Sunday, October 4, 2009

Author Interview with JOHN WAYNE CARGILE

John has a varied and extensive background. He is a retired journalist and holds doctoral degrees in both religion and philosophy. In addition to writing mystery fiction, he writes two weekly newspaper columns in Alabama.


You worked in newspaper for a very long time as both a writer and editor. What did you like best about it?

I love people articles and features. That was my strong suit in the newspaper and magazine industry. Every person has a story to tell, and if you listen to them long enough you’ll find out interesting things about them that is worthy of retelling their life story.

How did your newspaper background prepare you for writing a novel?

The newspaper and magazine industry prepared me for novel writing. Newspapers and magazines are what I call “literary writing” on the run. The short deadlines were always killers for me. Sometimes I wished I had more time to develop a story. With novel writing you have as much time as you need.

You hold doctoral degrees in religion and philosophy. How do they affect your writing?

In my first novel, the main character embodies some ideas of my religion and philosophy. He questions life and death, flirts with death, asks questions about Heaven and Hell. While it is subtle in thought, I believe you see a little of me in the main character. You might see a little Christian and Zen Buddhism in his thoughts.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?

In my younger days I dreamed about being a best-selling novelist. I wanted to write to Great American novel, like most authors. I honed my skills as a journalist, hoping it would lead me eventually to dreamland. The biggest challenge is finding time to write the Great American novel. As most people know, writers are not the highest paid people in the world. We have to scratch and claw as freelance writers, which often doesn’t pay enough. The highest salary I ever made was $48,000 a year as a managing editor for several magazines. I hoped when I retired I would be able to find the time, but with mortgage payments, car payments, the cost of living, and being a first-time novelist, the money doesn’t come as easily as to those authors who have agents and big publishing companies behind them. I haven’t given up on writing the Great American novel, but time is really not on my side. So, the greatest challenge is to make enough money to be able to write, write, write.

Tell us about your book, The Cry of the Cuckoos, and let us know where we can buy it.

The cuckoo bird is a master of deception, fooling other species in their race to copy their chirping begging call. Donald Drummond and his wife, Anne, chase after the killer of his father, Henry Drummond, but find themselves up against a radical right wing supremacist organization called the Society of Southron Patriots and, like the cuckoo bird, deception is the Society’s mission. The couple unravels a terrorist plot aimed to kill Washington dignitaries at the Super Bowl and delegates at the United Nations. Donald, a retired news reporter, and Anne, a retired school teacher, unfold the mystery leading them on a wild chase from Alabama to Texas. And one of the many murder suspects is Donald’s biological mother, Betty Jo Duke, whom he only just met after his father’s death. Donald and Anne are hired as informants by the FBI to unravel the mysterious case and they get a lot more than they bargained for. The novel can be purchased online at, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, or or

What are you working on now and when/where do you expect it to be available?

I am almost finished with a new mystery titled, Crooked Letter I. You’ll love Rob McRobbie and Maria Delgado and hate Carlos Caretti and Gang. The setting is Biloxi, Mississippi, and deals with the Southern Mafia. I hope it will be ready by the summer of 2010.

Writers, especially new writers, are always looking for tips and helpful information. What is the single most important “tip” you can give to a new writer?

Research the industry. Keep your name out there. Expose yourself. Keep writing.

What writers organizations claim you as a member? How has being a member affected your writing career?

I currently do not belong to any writer’s groups per se. I have belonged to many in the past and found them to be helpful. If I were a young writer, I would take every opportunity to join a group of like-minded writers, take notes, and listen. But this journey is all yours. You have to treat it like a business.

Do you have any upcoming book signings or appearances?

I am waiting until the holiday season to canvass for book signings. They are all local.

Here’s your opportunity to tell us anything else you care to share.

Writing is a passion. I guess when all is said and done, it offers me a way to express myself in ways that I cannot communicate orally. I fall flat on my face as a public speaker. That was the one reason I did not pursue a ministerial career. I am an INFJ, according to the Myers-Briggs Personality Trait Tests. INFJ formally is Introvert, Intuitive, Feeling & Judgmental. I prefer to call it Inner Nuances Fosters Journeys. I guess that just about sums me up.

What are the addresses of your website(s) and blog(s):

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