Title: The Willing (Crayder Chronicles #2)
Author: C.S. Splitter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
How far would you go to protect your friends and family?
Tom Crayder is the All-American guy next door with a business, a wife, a son, a mortgage, and an expensive hobby. He is also a politically incorrect, wisecracking, operative working for a shadowy organization dedicated to administering justice outside of a broken system. Not even his wife knows of his other life when she finds herself unwittingly involved in a drug war.
Strap in with Tom as he navigates his way through the strata of a drug cartel. Lock and load with Lorena, a hard hearted assassin, as she lends her deadly skills to Tom’s fight for his family.
Sit back and watch Tom and Lorena figure out how to work together without killing each other. Join the rest of the cast from "The Reluctant (Crayder Chronicles)" as they pitch in to track down the hitmen that threaten their associate.
Some mysteries are solved. Some questions are answered. Some live. Some die.
The Willing is the second novel in the Crayder Chronicles; C.S. Splitter sense of humor and writing style is fabulous the humor is so funny it truly made me laugh out loud. This story is fast paced, full of action and has the right amount of suspense to make this novel a great read, I definitely will continue to follow this series. C.S. Splitter has written a story of a man who loves airplanes, guns, talking, telling dirty jokes and yet I still ended up liking Tom Crayder.
In The Willing Tom is has to step up and defend his wife who has accidently pissed the drug cartel off, here we get to see the love Tom has for his wife and I even got passed the issue of him thinking about fooling around on her in the first book. Tom and his friends step up to help him protect his family, we get to see Lorena who is funny, sarcastic and I for one would call upon her if I was ever in trouble. Tiny returns in this novel and I just loved his character. One of the best characters who is back is Tom’s dog, Sammy I can almost picture him giving Tom a hard time with his overbite showing haha. This is a must read!
The Willing is an absolute fantastic read, I have rated it a 4.5 and would recommend this series to anyone who loves a fast paced adventure/suspense novel filled with a dash of humor.
I'D LIKE TO WELCOME C.S. SPLITTER TO MY BLOG
C.S. Splitter is a business man, author, and stand-up philosopher living in rural Maryland with his beautiful wife, small dog, and astonishingly large cat. He is an avid shooter and loves being 5000 feet above the ground, upside down, in an open cockpit.
He will never again jump out of a perfectly good airplane and feels the need to color outside of the lines.
He will never again jump out of a perfectly good airplane and feels the need to color outside of the lines.
Now, enjoy the interview!
Q: You have a male protagonist who is rather rough around the edges. Do you think that makes this a “guy's book” and how do female readers respond to Tom Crayder?
A: I never even considered who would read my stories when I wrote the first book. I just wanted to tell a good story with good characters and not let the writing get in the way. If I had taken the time and energy to do a little research, I would probably have altered Tom's character and he would have lost some of the things that make him “Tom.”
Judging from the reviews and emails, more than 90% of my readers are women. From what they say, they end up appreciating Tom in the end. He is not the prototypical hero, but he is real simply because he is not prefect.
I know it may come as a shock to some men, but it seems that women figured out how flawed we are a long time ago. And they STILL love us despite our weaknesses.
Women make up about 80% of the fiction audience from that studies I have seen and I think their acceptance of Tom is testament to their imagination and acceptance of variety. In Tom, they seem to see someone they know and they are able to look past his rough edges to see his heart. He might make them roll their eyes from time to time, but they understand that he really is trying to be a good guy.
The truth is, they probably have to do that with most of the men in their lives that they love.
Of course, I also think women tend to love Lorena. Part of that is probably because she keeps Tom in check and often shows him the error of his ways.
One interesting difference in the reaction I get from men and women is where they draw the line morally. Early on in the first book, Tom considers cheating on his wife and women react very strongly to that while men seldom mention it. But, when Tom is asked to dish out some justice to the bad guys, men question his decision while women seem to accept it.
There might be a lesson there: Women will not accept cheating and they like seeing the bad guy get his in the end. Men should take note!
Q: How would you describe The Reluctant and The Willing?
Both are thrill rides with fun characters and stories. That was my goal in writing them, at least.
“The Reluctant” centers around Tom Crayder, an All-American type regular guy, who is faced with a couple large moral dilemmas.
“The Willing” is really about the relationships he has developed. When his wife is threatened, friends step up to help him do unto the bad guys before they do unto her. Think of it as “It's a Wonderful Life” meets “Deathwish.” Really!
Q: Which character you had most fun writing?
That had to be Tiny. He is a young and rather large man who is just full of quirks and personality. I think he is a great mix innocence and acceptance of the strange world around him. Everyone loves Tiny.
After the first chapter of “The Reluctant,” who would have thought of Tiny as being a neat freak or showing courage where his friends are concerned?
That's what makes Tiny great: you wouldn't want to pay his dinner bill, but you would love to have him as a friend.
Q: What should readers expect from The Reluctant and The Willing
Action, adventure, thrills, suspense, and some laughs. Yeah, I know, that's a strange combination.
Tom Crayder cannot help making jokes at inappropriate times. He cannot help insulting Lorena and others even when he doesn't mean to. Except for being a private pilot, there really is nothing extraordinary about him on the surface. Even in the worst situations, he finds himself acting like he thinks he should because he is usually scared to death...and I think that defines courage.
Lorena, the female protagonist, is a dichotomy of emotions and ethics. She will step in to help a friend and have no qualms (outwardly) about torturing a guy to get the information she needs to render that help.
I have a lot of fun throwing together a group of disparate characters, making them face bad situations, and seeing how they interact with one another. I really do not think we can call any of them heroes in the classic sense, but the good guys are good at heart even when they are doing some pretty terrible things.
The bad guys are just nasty.
The reader might even find themselves rooting for the protagonists as they pull of their less-than-legal and morally questionable capers.
Q: How did you come up with the titles of your books?
I started writing the first book and the title just sort of hit me. The book was about choices and their consequences. Since some of the dilemmas presented choices that were gray, Tom found himself questioning his decisions quite often.
I could have written that book in such a way that he was forced into certain decisions, but I did not want to make him a victim. For good or ill, whatever happens to him is a result of his decisions.
By the time the second book was being written, it became apparent to me that Tom had accepted his new role in life and was...er...willing to do whatever was necessary to protect his wife. His friends also show a willingness to step and and put themselves in danger to aid him.
And I love one-word titles. They are easy to remember and, if used properly, serve as part of the setup for the story
Q: What are your current projects?
A couple months ago, I decided to set Tom's story aside for a little bit and tell Lorena's story.
The third book is really going to be a prequel and show us how Lorena's character was shaped and how she became part of “the organization.”
Her story is a challenge as far as writing it goes. I already had her backstory fleshed out when I introduced her as a character (with one large exception that I added later) so the story itself is not a problem for me. The challenge is in doing justice to a strong, deep, and real female character.
I have seen a lot of male authors fail at writing women well. They often end up being “cookie cutter” and one dimensional. I don't want to be that guy so I am preserving her kick-butt style while showing all sides of her.
I guess it would help if I understood women....
Q: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be a baseball player! Unfortunately, my glaring lack of talent prevented that. I did, however, find the wonderful world of coaching because of my love for the game so it was all worth the early disappointment.
I guess the other thing I always loved was entertaining people. I can't sing or play an instrument, and since I have been advised to never dance again, I resorted to humor. I think my writing was really born out of my wish to entertain and that is also probably why I sprinkle in so many jokes.
Q: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I LOVE hearing from readers. Since “The Reluctant:” went nuts on the Amazon charts a couple times, I have started getting a lot more email from readers and, thankfully, it has been overwhelmingly positive.
I promised myself as soon as I started writing that I would respond to every reader who took the time to communicate with me. Because they took the time to read my work, they deserved that much. It takes a bit more time now, but it is well worth it because readers come up with some incredible insights.
After reading “The Willing,” most want to know more about Lorena. As I said, that is coming in the third book!
Sometimes, the emails are a study in psychology. Some readers thank me for favoring a certain issue while others thank me for opposing that same issue. And they both just read the same book! I almost feel bad when I have to tell them that, while I ask a lot of questions with my stories, I really do not take stands on issues as a novelist. It is interesting that no matter what you meant to do, people will take something different away from the reading experience. I think that is a good thing.
There is another big difference that I see between readers, but I will answer that in a different question.
Q. What were your feelings when your first novel was accepted/when you first saw the cover of the finished product?
There is a TREMENDOUS feeling of accomplishment when you finish your first book. It lasts about a day. After that, you realize just how much work is left in the editing and making the book otherwise presentable to readers. It is daunting. After you get the book all polished up, it hits you that you have not even begun to try to market it.
Promotion is the most difficult thing about creating a book. Writing is fun. Choosing covers is fun in its way. Even working with an editor (mine is Tricia Kristufek) is great once you realize that they are making your work better. But promotion and marketing is a great big sea of uncertainty that will suck up all of your writing time if you let it.
HOWEVER! After all of that, you see the sales start to pile up and, one day, you will have a real book in your hands with your name on it. When I got the print versions of my books, that was probably the most powerful moment I have experienced as a writer.
Q: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing your book?
The most surprising thing I learned was just how difficult it is to make a good book. Writing it was more difficult than I had anticipated. So was getting beat up by my editor who I was sure was trying to show me just how bad I was as a writer. Then I learned just how many things I did not know about publishing and that was humbling.
Only idiots and insane people set out to write a book. Seriously. Don't try this at home unless you just cannot help yourself. If you simply MUST write a book, that is a pretty good sign that you should do it.
Q: Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do to get over it?
I guess it depends on what you call “writer's block.” I spent more than a decade trying to come up with a good, original idea for a series. As far as fiction went, I was stalled completely.
Once I got that “lightning bolt” idea that put my backside in a chair to write the first book, ideas started cropping up everywhere. Now, I have more ideas than I will ever have time to put on paper.
I guess the lesson there is that writers need to write. Even if what you write that day turns out to be garbage, the action itself puts you one step closer to turning out something readable.
I outline pretty heavily but that still does not save me from getting stuck at times when I am writing. I find that my outlines last through half the book and then new or better ways to get to the end come to mind. Sometimes, I have to walk away from the keyboard for a little bit to decide on which way to take a story or a scene. It generally does not last long.
In view of those statements, I guess it is fair to say that I had writer's block for many years and, in my confusion, I did nothing to get passed it which made it last much longer than it should have. If I had just sat down to write, I think the flood of ideas would have hit me much sooner.
Then again, my answer when I get stuck it is walk away from the keyboard for a while.
What is the answer to writer's block? I have no idea and it probably varies from one writer to the next. However, I think that if you get stuck for too long, the answer is just to start writing.
Q: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Find a balance between action, character development, and plot is an ongoing struggle. You can't spend too much time on one aspect of the story or the reader will get bored. Movies can be successful with one action scene after the next, but a book needs characters that people care about and a few surprises along the way.
I don't think I will ever be good enough in my own mind at striking the proper balance. I hope the readers are more forgiving.
The other things that I had to realize was that it was never me saying or doing things, it was the character. They all say and do things that I never would or make decisions that I would not.
Sometimes, I think writers hurt themselves by looking at something they have written and say, “If I leave that, what will people think of me?” That is the wrong question, in my opinion. The proper question should be, “Does that fit the character?” If the answer is “yes”, then you have to leave it in.
If a writer is trying to say something and it is not working with the character, the writer needs to find another avenue or abandon the idea. The one thing readers hate is when a character acts or speaks “our of character.” They will nail an author on that in their heads every time.
Any last thoughts or words of wisdom you would like to share with the readers?
Just a big THANK YOU to the people who have downloaded and read my books. And an even bigger THANK YOU to those that send emails or, more importantly, post reviews.
Those things really do keep my going.
Look for the third book to be published in June of 2012.
Thanks for having me here, Tana!
Splitter's Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/splitter
SplittersWorld Blog: http://splittersworld.blogspot.com/