10 Questions with Ty Hutchinson
Today, I’m reposting the second author interview on my blog with a good friend and a good author, Ty Hutchinson. Please scroll down to enjoy his interview and check out his website, his other books, and especially the latest box set, Thrilling Thirteen II: 13 Mysteries/Thriller, for 99 cents, which includes Tenderloin (Abby Kane FBI Thriller Book 2), one of Ty’s best works to date.
1. Tell us a bit about Stroganov, the much-anticipated sequel to Chop Suey.
Stroganov is the continuing adventures of Darby Stansfield, telecommunications consultant to the criminal underworld. In this book Darby continues to consult for crime organizations. This time it’s the Russians. But he also realizes his personal life is lacking, so he sets off on a vacation overseas to find someone special. What he discovers is the seedy world of sex trafficking and ultimately ends up in the middle of a war between the Ukrainian government and a dangerous sex trafficking ring. Anxious to get out of the situation, Darby reluctantly offers his help to the authorities in hopes of a clean break. What he gets instead is the attention of Russia’s most feared criminal.
2. Darby Stansfield is not your typical hero. Where did you find the inspiration for his character?
I was thinking about how wireless business solutions could be sold to various people. Don’t ask why. Anyway, they’re sold to big organizations and there are these case studies that show you how well it works. I wondered if it would work for any organization, even criminal organizations. I thought that was a funny idea and I started spinning a story from that. How did this company start selling wireless business solutions to these organizations? Is it done secretly? Is it public? Then I hit the idea of a salesperson that goes rogue, someone who couldn’t land the big accounts because they were all taken. He thought if he could find a new market, he could get in from the beginning and snag the big accounts. Thus Darby Stansfield was born.
3. What is your view on the importance of minor characters in a novel?
I think they are important, especially if you have a lot of scenes or chapters that your main character isn’t in. If you main character is the only person who’s interesting, then you run the risk of the other parts of the story being boring. So I think it’s important to develop them. I don’t even worry about them stealing the limelight, every now and then. It’s okay. It makes the story that much more fun. It’s like Seinfeld. Jerry was the star, but he surrounded himself with interesting characters. In the end, he often ended up being the straight guy.
4. How do you weave sub-plots throughout the entire structure of the main storyline?
I start with a prayer. No seriously, I don’t have a formula. I come up with an overall storyline that may or may not change. Usually it does. Sometimes I’ll have an idea for a subplot from the very beginning but normally they come to me when I’m writing. I like having a lot of conflict so early on when I’m writing I’m constantly spinning ideas for sub-plots in my head. The ones I like, I introduce into the story. So imagine a single road and then from that road, there or four roads grow out of it and go their own way. I then have fun with the subplots and am basically freewheeling it at that point knowing at some point I got to reel these suckers in so that it’s one road again. There’s no hard rule how I resolve the sub-plots or what order, it all depends on the main storyline.
5. What kind of research do you do for your works, the culture, the locales, the events?
I write from experience. That’s my research. To me it provides the most realistic story possible. My Darby Stansfield series is based in San Francisco but it also takes place in exotic locales like Hong Kong and Belarus. Both of which I have firsthand experience. So I start with what I know and then supplement with research as needed. Google Maps is great when you want to describe an area. Get online and in a few seconds you’re walking around.
6. How does Ty write? When? Outlines or not?
I think I’ve settled on a loose outline. I find that when I make it too ridged, the story begins to fall flat because I literally write the outline. I find that I’m not as free to take turns because I’m trying to stick to the outline. So now I keep it loose. When I run into a wall or point where I’m stuck, then that’s where I’ll start brainstorming various directions and start writing detailed paragraphs of how the story might progress at that point.
7. What made you want to become a writer?
Advertising, most likely. I spent the last twenty years in that business as a copywriter, heck; I’m still in it. I was already writing. Anyway, about two years ago I had an idea floating around in my head. It wasn’t right for advertising but I liked it and wanted to do something with it. For a while I thought of turning it into screenplay but then a novel popped into my head. The more I thought about it and the more people gave me positive feedback the more I knew something needed to be done. I figured I’d turn it into a book because all sorts of things could come out of it. So I wrote a book and I loved it right from the start. I knew right then and there I wanted to keep doing this. I recently traded agency life for that of a freelancer—my way of breaking the ball and chain. This is the beginning of my transition from Ad Man to Author.
8. When do you know the ending of your book and does it change throughout the writing of the novel?
I always know the ending of my story, in a broad sense. It’s where I want my character to end up. I guess my stories tend to be goal oriented. Once that is achieved, the story is over. In Chop Suey, Darby’s goal was to figure out a way to succeed at his job. His answer was to become a telecommunications consultant to the criminal underworld. So once he established that, got it up and running saw that it could work, the story ended. In Stroganov, Darby wants to improve his love life. The end is whether or not he finds the special someone or not.
9. What’s next for Darby? What other stories are you working on?
The Darby Stansfield series will continue. I’m currently writing the third novel, which will mostly take place in Hawaii. I’m also working on another story titled, The St. Petersburg Confessions. There’s a villain in Stroganov that I really liked so I thought it would be interesting to write a novella about how he came to be. Those are the two stories I’m actually writing right now. I’m also developing a detective series that will take place in Hawaii and another novel about a serial killing couple. All fun stuff.
10. What can readers except to find in Stroganov?
Jimmy Hoffa. I’m kidding. They’ll find that one small act of kindness can bring on a world of pain.