I GOT TO SEE C.J. BOX TONIGHT! I TALKED TO HIM! HE SIGNED HIS BOOK FOR ME! OH. MY. WORD!
Okay, let’s back it up a bit.
I first heard of C.J. Box a few years ago on the Hugh Hewitt show. Hugh is a reader and interviews authors regularly. I don’t remember which book released, but I remember being captivated by the idea of a game warden sleuth. I read a lot of mysteries and have seen a variety of heroes, but a game warden?
Two years ago, we went camping in the Medicine Bow mountains of Wyoming. During that time, we explored the small town of Saratoga. In one of the historical sites, there was a book store bursting with C.J. Box novels. My mind shot back to the interview on the radio.
One of the women who worked at the museum said C. J. used to live there and work for the newspaper. All the copies for sale were singed! I bought a few.
Then last spring, we moved to Wyoming. What a better way to get to know a state than by reading about it in books by an author who lives there.
I read every Joe Pickett novel in existence over the summer. Didn’t get much writing done but…
Mr. Box shot up to the top of my favorite author list alongside Michael Connelly and Lee Child.
Tonight he kicked off his 22 city book tour in his home town of Casper, Wyoming. AND I WAS THERE FOR IT!
I got to meet C.J. briefly, and ask questions.
He gave me a gold nugget in an answer to a question I posed about his writing process. (Writer friends, you’ll get why I geeked out over this? Yes? Non-writers tend to stare at me slack jawed, mumbling, “so what?”)
He has 15 (?) books in his Joe Pickett series. He does not plot out ahead of the book he is currently working on. He has ideas, but does not plot ahead.
He said he believes in putting everything you have into that current book. Don’t hold anything back. In his opinion, plotted sequels feel forced and the author may hold back too much from the audience leaving the reader unsatisfied. But, if you put everything into the book, it is rich. And you just have to figure out how to do the same with the next one.
For me, this was affirming as well as good advice. I have friends on best-seller lists who plot. Seriously plot. That is their process and it works for them. They’ve lovingly tried to encourage me to create detailed outlines.
A page and a half was the best I could do. I mean, I don’t know what kinds of shenanigans my characters will pull! I know the main points, but everything else?
To hear someone who was #2 to Harper Lee with his last book, Endangered, say he writes organically… well… it made my heart happy.
With a new Joe Pickett novel in hand, I will be off the grid myself tomorrow. I can’t help it. The books are THAT GOOD.