There is violence in this world, but I see no need to try to put all of it between the two covers of a book or in a two-hour movie. There is evil in the world too, but I cannot picture one character in a book or a movie as the embodiment of all evil or even the most evil. People use bad language excessively, and you can make that point without having it be the theme of a novel or film. Along the same lines, sex happens but does anyone believe that it happens every day several times a day to the same person? Only to prostitutes and porn stars in my humble opinion and even in those cases it is unlikely their only waking thought and action.
My point is I read lots of good books that suddenly take a detour into a sex scene that is contrived because the author seems to believe without it, he or she can’t sell their writing.
Boxers, Mixed Martial Arts fighters are violent people but even as violent as they are they don’t approach the violence in one action novel that again seems to be gratuitous and serves little to make the story better and certainly less believable.
Serial characters that go on and on always having to be smarter and better than the next even more sinister, intelligent and purer evil villain becomes lame after awhile.
I like books with life like heroes who are in most ways normal. They don’t spend their time beating people up or even being attacked daily. I worked as a police officer and was in some memorable altercations over the years but not every day or even once a week. If you took the busy month and all 180 officers on our department combined won’t be in as many fights, shootouts, car chases, rapes or murders than your average action book or movie.
My favorite author felt the same way or maybe even more so than I do and sold millions and millions of his books while he was still alive. He died twenty-nine years ago and still sells millions of books a year. I read his books, put them up and years later go back and reread them because they are friends and the characters are as real as friends I have known. Just like old friends who have been apart for some time and then get back together they relive the same stories, and maybe you get a little something more out of the story that comes from being older and having more experience.
I want to write books like that. Louis wrote Western Novels for the most part. He lived in the West, grew up in the West, worked in the West and wrote his books about what he knew. It had a feel to it that anyone who ever spent any time in the west at all could relate to, an authenticity to his writing gained from experience and being there in some case from having done that first hand. Louis had done hard rock mining, and placer mining as well as work on a farm and a ranch. His life experience even as a boxer found its way into his writing.
Even in the Old West Louis’ studies lead him to know that the Lincoln County War, the Shootout at the OK Coral and even the Dalton Raid on Coffeyville were rare occurrences, so the troubles his characters were placed in were couched as rare not normal even for his serial characters. In the book Flint, the lead character is involved in a shootout in the first pages of the book then leads a life with little violence as any other normal person for years until circumstances changed and created another violent episode. Flint was not average, but he was made to be not so above average as to become far fetched. His background and education as recorded in the novel had made him believable.
I wrote Escape from Playa Del Carmen about what I knew. I have been there and even conceived the idea for the book there a part of an overactive imagination and a little left over paranoia and the next thing you know you are writing a story. Over time the story becomes a book, and that book fills with what I know, the people experiences, and places I know.
I have know, violence, evil, criminals, prostitutes, bikers, bad cops, and good ones. I sat down and had conversations with a serial killer not knowing he was one until later. I have been in Mexico, New Mexico, Texas and elsewhere in the Southwest but mostly I lived in Alaska. I flew my own plane, had more than one boat and been on many rivers, lakes, and bays over the years. I have hunted and guided hunts, fished for sport and commercial fished. I was a policeman, crime scene investigator and a detective for the City of Anchorage, so all of that is part of my second book, Getting Home. That story occurs around Anchorage’s most familiar landmark Mt. Susitna or better known as Sleeping Lady.
I wrote both stories trying to keep it real. The books are about the struggle to survive against the odds as an ordinary person with a believable acquired skill set. There are some sexual tensions so to speak, and reference to bad language without going there. Bad guys are that, bad guys, not super villains not any smarter, or dumber than the criminals I knew both on and off the police force. I like a little humor too, so there is some of that.
I don’t believe for a minute that I have been able to write a book at the level that Louis L’Amour did at his peak but since I have had his and others to learn from I think it may be better than his first attempts at writing a novel. Since he threw many of those away, it is hard to say. He wrote under other names too when he started, and they were not so good as the ones he wrote later.
I continue my quest for an agent and continue to try and craft a better story while I wait for replies from agents I have sent queries. I have a list of people who have requested a copy or to be notified when it is published. If you would like to be on that list, you can send me an email to Rick@RickSteeby.com .
For reference about Louis L’Amour you can start with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_L’Amour .
Hope everyone has a wonderful, joyous 2017.
Carol Burnett used to close all her shows with a pull on her ear that was to let her mother know she was thinking of her. I can’t pull my ear where you can see it, but I am thinking of you.