Author Name: Darrel Sparkman
Latest Book Title: Blood Justice (The Apocalypse Chronicles 2)
- What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write this book?
- DARREL: One of my favorite series is Justified, mostly for the humor and dialogue. The story is somewhat patterned after that with characters that are true to life, and circumstances that can happen on any given day.
- If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of your book, what would they be?
- DARREL: Jim Lane: To Leave Something Behind by Sean Rowe or You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive by Patty Loveless
- What books are on your to-be-read pile right now?
- DARREL: Right now I’m zoned in on apocalyptic novels. There are hundreds of them, mostly self-published. I’m reading a lot of those series trying to learn what mistakes not to make.
- What scene in your book was your favorite to write?
- DARREL: A deputy was serving papers to an old farmer’s wife. A cow got out and the deputy’s canine partner started barking at the cow. The cow breaks through a fence chasing the dog. The dog was causing such a ruckus that the deputy pulled his taser and shot the dog. Bending over his dog, the deputy gets kicked in the head by the cow. The lady calls 911 and says the dog has the quivers and the deputy is down. This was an actual news item a few years ago. I may have embellished a little.
- Can you describe your writing process?
- DARREL: I’m a burst writer. I may piddle around with scenes and such for a while, and then write several chapters.
- What’s next for you?
- DARREL: I’m working on a loose sequel to the first three books of the Chronicles, and also putting together an anthology of western short stories, one of which won the prestigious Will Rogers Gold Medallion.
- Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
- DARREL: There are so many, but for this book a quote from Wyatt Earp in 1896 talking to the San Francisco Examiner. “A sheep dog is feared by the sheep and hated by the wolves.” It should be noted that the sheep dog is controlled by the Shepherd.
- For the rest? One of the best sequences of dialogue addressing this comes from Richard Jessup’s novel CHUKA, published in 1961. In the book, on the eve of a hopeless battle, a Spanish Duenna was verbally eviscerating the gunfighter about his choices in life. She asked if he had a philosophy. He’s a bit startled. And yes, there will be some paraphrasing.
- Chuka said: “To live, a man has to be settled on the way he wants to live. My position is to walk with truth, hold on to my honor and find courage to help me over the rough spots. It’s hard to hold it even for a little while. Because we don’t always want to tell the truth, especially when it hurts us or someone we care for. We can’t always hold on to our honor or we’d find ourselves fighting all the time. Most times when we find courage it can be too late or too little. It takes courage to face the truth and courage to recognize your honor is not another man’s honor. One man’s truth, or honor, or courage isn’t a test for anyone else.”
- DARREL: How often does that happen in life? It’s easy when we’re writing it. We can always go back and edit in the best decision for a certain situation. It’s the infamous re-write. You look at the draft copy and say, “Well, that didn’t go as expected.” And then go back and fix it. But, often in real life we see the right choice going away in the rear-view mirror. Hesitation becomes the dance of the day and the choice we want… slips away. So, maybe the best lesson is in the less quoted line. “Be settled in the way you wish to live.” If you have a position, know exactly what it is and why. If you say you believe in something, can you tell someone why? Otherwise, we’re lost. Know what you want. Know what you’re willing to do for it. Be settled in it. That’s what I believe. Let’s write that story line into our lives.
- If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?
- DARREL: Remember the facts that are interlaced within the fiction. I hope there’s enough of that to make a reader sit up and look around enough to say, “Uh Oh.”
- Are there specific types of scenes you struggle with?
- DARREL: The old adage of writing what you know is true. I once was encouraged to write Ranch Romance. I did some of that and had a couple of friends, best-selling authors in the genre, look it over; their response was less than stellar. One told me to stop. Good advice. We’re still friends.
- Where did you get your inspiration for your amazing characters?
- DARREL: They are all rattling around in my head. I’m a people watcher. I’ve read a lot; starting when I was in grade school. Both have an aggregate effect and being older than dirt, I’ve met a lot of folks.
- What drew you to this genre in the first place?
- DARREL: The news! I think what draws readers to this genre is the deep-seated feeling we need to start over. Of course, all readers are voyeurs. Picture a trainwreck with hordes of people holding their cell phones high to get the best picture… and not helping.
- An author or authors who inspire you and you look up to?
- DARREL: This is the easiest question. James Lee Burke and Louis L’Amour. Life is very much like the tale of two wolves perched on your shoulders. The one who wins is the one you feed the most. For me, when I write, I feel like Jim is on one shoulder while Louie is on the other. Both are feeding me conflicting statements while snickering behind my back. If I need to get jump started into writing, I’ll go to Amazon and pick any of Burke’s novels, read the first chapter and be ready to go.
- Author Website: darrelsparkman.com/
- Facebook Page: facebook.com/DarrelSparkman.author