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Digger Cartwright Interview 2013 Part 2: Question 4

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Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Sunday, 24 February 2013
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You’ve done so much, what’s left for you to do?

I’ve got a lot left to do. I’m going to continue writing for as long as I can because I truly do enjoy it. I enjoy the storytelling, and for me it’s a challenge to put together a book—the characters, the plot, and all the subtleties that accompany writing a book. I’ve got to finish the Gems & Jewels series, and I certainly want to add more books with Lt. Wickland from The Versailles Conspiracy, Feltus Boone LaMont from Murder at the Ocean Forest, and the Maynwarings. I have a whole list of books that I want to write. If I just wrote books full time, it would take me years to get through the entire list of storylines that I’ve come up with, and it seems like I’m coming up with more and more every month, so that list just keeps getting longer and longer.

I’m the type of person that likes to get projects done. I don’t like having open projects sitting on my desk, so it’s pretty daunting to look at the list of books I want to write and realize that it’s going to take a while to finish this. Needless to say, I’m committed to this for the long haul, so readers can rest assured that I’m going to keep turning out books as fast as I can. I’ll be lucky to get one or two done each year. I don’t want to sacrifice quality for quantity or just to get the books written. I want to maintain my style and work quality.

There’s a whole list of business projects that I’d like to get off the ground, but like a good book, this doesn’t happen overnight. There’s a lot of planning and strategizing involved. Business always keeps me busy. You just never know what’s going to happen from one day to the next. Time is at a premium, so current operations come first and as time and resources permit we can move onto the new projects.

We’re working on setting up my own foundation to raise money for charitable work. I’m a big supporter of no kill animal shelters. If I could accomplish only one thing in the rest of my life I would love to stop the senseless killing of animals simply because they don’t have a forever home and to stop animal cruelty. Each year hundreds of thousands of animals are put down just because they haven’t been adopted. It really breaks my heart. Cats and dogs are such wonderful creatures and great companions. They have so much unconditional love to offer humans that it is a shame that it goes to waste. I understand that it is a matter of economics. Spending money to care for homeless animals isn’t a big priority here in America. I want to build my foundation so that we can provide support and assistance to shelters throughout America to stop the killing of shelter pets. It is a tall task, and I know that. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done in educating pet owners about the importance of having pets spayed or neutered to control the pet population. We need programs throughout the country to capture stray pets and spay or neuter them. I’d love it if the foundation could someday develop a network of animal rescue farms where stray and abandoned animals can live until they’re adopted. This is a cause that I’m very passionate about, so you’ll be seeing me continue to work towards this in the future.

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Digger Cartwright Interview 2013 Part 2: Question 3

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Sunday, 24 February 2013
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What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

It’s all over the place. I try to keep regular office hours, but sometimes I’ll be in the middle of something in the manuscript and I’ll want to keep working. The creative juices may be flowing, so I might be in front of the computer off and on all day working on the book. It really drives my secretary crazy, particularly when we’ve got to rearrange meetings or appointments because I’m working on a book.

By the same token, I might be up all night working if I’m in the mood, which really throws off my business schedule the next day. It’s not uncommon for meetings to get postponed until late afternoon or early evening. I may have to conduct business over dinner. All of that is a rarity as I do try to allot myself time outside the office for writing, and I try to stay in those time frames as much as possible. But when the juices are flowing, you’ve got to go with it while you can. I try to get as much on paper as I can when I’m in the right mental frame of mind for writing. I don’t want to let those thought get away.

I do find that a lot of times I do my best writing late at night before I go to bed. I’m definitely not an early morning writer. In the mornings I’ve got to get up and let my mind get moving and really working full steam before I can sit and write. That may take an hour or two or all day, but usually I’m pretty fired up in the afternoons and evenings.

My mind is pretty much running twenty-four hours a day overtime between business and writing. I guess that’s what keeps me going. The mind never rests.   

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Digger Cartwright Interview 2013 Part 2: Question 2

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Sunday, 24 February 2013
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Do you have any tips for readers?

When it comes to reading my books, readers need to take their time and really focus on the story. My books are complex. I’m not going to shy away from that. They’re written at a higher level than most other writers. I’ve said it before that they’re very descriptive and detail oriented so you’ve got to pay attention. If you don’t have the time, you may want to wait to read my books when you can dedicate a little time here and there. If you start reading the book then put it down for a week, you’ll probably forget some important things when you start reading it again.

In a larger sense, I would encourage readers to try writers that may not necessarily be in the mainstream. There is a lot of unique talent out there that’s getting published by smaller presses or that is being self-published. It’s not all good, but then again neither is all the stuff that the mainstream writers are putting out. I would encourage readers to expand their horizons when it comes to writers. That really helps out writers who are good but don’t have the name recognition or distribution outlets that come from being published by a major publishing house. I think readers need to approach non-mainstream authors with an open mind. If you look at the work that is in the mainstream, it’s all pretty much the same. It’s really uninspiring in most cases. It’s written at a much lower level to appeal to a wide commercial audience. Writers outside the mainstream aren’t necessarily catering to a wide commercial audience, so you’ll find a much different style in many cases.

 

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Digger Cartwright Interview 2013 Part 2: Question 1

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Sunday, 24 February 2013
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What country would you live in if not the USA?

Despite all the political and social problems we have here in the United States of America, it’s still the greatest country in the world. We have so much more than any other country that I don’t really know if I could live anywhere else. Everything from television programming to restaurants to entertainment is just better here in America. We have just about every climate that you could possible imagine in the United States, so you can find what suits you. We still have the greatest freedoms known to man, and at night we can go to sleep knowing that we’re safe. We’re not going to wake up in the morning having been invaded by a neighbor or taken over by some other nation.

But if we’re looking at this from a theoretical perspective, I’d have to consider Grand Cayman or Martinique or the British Virgin Islands. The Caribbean is just an amazing part of the world; I love the weather and it’s like being removed from the rest of the world. It’s really a good, stress free lifestyle in the islands. Bermuda is another great place. I guess I’d also consider Switzerland or Great Britain if they weren’t so cold and what I consider miserable weather; I’m just not a fan of the climates there. Switzerland is very modern and sophisticated, and they respect your privacy. I really appreciate that. Australia is a possibility, but it’s just so far away.     

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Digger Cartwright Interview 2013: Question 10

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Tuesday, 19 February 2013
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What do you think makes a good story?

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I think the components of a good story are interesting characters and a complex plot. I like the story that keeps me engrossed in what’s going on and that keeps me thinking about the story and the characters. If there are twists and turns, all the better. Lots of details? Great. If there are secrets for the characters, that’s good too; it keeps the mind working trying to figure out what the characters are all about. And I think the good story has a unique storyline as opposed to one that has been used over and over again in other books. It’s ok if it’s a storyline that is not really original but it needs to have a unique spin on it. Let me explain what I mean by that. The classic love triangle has been done so many times that it really takes a special spin to make the story good and unique. Murder mysteries are pretty basic. Someone gets killed. There’s a list of suspects, and one of them did it. How the story presents the characters and events is really what’s important.

Readers will get to see a lot of what I think makes a good story in my own books. They usually have a pretty complicated plot. There’s going to be a lot of twists and turns, and they’ll keep you guessing until the very end. There’s going to be a lot detail. I try to paint the picture of each scene for the readers, and I do that by going into some great detail. There’s going to be a lot of character development. Strong characters with real depth make all the difference; it makes the readers feel like the characters are real people, like they can connect with them on some level. I draw sharp contrasts between my books and my writing style and my storytelling and that of other authors who don’t really go into much detail and who have pretty boring and static characters and who tell very simplistic stories.

My books aren’t for the faint at heart. You’ve got to focus and really pay attention. Some people say my books are hard to read, and I suppose there may be some truth to that when you go from reading books written at a fifth grade reading level to one that is much more advanced or at a college level. It’s not like reading Shakespeare or the classics when you read one of my books, but it is quite different from reading some of the mainstream writers of today.  

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Digger Cartwright Interview 2013: Question 9

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Saturday, 16 February 2013
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Do you buy a book by the cover?

Absolutely. There’s an old saying about first impressions being the most important. You know, you’ve got to make a good first impression because you don’t get a second chance. That is so very true when it comes to the cover of the book. Humans are very visual beings. Let’s say you’re in the bookstore walking passed shelves full of books. The first thing you see is the cover and the design. You don’t really notice the title or the author’s name first. You see the cover design. I go for the book that I think has a unique cover or the cover really stands out. You could take the same manuscript and put them side-by-side on a shelf but have one cover that is just black and white and the other that has a nice, flashy, eye-catching design and nine out of ten people are immediately going to go to the one with the nicely designed cover.

 

As an author it’s real important to have a well-designed and appealing cover. Not ever cover has to be flashy but it has to be able to grab the readers’ attention. Otherwise, they’re just going to pass right over it in favor of one that catches their eye. As an author, you’ve got one shot to make that first impression. You’ve got to have a really good cover designer, and I do believe that I have one. They’ve got to be able to incorporate some elements of the book and make it visually appealing. For Conversations on the Bench, I originally wanted the cover to just have the black and white picture of a long bench as the focal point. Well, with the test audience, that cover didn’t go over well at all, so I let the graphic designer have carte blanche with it. He came up with the cover that is on the book, and it was much more favorably received by the test audience. So, I learned a very valuable lesson about the importance of the cover design, and my vision isn’t necessarily what connects with the readers.

 

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Digger Cartwright Interview 2013: Question 8

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Thursday, 14 February 2013
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Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?

I don’t really have a set time or place when I do my writing, unlike most authors that I know or that I’ve talked to. When I feel in the mood or when I have something on my mind, I’ll write. It could be three in the morning and I’ll wake up and have something in my head that I want to get on paper, so I’ll get up and start writing. I might write for an hour or so then have to step away from it. Of course, I don’t write full time. I have my various business interests that require a good deal of my attention, and time is at a premium, so I’ve got to squeeze in some writing outside of business. I like writing late at night, that way there aren’t many interruptions. During the day, it’s real tough to carve out time from business and then find a place where I can’t be bothered for a time. So, the ‘when’ in the question is anytime of the day or night but I do prefer to write late at night into the early morning hours so there’s not many interruptions.

As for where I prefer to do my writing, I like writing in my office or at my desk or the home office. It’s a bit of a double edged sword. I like writing late at night which generally means I’m at home. Well, home isn’t necessarily the best place for getting work done. You always find something at home to sidetrack you and you’ve got too many comforts there. Sometimes, I’ll actually stay late at the office, and I’ve been known to be found asleep on the sofa in my office or in the lounge when my secretary and folks get to work in the morning. I guess they just carry on all around me, but they understand that I can keep some very strange hours.

I also really like writing while I’m riding in the car. I can’t do it if I’m driving but on longer trips when I have a driver, it gives me a chance to sit back and relax and focus. Oddly enough, Murder at the Ocean Forest was started in the back of a limo on a trip from Miami up to Orlando. I got the outline done then started writing the first chapter.

I’ve also been known to write on the train. It’s nice having your own sleeper car and some privacy so you can organize your thoughts and do a little work uninterrupted. Train travel isn’t really in style anymore, but I thoroughly enjoy it and on long hauls it gives you ample time to get some work done with few interruptions or business getting involved.

And I’ve also been known to take short trips to a bed and breakfast or a hotel to relax and do a little writing. Sometimes a change of environment can really help in the writing department. You never know when or where I’m going to show up or when a particular place where I’ve been working is going to show up in a book.

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Digger Cartwright Interview 2013: Question 4

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Tuesday, 05 February 2013
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Do you have any unique talents?

I’m not sure that I have any unique talents, but I enjoy writing and I happen to think I’m pretty good at it. When it comes to writing, I try to really paint the picture of each scene for the reader. I want the readers to be able to immerse themselves in the book and feel like they’re really there, and I want them to really feel like the characters are real people. I think I excel at painting that picture for the reader with some really good descriptions of the people and places. Other writers will tell a story but be weak on character development and we might get a once sentence description of the place. I go over the top with descriptions—characters’ mannerisms, the sights and sounds around them, what they’re wearing, colors, the other people around them. By the time I’m done, there’s not much left to the imagination regarding the characters. You get to know them in most cases and get a feel for what they’re like, what they’re thinking, what they might do, and so on.

Some people like this and some people don’t. If you’re looking for a quick read where you can paint the picture in your own mind the way you want it, my books probably aren’t for you. I’m going to tell you how I as the writer, the storyteller, envision the scene and the people. With my writing, you’ve got to have the time to commit to sitting down and immersing yourself in the book. You have to be willing to stay focused on the task at hand while you’re reading, particularly my mystery novels. A lot of the clues that I give and the keys to figuring out the mystery are very subtle, so you’ve got to pay attention. If anyone that reads any of my books says there wasn’t enough description or they didn’t feel like they connected with characters or places, they either didn’t read the book or weren’t paying attention.

I get a lot of criticism for my lengthy descriptions and attention to detail. Mainstream writers have gotten to the point where they’re writing on about a fifth grade reading level to accommodate the masses. I’ve been encouraged by a lot of folks to lighten up my books when it comes to how I develop the characters and the scenes, but I’m really very proud of my ability to use words to paint the picture for my readers. I don’t take it personally if some people find my work a couple levels above their reading comprehension or their preferred level of leisure reading, but I’m not about to change my approach and my style and basically dumb down my work to sell a couple more books. In business there’s always this great debate between quality vs. quantity. I prefer to sell a quality product, and I think I accomplish that.

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Digger Cartwright Interview 2013: Question 3

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Saturday, 02 February 2013
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What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

The most important thing readers can do to help make any of my books successful is spread the word about it. Post your thoughts about it on Facebook. Tweet about it. Get the word out there. If you’ve got the time, I’d really appreciate honest reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and wherever else you can put the word out there. Share it with people. Let your friends and family borrow the book and read it and ask them to keep passing it along. Encourage your local book clubs to read it.

There are tens of thousands of books being published as we speak by the mainstream authors, the first time authors, and every Tom, Dick, and Harry out there. Competition is really fierce, and it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of all these other authors. Readers who like my books can help by promoting my name, my brand, my books, etc. Get the word out there, familiarize other people with my name and my work, and get people interested. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising there is.   

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Digger Cartwright Interview 2013: Question 2

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Thursday, 31 January 2013
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What can we expect from you in the future?

The future holds a lot of really exciting things. My new book that is coming out in late spring is Conversations on the Bench, which is an inspirational or motivational book. Some people will find it more of one than the other, but this is a book that was inspired by actual events involving a couple of friends of mine. It was really an opportunity for me to step out of the box, step out of my comfort zone in writing and try something different. I’m so used to creating my own characters and places that it was a bit of an adjustment to write about real people and places, but I did it. I’m not sure there’s going to be another book like this, but I’ll keep that option open.

Later in 2013, I’ll be releasing Gems & Jewels Book II: The Restoration. It’s more of a drama with an element of mystery and centers around a wealthy family in the gold, diamond, and precious stones mining as well as the jewelry business. It’s sort of a modern-day Dynasty, Dallas or Falcon Crest. It’s got all the money, power, sex, greed and excess that were characteristic of those shows. It’s going to be a series, so I’m pretty excited about that.

I plan on continuing to write predominantly mystery novels. With Murder at the Ocean Forest, The Versailles Conspiracy, and The Maynwarings: A Game of Chance, I’ve got a lot of characters that I can work with and revisit for sequels or series, particularly with the latter two. I suspect there will be a couple of sequels to those. Then I’ve got a couple of interesting plans on the drawing board. I’ve got a hard-boiled detective story that I’m developing and a couple of political thrillers. I’ve got a futuristic book in the planning stages. It’s one of these what-if prognostications set about twenty years from now.

There are some really exciting storylines in the works. I just wish I had the time to write them all and get them done faster, but I’m just plugging along one manuscript at a time. One thing is for sure, I don’t plan on going away. I love what I’m doing, and I plan on continuing to write for a long time.    

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