Jim Riley - Heat and Humidity on Every Page

Jim Riley - Heat and Humidity on Every Page

J​​​im Riley was born on the banks of the Cane River in Natchitoches, LA, the heart of the southern cotton patch. Growing up in this rural setting developed the love and passion he has for the outdoors and for the wildlife he hunted.​ After graduating from Louisiana State University with a degree in Industrial Engineering, Jim worked in the oilfield for more than twenty years. Now he is happy at home with his wife. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his book, Murder in the Atchafalaya.

Please give us a short introduction to what Murder in the Atchafalaya is about.

Brand-new treasury agent Kristi Blocker is tasked to find two missing coworkers in the vast Atchafalaya Basin: a swamp larger than Rhode Island.

But after Kristi herself gets kidnapped, things get complicated. Fighting for her life, she escapes to the depths of the swamp. Meanwhile, the Sheriff of St. Mary Parish asks Hawk Theriot - the swamp ranger - to find Kristi. The only federal warden in the Atchafalaya, he knows the area like the back of his hand.

With corrupt cops, private investigators and federal agents all having their own spoon in the same gumbo, can Kristi and Hawk figure out what happened in the swamp, and bring those responsible to justice?

What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything in particular that made you want to tackle this?

I fished and hunted in the Atchafalaya Basin while living in Morgan City. I have fond memories of the experiences.

Tell us more about Kristi Blocker. What makes her tick?

Kristi wants to prove herself in a predominantly man's occupation and environment. She has a zest for life and adventure.

Your scenes from the Atchafalaya Basin are very descriptive. How did you pull this off?

From experience. I've been to many parts of the Basin. It's a unique ecosystem, possessing a variety of wildlife and fauna unlike anywhere else in the world.

Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?

Giving my wife a hard time.

What was your greatest challenge when writing this story?

I wrote it while in prison. As you can imagine, it was 24/7 chaos. I had no typewriter or computer, only yellow pads and pen. I can't think of a worse environment to focus. The corrections officers told me when to get up, eat, take meds, watch TV, stand for count, shower, and go to bed. I had no liberty associated with life on the outside.

You also included some humor in this book - why did you take this approach?

I love to smile while reading an interesting book. I figure others share this desire. Besides, my characters have to have some traits of the author. I love to make others smile.

Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?

All of them. I'm a pantser, meaning I outline nothing. I start with a concept, and let the characters write the story. They take it to places I never dreamed. I don't know the ending until I get there. It usually surprises me.

Interesting cover. Please tell us more about how it came about.

The publisher came up with it. I love it.

This is Book 1 of a series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in the series tie in with this one?

It is part of the Atchafalaya series (Hawk Theriot & Kristi Blocker). I have two other full length novels (Murder in Lake Palourde, Murder by Rougarou) and two bullet mysteries (Murder at the Haunted House, Murder in the Cemetery) in the series. Each can be read as a standalone. In each, Kristi & Hawk continue to add flavor in their conversation and actions.

When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?

Conceptualize an interesting open scene. At that point, I have no idea where the plot will take me. Supporting characters enter when needed to add flavor and red herrings.

Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?

When in prison, I wrote a little over 2,000 words per day. I'm back home now, and transposing over 50 novels and short stories into Microsoft Word. I edit as I transpose. I usually transpose and edit around 5,000 words a day.

What are you working on right now?

My publisher has entered a program in Japan for books for teenagers. I'm compiling and editing my bullet mysteries to meet the requirements of the program. I have from 2 to 4 short stories in each submission. Hope to have more than a dozen new compilations when finished.

Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?

My website is www.jimrileybooks.net. My books can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo or a myriad of other online outlets.

Murder in the Atchafalaya
Jim Riley

From murders at mudbug fests to menacing mosquito swarms to monumentally malevolent snake pits, there's heat and humidity on every page.

Diane Merrill Wigginton - Romantic, Suspenseful Page-Turner
FEATURED AUTHOR - Diane Merrill Wigginton was born in Riverside, California in 1963. Her family moved to San Diego near the end of 1970, where she grew up in the newly developed community of Mira Mesa. Spending portions of her summers each year in Burly, Idaho, with her mother's parents, Florence and Orval Merrill, Diane developed a love of animals and a respect for the land. It was during this time on the farm, where she learned to ride horses, herd cattle, and tame wild kittens that Diane developed a love of… Read more