Thursday, 3 May 2012

Interrogating John Locke

I am pleased to announce that my 20th interrogation victim is the lovely John Locke, one of the most successful self published authors of the ebook revolution.  I am very honoured that John took time out of his very busy day to reply to my questions.  I really like his Donovan Creed books as they are such fun to take your brains out and get on that ride.  I am yet to try his westerns, but I am sure I will like them just the same, even though I don’t like westerns.

How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromises you make, if any?

I’m at a place in my writing where most of my loyal readers give me the leeway to experiment with the occasional new character series (Emmett Love, Dani Ripper, Dr. Gideon Box), but I am very careful not to abuse that trust. What this means is, I may write new characters and story lines, but I stay within my style of fast-paced, conversational writing.

What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in?

Nothing in particular, it’s just where I’m comfortable.

Do you have a box, drawer, folder, etc. where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories?  Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters—even if you have no idea when you might use them?

No. I only save the dialogue I plan to use for my current story. Otherwise I’d feel like I’m forcing old ideas into a story I wasn’t even thinking about at the time. My ideas come when I’m thinking about or discussing my current book, and the place I “save” them is in the manuscript, below the current story line. For example, I danced with my wife for two hours Friday night, but I don’t like to dance. I decided it would be interesting if my main character—who does most things extremely well—can’t dance. Today I was telling someone about it. I said, “I’m a terrible dancer.” She said, “How terrible?” I said, “When the music’s fast and I’m dancing freestyle I look like Quasimodo trying to put on a suit.” She laughed, and I decided to put that line in my next book.

How much of you is in your characters?  Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be?  Or be with?

My fingerprints are all over my characters, but you wouldn’t be able to pick me out of a lineup. I want to be like Donovan Creed. Unfortunately, the only parts of me that are like Creed are the areas where he needs improvement. Which character would I like to be with? Why, Gentry, of course! I’m totally crushing on Gentry!

Do you become so wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if she’s married to you or one of your characters?

She knows she’s married to the guy sitting at the computer. She just wonders why I work this hard to earn thirty-five cents a sale!

What type of book do you like reading?  Is it the same genre as you write?

I don’t have time to read. I wish I did, but right now reading other books is a luxury I don’t have. My readers are a harsh mistress. They feel any free time I have belongs to them. And I agree, because they give me so much in return.

What lengths do you go to to convince us readers that your book has the X factor?

My readers share my sense of dark humor and irony. They understand I’m not trying to write great literature that kids will be forced to read in summer school. They know I’m doing my best to entertain them. When I send my little book out into the world, my readers know I’m sending them a story that held my interest and made me smile. They’re willing to bet on my instincts, and I’m willing to take my lumps if I let them down. 

How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?

The same way I’d feel if you and I were at dinner, and I had a piece of spinach in my teeth—I’d want you to tell me! I might be embarrassed to have spinach in my teeth, but I wouldn’t take it personally. It doesn’t mean I don’t know how to brush my teeth properly, right? It’s the same with my writing. I’m humble enough to know I’m a work in progress. If you see a mistake I’ve made, I hope you like me enough to tell me. My readers and I are a team. We’re in this together, as partners and friends, and it’s their feedback that makes me a more effective author.

What do you like most about visiting forums?

The only forum I visit regularly is the one my readers put together. But I do visit forums when my friends send me links, and I always enjoy the topics. I don’t follow them regularly because it would distract me from my writing. I’m always trying to find more time, instead of finding ways to occupy my existing time!

What is on your near horizon?

First I’ll review what I’ve written in this interview before sending it back to you. That’s because I want to make sure your readers get an idea of who I am, so they can decide if they want to try my latest book, Bad Doctor. Then I plan to answer forty reader emails, which will take me two hours and bring me to the point I’m only a week behind in my responses (I try to answer at least a hundred a day, and this morning I answered sixty). Then, if I’m not too tired, I’ll write a scene in my new book before going to bed. I’m currently working on the 10th Donovan Creed novel, and hope to publish it in June.

Where can we find you for more information?

At my website, 
Or at this link to check out Bad Doctor, only 99 cents:


  1. I love John Locke's e-books! They are entertaining, humorous and just all around a good read. "Bad Doctor" has such a cool ending leaving the door open for the next book and who knows who of his characters will end up there!

  2. Great interview! John is pretty much the model for the Indie authors, and the rest of us are just following in his footsteps. Oh, and I LOLed at "Crushing on Gentry". =D

  3. Joo, this was a fantastic interview.

    It was particularly refreshing to hear John say that he doesn't have time to read. I'm a video game designer and I write in my spare time, and the thing I struggle with most is not being able to consume the same media I create -- at least not as quickly and as often as I feel like I should be.

    Fortunately, John's books are so fast and hard to put down that I can fly through one every once in a while.

    Thanks for capturing such an honest and thoughtful interview!

  4. What a gorgeous website. Loved discovering John Locke's book, "Wish List" at the market. Opened up a whole new world of reading for me.

  5. Great interview! The man is as interesting as his characters. I never miss a book or an interview. Thank you for sharing. ...Cat

  6. Interesting interview and following your blog. Just read John's book about how he sold so many millions in 5 months, a cracking insight.

    I have my first ebook out very shortly and hope to .05% of his success, an inspiration to us all.

    My book is based on true events and called Wrong Place Wrong Time....

    We be checking your blog on a regular basis....

  7. Great interview.

    John Locke is a great role model.

    Thank you for sharing the interview.