Thriller author Craig A. Hart is chatting with me today about his novel, Serenity. It’s the first in a new series.
Craig A. Hart is the stay-at-home father of twin boys, a writer, and editor. He served as editor-in-chief for The Rusty Nail literary magazine and as manager for Sweatshoppe Media. He also served as director for Northern Illinois Radio Information Service, an outreach that brought daily news and information to the visually impaired.
Besides the Shelby Alexander Thriller Series, Craig is the author of Becoming Moon, The Writer's Tune-Up Manual, The Busy Writer, and The Girl Who Read Hemingway.
Craig lives in Iowa City, Iowa with his wife, sons, and two cats.
Welcome, Craig. Please tell us about your current release.
Serenity, the first book in the Shelby Alexander Thriller Series, stars an aging ex-boxer and retired fixer whose activities flirt with the wrong side of the law. Shelby moved to Serenity, his boyhood hometown, looking for a slower pace of life. But trouble follows men like Shelby, and he finds himself embroiled in an underworld of drugs and violence that may prove to be his undoing.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve always loved fast-paced action books, but I also have a literary background. I wanted to write a series that married the thrills of an action series with some of the things I love about literary fiction: characterization, strong relationships, etc.
Additionally, I grew up in Michigan, and love the state. Although I don’t live there currently, it always surprises me how many of my writings are set there. So I when I began making plans to launch this new series of thrillers, naturally I wanted them to be set in my home state.
What exciting story are you working on next?
It’s full speed ahead with the series! Book two, Serenity Stalked, launches in February 2017, and book three is scheduled for April 2017. In Serenity Stalked, a killer with a trail of dead bodies has come to Serenity seeking to slake his thirst for death. As the first unspeakable murder shocks the sleepy Michigan town and the local media demands answers, the sheriff targets Shelby Alexander, whose only crime is being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now Shelby must move quickly to clear his name, even as the killer closes in on his next victim…and this time it might hit Shelby a little closer to home.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve been writing since I was fourteen or fifteen, but I don’t think I assumed the identity of “writer” until I was twenty. That was when I began to try and make it professionally.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don’t write full-time. My full-time job is stay-at-home dad to two-year-old twins, so my work day is full of diapers, spilled milk, and all the other fun stuff that goes with toddlers. I try to write during naps and after they go to bed, or when I can get a babysitter to come in for a few hours. Prior to kids, I was full-time in the writing and publishing business, so having the vast majority of my time suddenly disappear was shocking. It took some adjusting, but I figured out strategies to help me continue production. I talk about this process in my book, The Busy Writer: Finding the Time and Inspiration to Write.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hmmm…I wish I had something fascinating and weird, like “I always write with one hand tied behind my back,” but that would be a silly lie. One thing I do sometimes is write on a manual typewriter, especially if I’m feeling blocked. Something about the nostalgia of the machine will often provide a surge of creativity and get me over the hump.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
At a really young age, I went through the normal stuff: detective, soldier, fireman. At a slightly older age I wanted to become a pianist. And I did, for a while, until I had to undergo carpal tunnel surgery. That put an end to those dreams. From then on, it was writing all the way.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thanks for being readers! I don’t think a lot of readers truly understand how much they mean to writers. I, for one, love readers and hope they know that—I guess now they do!
Thanks, Craig. Happy writing!