E.C. Ayres began working as a writer for PBS, following a short career as a documentary filmmaker. He worked for civil rights, wrote about socio-economic issues, and became involved with environmental issues beginning with the first Earth Day in New York. After a career as a television writer in Hollywood he began applying his beliefs to writing long-form fiction, and thus began the Tony Lowell Mystery series dealing with judicial corruption, racisim, environmental crime, guns and militias, and crimes against women. RED TIDE is the fifth of this series, dealing with environmental crime in the Gulf of Mexico.
1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something? My first mystery, HOUR OF THE MANATEE, was written partly as a response to the appointment of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. I combined that with a true murder mystery in which a wealthy socialite is never prosecuted for a very probable murder.
2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured? I’m up at 5:00 a.m. to see my wife off to work. Then I drive my step-daughter to school. Back by 8:00 I grab breakfast (usually cereal) then go to my den, where I stay until noon. Then I go to an exercise class, maybe have a short nap, then it’s family time beginning about 3.
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? I have never gotten writer’s blog. Being bipolar I tend to get overly manic, or else am just too depressed to write.
4.Are you a plotter or panster when it comes to writing a story? I’m a bit of both. I do outline, but it changes as I go and new twists and turns, and new characters come up.
5.Are you traditionally or self-published, and what was the publishing process like for you? Any advice to aspiring authors? I was first published by St. Martin’s Press, a top three traditional publisher. Now I am with a small presss, Booktrope. With St. Martin’s I won a national book competition, which was the basis for my contract. They managed my tours and book signings. I would just tell them where I was going to be. In the case of Booktrope it is entirely up to the author and his/her team and that is much more daunting.
6.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? Winning the St. Martin’s Press/Private Eye Writers of America Best First Novel competition, for HOUR OF THE MANATEE.
7.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? And any other books of yours, if you wish.
Red Tide by E. C. Ayres
Gulf Coast, present time:
IT WAS the day after the Malagueña crew disappeared, that I heard
the first scanty reports of a possible disaster at sea.
I had no clue at the time, of course, about what had really happened,
or what would happen as a result. I was busy minding my own business
sitting on the dock of my bungalow on the Manatee River smoking a
joint and fishing with my buddy Perry Garwood, while sipping a godawful
light beer Perry’d brought over—the kind of beer that tasted like
warm metal. I was hanging out with Perry because I was between jobs
and women, and kind of low. Worse than low, in fact. On that particular
dark day I was into a serious self-pity jones, and Perry wasn’t much
help. He’s my oldest friend, and had a particular view about things
such as love, and work, which was sometimes pretty different from mine.
Furthermore, he was actually trying to catch a fish that afternoon:
one of those stealthy snook that had somehow escaped the clutches
of the netters.
8.What audience is your book targeted for, and what genre does it come under? RED TIDE is a mystery, and an eco-thriller. It targets readers who care strongly about the environment, are suspicious of corporate and government roles and actions in regard to ocean dumping (in this case in the Gulf of Mexico) and like a good thriller. Check the reviews on Amazon.com.
9.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? I am bipolar and autistic. It is very hard for me to get out and about, other than an exercise class. But I am very close to my immediate family, and my grown son in California.
10.What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.) I am still learning how to do this myself, so I cannot really answer this question. All I can say is don’t give up, keep at it, and keep looking for new windows to open, wherever you can discern a glimmer of light.
11.How much of your books are realistic / based on true experiences/ people All of my books are realistic, based of real events and characters. I did considerable research on RED TIDE based on actual cases of ocean dumping, and the inability of the Coast Guard to enforce what happens on the open sea.
My website is www.ecayres.org
I am on Facebook as Gene Ayres (there is a fan page for E.C. Ayres)
I am on Twitter as @GeneECAyres (or E.C. (Gene) Ayres)
My blog is http://geneayresblog.blogspot.com/