Who are you? What makes you you?
My name’s Wil Driscoll. My old man always told me I wouldn’t make of myself and I suppose he was right. He wanted me to take over the farm that’s been in our family for generations, but I left Iowa in ’17 and never looked back. I signed up underage to be a pilot in the Great War, but they signed the Armistice before I could ship out. I ended up working for my uncle in Sarasota flying bootleg tequila up from Mexico. It wasn’t the best gig but it kept me fed and gave me something to do. Then I met Albert Crow at a hotel in New Orleans. I was hiding from the state police and he was looking for lost artifacts in the bayou. We figured out we made a decent team, and we’ve been inseparable ever since.
What are your likes/dislikes? Anyone you truly hate?
I like gambling. I like scotch. Money is always good too. As far as thing’s I don’t like, the dry law has to be number one. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good for business but I hate the thing just on principle. Most of the people I hate end up dead so let’s talk about those I love. It’s a very short list, maybe too short. But that comes with the territory. I’ve traveled the globe; met a lot of great, loyal people. I’ve also been sold down the river some great, loyal people too. My mother’s philosophy’s was always if you can make it through life with at least one good friend, you’re doing all right. Well, Al’s stood by me for nearly ten years. I’m doing all right.
What is your main goal in life?
I’m not altruistic if that’s what you’re asking. Al and I make our living by digging through ruins for priceless artifacts (or stealing them from museums and collectors) and selling to the highest bidder. When I first started doing this kind of work and saw how lucrative it was, I started living for the money. Before the Depression hit, and yes even our line of work took a turn, we had about two million dollars stashed in banks from here to Shanghai. But I realized, I think we both did, that the money just isn’t it, whatever “it” is. We sailed the Mediterranean and had our fun, but before long we were back in shabby hotels, wandering through jungles and getting shot at. That’s my life. Every day is unpredictable, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Anything you’d like to change?
I don’t live with regrets. I don’t believe in them. However, there is one exception, and I wish it didn’t stick with me like it does. I’m not willing to say too much about it, not here anyway. All you need to know is I truly loved a woman exactly once. I walked away for no other reason than my own stupidity. It’s likely I’ll never find that again. It’s not something I’m looking for either because you can’t find love like that. It finds you. If I could ever change one thing, that would be it: either reverse what I did or make me forget her.
Are you happy now your story has been told? Or is there more to come?
I have mixed feelings about my experiences getting out. We’ve had some great adventures, and they should never be forgotten. But, come on, we’re still in the business! How is this supposed to work? We’re the best around, but now all of our secrets are going to be out there. Let’s just say, I’m hoping the competition isn’t paying too close attention. Is there more to come? There oughta be. It was Al’s decision to share the Mississippi riverboat for our debut. That was a good trip, but if I had it my way, I’d tell you all about our month in the Yucatan. Anyway, to answer your question, yes. Look for more from us in the future.
Now, it’s time to throw questions at the author of the Seven Out.
How do your juggle a writing schedule?
This has been a complicated, frustrating and difficult part of my life over the last year. I’ve been in the second year of graduate school working toward my master’s degree in history and I’ve had to devote very large chunks of time to researching and writing my thesis. In fact, I’m currently preparing for my thesis defense, which is scheduled for a week from now. There’s been a lot of robbing Peter to pay Paul, but mainly I do my academic work until about five and save the fun writing for an hour or so late at night. My hope is that after I graduate and get a less consuming “day job,” I can focus more on fiction writing.
What’s the best/worst part of being a writer?
For me, the best and worst part of being a writer is one and the same: it’s a solitary profession. I like being able to work on what I want to work on, work at my own pace and on my own time. Who doesn’t, right? A chance to be your own boss is why most people go into business for themselves. That’s why both of my parents did it. But being on your own also means you had better have great time management skills and be a good self-starter. I’ve found that sometimes that just isn’t the case. Some days I just can’t get going in the morning and on others I get sick of pushing through a project I’ve been working on for what seems like forever when I have new, fresh ideas I’d like to start on. Even writers (perhaps especially writers) are slaves to the deadline, even when that deadline is self-imposed.
Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
I do. I find setting a word count goal (usually 1,500 words if I have a few hours to work) helps me stay on track and make progress. About five years ago, I read No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days by Chris Baty, and it completely revolutionized my approach to writing. Baty is the guy who started NaNoWriMo, and he encourages writers to set word count goals and push out as much volume as they can until their rough draft is finished. The idea is that everyone’s first draft is mostly garbage and will get rewritten at least once anyway, so why stare a blank screen waiting for Dickens to pour out of your fingers on the first go around? He also says that if you just keep writing, even random or seemingly nonsensical material, your subconscious mind will start piecing together a cogent plot. This technique has worked great for me. I can usually get a rough draft on paper pretty quickly, giving me more time to edit my work, which is where the good prose is made.
What is Seven Out all about?
Seven Out is the first of what I hope will become a series of action/adventure/historical fiction tales starring Wil Driscoll and Albert Crow. Wil is an ex-almost-WWI pilot, and Albert is a former historian turned treasure seeker. Together, they’ve made a lucrative career by unearthing lost objects and selling them in underground markets. This particular adventure finds the duo aboard a Mississippi riverboat preparing to meet a contact who knows the whereabouts of a very valuable pistol that Andrew Jackson used to kill Charles Dickinson in a duel in 1806 after the latter had insulted Jackson’s wife. The pair is taking a huge risk on the venture as both have outstanding warrants for their arrest in Louisiana, which is only a few hundred yards away at the river’s edge. Without revealing too much, I try to upend the traditional story arcs of this genre and explore the reality that life seldom works according to plan.
What was the spark that made you put pen to paper?
These two characters have appeared in my personal unpublished fiction for years. They combine two of my passions: the light-hearted fun that can come from well-done action books and films and the incredibly fascinating worlds that once existed in history, particularly the bygone era of 1920s and 1930s America. Some of my other work is a little more serious in nature, but I want readers of Seven Out to come away saying, “That was fun.” Secondarily, I am a student of history and will likely become a professional teacher of it too. I want that to carry over into my fiction. I try to do as much research as I can when I write and organically inject just enough historical information to be intriguing but not onerous. My goal is not to have readers acquire this gigantic wealth of knowledge from my writing, but hopefully they will pick up a few facts on a subject they weren’t all that familiar with and will want to learn more about it.
Kevin Moore is a writer and historian from Toledo, Ohio.
He is the author of Waves and War, Sorrow and Demons and My Lovely Wife, Edith, all of which are available for the Amazon Kindle.
Kevin in currently finishing his master’s thesis for a graduate degree in history. He is a contributing writer to the Toledo City Paper.
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