I’m pleased to have this interview with Bill Craig, who is author of the Jack Riley Adventure Series; the Sam Decker, Private Investigator Series; the Hardluck Hannigan Adventure Series; and a Joe Collins suspense thriller. His books are available in print and as Kindle e-books.
Welcome, Bill. You’ve been busy these last few years and have published now a number of books. Years ago, I know you corresponded with my husband, Don Pendleton. I believe you were just starting out with your writing career, at that time, or at least considering writing for publication, is that correct?
Bill: That is correct. I had been writing for awhile and reading everything I could but it was during that time that I actually began to seriously pursue writing. That was when the need to write really settled over me.
Linda: Bill, these are two of my favorite questions I like to ask of writers: Did you write as a kid? When did you know you wanted to write?
Bill: Oh yes, I can remember one of my first projects being a compilation of short stories for a third grade project titled: Things in the Night. I won an award for it. That was when I first realized I wanted to write.
Linda: If you would care to share, who has influenced you the most in your life? And why?
Bill: I was heavily influenced by my parents who introduced me to books at a young age. I taught myself to read at age four and have been doing so now for 47 years.
Linda: What books have most influenced your life and/or your world view? What books do you believe have influenced your writing? Favorite author/authors?
Bill: Well, when I was about ten years old when I was introduced to Doc Savage, which began a life-long love affair with pulp fiction. Then came The Shadow, The Phantom, and I picked up a copy of War Against the Mafia and was hooked all over again. Writers that have influenced me would Lester Dent, the author behind the Kenneth Robeson house name, Walter Gibson aka Maxwell Grant, Don Pendleton was a tremendous influence, as were Jerry Ahern, Robert B. Parker, and a comic book writer named Doug Moench.
Linda: I could ask if you have a favorite series of the three, or at least a character that you love more than one of the others, but I won’t ask that. I know how it is. We love all our characters, even the bad guys, huh? So, instead, tell us about your Hardluck Hannigan character and the series.
Bill: Hardluck Hannigan is just pure fun to write. It is a throw-back to the pulp novels of the thirties and forties with slam bang action and rollicking adventure. Hannigan is a bit of a soldier of fortune from the heartland and he is surrounded by friends that help him make it through his adventures due to the fact he has the worst luck imaginable.
Hannigan started his career when he left a tramp steamer in Africa and got involved in a race to recover the fabled Emerald of Eternity from the Priest King Prester John. He faced off against Nazis, the evil Dr. Ragnarok, and deadly River Pirates. Then he was captured by the Kondor Legion and battled the fabled Nazi pilots and their three flying saucers that had been recovered from a secret base in the Arctic circle. After that, Hannigan was sent to the Amazon to search for Colonel Percy Fawcett and a lost Atlantean outpost.
His fourth adventure began on an ocean liner that was sabotaged and set adrift in the Sargasso sea where he battled a several centuries old colony of pirates and a mad Russian Scientist that had set up a city beneath the sea and was plotting to destroy all life on the surface. A trip back to the States reunited Hannigan with his father and brought him face to face with a Nazi spy ring and a Demonic creature haunting Kill Devil Hills. Tragedy struck Hannigan during that adventure and sent him fleeing back to Africa where he was caught up in a search for yet another lost city and battling Nazis for the fabled Spear of Goliath.
The current book I am working on finds him in Egypt fighting desert nomads, a Chinese villain, and being a pawn in a battle between two ancient Egyptian goddesses. The Golden Scorpion will hopefully be out by spring.
Linda: I always like to ask writers how they receive their inspiration. Many writers feel the inspiration comes from beyond them at times as they are working with their characters. Do you experience that in your writing?
Bill: I would have to agree that it does come from beyond. Many times the characters just take over and I feel like I am just channeling them to get the story on paper. There have been times when I sit down to write and totally lose time, yet when I stop I have 5-10 pages written that are completely new to me.
Linda: Do you visualize your scenes as you write? Do you “walk” in your character’s shoes?
Bill: Very much so. For the most part I tend to write in a very visual style, but I love to do a lot with dialog as well. And yeah I am in there every step of the way. One of the more fun pieces I have done lately was an old west werewolf story for Six-guns Straight from Hell, an anthology put together by Laura Givens and David Riley.
Linda: I believe you have chosen to do what many of us are now doing—publishing e-books. What encouraged you to do so?
Bill: The potential to build my fan base with the advent of the multiple e-reader systems out there. And so far word is spreading and sales are picking up.
Linda: Tell us about your other series and about your next project?
Bill: I have about seven or eight books in the works at the moment, the next book out will be either The Golden Scorpion from the Hardluck Hannigan series of Smuggler’s Blues, the fourth Decker P.I. title. I have several more Hannigans plotted out, a fifth Sam Decker, and three more books featuring Joe Collins the hero of The Butterfly Tattoo which has been my best selling title both in print and on kindle. The Decker books follow an ex-DEA agent turned Private Investigator in the Florida Keys. Joe Collins is a cop on the Gulf side of South Florida who gave up part of his soul to find and stop the infamous Butterfly Killer who he suspected was behind the death of his wife. The subsequent books are about his journey back to being what he is: A good and dedicated cop.
I am also working on some stuff for Airship27 which includes a Masked Rider Western, and the lead off story for a south sea series I created called Tales of the Hanging Monkey. Plus I have a western novel in the works.
Linda: And my last question, Bill. What is your favorite quote?
Bill: My favorite quote. There are so many, however the one that carries the most important lesson for me comes from a western character I am working on named Hannibal Tucker. The Quote: “The most trouble I ever got into was because of a woman,”—Hannibal Tucker, from an upcoming western novel that is as of yet untitled.
Thanks so much, Bill, for taking time for this interview. Good luck with your books.
To read more about Bill Craig’s book, visit his Amazon Author Page.