27 May 2017

Questions & Answers with Richard Dolezal Author of The Fourth Vow

Questions & Answers with Richard Dolezal
Author of The Fourth Vow

1) Tell us a bit about the process of writing this book.

During my prewriting stage I gathered ideas for research, did the research, formulated a plot and considered the characters, their biographical information, and the time and place of the setting.

I drafted an outline to organize everything. There were notes and bits of paper in a folder with my research.

Then, the day came when I actually wrote my first sentence. I did it on a laptop using MS Word. Once I started writing, the characters came alive with their points of view and took the book in directions that were off script.

I generally write in the morning, as early as possible. I may write for six hours a day, with exercise breaks.

It took about two years to finish the first draft. After that, I edited and revised, edited and revised, and asked friends and family for input. Then there was more revising and more editing until the day came when I stopped writing and began to consider publishing.

2) Are there any characters you’re particularly attached to and why?

I enjoyed them all for different reasons. But the one that I felt particularly attached to is Holly Waters. Without her, there would be no story.

Holly is a single woman who is immensely wealthy, attractive and intelligent. She falls in love with Carson Elliot who is already married, albeit his wife is in a vegetative state because of a massive stroke.

She elects to work with him in his law firm, where she becomes a rainmaker due to her connections. She wants to be with him as much as possible. In doing so, she is giving up on many other choices in her life.

Just as Holly is about to realize her dream of marrying Carson after his wife dies, he is murdered and she is devastated.

Does she go quietly into the night? No, she does not.

3) You mention having held on to the book for 10 years, why do you think this is the time to put it out into the world?

I think the nominating process for president this last time around woke up a lot of people who were angry but had been fairly silent about what has happened to this country. Political correctness has replaced common sense and history. Society is vulgar, untutored, unlawful and in your face, and that is just the beginning.

The unexpected turn out for Trump, even after his blunders on the campaign trail, speaks volumes about how angry people are. In particular, red state people hate the ACLU for many reasons, just as they had the media and their government, all three branches.

4) What do you think makes for a good suspense novel and how did you try to incorporate those characteristics into your book?

A plot that creates uncertainty between and among the characters and which uncertainty is exacerbated by their different points of view and their mixed objectives. A plot where misunderstandings abound, actions are taken without good facts, and someone seems to anticipate actions taken by others.

Add murder and mayhem without an understanding of the reason for murder and mayhem and you create tension and real concern. What is next? Who is committing these acts? Why?

And when people disappear, you wonder if they are dead? If not, where are they? Why are they in hiding?

I tried to set the state with high stakes for the principal characters. I moved the action along by revelations, clues here and there.

I introduced a short timeline to create a sense of urgency.

5) What kind of books do you enjoy reading, and did they influence your writing?

I enjoy reading mystery, thriller and suspense genre fiction because that is the space where I am.

Yes, the books in this genre influenced my writing. There is so much good material available that picking and choosing among the writers is difficult because there is only so much time for reading. But reading is imperative if you are to hone your craft. Learning from better writers is a must if you are to improve. You quickly learn to admire those authors who have taken their writing to another level. They are not trust fund babies, each of them had to work hard to be so good.

Another major influence was my legal writing as a trial lawyer. With the exception of drafting discovery documents, almost everything I wrote was meant to be persuasive. The better legal writing had an economy of scale: saying just enough. No more.

I also enjoy reading World War II Military History. The world at war. What a case of characters. The Holocaust. Humans causing so much human suffering. Difficult to imagine, certainly impossible to understand. The atomic bomb. And then a helping hand from America. The good, the bad and the ugly, but not in that order.

6) What are your favorite and least favorite parts of writing?

I enjoy all aspects of writing, from the research to the final revision, and all the editing in between. If I had to choose a favorite part, it would be doing the research.

My least favorite part is getting my work published.

7) Did your life experience help inform the experiences of the characters in your book, if so how? If not, where did you take inspiration for the experiences of the characters?

My life experiences made me comfortable writing the characters and allowed me to infuse them with what I have learned or observed over the years. However, as far as the specific experiences of my characters in my book, they are their own, not from my personal history. I tried to write experiences that fit the profile of the character and the impact of events on him or her.

The Fourth Vow is available as a paperback and on Kindle.

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