Mr. Woods, thank you for this opportunity to be interviewed for my blog. Who is Stone Barrington, the main character of this thriller and how did you go about creating him?
Stone is a former cop, turned lawyer. He was created to solve a crime in the first of the Stone books, New York Dead and has appeared in about two dozen novels since then.
After so many thrillers how do you keep track of what plots and what storylines you’ve already covered, so that you don’t end up repeating them?
I seem to have a gift for keeping the story lines in my head, and the series is really like one long novel.
Flying or sailing, which one do you prefer?
My sailing days are just about over. I sail, occasionally, with a friend who has a 95-ft. Fife ketch, built in Scotland in 1914, and it has a professional crew. The hardest work I have to do is not spilling my gin when we tack. I also have a 38-foot power boat, and I’m a partner in an 85-foot motor yacht, built in 1935, which I use for a week or two a year. The flying gets me from one house to another and on book tours. I don’t do it just for fun.
A word of advice for new writers?
Write something. A lot of aspiring writers forget to do that.
What is your typical writing day?
I go to work at eleven AM and by noon, I have written a chapter, which is usually 4-6 pages. The following day, I re-read that work and make small corrections and changes, and that propels me into the next day’s work. I do that for about fifty chapters, then I start looking for a way out of the corner I’ve painted myself into. By sixty chapters, the book is done. I do this three times a year.
What are your favorite pastimes?
Reading, old movies, boating.
What other books are you working on at the moment?
I do one at a time. I’m just finishing up Unintended Consequences, which will be published next spring.
What do you like to read and what are you reading now?
My tastes in reading are catholic, which is another way of saying indiscriminate. This summer I’ve read a book about World War Two industrial production in the U.S.; The Man Who Loved China, by Simon Winchester; a memoir by Rosamond Bernier, Some of My Lives; A memoir by a former CIA agent; and Kurt Russell’s new novel, True Believers. Right now, I’m reading a P.G. Wodehouse novel from 1924, Bill, the Conquerer.
What can readers expect to find in Severe Clear?
Another Stone Barrington story. My tour schedule is on my website, and folks can see if I’m signing near them. If not, there are instructions on how to get a personalized copy of Severe Clear, which is being published on September 18th. I’m also signing my re-published memoir from 1977, Blue Water, Green Skipper.