Author Interview: Austin Camacho's mystery thriller books.
Austin S. Camacho is the author of five novels in the Hannibal Jones Mystery Series and two in the Stark and O’Brien adventure series. His short stories have been featured in four anthologies from Wolfmont Press and two others, and he is featured in the Edgar nominated African American Mystery Writers: A Historical and Thematic Study by Frankie Y. Bailey.
Today he handles media relations and writes articles for military newspapers and magazines. He also teaches writing classes at Anne Arundel Community College. He is an active member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, American Independent Writers, the Maryland Writers Association and the Virginia Writers Club where he currently serves as first vice president.
After thirteen years as a soldier, Austin continued writing military news for the Defense Department as a civilian, frequently serving as on air anchor for the American Forces Information Service. Today he does public affairs work for the DoD agency charged with guarding the health of service members when they are deployed. He has settled in northern Virginia with his wife Denise.
Would you like to introduce yourself to readers?
Some people think I’m a media relations specialist for the Defense Department, but inside I’m a philosopher and a teller of morality tales thinly disguised as mysteries or adventure stories. I’m also a husband and father, a flirt and a loudmouth, with a big heart and an even bigger ego. And I’m a partner in a newly launched small press.
What is your current or most recent project?
My most recent book is The Piranha Assignment, an international thriller featuring ex-mercenary Morgan Stark and his partner, retired jewel thief Felicity O’Brien.
But my most recent project is either establishing Intrigue Publishing or planning the Creatures, Crimes and Creativity conference.
What are you planning to write next?
My next novel, The Ice Woman Assignment, will pit my private security partners Stark & O’Brien against a Colombian drug cartel.
How did you begin taking your writing seriously? What triggered your interest?
You mean, why do I write? Why do flies fly? Why do bees be? Why does smokestack? I write because if I didn’t I’d die. I’ve been a reader of mystery and adventure since I was tiny, so I write what I love to read. And unlike ruling a small country, as a writer my only responsibility is to be true to myself.
I remember reading a mystery novel and realizing about a third of the way through that I knew everything that was going to happen in the rest of the book. I thought to myself, “I can do better than this!” So I decided to take the dare and try it. I soon found that writing fiction is addictive.
How do you think the publishing industry will have changed in ten years time?
By 2022 both the current major publishers and Barnes & Noble will be gone. Books (paper, audio and electronic) will be produced by a larger number of small presses and self publishers. Books will reach readers through privately-owned specialty bookstores, Amazon.com and a couple of on-line competitors.
Are you a member of a writers group? Have you attended writing courses or seminars? Have these been helpful to you?
My fictional heroes follow my personal philosophy which I suppose could be summed up as: Do something. Inaction is the enemy. I believe that all problems can be solved by doing something. Even doing the wrong thing will eventually lead you to the right thing. If you wait until you have the training, the skill, the resources, enough money, enough time, or worst of all, wait for inspiration or a sign that the time is right, you will never accomplish anything. So my philosophy is simple. Don’t know where to begin?
Start where you are.
Don’t have the resources?
Use what you’ve got.
Not sure you can do what’s needed?
Do what you can.
Is there a particular novel which you've re-read again and again?
Raymond Chandler’s Lady in the Lake. His prose is like poetry, the characters alive and the story is a primer of what a detective novel is all about.
What's the most useful 'how to' advice you've encountered?
It’s all in two books: On Writing by Stephen King and On a Lifetime of Writing by David Morrell. Between them, they know all there is to know about writing fiction.
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Picture an apocalyptic scenario. To survive, you've got to leave behind everything but what you can carry. What do you put in your backpack?
The backpack is for food, water, duct tape, medical supplies, a survival guide book, and a pen & paper so I could record my heroic adventure. Now, my pockets… that’s where I’d have matches, a good knife and a loaded 9mm.
Name a favourite place, a favourite piece of music, and a favourite film.
The place: St. Martins.
The music: You’re all I need to Get By (Marvin Gaye & Tammy Terrell).
The film: Die Hard (the real first good Batman movie. Think about it).
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