What a treat for me to host my buddy Chuck Driskell here today. Chuck and I started off as pen pals several years ago, and a friendship bloomed. He's a great guy with a fascinating backstory, and even created the coolest piece of art hanging in my office. His thrillers are just that -- thrilling, tight and exciting and fun to read. If you haven't read him yet, I highly recommend his work.
Without further ado, I give you Chuck Driskell!
Set your music to shuffle and hit play. What’s the first song that comes up?
Simple Minds: Book of Brilliant Things
Now that we’ve set the mood, what are you working on today?
Today is a special day! I finished the final draft of my newest, SEVEN YEARS DEAD. Now it’s off to the editor.
What’s your latest book about?
My latest book is TO THE LIONS. It’s the second book in the Gage Hartline series. Gage travels to Spain to protect a mob boss’s son in a federal prison. He soon finds himself double-crossed by another rival syndicate who are backed by a number of crooked government officials. The book is loaded with action and has one of my favorite antagonists, the leader of Los Leones, Xavier Zambrano. Oh, for your eagle-eyed readers, there’s actually a JT Ellison mention inside the book. Nothing like prisoners who dig JT Ellison novels, right?
Where do you write, and what tools do you use?
I have an office in my house with a big, tattered recliner. I sit there, pecking away on my Thinkpad in the near-dark, guzzling syrupy coffee as I weave my tall tales. On weekends, I’ll often find a coffee shop and edit in the afternoon.
What was your favorite book as a child?
THE SHINING by Stephen King
What’s your favorite bit of writing advice?
Sit down, turn off the Wi-Fi, and just write. Don’t go back and rewrite, either. Just write and get that first draft on the paper. Then, and only then, can the real magic begin. This is common advice…for a very good reason.
What do you do if the words aren’t flowing?
I follow Ken Follett’s advice. I was with you, JT, at Thrillerfest when he said to either “kill someone” or “write a raunchy sex scene.” He was correct. That gets the words flowing again.
What would you like to be remembered for?
If there’s one thing I strive for, it’s to avoid writing the same book again and again. While I may have limitations as a writer, I work hard to give my readers a fresh story each time. I hope to be remembered as someone who kept people guessing.
Chuck Driskell was a U.S. Army paratrooper. His post-military life has been spent in the advertising business and as a writer where he finds time to create stories with layered plots and flawed, yet sometimes forgivable, characters. Usually set in international locales, his stories are a blend of crime, suspense, and spy genres. He lives in South Carolina with his wife and two children and is always scheming about his next trip to Europe. Find him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChuckDriskell.
About TO THE LIONS (October 2013)
In Spain, former Green Beret Gage Hartline accepts a risky job inserting him into notorious Berga Prison—a place as sleazy as it is deadly. Charged with protecting the son of a wealthy mobster, Gage is pitted against rival gangs as well as corrupt government officials. He soon finds himself double-crossed by nearly everyone involved, leaving him on his own, fighting to survive. Gage has the training. Gage has the nerve. But will it be enough?
The second novel in Chuck Driskell's Gage Hartline series, TO THE LIONS uses Driskell's trademark recipe of thrills, suspense, espionage and romance to create a memorable tale that Kirkus Reviews describes as "scorching" and "crisp with innovation".