|C. J. Box|
I'm always happy to feature a fellow mystery writer from Wyoming, and C. J. Box is among the best. His first stand-along novel, Blue Heaven, won an Edgar Award for Best Novel of 2008 and has been optioned for film. Three Weeks to Say Goodbye was published in January 2009 and debuted on the New York Times extended bestseller list. His ninth Joe Pickett novel, Below Zero, released in June of last year, also became a bestseller.
C. J. writes for two publishers: Putnam for the Joe Pickett series and St. Martins Press for his stand-alone novels. "Each wants a book a year," he said. "I work every day with my best work in the mornings. I edit and do other things in the afternoons. When I'm at my cabin or an isolated place, I work in one or two more writing sessions and sometimes go deep into the night. My goal is always 1,000 good words a day, but sometimes I exceed that. And sometimes I fall short."
An avid hunter-fisherman, he was working as a news reporter in the small town of Saratoga in southern Wyoming when he began work on his novel, first Joe Picket novel, Open Season. He spent, and still spends, considerable time outdoors and went on ride-alongs with the local game wardens while formulating the premise for his own fictional game warden-sleuth. He said, "As I learned more about the duties and responsibilities and home life of a game warden, I thought a game warden would be a great protagonist. I'm glad I chose correctly."
Winning an Edgar Award and finding himself on the New York bestseller list was "fantastic because the Edgar is an honor bestowed on my fellow novelists for quality and being on the NYT list means readers are buying the books. I think all Edgar winners want to be bestselling authors, and all bestselling crime novelists want to win an Edgar. So I'm a lucky guy."
He's currently working on another stand-alone, Back of Beyond, and reports that it's going well. I asked if he'd rather be hunting, fishing or writing, to which he replied. "I'd rather be combining the three, to be honest. Do a productive session at the computer, grab my fly rod, and come back later to write a little more. That, for me, is the perfect day."