When John Etzil isn't flying planes, he enjoys writing thrillers featuring vigilante heroes taking out bad guys in a no-holds-bared-way. As our Author of the Day, we chat with Etzil about his Vigilante Justice series, why he is such a Hemingway fan and he gives us a peek behind the scenes of what it takes to produce a fast-paced thriller.
Please give us a short introduction to what Fatal Justice is about
Our protagonist, Jack Lamburt, is a Flight 2262 survivor from Airliner Down, but he can't get past that experience. He's driven to prevent the evil doers from plying their trade, and he's proactive about it.
Why vigilante thrillers? What inspired you to write this series?
What could be more fun than taking out bad guys in a no holds barred way?
You are also a pilot - how much have your experience through the years influenced your writing?
My stories are fast paced and I don't spend a lot of time on describing locations, but I do include aviation in most of my books.
Tell us more about Jack Lamburt - why did you make him your main character?
When I was writing Airliner Down I kept thinking about the next in series, but I couldn't come up with a realistic situation that Kevin could find himself in, so I decided to use Airliner Down as a jumping off point for multiple series.
As I was looking at the characters, Jack just stood out as a fun vigilante to write. The guy has everything, except peace of mind, and he's drawn to do what he needs to do. Even if it kills him...
Your story moves fast - how did you pull this off?
I do numerous re-reads and edit out a lot. Any word that isn't needed - gone! I'm not as diligent in weeding as Hemingway, who is known for an absolute minimalist writing style, but I try to follow Elmore Leonard's "try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip" mantra.
I like a good amount of dialogue too, which lends itself to a faster pace.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Photography, Jiu Jitsu, and selecting good Bourbons.
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Hemingway. He sounded like a fun dude to hang out with.
Do any of your characters take off on their own tangent and refuse to do what you had planned for them?
Ha! No. On a small scale some unplanned things may happen during the writing process, but I keep them on a pretty tight leash.
Do you have a favorite line from the book, and can you explain what that line means to you?
I love the humor, especially between Jack and Debbie. Here's what happens when Jack tries to impress her with his language skills:
Debbie scoffed at me. “Stop trying to impress me with big words.”
“Nonagenarian means someone between the ages of ninety and ninety-nine.”
She rolled her eyes at me. “I know what it means. You pronounced it wrong.”
Now you know why she lovingly refers to him as "Patrick", the Sponge Bob character who's as dumb as a rock...
What is your favorite book written by you?
Airliner Down. I just love the whole story.
Do you consider yourself a disciplined writer? Do you have a schedule that you stick to, or is it more in the moment?
Yes. I'm an outliner, which also explains the fairly tight leash on the characters, and I write early in the morning. I usually get up by 5, grab a coffee, and spool up Scrivener for an hour or two before I have to go to work.
What is the hardest thing about being a writer?
Believing in yourself, especially with the first novel. Part of that is the risk of investing so much time on something that could bomb. What if everybody hated it and I got hammered with one star reviews right out of the gate?
Fortunately that never happened. Now the hardest part, as an Indie, is the marketing.
What are you working on right now?
Jack Lamburt 2, Urban Justice. He'll be back this fall!
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
www.JohnEtzil.com, where they can receive a free Jack Lamburt 1.5 "Thriller Shot." I'll be writing a "Thriller Shot" between each book to keep my readers entertained, and they will only be available to my readers.>
I also just started a FB advanced reader group where my fans can discuss things like book covers, audio narrator selection, receive advanced reader copies, etc. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1892458480974974/?ref=bookmarks