Last, but not least, for my Blog Tour special guest author is Jude Roy with a Q&A Interview. I especially enjoyed reading his bio. His father reminds me of my own dearly departed grandfather, who came to West Virginia from Kentucky when he was only eight years to work in the coal mines with a second grade education. I’ve never heard anyone speak Cajun in person before, although I’ve read a few good books about Louisiana and the different dialect.
Jude Roy grew up in Chataignier, a small town in South Louisiana. His father was a sharecropper, illiterate, and poor as dirt. His mother was the educated one in the family. She went all the way up to the six grade. He failed the first grade because he could not speak English–he spoke Cajun. Despite all that, he is a writer and an English teacher in a college. Stories were very important in his culture. He listened, he internalized, and now, he is giving back. His latest novel, Lisa’s Rape, focuses on a woman’s effort to find out who raped her twenty years in the past. He is currently working on his third John LeGrand novel about his effort to find a young woman, abducted by a psychopath, and missing for for over thirty years. His life is a lot calmer than his novels on most days.
Why do you write in the mystery/detective genre?
At the tender young age of fourteen/fifteen, all I read were detective novels and movie magazines because that was what my mother read. I started with Erle Stanley Gardner. Then I moved on to Chandler, Spillane, Cohen, Stout, and others. What attracted me to them were the sexy covers—hey, I was fourteen. All my training has been in literary, but most of the novels I write are a mixture of literary and mystery. John LeGrand, my main detective, came to me as a short story. I enjoyed his company, so here I am. I have included him in over twenty short stories, novellas, or novels.
What inspires you?
People—how they walk, talk, act. At a party, I’m the one sitting by himself, watching the other partiers having fun. I read the local paper religiously—everything from the front page to the editorials. I’m a college instructor. I watch how my students interact. I read their papers and pay attention to what is important to them. However, what inspires me most is how people speak—the rhythm of their speech. One of my favorite writers in that respect is Elmore Leonard. He was one of the best at capturing the rhythm of speech. I just finished a short story. One of my characters, a young woman, is instrumental in the plot of the story, but she seemed flat to me, in that she didn’t seem to stand out. I went back over her dialogue and had her say “you know” each time she gave the main character information. It’s aggravating for him, and helps define their relationship. I like the story much more, now.
Who is your favorite author?
Earnest Gaines because he was a master at showing instead of telling. I’d been told that throughout my college career, but Gaines actually showed me how it was done. In one of his scenes—in Katherine Cormier, I believe—a group of men are sitting in a bar with a set up (a bowl of ice, a pitcher of water, and a bottle of whiskey) in front of them. These are hardworking men, mostly field hands, but Gaines doesn’t have to tell the reader that. He gives us a glimpse of the ice bowl with dirt from their fingernails mixed in with the water at the bottom of the bowl. Now, I understood what showing meant. I also enjoy Grisham, especially A Time to Kill, The Firm, and The Pelican Brief. As for as detective/mystery writers go, I have to say Raymond Chandler. I mean, I was Philip Marlowe.