William Fitzhugh interview with David Alan Binder

posted May 29, 2016, 8:00 AM by David Alan Binder   [ updated Jun 1, 2016, 6:15 AM ]

William Fitzhugh interview with David Alan Binder

 Bio from Amazon:  Bill Fitzhugh writes satiric crime novels, the occasional comic mystery, and for five years, wrote, produced and hosted "Fitzhugh's All Hand Mixed Vinyl" for the Deep Tracks channel of Sirius-XM Satellite Radio.

 Two of his novels, Pest Control and Cross Dressing have been in development at Warner Brothers and Universal Studios respectively for nearly a decade. Imagine how good they'll be when they're done. Cross Dressing was nominated for the Barry Award as well as the Salt Lake County Library System's Reader's Choice Award and it won the 2002 Best Fiction award from the Mississippi Library Association.

 Pest Control was one of Amazon's Top 50 Mysteries in 1997.

 The Organ Grinders, which the Washington Post Book Review called, 'A laugh out loud read [and] an awe-inspiring feat' is a tender exploration of the feasibility and genetic implications of human gonad transplants, among other things. As Booklist pointed out, 'It's not easy walking the tightrope between medical thrillers a la Crichton and absurdist black comedy in the Hiaasen mold, but Fitzhugh manages it smoothly.'

 One of Bill's proudest moments was when the brilliant and hysterically funny Molly Ivins wrote in one of her columns, 'Bill Fitzhugh is a seriously funny guy...The Organ Grinders is hilarious, but it can also make you gasp with horror... and the humor is completely off-the-wall.'

 Reviewing his award winning novel, Fender Benders, The New York Times said, 'Fitzhugh is a strange and deadly amalgam of screenwriter and comic novelist and his facility and wit, and his taste for the perverse, put him in a league with Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard.' Fender Benders won The Lefty Award for best humorous novel of 2001. Kinky Friedman himself said Fender Benders is 'Wickedly, irredeemable funny [and] wise beyond words and music. Fitzhugh has nailed the truest depiction of Nashville since Hank went to Jesus."

 Fitzhugh's fifth novel was the political satire, Heart Seizure. Former Texas governor Ann Richards said 'Fitzhugh can spin a story and skewer a politician better than just about anyone I know.' As if that wasn't enough, the good folks at the Sunday Oklahoman called it, 'A wickedly outrageous satire that takes on the federal government, the media, and today's health care system with precise and scathing wit.'

 Radio Activity, the first of a comic mystery series featuring classic rock deejay Rick Shannon, was published in April 2004. Jill Conner Browne, the Boss Sweet Potato Queen said, 'Bill Fitzhugh is the only mystery writer I ever really loved.'

 The second novel in this series, Highway 61 Resurfaced, was published in April 2005. Unable to control himself after reading it, Carl Hiaasen said, 'Bill Fitzhugh is a deeply disturbed individual who uses his warped talents to write very funny novels, the latest being Highway 61 Resurfaced. You will seriously dig this book if you like classic rock, Southern blues, clever mysteries and cats with loathsome sinus infections.'

 The Exterminators, the long-awaited sequel to Pest Control was published by Poisoned Pen Press in 2012, along with a reissue of Pest Control. Carl Hiaasen calls it "Wild and clever fun."

 Fitzhugh, whose books have been translated into German, Japanese, and Italian, Spanish, and Romanian lives in Los Angeles with his wife, various animals, and his record collection.

 Website:      http://billfitzhugh.com/

 Amazon:     http://www.amazon.com/Bill-Fitzhugh/e/B000APR80A

 Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/44253.Bill_Fitzhugh

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


2.    Where are you currently living?

Los Angeles.

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

Being an experienced writer doesn’t necessarily make the writing easier.

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

Both have pros and cons.  Pros on self-publishing include receiving a higher royalty rate.  Cons include having to pay for or do all the work that a publisher would do in return for a cut of your royalties.  I haven’t yet self-published but I am considering it to see how it works out.

a.    Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?

In the US, I have been published by HarperCollins, Wm. Morrow, Avon, Spike, Center Street Books, and Poisoned Pen Press; outside the US: Random UK, Takuma Shoten (Japan), and publishers in Spain and Germany.

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

In the nearly 20 years I’ve been a published writer, the publishing world has changed enormously.  EBooks are a godsend to writers whose work (pre e-books) would otherwise be out-of-print.  Now?  No one ever has to let their work be unavailable.  The same is true regarding conventional pub vs. alternative publishing.  NOW there are many worthwhile alternative outlets whereas in the past… not so much.

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

No secrets.  Just write the best book you can and take it to the market and hope for the best.  Sometimes good books are ignored.  Sometimes bad books become best sellers.  Nothing you can do about that.

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


I sent query letters to 127 agents before I secured representation.  Some of the 127 were the wrong ‘type’ of agent, e.g., they represented only romance writers or literary writers.  You have to be tenacious.  When I hear writers complain about the five rejection letters they’ve received I don’t have a lot of sympathy.

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

There really are no secrets.  You have to write a book that other people LOVE.  If anyone knew how to tell you how to do it, they’d write that book, make a fortune, and we’d have so many great books to read we wouldn’t have time to read them all.

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

Don’t have an answer for that.

11.   How many books have you written?

10 novels.  9 published, one waiting to be published.  Also several short stories, TV scripts, film scripts, and radio shows.

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)?

There are no secrets (or if there are, no one has shared them with me).  Read great writers, read popular writers, write for years and years in many different forms (short stories, TV and film scripts, radio shows, plays).  Pay attention to how people really speak.

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

I don’t know of any formulas.  You just need to figure out when, where, and how in your story a twist would work.

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

Generally speaking, there has to be something unique.  It could be the writing itself is so original that it makes a form of genre writing seem new.  It could be a fascinating character no one has seen before.  It could be a world the writer invents that is new to everyone.

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

When I started, I had the PR people at a major publishing house sending out review copies and arranging interviews, etc.  So the books (and their author, me) would be featured in magazines and newspapers.  I would also travel to all the bookstores I could get to (or that I was sent to by my publisher) to do signings and readings.  With the advent of the internet, I set up a website. With the advent of ‘social media’ I do Facebook stuff.  I tweeted for about a minute before deciding it was a bad use of my time.  The Internet is a good news / bad news thing.  Good news is that you can tell the whole world about your novel/film/record/tv show, whatever.  The bad news is that so can everybody else and they are so there is an enormous amount of ‘noise’ that is virtually impossible to rise above.

16. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?

If I could go back and release my 3rd and 4th books as my 2nd and 3rd, and move my 2nd book to my 5th… I think that would have been better.

17.   What saying or mantra do you live by?

I didn’t know I was supposed to have one…


P.S.  For this interview and any other; no saying or mantra is required.  I am just curious to the method behind the madness, the  inner belief or what drives or motivates you.

 Donations are appreciated.  You may be the only one that gives.

(Just think of me as the poor man’s PBS or NPR, LOL!)

Please contact me at dalanbinder at gmail dot com or ab3ring at juno dot com

If you a published author or in a band with or without a book or an up and coming celebrity and want to garner following or get your message out there then  I’d like to interview you and feature you and your book(s) or message on this web site in one of my blogs.

Of course, I’m always looking for authors to interview.  If you know of one, send them to me, please.

Write Coach service (Donations accepted) - Contact me at dalanbinder at gmail dot com or ab3ring at juno dot com