PRO-FILE: BILL CRIDER
1. Tell us about your current novel or project.
The latest book in the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series is Compound Murder. It came out from St. Martin’s on August 13, and it’s another of the sheriff’s continuing adventures in Blacklin County, a small, imaginary place somewhere in East Texas. If it weren’t imaginary, it would be widely known as “the murder capital of Texas,” since there’s always someone getting killed there. It’s like Cabot Cove. Nobody with any sense of self-preservation would want to live there or vacation there because of the high murder rate. There are also wild hogs. Aside from that, however, it’s a nice little place.
2. Can you give us a sense of what you’re working on now?
There’s a professional organization of western writers called Western Fictioneers. Some of the members have been writing a series of collaborative novels about the fictional town of Wolf Creek. Troy Smith is the general editor for the series. Wolf Creek’s a little like Blacklin County, in that all kinds of bad things happen there, though as far as I know there aren’t any wild hogs. Yet. Anyway, I’m currently writing a chapter for Volume 8 in the series. It’s called Night of the Assassins. My character throughout the series is the local schoolmarm, who just happens to be not quite what she seems. She goes by the name of Cora Sloane, but she’s really Amanda Hall, wanted for the murder of a lawman. (She’s innocent, but the law doesn’t think so.) She looks prim and proper, and she carries a Colt’s Navy in her bag. There’s a lot going on in the Wolf Creek books, and western fans should give them a try.
3. What is the greatest pleasure of a writing career?
I enjoy the process of writing. Some people say they enjoy having written, but I get a lot more fun from the writing itself. If I weren’t writing fiction and selling it, I’d be writing something else. I wrote a lot of things for a long time with no thought of payment, just because it was fun to write. Come to think of it, I still do that kind of thing.
4. The greatest displeasure?
There’s no real displeasure with the writing, but it’s no fun to have somebody tell you that what you’ve written is no good. I also don’t like the business part of writing. My mind doesn’t work like that. Luckily my wife, Judy, has great business sense. She’s organized and knows what’s what. Another thing I don’t care for is proofreading my manuscripts. Judy’s my first reader and editor. She does a terrific job and saves me a lot of time.
5. Advice to the publishing world?
Sell more of my books.
6. Are there any forgotten writers you’d like to see in print again?
The good news is that plenty of forgotten writers are getting reprinted now, thanks to publishers like Stark House and Prologue Books. There’s not much Lionel White, though. And Charles Williams. Those two deserve more new editions than they’ve had, for sure.
7. Tell us about selling your first novel.
That would be the famous Nick Carter novel called The Coyote Connection. I wrote it with a friend, Jack Davis, who came up with the idea of writing about Middle Eastern terrorists being smuggled across the Texas-Mexico border. This was in 1981, so we were ahead of the curve. Jack did an outline and a (very) rough draft. We finished the book and sent it to the publisher of the series. My guess is that one of the regular writers failed to turn in his book one month, and the editor was desperate for something to fill the slot. Our book happened to be there, and it was the right length, so the editor slipped it in. And that’s how I became a famous writer.