J.D. Rhoades, known to those who love him as Dusty, is one of a kind. I had the pleasure of sharing an agent with him, which is how we originally met, and we spent several years together aboard the good ship Murderati. He always had the most fun blog posts – one of my favorites was when he had Satan, Prince of Darkness guest blog for him. The resulting poll was enlightening for this new writer, and ever since, I fall back on the idea of deals with the devil when it comes to my publishing career. We’ve been friends a long time, and while we may not agree on everything, we’ve had a blast debating life over the past decade, sharing many a meal at many a conference. I’m so happy to have him on the Tao today, and I can’t wait for his new book – I love his Jack Keller series. Here’s Dusty!
Set your music to shuffle and hit play. What’s the first song that comes up?
Doc Watson, “Cannonball Rag” (Live).
Now that we’ve set the mood, what are you working on today?
It’s a secret project which will be revealed this summer. I can tell you this much: I’m doing it with several other authors and it’s paranormal suspense. I’m having a lot of fun with it.
What’s your latest book about?
DEVILS AND DUST is the fourth Jack Keller novel. Jack comes out of his self-imposed exile in the desert when his old friend and former employer Angela asks him to find her husband Oscar, Jack’s best friend, who’s gone missing while looking for his sons who have disappeared in Mexico. Jack has to confront his own unresolved feelings for Angela while running into some very bad people on both sides of the border. Characters from some of my other books make cameo appearances.
Where do you write, and what tools do you use?
There are two main tools that make it possible for me to write: the laptop computer (because I’m a terrible typist) and the DVR (which keeps me from wandering away to watch TV, because I know I can catch JUSTIFIED and THE DAILY SHOW later). Beyond that, I’ve been using the PC version of Scrivener, which makes it a lot easier to plot things out and move bits around as necessary. I think I may be the only writer I know that doesn’t use a Mac. For jotting down ideas, quotes, etc. and for the occasional session where I write by hand, I have the good ol’ Moleskine notebooks scattered about the house and in my briefcase. I never run out because people keep giving them to me. For column writing, I use a free online tool called Instapaper that allows me to quickly save articles to a single site for later reference.
As for where I write, I mainly plug my laptop into an external monitor and keyboard at a computer desk in the front room of my house, next to the big bay window that offers plenty of sunlight. But that’s subject to change at a whim. Sometimes I’ll go sit in the big easy chair or the bed in the other room, or go out on the porch in good weather.
What was your favorite book as a child?
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE (no surprises there). Later, I devoured all of Robert A. Heinlein’s YA novels from back before there was a thing called YA.
What book are you reading now?
Right now, I’m reading Ann Lecke’s Hugo and Nebula award-winning science fiction novel ANCILLARY JUSTICE, as well as Michael Connelly’s 9 DRAGONS. I often read more than one book at a time.
What’s your favorite bit of writing advice?
“Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.” –Elmore Leonard
What do you do if the words aren’t flowing?
Pick up one of my guitars and noodle around on it a bit. Walk the dog. Take a shower. Unplug the laptop from the external monitor and keyboard and take it out on the porch or the back deck. Write by hand. Anything to shake things up.
What would you like to be remembered for?
The multiple award-winning and incredibly lucrative movies and TV shows made from my books. And, of course, the books themselves.
Born and raised in North Carolina, J. D. Rhoades has worked as a radio news reporter, club DJ, television cameraman, ad salesman, waiter, attorney, and newspaper columnist. His weekly column in North Carolina’s The Pilot was twice named best column of the year in its division. The author of THE DEVIL'S RIGHT HAND, GOOD DAY IN HELL, SAFE AND SOUND, BREAKING COVER, and BROKEN SHIELD, he lives, writes, and practices law in Carthage, NC. Follow him on Twitter at @jd_rhoades.
J.D. Rhoades’ latest Jack Keller novel DEVILS AND DUST is now available in stores everywhere.
And here's a little more about J.D.'s recent release DEVILS AND DUST:
“You bring death,” the voice said, “and Hell follows with you.”
Relentless bounty hunter Jack Keller returns in Devils and Dust, the long-awaited fourth installment of the critically acclaimed series from award-nominated author J. D. Rhoades. Keller’s been in exile, living a quiet life in the desert, since his disappearance after the cataclysmic events of 2008’s award-winning Safe and Sound. Now his old friend and former employer Angela has tracked him down and needs his help. Oscar Sanchez, Angela’s husband and Keller’s best friend, has disappeared while investigating what happened to the sons he was trying to bring to America. If anyone can find Oscar, Keller can, but along the way he has to confront his own demons and his unresolved feelings for Angela — now his best friend’s wife. Keller’s quest takes him from a corrupt Mexican border town to a prison camp in the swamps of South Carolina and pits him against human traffickers, violent drug lords, and a vicious group of white supremacists perpetuating an evil as old as civilization itself in the name of God.
All of them are about to learn a hard lesson: if Jack Keller's after you, he's bringing Hell with him.