Saturday, November 16, 2013

E.A. Aymar: I'll Sleep When You're Dead

It is my honor to introduce one of my fellow author's from Black Opal Books: E.A. Aymar author of the newly released I'll Sleep When You're Dead!

I'll Sleep When You're Dead is a haunting tale of vengeance and its toll. It is both thrilling and tender. The domestic scenes are every bit as gripping as the action sequences. E.A. Armar weaves a touching tapestry loaded with surprises- Michael Sears, author of Black Fridays, winner of the Shamus Award for Best First Novel.

Read an Excerpt:
 CHAPTER 1: Just Fall
  I was going to kill someone later in the afternoon, so I canceled classes that Monday and spent the morning on the couch, watching crappy television judge shows and trying to keep calm.
I took a long shower at eleven then, at noon, drove my truck out of Baltimore and toward D.C. The sky grayed as I headed around the curves of the Beltway and, eventually, thick rain splashed against the windshield. You could never tell what November weather was going to do. Neither Baltimore nor D.C. had real seasons. It was always too hot or too cold, buried in snow or heat, running back and forth between extremes like rats or people who believe in politics or religion.
I finally reached my destination, a neighborhood in Falls Church, Virginia. I slumped down in my truck and slipped on sunglasses and a black baseball cap. It was probably obvious that I was trying to disguise myself—completely defeating the purpose—but I didn’t want to take the chance of getting spotted.
I waited.
An hour passed, then another, and my nervousness rushed ahead of my impatience. Light rain bounced off my windshield. I reached over to my small gym bag on the passenger seat and touched the edge of my Glock 30. I touched it every few minutes to calm myself down, even if petting a loaded gun wasn’t the smartest idea in the world.
Using it probably wasn’t too bright, either, but Chris Taylor was out of prison. Three years ago, he’d been sentenced for killing my wife, Renee Starks.
“I haven’t talked to her in years,” Chris Taylor protested after his arrest.
I, myself, in a daze, was one of several people who’d even told the police that, to my knowledge, Renee and Chris hadn’t spoken since their brief relationship in college—so brief that she barely ever mentioned him. But his initials were on the baseball bat found in the bushes near her naked body and so were his fingerprints. He was given a life sentence, but released in three years when a retrial cast enough doubt on his conviction to overturn it.
Renee was so palpable—even now, such a presence, that sometimes I lost myself in thoughts of her. Sometimes I felt her return, like she was sitting here in the passenger seat of my truck, looking at me with her wide brown eyes, one hand brushing bangs away from her face.
What are you doing, Tom?’ she asked.
“Trying to kill this guy.”
How are you going to do that?’
“I’m going to wait until he’s alone then shoot him.” I paused. “That’s not much of a plan, is it?”
Renee shook her head. ‘You were never good at planning things. That was one of my complaints about you.’
“You know,” I said, “you’re awfully critical for a dead chick.”
A door slam startled me. I peered out my window and, through the hedges, watched an elderly woman emerge from the house with a man I didn’t recognize. But I remembered the woman. Chris Taylor’s mother had been tall and delicate with long, black hair—which was now short and gray. Throughout the trial, she bore a constant expression of determination on her face. Now her face was old and pained, droopy as a melted candle, all signs of her previous determination gone. She looked like a shrunken version of herself.
Chris Taylor came out of the house behind them.


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When did you decide to become a writer?
I failed out of college as a psychology major and was readmitted on the condition that, in addition to maintaining a high GPA or risking expulsion, I also had to change my field of study. English seemed like a natural, almost easy choice, and it was the choice I made. I had always liked writing and reading, but never really considered either as part of my professional future. But I found myself in these brutally intensive writing classes where the teacher and students just shredded your work…and I loved it. I loved what I was learning, and I loved being able to impress my fellow students or, on rare occasions, my professors. I graduated college and, after about a year, started writing on a regular basis.
This was in 1997, and it took me a long time to finish my first book. That path was long, arduous and, frankly, filled with failure. And I was incredibly selfish during that time, which I think is necessary for a young writer, but really unfortunate for anyone that young writer happens to be dating. I was so absorbed in learning to write that I became dramatically self-absorbed, and it took me a long time and several girlfriends to understand how to balance my interests with their own.
William T. Vollman said that no one should try to publish until they’ve been writing seriously for at least ten years. That’s really good advice, even if it comes across as outdated or unnecessary in the current publishing environment. Fortunately, I was writing in the old publishing environment, and self-publishing was limited to hack vanity presses, legitimate small presses were rare and the only path to being a respectable author was to get agented and published by the Big Six. Don’t get me wrong; I hated that system, and happily welcome the new world. But the harshness of that world made me a stronger writer, and maybe it’s good that I didn’t publish my first book until this year.
Do you find the editing process tedious?
I edit relentlessly. I sort of hate that, because I’m never really satisfied. You know when you write something, read it a little later and the writing is so bad that it makes you die inside and you don’t want anyone to ever see it so you burn your house down to destroy all the evidence that something so shitty once existed? That’s the point I try to get past. Once I’m past that, then I’m usually pretty happy. But even after that, editing never ends for me; I just don’t hate my writing anymore. That was really scary with I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead. In addition to the editors’ comments, I made a bunch of changes during each round of editing, and I worried that I was being super-annoying. Nobody said I was being annoying, but still.
What types of genre do you like to read and write?
As a kid, it was thrillers. I read really gritty stuff, like old Mack Bolan stories, and then graduated to Alistair MacLean and his twisty plots. Then I found myself in college writing workshops and was introduced to and immersed in literary fiction. That type of writing had never done anything for me before, but my teachers pushed it onto me. And it clicked. I went through an Ibsen phrase, and then it was Fitzgerald and early twentieth century American writers, and experimental fiction, and then guys like Nabokov and Updike, who wrote so beautifully and perfectly that it makes you want to cry. If I had a week left to live, I’d find a quiet room and sit down and re-read Updike’s “Rabbit” novels. And then just die of happiness.
So, obviously, I’m still drawn to literary fiction, even though I found that my own writing style pulled toward thrillers. I try to always have a classic or “contemporary classic” on my reading list, and my goal is to combine elements of literary work into my thrillers – Anne Tyler meets Lawrence Block. If someone said that about a book I wrote, I’d die happy.
Speaking of dying, if I really had a week left to live, I’d probably spend a bunch of money, drag my wife to some weird drug slash orgy thing and spend most of my time feeling terrible for myself and weeping. But, you know, I like to think that I’d be more dignified.
How did the idea of this book come to you?
I’d written two books prior to I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, one literary and the other a thriller, and neither was published. The first one got zero attention from agents or editors. The second landed me an agent with one of the top houses in NY, and just missed getting picked up (the editor had purchased a similar concept from someone else). So I was milling around and writing short stories, and I wrote an erotic short story that got published and then, to my surprise, anthologized in one of those “Best Erotica of the Year” books. Something in that story – a widowed single dad who has an anonymous rendezvous – stuck with me, and I tamped down the erotica, and other elements of that story ended up working their way into I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead.
It was also a bit of a post 9/11 thing. Working in D.C. and hearing the echoing boom of a plane exploding into the Pentagon (where my father worked) affected my writing a lot; of course, 9/11 reverberated throughout American art and culture, and still does. But I noticed that revenge became a staple of my work, and forced its way into the plot. As a thriller writer, I welcome that, because it makes the characters more interesting. Revenge is obviously wrong, but also sympathetically understood. So when the hero of my book is seeking revenge for the murder of his wife, he inevitably stumbles into confusing moral areas. As a writer, that’s what you want.
What are your future goals?
That’s a good question, and one I wonder about. I think most of us want to break into that small group of writers that manage to write as a full-time job, but I’m not sure that’s the life for me. I’ve had the luxury to write what I want, with the only demands coming from myself. I suspect that people who write for a paycheck lose that luxury. I don’t want to ever sit down at my desk and write something I could care less about; truthfully, I’m not sure I could. Maybe I’ve spoiled myself. Plus, my wife is about to have a kid, and I need money, and I like my job, so abruptly changing my life to write more probably isn’t in my future.
My only future goal is to keep writing.
Oh, and lose ten pounds. Trying to be DILFy here.

Bio:
E.A. Aymar’s debut thriller, I'll Sleep When You're Dead, is available now through Black Opal Books. He studied creative writing under some terrific professors at George Mason University (2006 Final Four!) and earned a Masters degree in Literature from some equally terrific professors at Marymount. He has lived throughout the United States and in Europe and was born in Panama, the country with the canal or bridge or something. In addition to writing, and his beloved GMU basketball team, he’s also into crafting third-person bios that run no longer than six sentences. He is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, the International Thriller Writers and SinC, and he and his wife live with a relatively benign animal menagerie.





Prayers for Nick Wilford and Family. So Sorry for their Loss!

25 comments:

  1. Great interview Ed and Cathrina. I have to say, literary fiction clicked with me in college as well. Before that it was usually thriller/horror, lots of King...you get the point. Now I feel like I've matured because of literary fiction.

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    Replies
    1. Same here. It's hard for me to imagine writing a book that isn't a thriller. Which I'm cool with.

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  2. Your book looks really good, and maybe one day, perhaps when night never falls so I don't get nightmares, I'll read it.

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    Replies
    1. Ha! I don't think it's that scary. Then again, I know how it ends.

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  3. Nice interview and great excerpt. I love a good thriller. Best of luck, Ed.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great interview! I'll Sleep When You're Dead sounds like such an intriguing book...

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Heather! If you get the chance to read it, I hope you like it!

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  5. Thanks all, and thanks Cathrina! This was a fun interview. I'm glad we worked in the word DILFy.

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