Today I welcome author William Delorey to my blog. His latest book, Hobo’s Revenge, was released this month. (Click here to check out Hobo’s Revenge and all his books on Amazon.)
Tell us a bit about yourself.
In a former life, after spending a few years cruising around the world on a submarine in the Navy, I designed and built custom homes in California while attending various colleges and universities pursuing an education. I first studied animal behavior because I love wildlife, then journalism and fiction because I dreamed of becoming a writer ever since I was a kid.
That ‘wannabe a writer’ goal always hovered off in the distance until the day I published my first words and photos, an environmental article on water recourses in rural Sierra foothills – then, never looked back. I quit building, began a second career and fulfilled that childhood dream. I turned away from journalism a few years ago and primarily write fiction now.
Where were you born and where do you call home?
I’ve lived all over the country – Boston, Los Angeles, Hawaii, San Francisco, the Mother Lode in the Sierras, Cape Cod, and we now make our home in Florida when we’re not traveling and photographing the natural world all across North America.
I suspect my birthplace will always remain my true homeland, despite the travels and the variety of ‘home teams’ in my life. It must say something about my heart when I remain a Boston Red Sox and Boston (NE) Patriots fan no matter where our pillows lie at any given moment.
On several occasions, I actually spent a couple of years homeless in a sense (by choice), and lived first in a van, and then in a small RV sitting upon a 4×4 truck. Camping and traveling across Canada, USA, and Mexico was quite an inviting lifestyle for those early years. Now, we spend almost half of each year traveling the North American wilderness in a 4×4 RV.
How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?
I think all fiction comes alive thru the experience an author brings to the table and shares with readers. Character and story exist as an integral, maybe even unconscious, component of any writer, even if or when that writer distorts the reality of life and its social interactions in order to entertain.
Do you write full-time? If so, what is your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Yes, I basically write full-time, but not all the time, if that makes sense. I make time every day to write, or review progress. I carry a laptop everywhere, and spend a lot of time in the wilderness areas camping. So evenings are mostly free …
Most recently, the past few years, I’ve changed my focus from journalism to fiction. I’ve been a nature and wildlife writer and a sports journalist for years, writing and photographing both as work and as pleasure. It’s never a job, and certainly not a chore, more like expressing through words and images the artistic nature of earth and the critters that inhabit it
I’ve spent over twenty years camping and working in the wilderness areas of this amazing country. In fact, I began “Shuffle an Impulse” (a psyche suspense novel) as short fiction while camping in the Great Smoky Mountains. Sitting by a campfire, I began a tale of about three or four thousand words and planned on adding it to my short fiction collection.
We traveled west through the Colorado Rockies and then northeast across the country, capturing images and collecting data for nature articles. Seven months later, we camped by a lake in Vermont and I realized that short-story contained over a hundred thousand words, and a novel had emerged. I simply couldn’t stop writing. Quite a surprise.
How do you conceive your plot ideas?
Plot ideas? Hmmm, sorta emerge off the fingertips though the end often remains elusive. I write in mostly quiet areas, free up my mind, and start developing a character from my own experience, and that of other lives combined with my own.
The character takes me where it wants to go – and often surprises me in its interaction with other characters and its importance to the plot. Like any life, it simply exists and we have no control over what it does or how it acts. Once a character or a scene finds a home in my story, then I refine it and push it around until it fits in the plot line or supports another more important character.
In my latest novel, a Special Forces veteran missing a foot and living in the hobo camp was initially a very minor character, invented only to flesh out the camp vagabonds. Eventually, he nearly takes over the story, becomes a major influence on both the plot and the climax … and he now supports other minor characters and drives much of the action.
The novel as it exists could never be complete without this minor character growing into a major player and driving the plot to its conclusion.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I never outline my fiction. Each story begins with a single inspiration. Either a scene fills my mind, or a character pops up and starts screaming “recognize me”, “look how odd I am”, or “how unique I am” … I’m not sure how better to explain it … but once the original character or scene emerges, then action begins filling in around it.
I have no story line when it starts, only a mental overview of a subject and its requirements, then begin ‘peopling’ scenes and adding plot. Same thing happens with short or novel length fiction.
I once saw a mountain lion in the wild, (several actually) and its beauty and its physical presence (majestic comes to mind) inspired a story about that predator — it was published in a literary magazine years ago and now leads my Predators short fiction collection.
Please tell us about your current release.
Hobo’s Revenge: My third novel, a financial fraud thriller. Hobo was/is the most fun to write. The characters – drifters and vagabonds – simply leap off the page and nearly write themselves. Well, that’s me talking, and I hope it happens with readers as well.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I research facts in every book I write – and that comes from my base as a journalist, I think. We always fact-check from at least two or more sources for our articles. It’s my nature to verify anything that may become important or even trivial scenes or items in fiction as well. If an author describes a 1968 GMC classic pickup as stock with a 283ci engine, it better be accurate or many readers will call it out, as will an editor. Same with a weapon or a dance move, or a location – accuracy brings a sense of reality to the stories.
Did you base any of your characters on real people?
No, not directly as a general rule. The main character in “Shuffle an Impulse” (my first novel) is based on a family member and the struggles he endures fighting a mental disorder. He helped me identify specific events and incidents and the mind-set of an athlete who competes in sports events while fighting a mental condition and drug abuse in the psyche-based novel.
But no other character in my work comes from anything but a composite of people in the real world. A piece of one, a chunk of another, a sense of humor, a dry wit, a grumpy grandpa, a successful friend … they all contribute, even strangers. Watch how people act, how a person responds to adversity or success. Observation of behavior allows characters to exhibit realism.
What was the most difficult thing/scene to write in this story?
By far, the most difficult scenes are the court and legal scenes and defining the criminal or civil actions in a manner that creates the antagonist and protagonist confrontations. Lots of research regarding financial law and legal complications that push story lines into a conflict that drives interaction between characters.
Did the story turn out the way you planned from the beginning? If not, what change happened that you didn’t expect?
None of my stories follow a straight path to a planned ending. In Hobo, one of the major “end scenes” simply arrived on the PC screen one night out of nowhere. It included a minor character, and the scene forced the minor character into a major role in order to conclude the story properly with that ending. It’s never happened before, and was a surprise when it occurred. But it fit the message so absolutely that it required me to develop that character and assign him a larger role.
If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?
The Johns own this one hands down.
My favorite novel – Of Mice and Men:: John Steinbeck, his activist reaction to social values and tragedy enlightens anyone who reads his work.
And – John Lennon. We often forget or ignore songwriters as writers/authors. Novels are sorta like songs with extended lyrics, or maybe song lyrics represent short and to the point novels.
The magic of words convey the artistic sense and vision of any writer, some just take more words to transmit emotions, some less.
Hobos and High Finance have little in common until the day an investment scammer deceives Gina and Mickey McGee, steals their retirement savings, and forces foreclosure on the family farm.
Evicted along with her grandparents, Ellie McGee drops out of college and ends up homeless, surviving in a hobo encampment amongst a group of vagabonds.
Ellie meets Tick Simmons, and together they plan revenge on the fraudsters that stole the farm and also killed Tick’s twin brother, a resident of the hobo camp. Tick and Ellie team up with the odd-ball drifters, recruit a senator and an Army intelligence agent, and scam the scammers, reversing the fraudulent game plan and engaging a diabolical and ingenious plot to retaliate in an all-or-nothing high stakes gamble.
About the Author
After serving in the US Navy Submarine Force as a mechanical engineer and scuba diver, Bill returned to California and launched his first career as a General Building Contractor and community development consultant.
Bill received a BA degree at UCLA in Behavior Anthropology [Animal behavior / wildlife survival and reproductive strategies]. He received a Master’s degree in Professional Writing [Documentary Journalism and Fiction] at UMass Dartmouth.
In 1991 Bill changed careers and published his first article in the Mother Lode Monitor – A project that investigated water resources and containment in Amador County, CA. Since then, he’s researched numerous wildlife and cultural interactions across the nation.
His independent and collaborative research with wildlife organizations photographs and documents connections between wildlife and culture, and its impact on the local environment and ecosystems. His wildlife, hiking and camping words and natural world images from across the USA have been published locally, regionally and nationally. He also edited several science books and documentary journals. His specialty is human and wildlife survival behavior.
His words and images appeared in numerous sports venues as well as wildlife and nature magazines.