Interview with J. David Core

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town in Ohio. My father was a carpenter and an avid reader of mysteries and thrillers. I was never a fan of sports (other than fishing) and as a result I spent a great deal of time watching television and pretending I was a super hero, or a Starfleet captain, or Tarzan, or (believe it or not) a con man? But then one day I read Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, and I recognized so much about myself in the characters.

Soon I was reading more and more; A Catcher in the Rye, Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird... I began to realize that as I had been escaping with television, it was even more satisfying when my escape was in my own head. The writers became my heroes, and the writing became something I could appreciate as a process. I wanted to recreate that in my own life.

I also noticed that I liked and remembered a book better when the ending was special. The story could have been great, but an unmemorable conclusion made for a forgettable story. And the best of the good endings were the ones I couldn't see coming or where the script was somehow flipped. Eventually I noticed that those kinds of endings could be found in many genres, but they were not so significant in every genre. A dramatic story can survive a so-so ending. A sci-fi tale can end simply with the good guy surviving. But a thriller or a mystery HAS to have a twist. So that's what I now prefer to read. And to write.
When did you first start writing?
I began writing in High School; playlets, poems, short stories, eventually I had graduated to novels by the time I graduated to college.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I've written a series of mystery novels, and a collection of noir shorts. Now I'm moving on to my first thriller. It's the story of a woman on the run who has faked her death and has to survive by trading on her talents by doing odd "fixer' jobs for the mob.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I had published a trad published sci-fi eBook when the technology was in its infancy. The only sales I saw were from work I put into it. Eventually i realized there was nothing a trad pub company could do for me that I couldn't do for myself.
Who are your favorite authors?
My favorites are eclectic. Kurt Vonnegut, Dan Brown, Dashiell Hammett, Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe, Tom Robbins, John Steinbeck, Douglas Adams, among others.
What do you read for pleasure?
Honestly, I don't read as much as I used to. I spend so much time researching and marketing, that when I want to unwind I prefer movies or TV series. Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Orphan Black, the writing on these series is brilliant, and it helps me appreciate story and character development.
Which of your stories do you think would translate best to the big screen?
In my noir collection there's a story called Wingman. It's a comedy with a crime element. It has a large cast of characters and the story moves quickly and steadily from one scene to the next using the device of a fly that flits from set scene to set scene learning the plot before anyone of the characters has any idea what's happening. I actually conceived of it as a film short. I'd love to see it made into a film.
How much of you goes into your characters.
I think all of my characters are a little bit me mixed with people I know. Or maybe they are the versions of people I know IRL as they live inside my head.
If you were stranded with only one book of your choice, what book would it be?
Well, first off, I'd probably only read it once again and then just be frustrated that I had nothing else to read, but in the spirit of the question, I'd say either A Clockwork Orange or The Hitchhiker's Guide. The first is just a brilliant morality play that handles world building brilliantly. The second is a masterpiece of humor and satire unmatched in modern literature.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love it when a plot comes together. There are so many hurdles to creating a good plot. The characters' actions have to make sense in terms of the story and their personalities. The events have to be believable in terms of both reality and the conceits the story has established. And it has to be surprising, entertaining, clever all without telegraphing the ending. When I figure out a way to make all of those things work, and when I hear back from a reader that they would recommend the story to a friend, it's a very satisfying feeling. At the risk of seeming unhumble, it makes me proud of my own cleverness.
How can readers find out more about you?
Well, I have a webpage with a blog and links to my email sign-up and to my podcast. It can be found at
Published 2016-07-02.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

On the Side of the Angel
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 56,980. Language: English. Published: September 4, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
2005. Lina Forman has an assumed name, a vendetta, a résumé of varied skills, and the knowledge to make her a force to fear. Known in criminal circles as "Bartering Angel," a mysterious “fixer” who keeps bad guys out of trouble, she assumes the name Lina when she arrives in Pittsburgh.Can Lina preserve her reputation and make good on her promises? Or will a careless oversight expose her secrets?
Bite-Sized Stories: A Multi-Genre Flash Fiction Anthology
Price: Free! Words: 38,660. Language: English. Published: September 23, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Flash fiction, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
Looking for some short but high-quality entertainment over coffee or a snack? Grab Bite-Sized Stories and fill your stolen moments with 33 indie flash fiction tales. Just 5 minutes per engaging story.
Twice Told: A Lupa Schwartz Box Set
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 237,810. Language: English. Published: April 21, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
All of the Lupa Schwartz novels and novellas which have been released since the first. The series tells the story of Cattleya Hoskin, journalist for Gamut Magazine who moves from Ohio to Pittsburgh to chronicle the investigative cases of Lupa Schwartz, the outspoken PI with a love for women, classic cars, comedy movies, and good meat; and a strong disdain for religion, bad parking, and wasted time
8 Tales of Noir: As Heard on the Thrills and Mystery Podcast
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 51,280. Language: English. Published: November 2, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories, Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
8 tales of Noir is just what the title would lead you to expect, eight stories about the darker side of the human condition. Six short stories lead in to two novella length tales. Each of the six shorts was also a featured episode on the Thrills and Mystery Podcast.
Five Secrets
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 62,530. Language: English. Published: July 18, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Magazine reporter Cattleya Hoskin learns that her ex-boyfriend, Ulric, is missing. He left a coded message the police cannot decipher. Digging deeper, she learns Ulric was working with Pittsburgh PI Lupa Schwartz to covertly unravel a centuries-old scheme. She and Schwartz must work together to expose an ancient secret before being thwarted by the agents of a shadow government.
Shared Disbelief: A Lupa Schwartz Mystery
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 53,070. Language: English. Published: February 20, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
A serial killer stalks Pittsburgh, re-enacting the history of human sacrifice and martyrdom, attacking religion by attacking the religious. The baffled police department turns to local PI Lupa Schwartz and his journalist partner Cattleya Hoskin, hoping the former can use his connections in the atheist community to find a killer with a vendetta against faith.
Fair Play: A Lupa Schwartz Trilogy
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 72,000. Language: English. Published: December 1, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Fair Play features three full length novellas, Overlord, Counterfeit, and Confessions of the Cuckold, each a stand-alone story in the Lupa Schwartz universe. This 3rd installment in the LS canon has something for fans of traditional whodunnits,as well as fans of classic noir and the contemporary trend toward female protagonists. It's Nero Wolf meets Stephanie Plum and a hint of Easy Rawlins.
Confessions of the Cuckold
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 14,120. Language: English. Published: March 9, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
The last person Eric Dadjov would expect to confide in was the bounty hunter sent to take him to court, but his wife has betrayed him leaving his life is in shambles. A careless moment purging his anger has led to formal charges. Gradually, the details of Dadjov’s story begin to suggest that he has a sinister plan for revenge brewing. Is the bounty hunter complicit, a dupe, or the next victim?
Believe It, You Know an Atheist
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 40,290. Language: English. Published: March 17, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Atheism/Agnosticism, Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Religious philosophy
Without ever insisting that atheism is the correct conclusion, Believe It strives to bridge the disconnect between the devout and the debunkers. Featuring quotes and arguments found throughout the history of skepticism from Epicurus to Sam Harris and beyond, Believe It lays out a line of reasoning and analysis designed to illuminate the thinking that inspires a godless worldview.
Common Sense: A Lupa Schwartz Mystery
Series: The Lupa Schwartz Mysteries, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 55,630. Language: English. Published: January 2, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
Common sense tells Cattleya Hoskin that her drowned reporter ex-husband wouldn't have gone out night-fishing by himself in the middle of an investigation. The unaccommodating local authorities see it differently. In an effort to prove them wrong, Cattleya enlists the help of her private investigator friend, Schwartz, to follow through with Dave’s investigation...
Extreme Unction: A Lupa Schwartz Mystery
Series: The Lupa Schwartz Mysteries, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 82,290. Language: English. Published: December 30, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
When an autopsy finds traces of the banned insecticide Chlordane in the anointing oil on the corpse of a local big-wig, Pittsburgh police bring Lupa Schwartz, an outspoken non-believer, into an investigation focused on a well-liked local clergyman. Worried that the police are planning to use him as a political fall-guy...