Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Interview with mystery author S.A. Cosby

Novelist S.A. Cosby sits in the hot seat today to talk with me a bit about his new rural noir, My Darkest Prayer.

During his virtual book tour, S.A. will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too.

S.A. Cosby is a writer whose work has been published in numerous magazine and anthologies. His story "Slant-Six" received an honorable mention in Best Mystery Stories of 2016. His life experiences include being a retail manager, a bouncer, a forklift driver, a landscaper, a roadie, a construction worker, a mortuary attendant, and he once wore a cow suit when he worked for Chik Fil-A. He majored in English at Christopher Newport University and now lives in Gloucester, Virginia.

Please share a little bit about your current release.
My Darkest Prayer is a rural crime novel inspired by both my childhood growing up in small town Virginia and my current position as an assistant at a family run funeral home. It tells the story of Nathan Waymaker a biracial man who after resigning from the Sheriff’s department finds himself working for his cousin at a local funeral home. Since joining the staff of the funeral home Nathan has taken several side jobs as a troubleshooting unlicensed private investigator. He does this partly for extra money and partly as a way to atone for a past misdeed that cast a shadow over his life. As the novel opens Nathan is hired by the congregation of a local church to investigate the death of their minister. Soon Nathan finds himself in the midst of a maelstrom of sex, violence, and murder.

What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to write a noir novel set in a world i was intimately familiar with while telling the story from the point of view of a character not often represented in crime fiction. I am also a true crime addict and so unsolved cases of murder in my hometown and the surrounding areas provided a template for the mystery that is central to the novel.

Excerpt from My Darkest Prayer:
I handle the bodies.

That's what I say when people ask me what I do for a living. I find that gets one of two responses. They drift away to the other side of the room and give me a sideways glance the rest of the night or they let out a nervous laugh and move the conversation in another, less macabre direction. I could always say I work at a funeral home, but where's the fun in that?

Every once in a while when I was in the Corps someone would seem me at Starbucks or that modern day Mecca Wal-Mart wearing my utility uniform. They would walk up to me and say, “Thank you for your service.” I'd mumble something like “No, thank you for your support” or some other pithy rejoinder, and they would wander away with a nice satisfied look on their faces. Sometimes what I wanted to say was, “I took care of the bodies. The bodies with the legs blown off or the hands shredded. The bodies full of ball bearings and nails and whatever some kid could find to build his IED. I loaded the bodies up and dragged them back to the base, then went back out on another patrol and prayed to a God that seemed to be only half-listening that today wasn't the day that someone would have to take care of my body.”

But I don't think that would have given them the same warm and fuzzy feeling

What exciting story are you working on next?
Currently I am in the final stages of editing a Southern heist novel that will incorporate some characters from a short story I wrote in 2015 called “Slant-Six.” I am also hard at work on completing the first draft of a revenge thriller about two fathers, both ex-cons but at vastly different places in their lives who join forces to seek justice for their sons who were killed in an apparent hate crime for their sexuality.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I didn’t really think of myself as a writer until I got my first paycheck for a short story I wrote. I know that’s not the way a lot people see it but I’m a lapsed Southern Baptist and i think i retain some of that puritanical belief in the value of work being articulated by how much compensation you receive for said work...

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?
As I said my day job is as a funeral home assistant. So my time is often limited but I hold myself a strict schedule of writing five days out of every seven. The five days do not have to be sequential but I try to write something five days a week. Because of the unpredictable nature of my job I can find myself writing at 2 A.M. in the morning or six o’clock at night. I don’t have a real office so i just lock myself in my bedroom put in my earbuds crank up some rock or hip-hop and write for at least two hours.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
(Laughs) Well I think one of my strangest quirks that irritates the people in my life is that i often act out fight scenes. I believe in making violence as realistic as possible. i used to be a bouncer and I try to recreate the chaotic nature of physical violence in my work while keeping it realistic. Most people who get into a fist fight are not trained in combat so it can be a whirlwhind of pushing and shoving. So if someone were to peek in my window when I’m writing a fight scene they would probably see me jumping and spinning to make sure i get the physics right.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A private eye or Indiana Jones. Or both.

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a great read.

Victoria Alexander said...

Great interview, I enjoyed reading it!

Bernie Wallace said...

Are any of the people in the book based on real people? I hope your book is a success. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

Caryl Kane said...

Thank for the interview and hosting!

Danielle merkle said...

Sounds like a great read!