Happy Monday and Happy New Year, friends! I thought I'd start the year off by letting my dear friend Charlie hijack my blog for his post.
Ok, lets face it, I'm still hung over from the weekend so anything from me would just be the random letters my forehead hit as it slapped against the keyboard. So, instead of making you read that drivel, Charlie was kind enough to supply content for my blog today. Thank you, kind sir, I owe you one!
Without further ado, here is Charlie's post, enjoy!
Sex and Car Crashes: The Making of Headhunters
They say “write what you know”. It's good advice. It's meant to enhance the credibility of your writing, make it sound more authentic. The painful reality though is that even if you were a lawyer like John Grisham, chances are your firm didn't try to have you murdered. You still have to make a leap from the mundane, everyday life to the tales of mystery, murder, mayhem, undying love, loyalty, and passion.
I came from a background as a professional headhunter. I recruited top talent from competitors. Does that make me uniquely qualified to write about covert government agencies and gunfights?
Hardly, but I came from a home where it was commonplace to spend time at the gun range. My father was a member of a range that was owned by the government, so I had the opportunity to not only shoot, but be taught by the US Marines that practiced there. Nothing like taking down targets at 600 yards with a Remington 700 rifle.
Shooting taught me a lot of lessons that applied to writing later. I have a hairline scar between my eyes from shooting a 7mm hunting rifle and not having it tucked into my shoulder tight enough. Didn't stop me from fixing the problem and putting rounds on target. No matter how difficult your writing can get, no matter how cantankerous that damn outline can be, you have to finish it.
I was working as a consultant at this Fortune 500 company in 2008. I was getting paid well and the work wasn't arduous. My contract was one year and I knew that it was my opportunity to write a book. Just put my head down and grind it out.
Turned out I was good writer but perhaps not the best employee. My work didn't suffer but I was certainly more focused on crafting a quality thriller than I was on the day job. I took the time to dive into real life accounts of CIA case officers, NSA operations, and even connected with some real life employees of what was then called BlackWater USA, a private military contractor. I'm still connected with those people.
You may ask about the car crashes . I've had a few. When I was 16 years old, I was rear-ended by a semi-truck on the expressway. Totaled the car I was driving. Didn't hurt the semi so much. I walked away without a scratch. I had a car turn in front of me in an intersection going 45 miles per hour. Totaled both our cars. Her fault. Both cars totaled. I was fine.
Do I drive like Simon Parks? Maybe. Probably. A little bit. I can pull a Rockford backing out of the parking lot. I have no problem with controlled skids. It's fun. And I try not to crash.
Write like you drive, folks. Keep it fast, keep it fun, and don't stop. That sounded dirty. Hehe
Which brings me to the sex.
Okay, I made you read all those other prattling stories before you read about the sex. Thanks for sticking around.
I've always had a passing interest in writing erotica. This came primarily from the fact that I used to browse the historical romance novels that my grandmother collected to find the “good parts”. And I enjoyed them, but always found them to be slightly odd. I mean what the hell is a “manroot”??
So, the interest in writing hot sex scenes came from the little rewrites in my head when I read those romance novels. What would I write differently? What would sound better?
And cutting away to the next morning? Hell, no. I want to know what happened. If a hero is worth following through the harrowing and the terrifying, he's worth following through the sensual and erotic. So, I like to give the details. Writing is all about painting the picture and bringing your reader in a little closer. Teasing them. Creating that seat-squirming desire to read a little bit faster.
It's not difficult to write a sex scene. It may take some skill to tell it well. The trick is placing it in your story in such a way that it fits. It builds story. It builds relationships. And in some ways deepens the risk and the reader's investment.
Headhunters was the culmination of all those elements. I'm so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to write it and even more, I'm thankful for the readers who enjoyed it.
*scribbles down note to self, “look up manroot for possible use in next book.”* Oh, um, *ahem* Thank you, Charlie for your post today! I look forward to your upcoming novel, “Suicide Doors”.