Name: P. Wesley Lundburg
Book Titles: Frank Mattituck Series: Skipper’s Oath (Book 1), Poacher’s End (Book 2), Hinchinbrook’s Hunted (Book 3, due in September). The Clayton Chronicles: The Stateroom Tryst (Book 1), (Book 2 coming soon!) and a novella titled On Rocks and Clouds
Genres: Mattituck series is mystery/suspense; Clayton Chronicles series is hard-boiled, noir detective fiction
Million dollar question, are you working on another book?
I’m always working on a book. It’s like once I really put myself to this business of writing novels (about 2 years ago), I’m non-stop. It’s my favorite pastime, and when I’m stressed from work, my wife often hands me my laptop, a touch (I swear!) of rum, and turns me toward the couch. Right now, I have two series going, and probably will continue both into perpetuity. The stories and characters are just too good and too fun to think about limiting. I’m working on the 3rd book in The Frank Mattituck Series right now, and as soon as that’s off to editors and beta readers, I’ll be at work on Book 2 in The Clayton Chronicles. I also have a short story or novella on the side that I dabble with.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Yes, years ago. It was called The A-B Zone, and was an action-adventure that took place between Southeast Alaska and Canada. The A-B Zone is a disputed water way, and I had a crazed Canadian fisherman who went nuts over the territorial rights, ramming U.S. fishing boats and killing indiscriminately. One publisher looked at it, liked it but said “no, thanks” and I never went back to it. The fun thing about it is that the crazed fisherman is the inspiration for Ned Simmons, the widely hated murder victim in Poacher’s End, Book 2 in the Mattituck series. I think I’m a much better writer now, especially in terms of plotting, and so I think I’ll leave The A-B Zone as a relic in the writing laboratory.
Goals of certain # of words a week or when inspiration strikes
I don’t have a certain number of words I try to hit, but I try to write every day. When I do, I often hit 1,000+ words. Inspiration is a funny thing. As a younger writer, I used to wait for the muse to speak, or struggled to identify a story worth writing. Now I’m more like Tom Clancy when he said, “Just write the damned story.” That works for me. Even when I’m not in the mood, if I sit down and start writing, I’m very into it immediately. I don’t remember the last time I was ‘unproductive’ on any day I sat down to write.
What tactics do you have when writing? (For example: outline or just write)
Once I have a story or plot idea, I scratch it out in a sort of map that follows a timeline. Where I feel I need to capture more detail, I write something like “Note A” and then write out the expanded note on a subsequent page. I do that so the timeline doesn’t get too cluttered. I like to have the entire book in view on one page; that’s why I do the addendum notes. Each novel has a 2-3 page map, with the entire timeline on page one. From that, I sit and draft on the laptop. There are usually things I need to keep tabs on (how many bullets to the body, from what angle, etc) that I keep at the bottom of the document as I draft so that it’s right there. I also have notes on all the characters and details (boats, guns, etc) in a separate document that I refer to as needed.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
Oh, I keep them in line! Ha! I wish. I have the story mapped, and the characters always stay on task with that, but beyond that they do what they do. I don’t try to keep them tightly controlled. I know who they are, and when they are in a situation I’m writing, I let who they are drive their actions, words, and thoughts.
If you could spend time a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day? (PG-13 please :) ONE OF MY FAVORITE QUESTIONS TO ASK.
A lot of them actually, but the one who really jumps out right now is Clay – Rick Clayton from The Clayton Chronicles. He’s savvy, wise, and cynical . . . and tough as nails. But he’s also kind and diplomatic. He only says and does what he has to in order to get the job done – and he’s very focused on the job at hand. Plus, he drives an International Scout II and surfs. My kind of guy!
What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?
With the Mattituck series, I had really hoped to build a sense of community among the characters in the books, but I hadn’t really expected it to be a powerful element in the books. Several reviews and many who have given me feedback have commented that this is one of their favorite aspects of the books. Another memorable comment regarding The Stateroom Tryst said that the book reminded her of Raymond Chandler. What I have hoped to do with that series is revive the old hard-boiled detective character and drop him into a modern day setting. The comment makes me think I may be pulling it off.
Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I’m a firm believer that writers only do half the creative work in a story. The rest is done by the reader. Thank you for enjoying these stories along with me!
What gives you inspiration for your book(s)?
Places are really important to me. I try to give a vivid sense of place, not just through description, but spatially as well. So I try to build in action that involves the scene in a way that readers pick up on the ambiance of the place. I’m also inspired by the kind of bravery that people have when they endure hardship, and especially if they carry it with grace and are still kind in the midst of their pain. As far as the stories, I’m inspired by the gritty detective novels of the 1930s and 1940s: Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. But I’m also inspired by the far less exciting character-focused writings of Eudora Welty and Anne Tyler, among many others.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
Both. None of them are straight-out real people, but many of them take on a variety of characteristics of real people I’ve known; in some cases, the role of a real person is the basis for a character. Hemingway said that all fiction is autobiographical, so there is probably more of me and my life in my stories than I care to admit.
Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?
My most recent is The Stateroom Tryst, first in The Clayton Chronicles. Why do I think it’s a must-read? Because it’s a new take on mystery novels. As I’ve said to a lot of people, I wanted to take that Chandler/Hammett hero, the cynical loner of a hard-boiled private eye, and drop him into a modern day setting. I chose San Diego because I grew up there, and because that place allows for a backdrop that works well for the stories. There’s a fair amount of humor, which I think is necessary to pull this off, and much of that is wrapped up in the two inept sons of the detective agency owner the protagonist works for. Snappy dialog is also modeled after the hard-boiled detective, as is the fast-action. The protagonist often wears a plain 40s style suit with a skinny tie, but he drives an International Scout and surfs. Really…. You have to read it to believe it!
What do you love most about the writing process?
The planning and drafting are my favorite parts. I love coming up with an idea, then brainstorming how it might work out if this or that happens, then backing up with a “no, that won’t work” and trying again. It’s fun. I enjoy putting it into a timeline and mapping the story out, then sitting down and following the timeline and notes. It’s almost like I’m watching the story happen and simply capturing it in words.
What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?
How easy it’s been once I found my groove. Some call it finding your voice, or your style, or your way of crafting a story. Whatever it is exactly, I was surprised at how easy it all happened. I wrote a novel when I was younger, and it was work. Real work. And it took a long time to write. Skipper’s Oath came together fast. So did Poacher’s End, and The Stateroom Tryst. I’ve found what works for me and I’ve taken pressure off myself to be writing anything in particular—or rather, I’ve stopped trying to achieve some preconceived perfection. Once I map a story out and have the characters developed in notes, the stories almost write themselves. I only have to fix a few things here and there as the plot gets detailed, but it’s overall very easy. That surprises me.
Tell us a little about your plans for the future. Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years?
I see myself with a dozen books in the Mattituck series and about as many in The Clayton Chronicles. I see myself actually making a living at this so that I can dedicate myself full-time to it. At that point, I would like to do some stand-alone novels, and do more in the Young Adult arena.
What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?
GREAT question. Without a doubt, Ned Simmons, the poaching halibut fisherman in Poacher’s End. He’s the kind of person that is contrary to everything in me. He’s just a jerk, clean through. Hateful, bitter, self-centered, and mean…. Just pure unadulterated meanness. Nobody could get along with an arse like that…. not even over a frosty Guinness!
Amazon Author Page Link: https://tinyurl.com/y87zyxch
Twitter Handle: @pwesleylundburg
Facebook Page Link: https://tinyurl.com/y88qjcnv
Check out his books on Amazon!!!