Posts Tagged: Hard Return

One of my dearest friends is a thriller writer I met back in 2003, when I ended up selling two books to the same publisher. (We met at a local Tucson bookstore.) Michael Prescott is a brilliant thriller and suspense writer.

Oddly enough, his protagonists are usually women.

Most authors write in the Third Person, so they can jump around in other people’s heads. I do it, and so does Michael Prescott. I have never worried about portraying a male character —it seems to come easily to me —and it’s believable to the reader.

There was something liberating about writing from a male point of view, just as writing from a female point of view was liberating for my friend.

I admit to being less buttoned-up when writing a male character.

Which led to Cyril Landry.

Cyril Landry was just a walk-on part. He was a killer and had been dispatched to a house in Aspen where he was supposed to kill a celebrity. If I hadn’t given him a name, he would have been Assassin #1.

But Cyril Landry had other ideas.

Outside the house of the target, he spoke to another operator who had just gone into the house-

He waited for Jackson to report in.
“Upstairs clear.”
“How many?”
“Two. The couple. They were laying in bed.”
“Lying,” Landry said.
“What??!!”
“Lying in bed. Not laying.”
A pause. Then, “Roger that.”

Cyril Landry didn’t want to be a walk-on part. He didn’t want to be Bad Guy #1 or Operative #2.

I understand him. I don’t like everything he did, but I like him. I liked him so much I put him in three books: THE SHOP, HARD RETURN, and SPECTRE BLACK.

There’s something freeing about writing the opposite sex. I’ve had many characters that I’ve loved, but Cyril Landry takes the cake.

I love him best of all.

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Categories: Books Cyril Landry Spectre Black The Writing Life Writing

Books do one thing that television and movies can’t do:

They give you your own personal experience. Reading calls upon you to see what YOU see, and while it might be similar to the author’s intention, what you see comes from where you live, who your family is, how you see the world, the experiences you’ve had. If you lived in Greenland, you would experience a different world than a person who lives, say, in Tucson, Arizona.

I’ve never been to Greenland, so if someone describes it, I still see it my way: a vast platform of ice, populated by polar bears. Or maybe it’s taken from a TV show I saw as a child—Eskimos fishing. It comes from everything I’ve learned up to this point.

Childhood, school, the area where I live, what the people are like in my neighborhood, if I live way out on a ranch somewhere or cheek-to-jowl in a crowded city. People have mutual experiences, like school, learning to drive a car, your job. Your car might be an expensive beauty, and mine might be falling apart.

So we see everything through the prism of our own minds and experiences—and books give us the freedom to do just that.
Do you see what I see graphic
MY view of a cabin in the woods, depending on the area you or I live in, would look different from YOUR cabin in the woods. My picture of a strong female cop might be different from your idea of a strong female cop. She could be massive and strong. She could look like the cop on Criminal Minds. She could be red-haired, freckled, model-thin, with a whip-smart mind and a smart mouth to go with it. Whoever she is, she’s YOUR person. You made up your half of her.

If my character is driving on a lonesome winding highway in the middle of the night, YOU’RE driving on a road that might be like it, but it’s all your own—it’s your road. You fill in the pieces of the puzzle. That, in a nutshell, is the wonder of reading.

And because you hold the other piece of the jigsaw puzzle, I respect you and I respect what you add to the story. It takes two to tango. And I can’t help but wonder: what do YOU see?

Show me how you see it

Here are five subjects that have appeared in my books. I’m going to furnish you with a short description of each scene, and it’s up to you to fill in the blank. What does it LOOK LIKE?

Please post those pictures here on my Pinterest Page. Choose as many as you’d like. I’m really curious how you see these places and people.

1. A cabin in the woods near Aspen, Colorado—the opening scene of my thriller, The Shop.

2. A guy out in the boonies with a camper and a dog on a chain—from The Survivors Club.

3. A bombed-out house in Iraq with a secret stash of incredible riches—from Hard Return.

4. A bandshell in a western town—from Darkness on the Edge of Town.

5. A horsewoman teaching a riding class—from The Survivors Club.

I wonder how different your photos will be from other peoples’ photos, or what I saw as I wrote these scenes. I really want to know what YOU see. Go to https://www.pinterest.com/carson9648/

Categories: Books Darkness on the Edge of Town Hard Return The Shop The Survivors Club

The day has finally come—the debut of my thriller, HARD RETURN.

Some of you might have met Cyril Landry in THE SHOP (Thomas & Mercer 2011). I met him on the same night you did—the night a group of people were murdered in a pine-log McMansion in Aspen, Colorado. Cyril Landry was the faceless killer and the leader of three other faceless killers. It was a walk-on part.
HARD RETURN COVER

But on page 2, something happened. Landry touched his earpiece and asked the upstairs team how many people were in the bedroom.

The guy replied, “Two. A couple. They were laying in bed.”

“Lying,” Landry said.

“What?” (And it wasn’t just the guy upstairs asking the question. I was asking it, too.)

“Lying in bed, not laying,” Landry said.

The other guy, as nonplussed as I was, couldn’t think of a retort. Finally, he said, “Roger that.”

And a star is born.

You have to think of it from my perspective. Here I am, writing this walk-on part, and what does Generic Assassin #1 do? He decides to become real.

And Cyril Landry gets more and more real every moment he’s onstage, so, yeah, I end up giving him more and more scenes, and then the man just goes ahead and takes over half the book.

And I’m thinking: hey, this guy’s easy to write. He does all the work. So, being the lazy sort, I ultimately decided to give Landry his own book.

I did my best to stay out of his way and just watch him do his thing, and darn if we didn’t become fast friends.

So here it is, folks:

Landry’s maiden voyage with a book all his own.

— J. Carson Black, September 2014

Categories: Books Cyril Landry