To start this off, why don't you give an idea of what the book is about?
The Dead Of Winter is a Mystery Thriller of a man whose life of wealth, luxury and power is jeopardized by his decision to look for and bring back a runaway boy, the nephew of a best friend. The travail of finding the boy involves his first room being bombed, his second, ransacked. Finally, the only one who can show him the boys whereabouts is an alcohol-starved uncle, who would do anything for a drink even betray the safety of his nephew. Finding the boy is an exciting challenge; breaking him free from the Indian cult in whose ceremony he (and now they) have been embroiled is an even greater and far more dangerous challenge.
Where did you grow up and was reading and writing a part of your life?
Reading and writing have always been a large part of my life. My first novel was written when I was 10 years old, after an uncle had promised to sell it in front of the Woolworth 5 and 10 Cent Store. He bailed on me, but not until 10 books were written out in longhand penciled scrawl.
Who were your earliest influences and why?
Tom Wolfe (The elder) wrote the novel Look Homeward Angel, which influenced me like no other writer. Not much later I read Martin Eden by Jack London, and I learned how to be a suffering artist. Oh, my!
What would a typical day be like for a writer?
What is a typical day? I work in the insurance business. On slow days I am able to pound away at the computer, working on my latest project. When I get home I divide my time between reading and working some more on that project. Oh, I do watch a little TV (wishing I could afford a big TV) and do my exercises.
How long have you been writing and in what capacities?
Again, I have been writing since I was 10. Let me see Oh, my God! Now Im reminded Ive been writing for 53 years and have one puny novel to my credit.
Which is more difficult to write - Fiction or nonfiction and why?
Ive tried my hand at both, and I can say that while Truth may be stranger than fiction, it is also harder to write. I think its because you feel you cant really let your imagination go wild while being tethered to the boundaries of reality.
Has there ever been a time when you wanted to throw in the towel and give up? And if so, how did you defeat those instincts?
Almost daily during the writing of The Dead Of Winter. Certainly, though, when I would hit a large sticking point, not being able to see how I could work through it.
What is the hardest part about being a writer?
Realizing that your work doesnt end when you get it published. You have to become, then, a salesman.
Do you have any hobbies? What are they? How do they enhance your writing?
No, unless you call reading a hobby.
Articles and media alike make it sound as though the only way to rise to the top is to sacrifice. What do you find to be good sacrifices?
T.V. Certainly T.V. But, other important sacrifices are reading books or mags on how to write, writing letters, chatting on the computer ~ in short anything that takes me away from the writing project at hand.
What question do you get asked more than any other?
How long did it take to write your novel? Then, why did it take so long?
Whats the coolest thing a reader has said to you?
When is the sequel coming out?
What has been your feedback from readers? What do they say to you about their interpretations of your book?
The most disheartening thing Ive discovered is that the vast number of readers doesnt say anything! I see them on the street. Nothing! I phone them about other matters, give them ample time to say anything. They say nothing. Inevitably I am left to wonder; Maybe it deserves nothing
Do you think that as a writer you are more prone to watching what goes on around you and observing behaviors than most people are?
I think so. Of course. But, even saying that, its a humbling experience to have your wife point out that youre not listening to her. Then call your bluff by asking you what she said. And be left with head hanging in shame. To re-answer that question: Not always
Who are some of the authors you consider to be "don't miss"?
A contemporary author from my own Publishing House, Diana Hignut, with her Moonstone, has a stellar future ahead of her. I love Doug Borens historical thriller Beyond The Horizons. Watch him fly, too.
If one were looking to start his/her own career as a writer, what would you suggest his/her first step to be?
I love Hemmingways advise for a new writer, which I can only paraphrase: Start out by hanging yourself. Then, if you fail, youll have something to write about. That is so existentialist, so Hemmingway, so wrong! First and foremost, write something every day. Write more than you read, but read a lot in the genre you write in. Above all, dont take yourself too seriously.
What kind of movies do you enjoy?
Im an old movie buff. Casablanca is one of my all-time favorites.
What is your favorite city to visit, but one that you wouldnt want to live in?
San Antonio, Texas.
Whats the strangest question youve ever been asked in an interview?
The question just before this one, followed by this question.
We apologize, this seems to the one question that gets every writer!
Whats the best part of being a writer?
Allowing me to say stupid things while watching the listeners face as they ponder its profundity.
I am busy working on the sequel to The Dead Of Winter and a mainstream novel that might just be a thought piece.
Betsie's Literay Page would like to take this time to thank Mr. Squires for participating in this interview and wish him great success with his current novel and all future works.