Monday, January 17, 2011

The Novel Road Interview: Stuart Woods

Flash Interview:

Strategic Moves   An economy with words… Robert Parker had it. Elmore Leonard has it, and so does my guest today on The Novel Road. Even in an interview, Stuart Woods wastes little of his valuable time mincing words.
First a little about my guest:

Since his bio reads like a novel, I’m going to send you directly to his site to read his personal story. He’s been an advertizing copywriter (a la “Madmen”). Stuart is an avid sailor and pilot and so, so much more…

   I’m pleased to welcome Stuart Woods to The Novel Road…

Me: Every character you’ve created, from Will Lee, Ed Eagle and Stone Barrington, to Holly Barker and Liz Barwick hold unique strengths, yet you allow enough flaws to keep them very human. Where do you draw a line on a Character’s perfection?
Stuart: Apart from the fact that no character is ever perfect, I never give it a thought.


Me: Your 30 year writing career includes 45 novels and two non-fiction books, most of them New York Times Bestsellers. Your ability to create new characters is astounding. Do you get “first novel” nerves when you release a novel with a new character?
Stuart: My first novel took eight years to write, and I had the writer's block peculiar to first novelists: the fear that the book would not be as good as I'd been telling my friends it would be.  Since then, nothing with new characters.


Santa Fe EdgeMe: Elaine’s restaurant in New York City holds a special place in so many of your books. Is there a personal history behind this choice of rendezvous for Stone and Dino?
Stuart: I've been hanging out there since 1982.


Me: It's becoming more and more common among established writers to co-write. Why? Have you considered doing this?
Lucid IntervalsStuart: I am opposed to collaborating, because then you have to give the other writer half the money.

Me: You get to have lunch with any author, throughout literary history to present.  Who would it be, and why?
Stuart: Mark Twain.  Aren't the reasons obvious?

Me: Fan’s writing you about mistakes, typos and the like, in some of your novels. Just how obsessed are your fans?
Stuart: Many of them are obsessed about somethings; fortunately, they're not all obsessed about the same thing.

Me: Tell us about your agent and why the match is perfect.
Stuart: Because he's the best agent alive.  The best is good enough for me.

KissingMe: This question courtesy of Jeff Hall: "I'm a short story-ist.  Writing a novel is a like crazy long marathon, only harder.  How do you maintain a clear sense of that first passion that inspired you throughout a lengthy word journey?"
Stuart: I write sixty short stories, and they make a novel.

Me: The publishing industry in going through an evolution. How are these changes effecting you? Share your thoughts on what you think the future holds for authors.
Stuart: Yes, but I don't know how much yet.  Ebooks are about 10% of my sales.  Presumably that will go up, but who knows?

Santa Fe DeadMe: You early life reads like a novel itself, expansive and well traveled. Talk about life experience. How important it is to an author?
Stuart: All I can tell you is, it's important to me.  The others will have to speak for themselves.

Me: There is a trend to not let great authors die. They continue on through modern authors taking up the characters and continuing favorite stories (Von Lustbader  continuing Robert Ludlum’s work). With your sailing background, any chance I could talk you into taking on Patrick O’Brian’s work?
Stuart: Not a chance, but if you can find somebody who can keep me alive, I'm game.
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I'd like to thank Stuart Woods for doing this interview.