Please welcome A.R. Simmons, author of the Richard Carter novels.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
It begins with sunshine and nothing alarming on the news, includes a Caprese pizza with my life partner and best friend followed by a road trip in the Ozarks, and concludes with moonlight, honeysuckle-scented air, and the calls of whippoorwills all entering the bedroom window.
Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
Yes, a phrase: “There but for fortune . . .”
Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
Miguel de Cervantes (inventor of the novel), Mark Twain, (invented the American novel), and Helen Morris (a wonderful lady from New Zealand who made my writing bleed).
Do you listen to music when you write?
My best writing time is very early when the rest of the house is asleep, so not then. When alone, however, I listen to singer/songwriters on Sirius radio.
If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
It would be dark chocolate flavored with hot chiles, because Cold Fury is all about burning obsession verging on shared insanity.
What made you interested in writing this particular story?
Greek mythology, DSM-IV, and the FBI’s Crime Classification Manual.
What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
Obsession, jealousy, and sociopathology.
Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today?
Richard Carter explains himself by saying that war changes people, and never for the better. He is a former Marine who suffers PTSD, something he doesn’t believe in. Instead, he sees himself as the perpetrator of an atrocity, although what he did was the result of chance, not choice. No matter. He cannot forgive himself. Without his wife, Jill, he would be irretrievably lost. He saved her life, but she continually saves his. Despite this, he is not a gloomy individual. He copes by doing what he can as deputy to make the world a safer and better place (as corny as that may be).
Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
Wow! Let’s go at this both ways, from a personality viewpoint and then from a physical appearance viewpoint. This is going to sound weird. Like Abraham Lincoln, he carries heavy sadness, but is outwardly good-natured and jovial. He has great compassion for the poor, the old, and the weak, perhaps like I imagine Jacob Riis, the author of the photo expose, How the Other Half Lives. Let’s throw in a fictional lawman from the old west of TV, Marshall Matt Dillon of Gun Smoke fame.
If you could host an author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Okay. Three men and three women. Mark Twain, M. M. Kaye, Isaac Asimov, Agatha Christie, Kurt Vonnegut, and Mary Shelley.
What’s next for you?
Another Richard Carter novel, The Daughter.
A.R. Simmons was born in Chicago, but grew up in the Missouri Ozarks. He attended a one-room school through the eighth grade. Before college, he was a carpenter and a factory worker and then entered the Army and serving in the Far East. His military experience provided an invaluable opportunity to see a world far different from his own. Perhaps even more importantly, it allowed him to become acquainted with his country. The racial, ethnic, and cultural makeup of his squad was varied. This diversity changed forever his concept of “American.” The GI Bill financed his college career (BA and MA degrees in history). He is the author of the Richard Carter novels set in his native Ozarks.