Hi, today I am bringing you an interview with author, Indy Perro. I was lucky to read his book last year and enjoyed it, and I could not say no when Blackthorn Book Tours offered me the chance to do an interview! Keep reading for the interview along with more information about Indy and where to get his book!
What is the most difficult part of your writing process?
The most difficult part of the process is doing good work on a bad day. We all have days when we don’t feel like writing. Often enough, I’d rather read. Beyond that, I need to enjoy the writing process in order for my reader to enjoy the finished product. In other words, I need to not only write on days when I don’t want to, but I also need to enjoy writing when I’d rather run in the mountains or read in my armchair. I’m well aware that this is a silly thing to complain about.
How long have you been writing or when did you start?
I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. I spent most of my youth either in the gym or the library, and during the cold, Midwestern winters of my youth, the library had longer hours than the gym.
What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?
Writers need to go their own way. Whatever you do, don’t listen to me.
What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?
To my way of thinking, fiction needs to strive toward a unified goal, a coherent and cohesive totality. Each word, phrase, and sentence needs to develop toward that totality.
What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?
For me, the plot comes first because I’m writing about ideas and using the ideas to shape the narrative. What happens, then, is an outcome of what’s at stake in the ideas, and the characters are a manifestation of their responses to stimuli. I develop my characters according to the needs of the story, not the other way around.
This certainly isn’t the only or even the most common way to craft fiction, but it’s my way. Ideas drive my stories because they’re important to me. When I read, however, I don’t necessarily seek out this type of writing, but my favorite authors often align with my style or are a variation thereof. I do, nonetheless, enjoy Richard Russo, an excellent example of the opposite approach.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
I wanted to blur the lines between good and evil, kind and corrupt. Developing two protagonists with different goals, I was able to come at the core ideas of the novel through contradiction, which, to me, creates an interesting and volatile story.
Mysteries naturally contain an idea at their center: if the detective could only see the situation in its totality, they would find the solution. That’s what drew me to this type of story. One thing that drives me crazy, however, is the bland sense of right and wrong so often perpetuated in police procedurals. In reality, at least in my experience, no criminal believes they’re a villain. They rationalize their behavior like the rest of us, like the police who make decisions about where protection begins and civil liberties end. We slowly become the people we’re going to become, one choice at a time. Often, we don’t realize who we are until we see ourselves in the reactions of another, the criminal in the cop’s eyes or the law that restricts liberty.
Journeyman is a continuation of the situation I began in Central City, but the ideas at the heart of the second novel are quite different. Where Central City looked at the forces in our past that make us who we are, Journeyman examines how the choices we make, even when we don’t realize we’re making them, shape our options.
When did you first call yourself a writer?
I try to let others call me names, and I’ve found many willing enough.
How do you use social media as an author?
Sparingly. Social media can be a great way to let people know you exist and to connect with and cultivate fans you already have. As an author, however, you can’t convey complex ideas on social media. Readers don’t come to the medium with the time and patience to sit with an idea. They’re there to be on social media, but good writing requires time and patience. In other words, social media undermines and distracts from the activity of reading.
What has been your favorite part of writing?
It’s a wonderful opportunity to think through my fingers every day and to connect with other people. I love meeting and engaging people who are interested in art, culture, and ideas.
Do you have a favorite book/genre to read?
Too many to count. I love Elmore Leonard because he set the standard for the type of fiction that most interests me: intelligent, popular fiction that blends genres. He wrote wonderful westerns, brilliant contemporary noir, and thoughtful, literary works that entertained while giving the reader questions about contemporary society, all of which allowed readers to engage ideas or simply enjoy the stories.
Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and James M. Cain, the usual suspects, provided archetypes and created stylistic expectations for hard-boiled fiction, and George V. Higgins wrote some of the best dialogue of any crime novelist. Frederic Brown, Dorothy B. Hughes, and Jim Thompson, just to name a few, engaged existential issues posed by postmodern society, and I love the atmospheres they worked to create. Chester Himes and Jean-Patrick Manchette, different as they were to one another, wrote such immediate novels. Their prose leaps off the page and demands attention.
Cormac McCarthy, I feel, contributed more to American literature in the second half of the twentieth century than any other single author. He understood, interpreted, and captured trends and shifts that marbled our society. In hindsight, we can see how the fractured traditions and the evocation of chaos through ubiquitous commercialization left so many feeling alienated, a situation that plays perpetually across today’s news. McCarthy wasn’t the only writer or intellectual to see this in the wake of 1968, but he fictionalized it in a Southern Gothic and Western context, both classic American genres that, as American culture yielded to academic forces, he gave a fresh pint or two of blood.
I love this question and love thinking about writers and art, and I regularly post about the authors and art that have influenced me at https://indyperro.com. Please visit me there and feel free to connect and comment.
What would you want someone to know about your writing?
I’d like people to know that I write for them. Readers are intelligent, and they desire well written, complex, and thought-provoking stories. I respect that, and I’m doing my best to write stories worth reading.
Have you ever written anything that is outside your comfort zone?
I find most interviews outside my comfort zone. Writing a story has, for me, a clearer and more intrinsic purpose.
About The Author
Indy Perro is a novelist, an independent thinker, and a recovering academic. Indy has a degree in history, graduate degrees in religious studies, comparative literature, and education, and has spent more than a decade teaching philosophy, religious studies, writing, and literature. You can usually find him on Twitter @IndyPerro and Facebook @authorindyperro or at https://indyperro.com. Visit Central City, the setting for his novels, at https://centralcitybooks.com.
Kane Kulpa learned which laws could be bent and which broken after a short stint in prison courtesy of Detective Vincent Bayonne. Bound by time, integrity, and the reality of life in Central City, Bayonne and Kane made peace with the past. Now, gang tension spirals from corrupt to deadly, and a series of murders stresses Kane and Bayonne’s uneasy alliance. Kane balances on a razor’s edge to protect his bar, power, life, and family, and Bayonne hustles to keep another lonely man from being strangled.
Central City is a city struggling for identity. The cops protect the rackets, and the criminals shelter the injured. Innocence is only an appearance, and rage finds a voice.
After the events of Central City, Kane Kulpa struggles to consolidate power in the underworld, and Detective Vincent Bayonne investigates the death of the mayor’s son. The mayor’s justice and Bayonne’s goals appear to coincide, but in Central City, nothing’s as simple as it seems. To keep the city from falling into chaos, Kane must acknowledge the truth about himself and Bayonne must support Kane, even as he struggles to accept the men he and Kane have become.
Once again, a huge thank you to Indy for the interview and make sure you check out his books!