Interview with Ray Garmon

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Alabama. I honestly don't know how much it influenced my writing. Being poor and so aware of the socio-economic class distinctions probably formed at least a part of my overall awareness. I always read, my mother taught me to read before first grade (there was no pre-school or kindergarten where I lived) but I didn't read in an organized way that would have had much influence on my own writing. There were wonderful southern writers such as Walker Percy from Alabama but I didn't hear of him until I was in my mid-twenties so I probably got hold of him too late to absorb much influence from him. From about age ten until about twelve or thirteen, I had a serious science fiction addiction. I think I burned out on it from slurping down so much of it and I've never been tempted to write it myself. The educational system available to me during my formative years was just dismal and creative writing might as well have been quantum physics to my teachers. Oh, well, what're ya gunna do?
When did you first start writing?
I can't remember not writing in some form.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I'd have to say it's slightly complicated, even as I consider my style lean, clean, and mean. The love of two men which surpassed that of brothers is shattered when one takes the other's wife. The taker is wealthy, influential, and on the rise in any field he pursues. The takee is broken into meaningless shards by the betrayal of the two people he most values in life. The wife is murdered in a way that's more horrendous than anyone involved has ever even had a nightmare about. The two men must mend their fences and consolidate their resources to solve the woman's murder, which has become a series of murders for the most sick, twisted reasons. There are racial issues and an unlikely love story and all manner of good stuff.

Although one of the protagonists is originally from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, the book is very L.A.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The obvious, I guess. I wanted to make my work available to anyone who wanted to read it. I doubt that anyone enjoys perpetually writing into a vacuum and only getting feedback from immediate friends and family. Exposing one's writing to anybody and everybody strikes me as something like hanging one's naked ass out in the cold wind and allowing whomever to either kiss it or throw a stone at it. It's like saying, "When I wrote this, it was the best I was capable of. If you like it, many thanks. If you hate it, there it is, have at it with your contempt and disgust." I have to admit that I'd most likely enjoy having the marketing and publicity machine of Knopf or Simon and Schuster or one of the major publishing entities fueling the consumption of my work but that hasn't happened so I've decided to do all I can on my own to make my work close at hand for the maximum number of readers.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Honestly, it's too early to tell.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing is more a compulsion than a choice, at least to me. I can't imagine NOT writing in some form. I don't go into it seeking joy. I'd have to say the greatest joy is in writing things and forgetting them and then having a reader tell me that he/she particularly enjoyed some passage or paragraph and I say, "Dern, did I write that? Not too shabby."

I'm not sure that joyful is something that falls easily into my consciousness. Go figure.
What do your fans mean to you?
I'll tell you when I have some. As of now, I only want readers. Fans are wonderful (I hope) but whether someone sees something in me or my work that makes them want to call themselves that is secondary to getting folks to read my writing.
What are you working on next?
I always have multiple works ongoing. Ideas that might fit one piece and not another should have, it seems to me, some place to go hang out and not just float away into the stratosphere.
Who are your favorite authors?
Far too many to fit here. All the obvious ones, Fitzgerald and Faulkner and Hemingway, Michener, Elmore Leonard, Walker Percy, T. Jefferson Parker, Don Winslow, Robert Crais, Michael Connelly, Kem Nunn, it goes on and on. I read anything that's well-written. Raymond Chandler, oh my goodness, my (alleged) brain is going into overload. Some writers, like Thoreau, who'd do four pages on a leaf, are way over my head but I can see or feel the quality and mental acuity they were able to put onto paper. Some of Faulkner sometimes feels like a meaningless jumble of words but I feel the importance of them. I'd better stop before someone reads this and says, "That dolt didn't mention what's-his-name. What an imbecile."
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life its ownself. Every day on this side of the grass has something to recommend it. I love to do whatever there is that I can get done. Involving oneself in an activity (ANY activity) and completing it is an accomplishment within itself, even if the activity turns out to be meaningless drivel.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I paint (pictures, not houses or cars), I build and play (very badly) my own guitars, travel all I can, just hang with my wife, read, read, read. I feel that there's a superior education available to anybody who reads if they find a reference to something they don't know about, seek out that something and read about it. If there's a reference to something in the written material they're reading because it was referred to in the first thing they were reading, track that reference down and read about it, ad infinitum. I used to like live theatre but so much of it these days barely rises to mediocrity that I usually avoid it. I'm semi-handy and almost always have home improvement/repair stuff happening. Did I mention that I read, read, read? My family on both sides is riddled with disease and poor health so I work out a lot and try to keep the corpus crispy. I go to the shooting range now and then just for giggles. I'm a former pro musician (recovering drummer) so I feel no attraction to clubs and bars and the night life. I've outlived all my dogs so I don't spend time with them the way I used to. I do watersports and I like to cook and help my wife (world-class chef) when she cooks. I did the Israeli fighting system Krav Maga as long as my battered skeleton would hold up to the impact. There are tons of things to spend time on but the entire list is too ephemeral and lenghty to commit to.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Mostly word of mouth, some websites like Goodread.com and Stumbleupon, Google, again, there are just too many things available to list, thanks to today's wonderful technology.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No.
What is your writing process?
One of the greatest marketing coups ever is the Nike slogan, 'Just Do It'. I just try to keep my body in a certain position, that position being between my chair and my keyboard. I always go back at least part way to the beginning of whatever I'm working on so that I can (hopefully) keep the story flowing as opposed to laying down separate chunks and hoping they work off each other. I'm not sure if I have a distinct process, I just try to get it done. Not much of an answer, huh?
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
No.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I could never narrow my reading down to five favorites. One of them would have to be THE ROUGHSHOD RANGERS, available on Smashwords, set your own price. Enjoy.
What do you read for pleasure?
Just about everything. Lots of history, historical fiction like the Dark Ages in Britain, Roman military, lots of hard-boiled stuff, lots of contemporary things, both fiction and non. I read a lot of biographies and autobiographies (only AUTHORIZED autobiographies), memoirs. I love the Sharpe series and the Jack Aubrey series, always read John Sanford and Larry McMurtry, I'm doing it again, somebody's going to read this and say, "This one-way sacka shite doesn't read what's-his-name?" Maybe I don't nail everything down because of fear of committment. I don't know, ask my two girlfriends. Some people might think I read the way I do because of my schizoid personality. I think it's possible and so do I.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle. Fabulous for travel.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I'll have to get back to you on that.
Describe your desk
Desk? Oh, yeah, desk. I'm pretty sure there's a desk under this stuff. Computer and printer, obviously, container of pens and pencils, phone, computer speakers, lamp, scotch tape, metronome, papers, papers, papers, calendar, pile of guitar picks, pocket knife, magazines, masking tape (you don't want to know), flashlight, legal pads... It changes as I try periodically to organize and the stuff propogates more stuff, on and on.
Why ask why?
Why not?
What is your favorite tomato?
Chinese Oxheart
Is there anything sexier than a red-headed woman in black lace undies?
NO NO NO
What's the most compact jolt of wisdom you ever absorbed?
My ol' granpappy used to say, "Sparky, (he called me Sparky, no idea why) when you journey through life and reach your destination, there you are.
Published 2013-08-27.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Roughshod Rangers
You set the price! Words: 73,390. Language: English. Published: July 29, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
Two exceptional men with a relationship beyond brotherhood are torn apart by a woman and then have to rejoin forces and co-exist to find her killers.