Today I am over at The Blood Red Pencil with some writing tips from the comic strips. Come on over and join the fun, but first say hello to mystery author, J.H. Bogran, today’s Wednesday Guest at It’s Not All Gravy. He’s here today as part of his blog tour to celebrate the release of his latest story, The Assassin’s Mistress
Welcome to this little corner of cyberspace, Jose. Please tell folks a bit about yourself and what you write.
I’m J. H. Bográn, well, José for friends. I was born, and still live, in Honduras; a five-star country right in the center of the American continent. I grew up reading Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle among others. Then the works of Clive Cussler, Ken Follett, Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum and many other consummate professionals made be believe writing would be easy. Yeah, right. Anyway, it was too late to go back since I found the love talking—and paying attention—to my muse. My preferred genres are suspense and thrillers; however, I can’t help myself and always tinge my stories with a measure of romance.
1. If you could go back in time, what one thing would you change about yourself?
“If I could turn back time, if I could find a way, I’d take back those words that hurt you, and you’d stay.” I know it’s a song performed by Cher. The tune stuck in my head since I read the question so now I just passed the curse to you. Ha!
Although I feel sorry for some of the mistakes I’ve made, I think I’ve learned from every single one of them. Yes, I’d like to go back and correct a few things, but I’m afraid those decisions would affect me and then I’d be someone entirely different and I guess I would still have regrets—albeit different ones—but regrets nonetheless. So, you know what? I just realized this is a trick question!
For the sake of argument, I’d go back and work harder to improve my school grades.
2. What was the first thing you ever had published?
The very first was a lame poetry dedicated to mothers for a newspaper contest. I was around eight years old at the time. At least I think the stuff was lame now, however, it won the third place. Go figure! My prize consisted of gifts from the sponsors, including a couple of 45 rpm vinyl records. Now go do the math on my age! : – )
3. What is the most unusual or interesting research you have done for your books?
I just came from a visit to The Big Easy. A cousin of mine lives in New Orleans, and he arranged a grand tour of the city, the night life, the wild life (I mean the swamps, of course). It was the first time I willingly walked into a police station to search for a cop. I met with the Sergeant in charge of the homicide division. With the help of some contacts, I was let in to a guided tour of the city morgue. Yes, this new novel has plenty of dead bodies.
4. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I’d love to go backpacking through Europe. Why? Well, like most people, I have my bucket list.
5. What is the hardest thing about writing?
Besides finding an agent and publisher? The initial rejection letters. They are form letters, but they hurt like hell. When I was starting, as a naïve and insecure amateur, I invariably tried to read between the lines and find codes or hidden insults. This was a mistake, of course (Can we go back to the time travel question).
Now I understand the letters just meant I wasn’t ready. Once that settled in, I took the time to read and learn, hone the craft. Eventually, some of the form rejections changed or came with feedback. Then, when I least expected, a couple of “yeses.”
6. What do you do for fun?
I’m a huge movie fan. Particularly “Star Wars”, any movie with superheroes, “Star Trek”, the James Bond movies, and “Indiana Jones”. Some of the dialogue I know by heart, and sometimes I catch myself quoting from them.
Once I began a family, playing with my kids became a fun endeavor. One that has morphed from playing on the floor with cars and castles to going outside to play ball. They are also good at kicking my butt in video games.
Music is the other companion in my life. I enjoy good performers: Frank Sinatra, Adele, Julio Iglesias, Alejandro Sanz, Eminem, and even some new stuff I got exposed to through my kids.
7. Where do your stories begin? With character or plot?
It depends. Sometimes I’d think of a plot, then I develop the idea and create the characters that would serve the story best.In other instances, I’d think of a character, a fully formed and defined character, then I’d agonize to find a story that would fit.
J. H. Bográn, born and raised in Honduras, is the son of a journalist. He ironically prefers to write fiction rather than fact. José’s genre of choice is thrillers, but he likes to throw in a twist of romance into the mix. His works include novels and short stories in both English and Spanish. He’s a member of the International Thriller Writers where he also serves as the Thriller Roundtable Coordinator.
A random encounter leads to deception, love and murder. While vacationing at a ski resort, professional hitman Robert Prescott meets a strange and beautiful woman. They discover passion and embark into a dangerous game hiding their relationship from her powerful husband. Then a further twist of fate makes Robert’s occupation collide with his new found love.
“He enjoyed his Gold Label scotch served neat … and his victims dead. “Take my hand if you want to live!” J. H. Bográn’s well-crafted crime thriller takes you where you’d never want to go. Highly recommended for a chilling few moments of your reading life.”
~ Bonnie Turner, author of Face the Winter Naked
“José Bográn’s short story THE ASSASSIN’S MISTRESS is an unusual, gripping and surprisingly fun ride on a killer roller coaster.”
~ Lauren Baratz-Logsted, author of The Bro-Magnet