Friday, September 8, 2017

An Interview with Braxton DeGarmo

Patricia Bradley here, and I'm so pleased to have Braxton DeGarmo as my guest.
If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?

Wow, what a lead question. I wanted to say that I’m devilishly handsome with a razor wit, keen intellect, great dance moves, and modesty that knows no bounds. But my wife choked upon reading that. Seriously, I’m a hard-working guy who reads widely, anguishes over the social injustices I see all around us, and wishes to tell a good story that might just open some eyes and get people thinking about such issues.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Any interesting hobbies?

Most of my writing takes place in the winter months because I manage an extensive flower and perennial garden in the summer. As part of that, I also hybridize daylilies on a small scale. That is currently my main hobby, although I enjoy woodworking as well, which led me to restore our 113-year-old historic home. The rest of the time, I’m retired . . . which means I’m busier than ever.

Oh, my! A 113-year-old house. How do you find time to write? :-) What was your favorite book as a teen or child?

As a child, I devoured Tom Swift books and dreamt of creating my own fantastic inventions. Moving into my teen years, I gravitated toward dramas and suspense, with Leon Uris and James A. Michener being favorite authors. And of course, there was always Bond … James Bond. Yes, I’m dating myself.

Tell us three things about yourself that might surprise your readers.

I dislike, no, make that hate, coffee, and somehow made it through college, medical school and residency without it.

I was an Army research flight surgeon and learned to fly helicopters. Sadly, that was a toy I never could afford on my own.

Most of my books are written in one draft with only minor edits after that. And I don’t outline; I’m a pantser. You’re probably thinking, yeah, right; he must have a bridge to sell me. But it’s true. That said, we’re downsizing and I do have a bridge in the back yard if you’re in the market for one.

What genre did you start out writing? Have you changed course? Why or why not?

I started writing suspense and thrillers and haven’t changed. That said, I was briefly a member of Romance Writers of America because their local chapter (MoRWA) was far above other local writers’ groups in terms of helping new authors learn the craft. As their token male, however, the genre did not rub off on me and I continue to write what I like and know. I will reluctantly admit, however, that getting in touch with my RWA side helps me write my female protagonist’s character.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

Probably the toughest criticism I faced was early on in my writing when an agent told me that my books would be unmarketable because they were too secular to find a niche in the Christian market, and too “Christian” to market in the secular arena. Eight books and thousands of readers later, I’ve learned to take the experts with a grain of salt.

I think my favorite compliment was from a reader whose review stated “when you find yourself looking up something to find out if it’s real or fiction, you know you have a good book.” My stories are based in reality and on current events and social issues, so the mix of fiction and reality is there to make the story “authentic.” I love it that readers see that authenticity and that I make them think while also entertaining them.

I'm glad you didn't pay any attention to that agent! Any other genres you’d like to try? If yes, what and why?

Not really. I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a Christmas story, but it, too, would likely end up being a suspense. That’s just kind of how I tick.

If you could go back in time and do something differently at the start of your career, what would it be?

20-20 hindsight is a dangerous thing. As for my first career, medicine, I wonder whether I’d even enter the field if I knew then what I know now. I’ve seen medicine move from being a profession of motivated, intelligent people to becoming “big business” where bottom lines and sticking to guidelines trumps the art and skill of being a physician. Regarding my second career, writing, I wish I’d listened to my mother and started it earlier.

Yes, 20-20 hindsight is dangerous. :-) What is the most important thing you’d like readers to take away from your books?

Are you really limiting me to one thing? I write a gamut of thrillers from medical to police to political, and the books, for the most part, all deal with social issues—risks of technology such as cyberstalking and identity theft, human trafficking, medical kidnapping, land theft by the government, and more. Let’s see. One thing . . . I guess all of those topics could be distilled down to one common factor: there really is an enemy out there who is seeking to steal, kill, and destroy. He’s working behind the scenes in ways we often don’t discern, but we need to wake up, recognize the dangers, and go on the offensive.

I so agree with your common factor! Tell me about your book.
My most recent release is Kidnapped Nation, number six in my MedAir Series. [Warning: A lot happens in this book and it has some major story line twists for the series. So, it probably isn’t “fair” to read it without reading the others leading up to it.] There are three stories in one within this book. 

The main plot deals with a character being kidnapped while trying to mediate a protest at a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon. Sound familiar? I’ve told you I deal with current issues. Meanwhile, my lead female protagonist finds herself stumbling upon and being confronted by a group of terrorists plotting a major attack on our country. The third plot line uses its own mystery to resolve a relationship issue that developed in earlier books. Let me leave it at that—no spoilers.
pre-order now for .99 cents

Oh, I should probably also mention that I have a novella, Ten Seconds ‘Til, coming out October 3rd as part of a collection written by ten very talented, inspirational writers. The box set is called Kill Zone: Ten Deadly Thrillers and features Rick Acker, Christy Barritt, Patricia Bradley, Luana Ehrlich, Heather Day Gilbert, Heather I. James, Robert Liparulo, Jordyn Redwood, Jan Thompson, and yours truly. You don’t want to miss this one.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you’d like to give to unpublished authors?

Find an editor who loves your genre and will help you create the best story you can for that genre. And, by editor, I don’t mean another writer or English major/teacher who also edits. She/he might do a great job copy editing and offering suggestions, but you really need someone who has worked in the publishing industry, knows the ins and outs of publishing in your genre, and can help you develop as an author. If finances won’t let you do that, then go out and find the best possible group of experienced authors who can help you learn from their own experiences. You will pick up good advice from a variety of writers at different levels that way, as I did when I was a member of MoRWA. Am I implying that a critique partner is worthless? Not at all, but most authors gravitate toward a partner who is at the same level in their writing career, and you really need someone with the experience to move you forward.

Thanks so much for visiting with us today, Braxton! And thank you for giving away a print book in your MedAir Series to one lucky person in the U. S. (digital for all others) who leaves a comment. Just tell us what you're reading this week.



37 comments:

  1. I just finished On Love's Gentle Shore by Liz Johnson and am halfway through Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble.
    Thank you for the introduction to a new author. Always love a good suspense/thriller.

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    1. MH, thanks for stopping by! Braxton writes a great thriller!

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    2. Hi MH. Hope you check out my books. My wife's favorite is Indebted. Asking me which is my favorite is like asking me who is my favorite child. lol

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  2. Good morning Braxton. I am reeading the new suspense novel Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan and it.is.so.good! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and BTW, I would love a Christmas suspense novel :-)
    Blessings!!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Connie, I just finished Deadly Proof last night! It is really good, isn't it!

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    3. Hi Connie. Maybe a Christmas suspense should go on my short list. Thanks.

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  3. I am currently reading Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson. I love a good Christian suspense novel.
    lhanberry1@gmail.com

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    1. Good morning, Linda. I hope you let us know what you think of Threads of Suspicion.

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    2. Hi Linda and thanks for stopping by. I'll have to check out Dee's book.

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  4. Wow, wow and more wow! Now I really want to read this author! I orevordered Kill Zone cause it has a lot of my favorite authors, including you, Pat!
    I'm reading These Healing Hills but Ann Gabhart. It's really good and I'm only on page 53!
    Thanks for an excellent interview, great questions! Great answers! paulams49ATsbcglobalDOTnet

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    1. Hi Paula. I think you're going to really enjoy Kill Zone.

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    2. Thanks, Paula and I agree with Braxton that you will enjoy The Kill Zone!

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  5. I am reading Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan, so you see I do enjoy suspense! I'm retired too and find time to read between taking care of my elderly mom and at bedtime. I agree that retirement finds me busier than when I was working!

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    1. Good morning, Gail. My wife and I wondered how we accomplished anything when we worked full time. Now, we look at the calendar and wonder how we accomplish anything being retired full time. lol

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  6. For those of you new to my books, I always have a tinge of concern as to the expectations of Christian readers. The first book of my series, Looks that Deceive, was written as a typical medical thriller and, honestly, there's not much of a Christian message there. But that was by design, to appeal to a broader audience and get them interested in the series. Each successive book in the series brings out a stronger message, as you'll find if you move into book two, Rescued and Remembered.

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    1. Braxton, books written from a Christian world view are often so hard to find and I don't think a lot of Christianese is necessary for a book to be deemed Christian. :-)

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  7. I was SO excited to see and then read this interview. I have only read one of your books so far but, I plan on reading all of them. I have told all of my friends and children about 'Looks that deceive'. It is a book that stays with you long after you close the cover. I think a truly well written and thought out book is the only type that can do that. I was in the military and am in the medical field and in law enforcement and am so grateful that you don't write down to your readers. It is fun to be challenged and remember that we don't know everything. Thank you for being the author that you are and I hope you continue to enjoy your 113 year old home and have great health to continue writing for many years to come.

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    1. I have Looks that Deceive on my TBR table, Unknown and can't wait to read it.

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  8. I was SO excited to see and then read this interview. I have only read one of your books so far but, I plan on reading all of them. I have told all of my friends and children about 'Looks that deceive'. It is a book that stays with you long after you close the cover. I think a truly well written and thought out book is the only type that can do that. I was in the military and am in the medical field and in law enforcement and am so grateful that you don't write down to your readers. It is fun to be challenged and remember that we don't know everything. Thank you for being the author that you are and I hope you continue to enjoy your 113 year old home and have great health to continue writing for many years to come. (Not sure why I was posted as 'unknown'....lol)

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    1. And I didn't read the second comment, Debra. lol. Thanks for stopping by.

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    2. I posted this interview on my FB page and tagged some friends that had not heard of Mr. DeGarmo and was really excited when they responded that they are going to check him out. It's so much fun to talk about books with others that have also read them.

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    3. Debra, wow, what can I say except thank you? I am so glad you enjoy my writing and your comments are more flattering than I deserve. I think this post just moved ahead of my prior "best compliment." Again, thank you.

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    4. The pleasure is mine. The fact that you take time to respond to everyone on here speaks volumes for how much you truly care about your readership. It's all about the little things.

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  9. Hello Pat and Braxton! I've not yet read Braxton's books. I hope to do so soon. I'm reading A Moonbow Night by Laura Frantz.

    psalm103and138 at gmail dot com

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    1. Hi Caryl. I sure hope my books live up to all the comments here today--for when you finally pick up one of them.

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    2. Hi Caryl! Don't forget you can get his novella featured in the Kill Zone! Thanks for dropping in and joining the conversation!

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  10. I enjoyed the interview and look forward to reading your books. I had forgotten my earlier fascination with L eon Uris's books until you reminded me. James Bond was too sophisticated for me.

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    1. Thanks, Dot. Loved Leon Uris and still have several of his books. His legacy even lives on in my story, Kidnapped Nation. I hope you enjoy my books.

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    2. I love Leon Uris' books! One of them, Exodus, is my all-time favorite book.

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  11. I loved this interview! I am reading "Her Secret" by Shelley Shepard Gray. Thank you for the chance.

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    1. Hi Debbie. Thanks for stopping in and commenting. Right now that chance sits at 12.5%

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    2. Debbie, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

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  12. Fascinating interview (my two sons are both doctors and one a potential author). I'm glad to be introduced to your books.

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    1. Hi. There IS life after medicine, although I should also stress the word after. It would take an exceptional story to allow one to enter the ranks of Robin Cook, Tess Gerritsen, Michael Palmer, and Michael Crichton--all MDs who were able to leave practice for lucrative writing careers. They were all in the right place at the right time and the publishing industry has changed dramatically since.

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  13. Gail is the winner of Braxton's print book and he has graciously agreed to gift everyone else a kindle copy of Looks that Deceive. As soon as I return home (and I'm not in Hawaii incase you read my blog at ptbradley.com/blog) I'll send him everyone's email address and he'll send you a kindle copy! Thanks, Braxton!

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