Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Authorsday - John Wayne Cargile

Welcome to my blog John Wayne Cargile, author of Cry of the Cuckoos.

1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I enrolled at Kilgore College in 1963, I was asked what I would like to major in. I didn’t have a clue. I decided at that point I wanted to study journalism. The school had a good journalism department. While attending Kilgore, which is one of the settings in my book, The Cry of the Cuckoos, I free lanced with the Longview Morning Journal. When I saw my first byline, I was hooked and I’ve never looked back. After 40 years as a newspaper writer/editor, magazine writer/editor and book producer it’s been a rewarding career. When I was but 10 years-old, however, I wrote a short story about a dog named “Rinny.” I wish I still had the little notebook that I wrote it in.

2. How did you pick the genre you write in? The mystery genre actually picked me. I started with an historical romance novel titled, “Decoration Day.” The setting was World War Two, and the main characters were a soldier and female civilian who met in west Texas. It was based on my father and mother actually. When my mother died in 2007, the book took on a life of its own. I decided to scrap the historical romance novel for the time being and concentrate on a commercial novel which I thought would appeal to a wider audience. Some of the material gathered from “Decoration Day” seeped into “The Cry of the Cuckoos.”
3. What drew you to the subject of (The Cry of the Cuckoos)? I was toying around with titles, and I ran across a YouTube video that had the sound of the cuckoo bird in someone’s yard. I researched the cuckoo bird and found that it likes to fool other species in its race to imitate their chirping cry. The cuckoo bird is deceptive in the fact that it will fly into another nest and fool the rests that it is one of them. The Society of Southron Patriots, a radical right wing supremacist organization, became my platform in this mystery novel. The society was like the cuckoo bird in its deception. It is more than a whodunit story, but a story about a son separated from his biological mother for more than 61 years. The cuckoos in this book are more than just The Society of Southron Patriots and, beneath it all reveals the flawed personalities in our culture. The themes in the novel are deception and forgiveness. I hope I am not giving too much away (ha)!

4. What was the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it?
Surprisingly, I wrote a novel when I was in my early 20’s. The title was, “Years the Cuckoo Claimed.” It had the same leading character – Henry Drummond. I had read “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest,” by Ken Kesey and “Siddhartha,” by Herman Hesse. I was really influenced by Hesse at the time. I was attending Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama majoring in religion and philosophy, and Hesse caught my attention in his writings. I think I did send out several query letters, but each was rejected. So, I gave up on it. I may resurrect it later.

5. Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book? I had a literary agent at the time, and she suggested I look into a new company called AEG Publishing Group. They had several plans and I submitted my manuscript. They also have a group Eloquent Books, which is a Print On Demand publisher. After reading over the contract, I decided this was the best plan for me. I wanted to be in control of my own destiny instead of being controlled by big interest from a traditional publisher. It’s not exactly self-publishing, because you share 50-50 in the royalties and the printing. It’s a tough road, but in my book experience as a book producer and a sales manager with Bantam Books at one time, I felt I made the right decision. I don’t regret the decision at all. I checked with other writers using their service and they were happy with their decisions, too.
6. Describe your book
I think I will let Richard Blake of Reader Views describe my book. I think he analyzed it better than most:
"The Cry of the Cuckoos" is the story of a son separated from his biological mother for over sixty years. They were reunited for the first time after she becomes a suspect in the murder of his father. Donald Drummond, the main character, is a retired news reporter. Award-winning writer John Wayne Cargile incorporates similarities from his own life in this novel of romance, murder, and intrigue. Henry Drummond, Donald's father, was the leader of a rightwing supremacist group called the Society of Southron Patriots, whose goal was deception. It was also rumored that he had Mafia connections. After Henry's death, by arsenic poisoning, a terrorist plot aimed at killing Washington diplomats by poisoning the food at the concessions of the Super Bowl was uncovered. United Nations delegates were a target of this conspiracy. Donald and his wife Anne were recruited by the FBI to work undercover as informants to help untangle the web of deception surrounding his father's death. A fast-moving, complex plot took the couple from Alabama to Texas where they encountered another murder with surprise twists and turns along the way. Cargile carefully puts in place background details which provide interesting technical and medical information. His training in religion, psychology, and philosophy, as well as his strong interest in integral psychology and spirituality, are apparent throughout John's writing. "The Cry of the Cuckoos" becomes a platform for him to help people integrate their mind, body and Spirit into a Holistic lifestyle. Cargile's character development reflects his understanding of flawed personalities. His narrative provides a related analysis of their symptoms, motivations, and resulting actions. The strength of character of the genuine religious or spiritual person is contrasted with the lip service and lifestyle of deception in those motivated by selfishness and greed. These characters become colorful composites, expressions of idealism, reality, and deception. I was quickly drawn into the story of "The Cry of the Cuckoos" and the theme of deceit and forgiveness. Cargile's writing style is crisp, direct, and engaging. While I found this directness appealing, it may be seen as too simplistic for others. Transitions of locale or time-frame and the pacing of conflict and resolution confronted by the protagonists were well-paced, maintaining the suspense element of the story. I felt the story ended quite quickly, somewhat abruptly; however, an "afterward" wrapped up all the loose ends and gave closure to unanswered questions. The final chapters create the possibility of a sequel. "The Cry of the Cuckoos" by John Wayne Cargile will appeal to readers who enjoy mystery, intrigue, and romance. Cargile's writing is thoroughly entertaining and highly informative.
Tell me one thing about yourself that very few people know? I think I was a writer in a previous life, and I was sent here to complete what the previous writer did not finish. His name was Thomas Carlyle and he was a Scottish philosopher and writer. I was reading some of his works one night and something flew all over me about his writing. It felt to me these were words I had been flirting with for some time was my own. He was a satirical writer, historian and essayist raised by Calvinist parents during the Victorian era. He was expected to become a preacher, but while at he University of Edinburgh he lost his Christian faith. Calvinist values, however, remained with him the rest of his life.
What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?
Dialogue. Being a news reporter and magazine writer for years I loved to write people stories. When interviewing a person for an article I was able to ask the right questions, kind of get into their head, and was able to pull things from them no other person might know. When they began to tell their story, the dialogue flowed and essentially the story was written by me, but told by them using dialogue. You’ll see a lot of dialogue in The Cry of the Cuckoos. The characters are writing the book through dialogue.
What place that you haven’t visited would you like to go? Perth, Scotland. The sequel to my book is tentatively titled, “Mary, Mary Quite Contrary.” This is after the famous British nursery rhyme. Research shows that the innocent little nursery rhyme is not quite what people think it was. The Mary in the nursery rhyme was Mary Tudor. Her husband, one of the British Kings, wrote the little verse after she could not give him children. It actually has been interpreted by some people as a little racy. The character in my sequel appeared near the end of The Cry of the Cuckoos. Her name is Mary Kate O’Quinn. The beginning of the sequel has Mary Kate visiting Scotland with her new husband. They are on their honeymoon. You’ll also notice on most of my websites the Scottish plaid. I am actually wearing a kilt no one can see. Our family roots trace back to Perth, Scotland, and there is a little parish called Cargill in near Perth.
What is your favorite words?
Amazing Grace. When you hear this song played with bagpipes you get a sensation that is indescribable. It’s an old gospel hymn, something I grew up with. In Church, when the choir sang Amazing Grace, it gave me goose bumps. We are truly here by the Amazing Grace of God’s creation.

The cuckoo bird is a master of deception, fooling other species in their race
to copy their chirping begging call. Donald Drummond and his wife, Anne, chase
after the killer of his father, Henry Drummond, but find themselves up against a
radical right wing supremacist organization called the Society of Southron
Patriots and, like the cuckoo bird, deception is the Society’s mission. The
couple unravels a terrorist plot aimed to kill Washington dignitaries at the
Super Bowl and delegates at the United Nations. Donald, a retired news reporter,
and Anne, a retired school teacher, unfold the mystery leading them on a wild
chase from Alabama to Texas. And one of the many murder suspects is Donald’s
biological mother, Betty Jo Duke, who he only just met after his father’s
death. Donald and Anne are hired as informants by the FBI to unravel the
mysterious case and they get a lot more than they bargained for.
About Me
I am an author/writer/publisher. I have won many writing awards, including
Associated Press, Sigma Delta Chi, etc. I worked as a newspaper writer/magazine
editor for nearly 40 years. I spent a year with the FBI as a clerk in the late
1960's, regional sales manager for Bantam Books, and took my first job at
The Birmingham News after taking a Creative Writing Class from the city editor.
I hold doctorates in philosophy and religion and write a weekly column titled,
Integral Life, for two newspapers in my state. I am working on a sequel to The
Cry of the Cuckoos, and also planning on writing a script.


John Wayne said...

Sorry I missed Wednesday. I had so many things going I just found the interview today. Since there were no comments, I guess it was okay to be AWOL. I'll check back later to see if anyone comments.

KM Fawcett said...

Nice interview. I never knew that about Cuckoo birds. Cool title. The book sounds good. Good luck with it!

John Wayne said...

Thanks, Kathy
Hope you get a chance to read it.

Anonymous said...

great article. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did you learn that some chinese hacker had hacked twitter yesterday again.