest in ideas or concepts -- they want a finished novel. And keep in mind the publishing industry is incredibly low-tech. What should take months takes years. So have a good day job.
Which writers have impressed you this year?
Denise Mina, T. Jefferson Parker, Michael Connelly, Deon Meyer, Thomas McGuane, Pete Dexter, Edmund Morris. To name a few.
What are you reading right now?
"Colonel Roosevelt" by Edmund Morris. The third in his trilogy of Theodore Roosevelt. I read the first in college, and thirty years later I'm reading the third.
Plans for the future?
It will be an incredibly busy year. In the U.S., I've got two new novels coming out in 2011: COLD WIND in March and BACK OF BEYOND in August. Plus the roll-out of all my books in the UK. I'll be doing lots of traveling, talking, and writing. I hope I have some time for fishing.
With regards to your writing career to date, would you do anything differently?
I'm very pleased with the way things have gone and continue to go. Each book outsells the last, and it's a great job overall.
Do you fancy sharing your worst writing experience?
My very first agent died and I didn't know it for six months. Needless to say, that didn't exactly jump-start my career.
Anything you want to say that I haven’t asked you about?
Corvus is an incredible publisher and the UK is lucky to have them. They're enthusiastic, creative, and optimistically reckless. I'm pleased to be published by them.
Thank you, C.J. Box!
Open Season by C.J. Box is published by Corvus on 1st February 2011, £7.99 paperback. The first book in Box’s acclaimed series featuring Wyoming game-warden Joe Pickett, there will be a further ten Joe Pickett novels published monthly throughout 2011.