Sweatshirts and Green Chiles: An Interview with John C. Laird
We can never learn enough about the authors who write our favorite books, but I’m out to try my best. Here are some fun questions I asked John C. Laird (alsam2) author of 16 BookRix books.
1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
In high school. Several of my friends enjoyed a few of the stories I wrote and encouraged me on. I continued writing my first couple of years of college but never really became serious about it. Then life proceeded to get in the way and several decades passed before I decided it was now or never. That was about two and a half years ago, and now I shall ride this wave all the way to the end.
2. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Although retired after 30-years in law enforcement, I still work part time as a private mail courier. And believe it or not, I still have two teenagers at home, ages 17 and 15 (girl and boy). Enough said on that. But I do like jogging with my black Labrador, Jaxon, and enjoy a good game of chess. And I have found several good chess players on BookRix. As a matter of fact I’m in the middle of two games right now, with the outcome still up in the air on both.
3. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Seventeen. But picking a favorite is a tough one. Every one of my stories has a part of my heart and soul in it, to one degree or another, an experience I’m sure all writers have. For me, probably the three I’ve currently e-published through BookRix , took the most out of me: “Redemption”, “You Get What You Pay For”, and “Going Home”. Of those three, “Going Home” taxed me the most. Every time I’d go back to revise and edit, I’d get tears in my eyes. For me, it was a tough one to write emotionally.
4. Is anything in your book(s) based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Both. The three I mentioned above were entirely fictional (although the basketball arena in “Going Home” is real). Others have varying ‘chunks’ of real life experiences in them. The whole first half of “Turn Around When Possible” was based on a real vacation in 2012. In other stories I have taken a particular incident and let may imagination run with it.
5. What is your favorite book? Why?
“The Black Rose” by Thomas B. Costain, 1945. Set in medieval England, it is an ‘epic’ (a measly 400 pages) romance that spans the world from England to China and back, the separation of the two true loves, and the struggle of one to return home to be reunited with her love. I don’t know how to explain it–the trials, tribulations and ’sweep’ of the story just got to me.
6. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
What advice can I give that hasn’t been given over and over? Let’s go with this: Imagination, desire and stamina can take you a long way, but if you want to increase your readership and be a success, you have to learn the rules. Yes, gang, that means proper grammar, spelling, tenses, punctuation, etc., etc., etc. If you don’t write it properly, don’t expect many people to read it (other than your family and friends). And don’t forget to edit when you’re done. Then edit again. Writing may be fun, but there is a ‘work’ component to it.
Now it’s time to move onto some questions that are just for fun:
7. If you were written about in the newspaper, on the front page, what would the headline say?
“J.C. Laird Vaults Past Stephen King With New Best Seller”. Ahhhhhh, the wonders of the imagination…
8. If you won $20 million in the lottery, what would you do with the money?
A big chunk would be immediately invested to provide for the future. There also would be quite a bit of traveling on the agenda. A few luxuries and then I would give some away. One of my favorite TV shows when I was young was the “The Millionaire” in good ol’ black and white. An anonymous millionaire would give away one million dollars to someone or to couples and the stories would revolve around how the money would affect the people (not always good). The stories fascinated me.
9. What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
A little bit of everything. All the shelves are filled. My wife and daughter have special diets because of health issues, so the problem for my son and I have is finding something in particular we’re looking for and how long that something has been in there. It’s usually an adventure.
10. If you were a Star Trek or Star Wars character, which one would it be? Why?
Star Trek: Pavel Chekov. Just being realistic. I would have been good at all the things he was in charge of, from the original series through several movies: Navigator (TOS); Weapons Officer (I); First Officer, USS Reliant (II); Navigator, Weapons Officer, and Chief of Security (III-VI)
11. If you could have been told one thing that you weren’t told when you were a teenager, what would you like to have heard?
“This too, shall pass,” and “Time heals all wounds.” All the trials and tribulations of a dysfunctional family life, broken hearts and romances; it would have been nice to know I would outgrow all of it.
12. If you were to name one piece of clothing that describes you, what would you say?
Sweat shirt. Add a pair of sweat pants and you’d have the complete ensemble (wearing that combo right now).
13. What cartoon character best represents your personal philosophy?
Wile E. Coyote, for his determination and persistence. We won’t talk about his continual failure to succeed in catching the Roadrunner. Let’s stick with the positive.
14. Why am I asking you these questions?
To give me a headache. You’re a sadist.
15. Where is the furthest you have ever traveled to?
Bermuda. Told you I’d use some of the money to travel more.
16. What is your favorite unusual food combination?
Green chile in most everything. In New Mexico, the question is red or green? I prefer green: on my cheeseburgers and sandwiches, in my soup, my omelets, in my mash potatoes; you get the idea and can imagine the combinations. Haven’t tried it in ice cream yet, though…
17. If you had to be a teacher of something, what would you teach?
History. Always loved it; it was my major in college and I was going to be a teacher of it. Turned out I didn’t have the temperament for that line of work. My tolerance for juvenile delinquents was/is pretty low; I would have gotten sued somewhere along the way if I had continued.
18. You were bitten by a vampire, now what? (Or werewolf)
Put me out of my misery: if a vampire, put a stake through my heart. If a werewolf, shoot me with a silver bullet. If a zombie, shoot me in the head. Unlike some of the younger generation, I wouldn’t want to become any of them. Uck, disgusting.
19. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Believe it or not, a marine biologist. The ocean and the life it contained fascinated me. One of my favorite childhood TV series was “Sea Hunt” with Lloyd Bridges. Black and white, of course.
20. What is your #1 guilty pleasure?
Chocolate. What can I say?
Well, now I really want some chocolate…
Thanks to John for answering my questions – if you want to check out more of his books, just stop by his profile page by clicking HERE.
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