Our guest this week is Warren Easley who recently became the Blog Master for Poisoned Pen Press:
Warren grew up on the west coast and was educated in the UC system, where he majored in chemistry and minored in “wave mechanics and surfboard hydrodynamics.” His love affair with the mystery genre started with Ian Fleming’s James Bond gems when he was in graduate school at Berkeley. After receiving a Ph.D. he pursued a career in R&D and international business, including a stint in Geneva, Switzerland, where he learned he had no facility for foreign languages and was often accused of preferring skiing to work.
A closet poet most of his life, Warren started writing fiction 12 years ago, and currently writes for Poisoned Pen Press. Never Look Down, the third book in the Cal Claxton Oregon mystery series appears this September.
When I started writing the Cal Claxton mystery series, I had this vague notion of my protagonist, a burned out ex-prosecutor from L.A. who had moved to the Oregon wine country to start a one-man law practice in the aftermath of his wife’s suicide. I began writing the first book (a book that rests in a drawer, never to see the light of day) in first-person POV, as we say in the biz. This means the story is being told directly by Cal, so he refers to himself as “I” in the book. I did this, to be honest, without giving it much thought since I was a writing novice.
Sure, it was easier to tell the story, which was important for a writer like me, who finds it difficult if not impossible to outline. Sure, I could plant clues and see a few more chapters ahead. But, I had lost that intimacy with my protagonist, Cal Claxton. It was as if he had become simply one of many players in the story. I didn’t want this. I wanted the story to be his story, and I wanted the reader to experience it through his eyes and nobody else’s.
The beauty of writing, of course, is that, aside from grammar, there really aren’t any rules. Some writers, probably most, use an omniscient narrator to tell their tale. I’ll stick to first-person, thank you.
Warren C. Easley is the author of the Cal Claxton Oregon Mysteries, Matters of Doubt, Dead Float, and coming in September, Never Look Down.