My Interview with David Lyons
Who is David Lyons?
David Lyons was born in London, England and educated in the U.S., the Far East, and Europe. No doubt his peripatetic childhood influenced his first career choice. He became a lawyer, specializing in international law, globe-trotting and earning frequent flyer miles in great quantities. His first career flowed into the second rather naturally. Spending so much time on international flights and in quiet hotel rooms in foreign countries, David did a lot of reading. Then to pass the time, he tried writing. After years, David’s avocation became his vocation. His journey has been—and is with each new day—fascinating.
Mr. Lyons, thank you for this opportunity to be interviewed for my blog. What is Judge Jock Boucher like, and how did you go about creating his character?
Kirkus Reviews called Jock Boucher ‘one of the most agreeably easygoing heroes this side of the Atlantic.’ Jock is a Cajun, born and bred on the bayou, who’s come from modest beginnings to assume one of the most powerful positions in the land, a federal judge. He is devoted to his city of New Orleans, its cuisine and culture and owns one of the finest historical homes in the French Quarter. Though a simple man in most respects, there is a vengeful side to him which causes contradictions in both his personal and professional life. He is easygoing – until threatened. Then if necessary, he will not hesitate to meet force with force. He’s not constrained by the traditions of his office and is unafraid to go rogue.
As to how I created the character, quite simply he developed along with the plot. At points he was responsible for the change in direction or pacing, and at other points he reacted to the circumstances which presented themselves. I don’t mean that to sound ‘hit or miss.’ In the construction of a novel, and particularly in the rewriting, as an author your aim is consistency of character. I gave Jock certain personality traits, for example, he loves Cajun cuisine and collects antique furniture. I wanted him to be an action figure, which is a contradiction from how most people perceive judges, and the fact that he focuses so intently on the challenges he faces means his personal relationships will suffer, and they do.
How did it happen that you wanted to become a writer?
I am a former lawyer, a profession devoted to the written and spoken word. My work involved a lot of travel, which meant a lot of time on airplanes and in hotels. Writing was a way to pass the time between client meetings.
How did you turn Ice Fire from an idea in your mind to a book published by Simon & Schuster?
I could write a book on that alone. Suffice to say, I decided to write a thriller and had just begun the project when I met a geophysicist who was researching a form of energy called methane hydrate, a substance found at great depths on the ocean floor. I thought it might work well as a theme and began my research. All my life I have loved the city of New Orleans and thought it would make a great setting. I made the protagonist a judge in order to call upon my legal background. When the novel was completed, I gave the manuscript to a friend in the publishing business who submitted it to S&S on my behalf, and they liked it. As I look at those few words just written I’m amazed that they succinctly sum up years of effort, frustration and disappointment in the effort to become a published author. But it all turned out okay. The novel has been well-received and I’m pleased to say that Ice Fire was chosen by Readers Digest for its abridged select edition due out in October, 2012. I am proud to join a group of some of the greatest writers of the Twentieth Century who had books chosen by Readers Digest such as Hemingway, Faulkner, and Michener; and such contemporary bestselling authors as Greg Iles, John Grisham, Lee Child and others. I’d say it all turned out okay.
A word of advice for new writers?
A single word? Write. That’s the word. First, last and throughout it all, just write. Write your novel from beginning to end without stopping. It’s a challenging process but an enjoyable one. Enjoy the initial journey and let your imagination run free. Because after you reach the end, the real works begins. Writing is re-writing.
What is your typical writing day?
I begin around nine in the morning and write till one or two. I have a word count goal of 1,000 words per session and do not stop till I have reached it. Sometimes it comes quickly, sometimes not, but I never stop before reaching my word count.
What are your favorite pastimes?
I enjoy music, play a little guitar and sing jazz standards. I still perform on occasion.
What other books are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on the next in the Jock Boucher series. Jock returns as does his cohort, Detective Fitch, and the setting is again New Orleans, at least for most of the action. Jock once more is drawn out of his comfort zone into some pretty unique circumstances.
What do you like to read and what are you reading now?
Though I do vary my reading, I like to read works by contemporary thriller writers; because I enjoy them, I like to have a basis for comparison, and try to make sure I’m not covering the same ground they already have. I’m currently reading the latest by John Sandford.
What can readers expect to find in Ice Fire?
May I quote another review? Suspense Magazine in its May issue says, “There’s action, budding romance, a bit of dry humor and a plunge into New Orleans/Cajun culture. High society to Zydeco icehouse bars, Lyons covers the gamut. This should be a series worth following.” I think that hits the high points. There’s also science involving an energy source found at the bottom of the ocean which could end America’s dependence on foreign oil, or cause an ecological disaster.
Thank you for the opportunity.