The E2 Books Show

Co-Authors and David F. Berens Interview

March 08, 2020 Craig A. Hart, S. J. Varengo, David F. Berens Season 1 Episode 10
The E2 Books Show
Co-Authors and David F. Berens Interview
Show Notes Transcript

Craig and Scott poke fun at the Founding Fathers, talk about co-authors, and interview writer and tennis professional David F. Berens.

spk_0:   0:00
welcome back to another episode of good sentences. I know it's been a while since we've been here, and I do apologize for that. Scott and I have been quite busy doing other amazing things like, uh, well, I know small things, like finishing up a new book, for example,

spk_1:   0:16
we have been actively doing what it is we talk about here on good sentences, which is right. What's the saying? Those who can do those who can't teach and those air really suck have a podcast about

spk_0:   0:27
it? Yeah, that's I think that's pretty much how I remember that saying, Going have been Franklin, I think came up with that one.

spk_1:   0:33
Yes, it wasn't such foresight on his part. In addition, podcasts in the over

spk_0:   0:38
founding father to have had a podcast. Can you imagine, though, what it would have been like back then, the Founding Fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson actually had podcast.

spk_1:   0:48
That would be insane. It would. It would be, like probably very disillusioning to us is in the 21st century, because they probably one of them, at least probably sounded like a rat when he talked. I'm thinking, maybe button in the net all the obscure signers of the revolution. The declaration Independence were actually like mutants, you know? But we're not. And I'm here to say in this freezer paper you have

spk_0:   1:13
Thomas Jefferson's like on today on the show we have George Washington is our special guests.

spk_1:   1:18
Hello. Tours. Doing hate down time at your place with my

spk_0:   1:23
I gotta tell you that George Cornwallis, you gonna stand a chance of going out with his ass.

spk_1:   1:29
Well, he did have smallpox, so I mean, maybe an effect that his vocal cords and like and like Ben Franklin was screamingly if Emine it or something like that early to bed. Oh, God, yes. And early to rise, if you know what I mean.

spk_0:   1:44
You know what I'm signing?

spk_1:   1:47
It's great. This none of this is gonna actually make the final cut, but I'm loving it. Well, that went off the rails.

spk_0:   1:56
You're listening to good sentences. Podcast That's guaranteed to tickle your literary earhole and make you wish you'd listen to dear old mom when she said toe put down those lawn darts and learn how to read. And now here your hosts, neither of whom listened to dear old mom. This is Craig a heart and S J. Baringo, right? We've gone about as far afield as

spk_1:   2:32
way. Watch out! Watch this beautiful Segway. How I bring it back in in order to finalize the Declaration of Independence some co authoring was required. Oh, I like that. Whoa! Where did you get that? I don't either. But let's talk about co authoring Now that I've mentioned it, You may as well, but I got the blue, you know?

spk_0:   2:54
Now Scott and I know something about co authoring because we've done ah lot of it. We have We worked on the Spike. Oh, novella Siri's together. Then, more recently, Scott has come on board to help me out with the Shelby Alexander thriller Siri's. And as I mentioned before, we've just finished writing our first serenity book together. Serenity reborn, available now for pre order, By the way, I'm pretty excited about it. It's It's one of the one of the best projects I've been a part of, so I'm excited to get it out there amongst the wild.

spk_1:   3:28
It was almost from the beginning. It felt special is we were working on speaking for me, and I know that you've said that privately to me that it it definitely felt different to you as well. So we do. We do know a little bit about co authoring, but what I quickly learned was that not everybody had the same experience we had. I reached out the Craig and I will be appearing on April 4th in ah, at the North Iowa Book bash. And we have a couple of Facebook pages connecting us both to ah, the folks that are gonna be attending and one just for the authors to do devious things like I did yesterday, which was to put up a little poll asking the 60 or so folks that are gonna be, ah, sitting at tables at this event what their previous experience has been with co authoring, if any and, ah, did they enjoy it? Would they do it again? And then I asked them for comments. In addition to just answering the pole, we, uh, got nine folks who said that they have in the past and definitely would again seven. Who said they never have but would like to, and actually only got one response of someone who said they had and never would again all of those air. Very valid responses because everybody's experience is going to be a little bit different and dip pending on who you're writing with. It could be an extremely rewarding experience, or it could be very challenging. Craig and I were extremely lucky to find out quickly that we worked incredibly well together. We just seemed to while we have a similar style, which helps because we're trying to write a unified book, you know, trading chapters or multiple chapters or whatever. If Craig wrote like a Victorian author and I wrote like a crime nor author, it probably wouldn't work that well. We were able to overcome any, you know, any rough edge differences and and we work really well. I don't think there's a ton of ego when we write, and so that works well for us, because if I've written a chapter and Craig goes in and makes changes in it, I recognise immediately. This is better now and it's the same way when I go through, You know, something that Craig's written and I say, OK, this might ramp things up. If I had a sentence here, this might get us a chuckle if I had a sentence here. So for us, it was almost immediately, you know, a very I guess what was the 1st 1 we actually worked on together was probably Istanbul, right? Yep. And I mean, go ahead. No, you go ahead. You know, your e

spk_0:   5:56
wouldn't really. They're a couple of key things, and I and you touched on it. And that is that ego has no real place when it comes to a co authoring for fire jacked. And if you've got one person who you know, their ego enters a room before they do it so big, and then you have one other person who isn't so much it it might work if the other person is willing to take a back seat constantly, But even in that, they're gonna get tired of it. But if you've got two people with major egos in terms of the writing, at least it's not gonna

spk_1:   6:27
work. Yeah, I can't see any way it could, Really it would

spk_0:   6:31
be a nightmare. Scott was so correct when he said that we are He and I are lucky to have found one another for co authoring because I think it's a lot more rare, then perhaps we might think initially for not only people to try it, but for it to work successfully. Yeah, I think we got one response only where was somebody had tried? It wouldn't try it again, but I would hazard a guess that that number is actually a lot higher.

spk_1:   6:56
Yeah, I

spk_0:   6:57
would say that because you're co author is probably looking at the same poll. Exactly. Exactly. So you're talking about.

spk_1:   7:04
Can you imagine being the person who co wrote with one person had and rethink this pole? What? I thought we were friends When you know, when we first discussed it, I will admit I had a little trepidation. That's a That's a big step the first time because you really don't know until you start doing it, how it's gonna work. One of the things I noticed in some of the comments that we got on the pole a lot of people go about it differently than you and I. D'oh, this one here said, I've co authored with two different authors, and both were great experience. We discussed some ideas and then just went with the flow, which is very similar to what you and I. D'oh, one of us writing a few chapters and then sending it to the other to write the next few smooth it out. Each person went back and edited chapters from the other author, which helped make it flow easily and lend our writing styles together. That's almost exactly what we do. Yeah, another person said. She actually has co authored in three different pairings or in one case, it looks like three of them work together. She talked about how for her it was really good, because if she got stuck, the co author often had a good idea. That would unstick it. And that's happening to you, and I'm more than once, she said. I love that my co authors. Weaknesses are my strengths and their strengths help cover my weaknesses. And then she was also referring in this partnership specifically that they write in a duel point of view. So one author always has one character's point of view, the other has another and she said, I love how having someone else who wants to read the next chapter motivates me to work on it, which again I actually responded to her because we're talking on messenger by this point, and I said, How for you and I getting that message that says the books back in the drive waiting for you always always, always elicits the same response from whoever the other person is, which is, you know, but literally. I can't wait to see what you've done every time you done it Now, another interesting method for co authoring our good friend David Barron's talked about when you interviewed him back on the games, and writers show where in his case, it's more another author using his character or an ancillary character that might not have actually appeared in David's work but is a logical character to appear in his world, you know, and then, basically, he'll go through afterwards and look what the other author has written. Make any changes he thinks needs to be made, and their two names go on the

spk_0:   9:39
cover. He's created a great universe there with a Troy Bodine. Siri's really funds. Duh yeah, definitely ended takes place on the same geographical areas my united Key West, although at the same time period, but saying same kind of stuff. He's fascinated by that that part of the world, as am I. And hey, this stuff is so much fun to read. Zany, funny, really great characters. His character names are great.

spk_1:   10:03
Yeah, I love that. I actually put that in my notes that he often uses street road signs. I thought that was brilliant.

spk_0:   10:12
Especially since if you if your readers are people who live around that area, recognize those you know? No.

spk_1:   10:19
Yeah, I was I was thinking about that. I was out driving the other day. I'm like, All right, let's run a little experiment in the first street sign I came to was for a place called Dingle Whole Road. Maybe around here are threatening our whole

spk_0:   10:34
talking about going back to the Founding Fathers. I've decided that I'm gonna make my life a lot easier and just named all my characters after famous historical figures like Still be Alexander is now gonna be George Washington. Gerry McIntyre can be, you know, John Adams, or I don't think anybody will notice to. You

spk_1:   10:50
need allow just It'll be seamless. It'll feel familiar, but they won't know why. At on the next cover, everybody's wearing powdered wigs like Oh, historical mystery. No, not at all. Just just a bunch of guys in 2028 dressing up like founding violent. We won't

spk_0:   11:11
explain it at all.

spk_1:   11:12
Now, just go it. Shelby Alexander stormed into Independence Hall. Well,

spk_0:   11:23
you call those anachronisms or where I was reading his one bug, and it was supposed to be historical in nature and in set in the Revolutionary War. And they were having a party with some British officers in the colonies. 17 76 7 whatever. And they wanted dance. So they put a record on the phone, like what the hell is happening, right? It's sort of blew my mind started questioning myself. Am I

spk_1:   11:51
wrong? Right, right, right. They would have had that. What is what is happening?

spk_0:   11:59
But you gotta be careful. Those historical references.

spk_1:   12:02
Yeah, you would at least think one of them would have looked at their cell phones to see if they were allowed to have a record player. I mean, you talk to young people now and say the word compact desk, and they look at you like you're, you know, already had my CD collection, right? Yeah. Like who owns music anymore? Man, You just stream it. No, I have, Iet, and fill up your house with craps.

spk_0:   12:26
Well, you just wait. All your streaming service is crash because the cloud can't handle any more data. And I will be the only one with music. Exactly. Well, I know. I think we're family on long enough. I really want to get down back to this interview with David Barron's, which will start right now. David F. Barron's has traveled up and down the East Coast and has been a tourist at every beach from Key West to Pauly's Island. Today he calls Knoxville, Tennessee home but constantly dreams of sun and sand, an ocean breezes. He has a beautiful wife, a rambunctious little girl and a happy little boy who remind him daily of why he is alive. Someday he hopes he'll be able to enjoy writing his books with a view of the ocean. David Barron joins us now. David, thanks for coming on the show.

spk_2:   13:11
Absolutely. Craig, thanks for having me. I

spk_0:   13:13
appreciate it. So let's talk a little bit about your journey to becoming a writer. Is this something you've always wanted to do? Or is it something you discovered a little bit later in life?

spk_2:   13:20
I grew up being a writer right behind me. Somewhere on that shelf there, I have a couple of books that I made when I was, like, five and six years old, and I made him out of cardboard and paper and threw up a little pictures and things like that. And luckily, my mom kept him and found him in the attic one day, and I was like, Oh, my gosh,

spk_1:   13:39
So I really didn't want to be a writer.

spk_2:   13:42
I went to school for English. Not that that has anything to do with writing. But I ended up somehow accidentally becoming a tennis professional. And that's what I kind of do from my living. And I never really understood that you could write. Make a living at it. And, you know, I did the whole query. Agents query publicly. Um, no, never got anywhere and you know, that's that's understandable. There was the gatekeeper that I wasn't good enough for yet. Maybe I'm still working on getting past, but it was one of those situations where Kendall kind of came along and opened up the door. I started writing again and putting things out, reading your

spk_0:   14:18
Siri's features a main character named Troy Bodeen House a little bit about that character. For example, if you were going to introduce him to me at a dinner party, what would you say?

spk_2:   14:28
You know, I always said, Troy is somewhere between uh, like a Magnum P I kind of guy Tom Selleck kind of guy with maybe a little bit of Matthew McConaughey kind of rolled in there. He sounded like a drawl. And, you know, he's one of those guys that all he really wants to do is go fishing and keeps getting messed up in these stories that I throw him into. I sort of wanted to create a kn antihero a little bit, and I read Reacher and you know, Jack Reacher and some of those guys. And, uh, it's blends Mitch Rapp and all that. So I kind of like those books. But I do also like the Florida fiction writing that is zany and a little off the wall. You know, I thought, man, actually, I would like to go that way instead of the perfect you know, sort of spy thriller Guy is always perfect and, you know, always gets his man and all that kind of thing. So he's kind of this creation that when I went thio Pauly's Island the very first time, or maybe it was the second time. It was 2012 and Hurricane Debbie, which became Tropical Storm Debby, kind of kept us inside, and we were all sitting at the table playing cards and everything, and we could see this guy fishing outside on the dock next to and he had a cowboy hat on. And he had these sunglasses, disporting rain and the guys out there, you know, no shirt, khaki shorts, fishing. And he had this big, dark black beard and dark hair. I mean, I was like, Oh, man, this guy's a is a character And we started just kind of, you know, spitballing who this guy is and what he's out there doing. And all of a sudden, Troy Bodine was born so interesting

spk_0:   16:07
talking about characters you, obviously, you write thrillers, and those are often thought of as more plot driven. But you also have ah, bevy of great characters in your work. Do you consider your books more character or plot driven?

spk_2:   16:20
Oh, they started out as a character driven by far. In fact, the first book is really a lot of scenes with crazy characters that I linked together. You know, I drew them together. It was just just a crazy, outlandish plotline that this huge cashier's checks $7 million cashier's check is stuck in this hat, and Troy finds the hat. Well, now there's all these characters who want that. It was an opportunity for me to draw on some pretty wild characters, to have them chasing him around and trying to get this money. So just definitely character driven. And then I learned what be cheats were and, uh, outlines and things like that. And so I started getting more and more plot driven, which I think has helped, definitely has a more solid plot. So I think it's getting more and more storytelling and listless characters.

spk_0:   17:13
I understand you have recently embarked on a writing partnership with Is it Steve Moore?

spk_2:   17:18
That's correct. Tell more, as he writes the Hiram Cain Siri's, which is sort of got a dark know our Japanese detective kind of feel to it. I've known about Steve Peripherally for a long time. In fact, I used him as an editor for a couple of my books, kind of. We've literally never met face to face. But I know his writing, and I know he's really good not read two or three of his books, too. Even they're not even really in my kind of genre. But I mean, they're really, really good. I really, literally just put out the feelers to say I've got these other characters that I'd like to do something with, But I just don't have the time. You know, I do work actually a riel quote riel job if you call teaching tenants a real job, but

spk_0:   18:02
I know what it's osteo

spk_2:   18:05
candy can be exhausting. So I reached out said, Would anybody like to tag team with me? And I can help you with beets and come up with plot lines and things like that until you who this character is and what informs them and why they would make a great Siri's. And Steve wrote me and said, I want one. I want one. Whatever it is, I want to do it. And so I went through two or three characters with him and said, OK, you know, here's one possibility. Here's another possibility and he was like, Oh, I want both of those So he's actually working behind the scenes working on to Siri's, but the first that will come out will be Troy's brother, Ryan, and that will have a little more of an archaeological sort of dive type. Go after sunken treasure feel to it. So it will have some of the same zaniness that it'll have a nice twist on it that it's Ah, it's not a crime thriller based. It's more archaeological thriller based. So it's pretty cool. I Alfred, uh, most of his first prequel for that Siri's and it's really miraculously because it sounds like I could have written it.

spk_0:   19:10
What is the first experience you remember that made you realize that words had actual power and weren't just markings on the page?

spk_2:   19:19
My dad has always had a library, has always had many, many books, and I can remember going through his bookshelf and finding books at a young age, maybe 11 12 years old. That were quote, you know, adult books, you know, not not a belt, but like written for an adult person, right? And, you know, and the writer Piers Anthony, who is a very sort of, I guess. Mid Lister fantasy, but still sometimes New York Times Bestselling author Guy writes a series called The Sams Siri's X a N T. H, and I grabbed the 1st 1 and it just blew me away the whole story, the way it started and it surprised you. And it kind of has a There's a magical land that is in Florida, And so I think maybe that's the genesis of my whole Florida. Yeah, it's a parallel Florida that is the land of sand. So everything that's a landmark in Florida there's a landmark in Zant's that correlates the series is, I don't know, wordy books long or something crazy now, and I've read every one of them and I go back and it's I don't really read a whole lot of magical fiction anymore, and I'll make time to go get that one. And so I think that's the genesis. That's the Siri's of the the words that struck me so powerful. E. I think that was, you know, maybe 11 12 years old minute, of course. Eventually I went into Lord of the Rings and things like that. And hasn't it tastes changed I got into the Lee Child's Siri's. I don't I don't read him all. My brother and I trade Robert B. Parker Books back in force, so I haven't read all of those. But that's sort of crime fiction with Nora and maybe a little bit of humor. And then I found Carl Hiassen. And that's a weird story, too. I used to live in Allah, Morada and Carl House. Hiaasen lives on Isla Morada, which is halfway down the keys. Okay, was a. He was a tennis member at the autumn or out of Tennis Club. While I was there. I didn't know who he Waas had no idea he was. Writer had no idea it was. And so I left. Years later, I find this book. Carl Hiaasen. I go wait a minute. It's just the same guy. And I looked it up. No clue. I could have been taking notes from Carl Hiaasen on the force reading his books, and those just they blew me away, too. So it was that second experience where every word he wrote was just hysterical to me and made so much sense. And when I started writing, I was like, That's that's what I wanted to

spk_0:   21:55