Wayne Zurl interview with David Alan Binder

Post date: May 27, 2016 12:58:29 PM

Wayne Zurl interview with David Alan Binder

Short Bio: Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators. He is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. Zurl left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara.

Twenty-seven (27) of his Sam Jenkins novelette mysteries have been published as eBooks and many produced as audio books.


Two new novels, A TOUCH OF MORNING CALM and A CAN OF WORMS are scheduled for release in 2016. A third, HONOR AMONG THIEVES, is on tap for 2017.

Zurl has won Eric Hoffer and Indie Book Awards, and was named a finalist for a Montaigne Medal and First Horizon Book Award. He is an active member of the International Thriller Writers and a member of the Author’s Guild of Tennessee.

For more information on Wayne’s Sam Jenkins mystery series see www.waynezurlbooks.net. You may read excerpts, reviews and endorsements, interviews, coming events, and see photos of the area where the stories take place.

Author website: http://www.waynezurlbooks.net

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/#!/waynezurl

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/waynezurl

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4158372.Wayne_Zurl

Google &: https://plus.google.com/109594006376039428353#109594006376039428353/posts

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/waynezurl

B&N author page: http://barnesandnoble.com/s/wayne-zurl

Mind Wings Audio author page: http://mindwingsaudio.com/?s=wayne+zurl

Independent Author Network page: http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/wayne-zurl.html

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=60199552&authType=NAME_SEARCH&authToken=OYLl&locale=en_US&srchid=601995521424537768097&srchindex=1&srchtotal=1&trk=vsrp_people_res_name&trkInfo=VSRPsearchId%3A601995521424537768097%2CVSRPtargetId%3A60199552%2CVSRPcmpt%3Aprimary.

1. How do you pronounce your name (only answer if appropriate)?

Zurl is only four letters, but it seems to cause many people a problem. It sounds like curl, but with a Z.

2. Where are you currently?

My wife and I live in the foothills of the Great Smoky mountains of East Tennessee, not far from the fictional city of Prospect where all my stories take place.

3. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far? …..

I’m sorry to say this, but I’ve seen much evidence (and have had this confirmed by a few other veteran writers) that in the publishing business, you don’t have to be good; you only have to be marketable.

4. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, or editing quirk? …..

I still write out all my manuscripts longhand on a legal-sized lined pad. After I get what I think is a finished draft, I use a red pen and make corrections or additions. Then, because few people on earth can read my writing, I type them onto a Word document.

5. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?.....

Originally, I was told by a few traditionally published authors that no writer should self-publish if they ever hoped to be taken on at a later date by a credible publishing house. So, I refrained from going into self-publishing. Ten years later and several successful writer friends who have self-published later, I believe this former maxim is no longer true. Still, I’m pleased with my current publisher. They provide top notch support, talented cover artists and a great editor.

a. What is the name of your publisher and in what city are they? Melange Books, LLC, from a place I’d like to go fishing: White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

6. Any insights on eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing? …..

Based on my royalty statements, I see that eBooks far outsell hardcopies, and they both outsell audio books. I’m old-fashioned. I still like a REAL book in my hand and will continue to purchase hardcopies. If a new writer is attempting to get published and an eBook house is the only interested taker, go for it. You can always get into POD (print on demand) hardcopies for the traditional book signings you attend or for your family members and the old fogies like me who want them.

7. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published? ....

One biggie: NEVER give up. If you can’t get an agent to represent you, seek out all the traditional or alternative publishers who will accept submissions directly from a writer. Make your query letters a masterpiece. They’re the first thing a potential partner who has never met you sees. Make good use of the halo effect. Make anything you submit to an agent or publisher as close to perfect and you can get. That means one or more sets of good eyes has to proofread it. YOU CAN NOT DO IT ALL YOURSELF. Or go the self-publishing route, but always strive to give your readers flawless copy.

8. How did you or would you suggest acquiring an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one? …..

I still think utilizing an agent is the best way to get into publishing; however, hooking a hardworking, legitimate one ain’t easy. 99% of the agents I queried rejected my idea without ever reading one page of my novel. Most do no more than scribble a quick note on the bottom of your query letter and return it or they send back a preprinted card stating, in essence, “Sorry not for me/us.” One agent was kind enough to state his reason for rejecting me. He said, “Your main character is a retired New York detective who takes a job as a police chief in rural Appalachia. That’s just not trendy. I like the story idea and how you write. Why don’t you keep the storyline, but change your protagonist to a young vampire private eye from Orange County [California] and maybe we can do something.” I hated to act like a prima donna and reject his thoughts on my subjective artistic grounds, but after that, I gave up on agents.

9. Do you have any suggestions or help for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)? …..

The best practical advice about writing I’ve seen came from an interview with Robert B. Parker. When asked why so many people like his stories, he said, “Because they sound good.”

From writing so many novelettes destined for audio books, I know what he means. But even if you have no intention to produce your book in audio form, you owe it to your readers to make your stories sound good. It doesn’t matter if you’ve adhered to all the rules of good grammar and usage and all the maxims of structure if your writing doesn’t sound good when read.

When you think your story, novelette, novella, novel, or epic is finished, when you truly believe you’ve found and corrected all the typos and nits and it’s ready to sell, go back and read it aloud to yourself. Pretend you’re the star of your own audio book. Read it slowly and professionally as an actor would. Then, ask yourself, does it sound good? Do all the paragraphs smoothly transcend to the next? Does each sentence contain the right number of syllables? Does each word flow into the next without conflict? Does it have a pleasing rhythm? Basically, does it sing to you? For a guy who can’t dance very well, I have a great need for rhythm in my writing. If you notice any “bumps,” go back and rewrite it. Smooth everything out. If something bothers you now, it will annoy the dickens out of you in the future and someone else will probably notice it, too. When that’s finished, hand it off to an editor or proofreader, whomever you can afford, and get a second pair of eyes to read it. EVERYONE needs someone else to check their work.

10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating? …..

How good it feels when I receive a totally finalized hardcopy of what I’ve written in my hands. I’m not an emotional guy, but holding my creation gives me a good feeling.

11. How many books have you written? …..

Seven full length novels have been published or are under contract for release in the near future. Also, twenty-seven novelettes and a few short stories have been published.

12. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)? SEE QUESTION 9

13. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?

Always throw a monkey wrench at your protagonist. If a solution to a mystery is easy or apparent, the readers will hate you. Never let your protagonist be perfect. Have him/her make mistakes, even stupid ones. They cause your readers to grit their teeth and say, “Oh, [fill in the name of your hero/heroine] you know better.” Remember when James Bond books were more popular than the movies? Bond got captured so many times he qualified for frequent hostage points. He was the premier secret agent, but made lots of mistakes. They create tension and conflict. Readers love it.

14. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

Lots of people can write a good story—even good police fiction. After twenty years as a cop, I can add the authenticity a civilian can’t. And I don’t care how many “police academies for writers” you attend. You don’t know the job or the cops unless you lived the life.

15. What are some ways in which you promote your work? …..

In addition to all the social/electronic media things like Twitter and Facebook, I’ve had some good luck with virtual book tours and, my favorite, traditional “sit down and smile for the people” book signings.

16. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why? …..Here’s something else I hate to say, but it’s very true. In New York police terminology: Have a rabbi. That’s got nothing to do with being Jewish. To a cop, a “rabbi” is someone with inside horsepower who might do you a favor. In publishing, it helps greatly if you know someone with clout.

17. What saying or mantra do you live by? …..

I like something said by Edward Gibbon back in the 18th century, “I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I have no respect.”

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