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Today we’re really pleased to welcome author Keith Yocum to our little part of the book world. Thanks for joining us!
GUEST POST – Author Interview :
Sassy Brit: What book do you think everyone should read?
Keith Yocum: It’s very difficult to recommend a book that everyone should read since the reading experience is so subjective. But I think Of Human Bondage, by W. Somerset Maugham would be on my list. Yes, I know it’s over 100 years old (written in 1915) but is still on some lists of the best English-language novels of the 20th century. The story is partly autobiographical for Maugham and follows the travails of Philip Carey who struggles with disruption, loneliness, and a desire for happiness that always seems just out of reach. His relationships with women, especially with Mildred, are so painful and realistic that the reader cannot turn away. It has excellent writing, good momentum, and thoughtful insights into human impulses and desires.
SB : Describe your writing style
KY: Every writer, it seems, has an idiosyncratic approach to writing. Most—but certainly not all—of my writing is sparse of adjectives and adverbs. Rightly or wrongly, I ascribe to Hemingway’s approach, which is to keep sentences relatively short and declarative. Avoid flowery phrases and overly wrought descriptions. And let the characters’ dialogue—inner and outer dialogue—tell the reader who this person really is. There is a writing app (I’ve never used it but find it amusing to think it exists) called hemmingwayapp.com, that shows how to reduce extraneous phrases and complex sentences. How cute.
SB: What are you currently reading?
KY: Just finished John Banville’s The Sea, which won the 2005 Booker Prize. An Irish writer of some repute, The Sea is a bittersweet, wonderfully written piece about a middle-aged man returning to an Irish seaside town after his wife passes away. The story moves back and forth in time, while the protagonist seeks to discover something about his childhood that will let him heal in the present. It’s very touching and is a literary masterpiece of simile and metaphor that most writers–especially me—won’t attempt for fear of abject failure.
SBl: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
KY: From start to finish of the first draft, it usually takes about six months. For me, the process of writing a novel is a little like a courtship: I have to fall in love with the story, and that sometimes takes time (like a courtship!). If I have one unnerving and reprehensible (at least to me) habit during the writing of a novel, it’s the propensity to wake up in the middle of the night and process some element of the novel I’m writing. Sometimes I get so involved in a plot twist or narrative arc that I have trouble getting back to sleep. On occasion, I will get up (my poor wife Denise will attest) and jot down a few notes. The good news is that once I fall in love with the story, it’s smooth sailing (a lovely metaphor).
SB: Thank you!!
Color of Blood
A Dennis Cunningham Thriller Book 1
by Keith Yocum
Genre: Romantic Thriller
A CIA investigator is sent to Australia to look for a missing agent lost in the Outback, only to discover the bitter and dusty truth about himself and the agency.
“A scary, smart, sweet, sexy CIA tale” — Kirkus Reviews
Dennis is glad to be back at work. His wife’s death left him devastated but he’ll do anything to lose himself into work at the Inspector General’s office of the CIA. A brilliant, if prickly investigator, he’s spent his career chasing down the Agency’s thieves and liars. When his boss forces him to take a low-level assignment to investigate a missing employee in Australia, he soon finds that even in the red dust of the Outback, there is romance – and death – just a sweltering heartbeat away.
Keith Yocum is an author of eight novels and lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He was born in Ridgecrest, California, the civilian town supporting the China Lake Naval Weapons Center in the Mojave Desert and grew up overseas as an Army brat, including long stints in the Panama Canal Zone and Western Australia. He has an undergraduate degree in philosophy and a graduate degree in journalism. He has an extensive career in publishing. He was the founder of a group of weekly newspapers in the western suburbs of Boston. He has also worked for publications like The Boston Globe and The New England Journal of Medicine.
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