Friday, 13 July 2012

O'Neil De Noux interview: Enamored

Amazon UK | Amazon US
Can you sum up your book in no more than 25 words?

A case of obsession and murder that will baffle New Orleans Private Eye Lucien Caye, intrigue him, make him fall in love – three times.

What’s unique about it?

Beyond the setting – I don’t know anyone who is writing crime fiction set in 1950 New OrleansENAMORED is the most character-driven book I’ve written. The book was taken over by its characters early in the process and I let them run with it. I stuck to the plot, knew where it was going and manage to get there. It is certainly a lot more about the people than the case. I let them surprise me and they did.

What are your expectations for Enamored?

What I would like to happen is for the people who made my Lucien Caye short story collection NEW ORLEANS CONFIDENTIAL my best selling book to give ENAMORED a shot, then spread the word. Maybe someone will realize Lucien was made for TV. What I expect will happen is what happens with all of my books. My loyal fans will buy it, some others will try it and I’ll pick up more fans thanks to, but the sales will remain low. I’ve been a low list writer since I started in 1988 and I don’t see anything changing. I’m not complaining one bit. This is the path I chose. Success isn’t in sales, it’s in the quality of the writing.

What’s the worst piece of craft advice you’ve heard?

I’ve been given almost the same line by agents and editors again and again – “Write for a specific audience, or write for a certain editor, or write for a particular market.” I believe that’s wrong and Robert Frost was correct when he said, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” I write what moves me. I write what I want to write. I began with New Orleans police crime fiction novels because I was a homicide detective and knew the effects of violence on victims and police officers. I moved on to private eye fiction and historical fiction because it was what I wanted to write about at the time. I still write police crime fiction but each novel I write, each short story I write is for me. I’m happy others like to read some of them.

Put these in order: language, character, plot, money.

I used to think plot was first, but a critic described my crime fiction as character-driven and he was right. Character is first for me. Language is next because dialogue and exposition are the coolest part of a book. Plot is next because without a plot, without a storyline, all you have are talking heads. Money is not a consideration. I hope to get as much as I can but it’s not up to me. Like most writers, I write the best I can and hope to make a buck. Until I took control of my career and morphed into a Indie writer, I went around with a tin cup for years, begging editors to give my work consideration. Now it’s up to the readers. At least my stuff is available.

Who designed your cover?

I designed the cover of ENAMORED. It is a sexy book that needs a sexy cover. I am fortunate to have an excellent model with great legs. I was trained as a combat photographer in the army and worked in computer graphic design for a number of years, so I put the talents together, taking my mentor Harlan Ellison’s advise about covers. Use one strong image, prominently display the title and writer’s name and say one thing about the book or writer.

How much time do you dedicate to writing? How much time would you like to spend writing?

I work full time as a police officer. I also work full time as a writer. That’s about eighty hours a week. I don’t do much else. I plan to retire from my police job to concentrate on my writing as soon as possible, but that’ll be a few years away. The only way to get it written is to write.

How much time do you dedicate to promotion?

Not enough. I don’t have time. My wife is my business manager and my friends (fellow New Orleans writers, my agent and copy editor) help. I wish I did more promotion. Then I might not be a low list writer.

Where do you write?

We have a home office and I work on two Macintosh computers, a desktop and a laptop that I take to coffee shops and other places on occasion. I usually design covers and layout the books on one computer and type manuscripts on the other. I get help, as you can see, from my cats.

Do you have any other projects on the go?

Always. I’m in the middle of writing a companion novel to my historical epic BATTLE KISS and have laid out the next novel, which will be a right-after-Hurricane Katrina crime fiction novel. I always start a novel as soon as I’m finished with the one I’m writing now. As I write the novels, I also write a few short stories. I started ENAMORED the day after I finished BATTLE KISS and was able to finish it in eight months.


  1. Sure would be nice to see him on TV!

  2. An excellent interview of an excellent writer. Best wishes, O'Neil, for continued success.