Andy Straka is an award-winning mystery author whose latest book, Split City, features identical twins who are also former pro bowling champions. When one of them is called upon by the small Midwest town sheriff to identify the other’s body in the morgue, as you can imagine, all hell breaks loose.
Hi there, I’m your host Jenny Wheeler, and today in Binge Reading Andy talks about the similarities between his own life and the characters in his story. He too is an identical twin who spent a lot of his youth in the local bowling alley.
As usual, we have a great giveaway of free books to offer you–this time a selection of clean and uplifting historical romance. Details of where to download them are in the show notes or on the Binge Reading Facebook page at www.thejoysof binge reading.com or https://www.facebook.com/JennyAtBingeReading
Don’t forget exclusive bonus content on the Binge Reading on Patreon page – like hearing Andy’s answers to the Five Quickfire Questions. You can hear those by becoming a Binge Reading on Patreon supporter for the cost of less than a cup of coffee a month.
We would love to have you as a supporter. It takes a lot of work to put this together every week and although my time is not paid, it would be great to get a little extra benefit for supporting our sound crew, the people who transcribe the page, and our podcast hosts. Details at www.patreon.com/thejoysofbingereading
Links to be found in this episode
The Weird World of Extreme Ironing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowling_Alone
Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putnam: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowling_Alone
Raymond Chandler: The Big Sleep https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2052.The_Big_Sleep
Dashiel Hammett: The Maltese Falcon: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29999.The_Maltese_Falcon
Jeffrey Deaver: https://www.jefferydeaver.com/
Mary Kay Andrews: https://marykayandrews.com/
Brian Freeman: The Deep Deep Snow, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52282213-the-deep-deep-snow
Claire Huffacker: The Cowboy and The Cossack, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/220812.
Lee Goldberg, Gated Prey http://leegoldberg.com/books/
Leif Enger Virgil Wander https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39027388-virgil-wander
AND Peace Like A River: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/227571.Peace_Like_a_River
Viet Thanh Nguyen: The Sympathizer, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1229277604
William Gibson: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/10003/william-gibson/
James Lee Burke: https://www.jamesleeburke.com/
Dave Robicheaux: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Robicheaux
C.J. Box: https://www.cjbox.net/
Amazon’s new Jack Reacher series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSycMV-_Csw
Where to find Andy Straka
What follows is a “near as” transcript of our conversation, not word for word but pretty close to it, with links to important mentions.
But now, here’s Andy.
Introducing mystery author Andy Straka
Jenny Wheeler: Hello there Andy, and welcome to the show. It’s great to have you with us.
Andy Straka: Thanks Jenny. I appreciate you having me on.
Jenny Wheeler: You are an award-winning and bestselling author whose latest book, Split City, is book one in a new series called Jesus Spares. It’s about identical twin brothers who have both been professional bowlers. I understand there is a big injection of personal biography into that backstory. Tell us about that.
Andy Straka: I grew up in upstate New York, which is where this book is set. It’s not autobiographical in any way, but I am an identical twin and when I was young my mother and father took my identical twin and I bowling almost every Sunday after church.
My parents were both bowlers. That changed a little bit when we got into our teens, it kind of fell away, but it was a part of my childhood that was a cherished memory.
Believe it or not, when the pandemic started a couple of years ago, I was hard at work on more of an international thriller, co-authored with another gentleman. I called him up and said, I need to take a break from this book, it’s too close to reality with everything going on right now. Part of the reason I wanted to do that is I felt the need to tell this story.
This idea came into my head. I wanted to do a traditional mystery that was based character-wise on reality.
Twin City country – with added fiction
It is set in an actual area, the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York where we’re from here in the US, but the town itself, Partridgeberry County and Twin Strikes, none of that exists. It’s all fictional. And I wanted to do an amateur sleuth. I didn’t want to have a professional detective or anybody with any kind of professional background. I didn’t want that level of reality.
It was actually great therapy for me to write this book. I’ve had fun writing it. I hope people have enjoyed reading it, and from the feedback I get from readers that seems to be the case. I’m having a blast with the characters. I’m working on the sequel right now.
We’re talking to the publisher, and I have to meet some deadlines in this quarter in order to have it out this year. It may get pushed into the first quarter of next year, but that’s the background on it and it’s been a lot of fun.
Jenny Wheeler: Was it a bit of a tonic for you getting through the pandemic? Is that how you see it?
Andy Straka: Yes. I needed something that was an escape, and I can’t help but wonder if many readers are in the same boat these days. We have so much drama going on. All we’ve got to do is turn on our television or click our internet. It’s splashed into our faces everywhere, it seems.
‘Agatha Christie meets Big Lebowski’
Sometimes I just want to sit with a book – whether it be a physical book or an e-book. I can go either way myself but I know some people feel strongly either one with one or the other. But to be able to escape, to say, okay I’m in a different world now, I’m enjoying these characters, I want to know more about them, I want to have fun with them, and especially I’m enjoying the narrative voice and whatever is going on.
Jenny Wheeler: I’m talking to you from New Zealand, and in New Zealand, when we talk about bowls the thing that comes to mind, certainly for people of my generation, is lawn bowls and older people playing bowls outside on various smooth greens, dressed in almost uniforms, white costumes, like the cricketers use.
It’s not that sort of bowls you’re talking about at all is it? I don’t know if you even have that sort of bowls in the States. It’s a different sort of bowling entirely, so tell us a bit about the bowling in this book.
Andy Straka: This book is American ten pin bowling. That is the majority of the bowling alleys in this country. Billy Gills, who is the protagonist in the book, is a former pro bowler. He is pretty much washed up, except he occasionally tries to get into a tournament, and he runs the bowling alley, which is Split City. To describe this book in a nutshell I tell people that I like to think of it as Agatha Christie meets The Big Lebowski, if you’re familiar with that, and also meets Cheers.
A sense of community
I know that dates me a little bit but I wanted it to create a sense of community, a place where people come together. In this book there is a local church, and they meet once a month in the bowling alley. They have an event and bring people in from out of town and other areas for a recreational thing. It’s a fellowship and there’s a little talk and so forth.
Essentially, that’s known as Jesus Spares. My idea for the mystery series is that because this is a small town, it’s not like there are murders that happen every day, but all of these stories will in some way be related to those events that happen, whether it’s people from out of town or people in the region who come for this event. That is the idea behind it.
Jenny Wheeler: It’s lightly inspirational, but not overtly religious, I think that would be fair to say, wouldn’t it?
Andy Straka: Yes. I’m sorry, circling back, I didn’t quite answer your question. The ten-pin bowling alley is a facility with a lane. Of course, there is the professional bowling tour here in the US where some of the top bowlers earn fairly good money but professional bowling was in its heyday 30-40 years ago. It’s not so much anymore, but it’s made something of a comeback.
The PBA as it’s known it’s still quite popular, particularly in the Midwest of the United States. Nowadays it is actually one of the most popular or largest sports in America. I think the estimates are something like 60 to 70 million people went bowling last year in bowling alleys, but it’s mostly recreational – families, people getting together.
Bowling used to be at the center
There are leagues and so forth that are formed. They are nowhere near as popular as they were back in my parents’ day. There is quite a good nonfiction, kind of a serious book by a sociologist that came out about 20 years ago called Bowling Alone. (By Robert D Putnam) He documents the restructuring of American community and uses the bowling leagues as sort of a metaphor, an analysis of that, because back in my parents’ day, for example, a much larger percentage of people were involved in these leagues and these communities.
That fell off quite dramatically in the eighties and nineties, and he saw that as an indication of changes in community. I’m not a sociologist. I refer other people to the book. I’ve read parts of it. It’s an interesting thing. What I’m looking to do with this book is in some ways to resurrect that feeling I got from my childhood of a community where people in a small town come together.
Jenny Wheeler: That’s interesting. More recent events indicate perhaps that the community is not quite so glued together as it was when you were growing up.
Andy Straka: In the book, you mean?
Jenny Wheeler: I mean that your book takes us back to a time when the community was more glued together, but this book you mentioned, Bowling Alone, indicates that perhaps the decline in popularity was because communities became less cohesive.
Keeping humor alive in the mystery
Andy Straka: Yes, exactly. I think it’s to the point now – and part of this of course is due to social media and some of the technology we’re using right now – where there are people who live in suburban neighborhoods who don’t even know their neighbors. That would not have been the case back in my parents’ day.
This book doesn’t put its head in the sand and not recognize that. It is modern day, there’s technology and so forth, but it is in a small town. Some of the characters are quite different and there are some different things going on. That is something I’ve had a lot of fun with, and I’m looking forward myself to seeing these characters evolve and getting to know them a little better.
Jenny Wheeler: There is a very humorous tone to it. You’re saying about bowls being a sport and you mentioned a sport there which I had never heard of. At the beginning I thought, he must be joking – extreme ironing as a sport. I looked it up and it really does exist. Tell us about that.
Andy Straka: I don’t know all that much about it. I should say, my identical twin brother is an economist. He has a PhD in Economics. He is a very prestigious executive with one of the big banks here in America. I wanted to make this character nothing like him, but I wanted him to have some financial success. This is Bo Gills.
Billy and Bo both leave professional bowling. Bo leaves prematurely because he has an idea for these strange funky bowling shoes, and they take off. They’re known as TreadBos, and they become the Air Jordan sneakers of the bowling world. He builds a little factory in this Partridgeberry County and his TreadBo shoes become this big, big thing. He’s also very quirky and very different. He has some money; he travels a lot. He’s a little bit of a womanizer.
Extreme sports at their weirdest
But he also does some strange things, one of which is extreme ironing. People could look it up on the internet. It’s a phenomenon where people, sort of as a prank, sort of as a sport, will attempt to iron a shirt or something on an ironing board while standing on their head or riding on horseback or standing on the edge of a cliff, climbing a mountain or whatever you can think of. It is a thing.
Jenny Wheeler: It’s wonderful because you do combine that humor with intense emotion. The book opens with a very graphic scene of Billy being asked to go to the morgue by the local sheriff to identify a body the sheriff thinks is his brother. Because they’re identical twins, that has a special poignancy. I don’t think there’s anybody who wouldn’t identify with that scene and feel for Billy. We won’t let on what happens, but what inspired you to open the book that way?
Andy Straka: That’s the first thought that occurred to me when I had the idea for the book. I didn’t know where it was going to go or how it was going to end up. At first I thought it might go in one direction and it ended up going in a completely different direction, to my surprise. I thought it was a good way to open a mystery right up front with something that was unusual, and also something that, at an emotional level, I could personally relate to. I could imagine myself being called into such a place and looking down at a body that looks like myself, and all the emotions.
The detective who is also a falconer
I tried to capture that as well as I could in the book to give readers a sense of what it’s like to be a twin, to see someone else in the flesh who looks like you. Even at my age now–and I have a couple of grandchildren–my twin and I talk all the time.
We don’t see each other physically as often as I would like, especially since the pandemic but we usually talk two or three times a week on average. In any event, hearing his voice or seeing his face on a screen or whatever it might be, it’s hard for me to communicate with people what that feeling is like. I wanted to try to do that as best I could with this dramatic scene.
Jenny Wheeler: I think you do. It’s terrific.
I wanted to make sure that we got to talk about your other series too, because once again, you have a unique take on things. You’ve got a Shamus award-winning series built around a former cop called Frank Pavlicek.
He has got a particular sport or leisure interest he pursues and that’s falconry. Falconry appears in a number of these books. There are five Frank Pavlicek books and The K Street Hunting Society is the most recent of those. What made you decide to pick on falconry as something to add into the book?
Enthralled by Raymond Chandler
Andy Straka: That’s an interesting story, to some degree. When I was in college, many years ago, I was introduced for the first time to the private detective novel. Believe it or not, it was in a class on Modern American literature. It included a lot of luminaries of literary fiction and lo and behold, there was a little mass market paperback book among the stack of these very prestigious literary novels.
I was curious, as a 19, 20-year-old sophomore in college from a small town. What is this? It was Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, and I was enthralled. Of all the books I read in college as an English major, that stuck with me the most. Something about the voice. I resonated with it.
I wanted to write. I actually played sports in college. I played college basketball, very small college, but I was very involved in that, and I also wrote. I had published a couple of short stories in college in the campus literary journal, nothing too prestigious. I didn’t have the confidence to feel that I could make it as a writer, and I didn’t want to go on and pursue more academic training, so I went into business.
I did that for 13 years altogether but my wife, bless her soul, came to me after our second child was born and said, I’m going to be going back working full-time. Well, she had been working full-time, I shouldn’t say that, but she had gone through her training while I was working.
I was working in the medical field as well. I worked for some large pharmaceutical companies. She said, why don’t you take a year or two off? You have always talked about writing a book, which I had, and it was almost like, put up or shut up, buddy. If it doesn’t work out, go back to what you’ve been doing.
Writing as a ‘stay-at-home’ Dad
I could be a stay-at-home Dad part-time with our then two-year-old daughter – who has recently become engaged to be married at the age of 38, so it shows how long ago that was. Anyway, she laid down the challenge and I never went back.
I started writing, I started working. I didn’t know whether I could finish a novel. I tried some different genres. I tried some different things. I actually tried some medical thriller kind of things, but it didn’t really take. As soon as I had the idea to write a private eye novel, I said, okay, I know this voice. I can write this.
But then of course, if you’re familiar at all with the private detective genre – the long story, the history of it, which continues to this day – it’s a little bit daunting in terms of, what can you do, something that’s different, that’s unique about the character. There’s everything from soup to nuts and everything from Raymond Chandler to Sue Grafton and everywhere in between. There is so much out there. Now we have things from all different multi cultures, which is fantastic. It is amazing how the genre keeps evolving.
For my little piece of it, I had this idea. My wife had gotten into birdwatching and I’d always been fascinated with hawks and eagles and falcons, and every time I would see one I’d get out the binoculars and look.
Inspired by other great writers
I had this idea as I was sitting on my deck one day, and I think a hawk was circling around or something. I said, I think I’ve heard of something called falconry where people hunted with hawks, where they kept hawks not necessarily as pets, but they worked with them. I said, wouldn’t that be an interesting idea.
I immediately thought of Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon as a sort of a reference. This was back in the early days of the internet so I hopped on and got in touch with a guy who was a professional falconer working at a resort about a two-hour drive from us. He was very nice, very cordial. He said, come on out, spend a day, we’ll take a hawk out, we’ll fly and so forth.
I had the idea and had already started writing a little bit. I was going to have my character be a former homicide detective who had been involved in a dramatic shooting in New York City and had to leave police force as a result and ends up in Virginia in a rural area. I had already started writing the character, but I wanted to give him something unusual and I thought, falconry might be the ticket.
I go out with this guy and we fly the hawk around. It was really cool and I’m making notes, I’m learning all about the sport. When we get done, I said, Mark–his name’s Mark Westman–have you always done this, because I knew it wasn’t a super high-paying job. He said, no, I was a homicide detective for 13 years in Florida in Fort Lauderdale. I was like, okay. I know I’m in the right place now; I know I’m doing the right thing. He became a great source of information along with a few others. There are a number of ex cops who practice falconry.
The fascination of falcons
Falconry as a sport, if you’re not familiar with it, is worldwide. It is very popular in the UK and in Europe. In America there are about 5,000 licensed falconers. It is practiced differently depending upon one’s locale and the type of land and the type of game and so forth. Eventually, as I got drawn into it more, I got more involved in the falconry community. I became a licensed falconer myself and I’ve flown five different hawks over the years.
I don’t do it now. I had some health issues a few years back, and I had to drop it. I may go back to it at some point. So, that’s how I came about it. Long story.
Jenny Wheeler: That’s lovely because you were saying that you were looking for something different, which feeds very nicely into me raising the fact that Jeffery Deaver called your book “a breath of fresh air in the field of private eye fiction”. That must have been an accolade you never thought you would receive.
Andy Straka: Yes, that was a blessing. I really felt good about that. It’s a different perspective. I like to tell people that Frank Pavlicek has one foot in the mean streets, you know, a Raymond Chandler, and he has one foot in the woods. It’s not that there haven’t been other characters, and there are other very good characters with outdoor themes. I have been working on the next book in the series, but it’s taken me quite some time to get traction with that.
The ups and downs of publishing
That book was originally published by Penguin Putnam in New York, the NAL Signet division. I had a three-book contract with them and they did the first three in the series, but unfortunately, my first editor left and then my second editor left and anyway, long story. The series didn’t stay with them.
Eventually I was able to get the rights back, thankfully, and put out some of them myself when the eBook thing hit. Then a company, Brash Books, which is Lee Goldberg and Joel Goldman, picked it up around 2014-15, and they have been wonderful to me. They helped rebrand the series, so they’ve helped a lot.
Unfortunately, my last manuscript wasn’t up to their standards that they wanted. This is when I was going through some of my health difficulties, so I’m still working on it while I’ve worked on other projects.
I hope to have a new Pavlicek book someday. It’s been very good to me. It’s been a great series, and I still feel there are more books Frank has to tell. The characters in that series have evolved quite a bit as the series goes along. There have been some changes in the road, so we’ll see where it goes.
Jenny Wheeler: It’s wonderful talking to you and we could talk for hours, but we are starting to run out of our allotted time in terms of how we run the show, so turning away from the specific books and looking at your wider career, is there one thing you’ve done that you would see as “the secret of your success”? I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but for other writers who aren’t as far along the trail as you are, what would you say the key ingredient has been for you to get this far?
The ‘secret’ of Andy’s success
Andy Straka: Does stubbornness count?
Jenny Wheeler: Yes, a lot of writers do say that.
Andy Straka: I think that, plus a bit of a blue-collar mentality, if I can use that term. I was an English major in college and I have my MFA in creative writing, and I actually enjoy reading literary fiction. These days I probably read more of that than crime fiction.
But at the same time, I remember, and I think it was William Faulkner who said this – I could be wrong about the quote because I’ve heard it requoted a few times–but someone asked him how he got his inspiration or how he wrote consistently. He said, I only write when I’m inspired, and fortunately I’m inspired every morning at 9:00am. I look at it as a professional writer. Whether we make a lot of money or a bit of money or somewhere in between, if we take the approach that, okay, whatever time I have allotted, whether it’s 10 hours a day or 15 minutes a day, or somewhere in between, or so many hours per week.
There are so many stories out there that are far more inspirational than mine, of people who have written late into the night or got up at three or four in the morning while holding down a job and all these wonderful things. I’ve been blessed to be able to make my own schedule for quite some time.
The ‘lunch pail’ mentality
My wife and I do have six children we’ve raised and so we’ve had a lot going on besides my writing, but I think that lunch pail mentality, that I’m going to go to work now, even if it’s only for an hour or two.
Whatever it is, I’m going to be consistent about it, and if you’re consistent over the long haul, lo-and-behold, we have a book now.
Also, being able to be flexible and willing to take criticism and change and say, okay, I’m going to work with an editor. I’m going to listen to what they have to say, and I’m going to take it in. I may not just regurgitate what they might suggest, because if they’re seeing a problem in my book, how am I going to fix that problem? Aha. I know a better way to fix that problem than what the editor came up with because it’s my book. I wrote it, I know all the ins and outs and I know where the characters are going and what might even be a better idea.
To be flexible and willing to take that input has been a key for me. That was how my first book was published, frankly, because it was rejected when my agent chopped it around. She was all excited and thought she was going to get an option and it got totally rejected. But I had a couple of editors give me feedback. One in particular gave me about a page of some ideas, and I took his ideas and I rewrote the book. It took me about six months, but I didn’t use his ideas.
Being willing to edit and edit and edit
I took the problems and fixed them in the way I thought was best, and when the agent sent it back to him, he quickly sent me a contract within two days. That was a learning experience for me about, this is how you do it as a pro.
You recognize that everything I write is not perfect, but if I take in what the seasoned pros and editors or readers I really trust, other novelists and so forth that I know and respect–if they give me feedback that says, this is not working here, then I’ve got to go fix it. Being willing to do that and be flexible, I think that’s the big issue.
Jenny Wheeler: Was that the first Frank Pavlicek book?
Andy Straka: That’s correct.
Jenny Wheeler: We are coming to the end now, Andy, and we like to check in with your reading tastes. This is The Joys of Binge Reading, and some of our listeners like to follow up on the things you say you’ve really enjoyed. It is a popular fiction show. We’re unabashedly not ashamed to say that we’re into genre fiction. So, Andy as reader – what have you been reading lately, literary or genre that you particularly enjoyed?
Andy Straka: You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to pull up my little Kindle app here and I will share with you my library. Right now I’ve got The Deep, Deep Snow by Brian Freeman, Lee Goldberg’s latest, which is Gated Prey, a book Lee recommended called The Cowboy and the Cossack, which a lot of people aren’t familiar with. It’s a Western, but it’s very different, set in Russia of all things.
Andy Straka’s favorite books and authors
Double Agent, The Other Passenger, there is some Mary Kay Andrews on here, there are some cozy mysteries. This is some of my research that I’ve done. Leif Enger’s latest book – I’m trying to remember the name but for some reason I can’t find it on here. He is the author of Peace Like a River. That is more literary fiction. That was his first book that came out in 10 years.
My audio list would probably be a good place to go to because sometimes I like to listen to some of my literary fiction, to get the cadence and the rhythm of words. There’s a book called Cloud Cuckoo Land, which is Anthony Doerr’s latest, the author of All the Light We Cannot See. I’m listening to a very interesting book. Maybe some would find it controversial, at least here in the US or maybe over in Asia as well.
There’s a book called The Sympathizer. My future son-in-law is Vietnamese, and his parents were boat people, so I’ve been listening to this and it gives quite an insight. It’s set at the end of the Vietnam War, and it’s someone who is South Vietnamese who escapes. It’s somewhat of a mystery, I guess it would be classified. I have been a William Gibson fan for some time. James Lee Burke has always inspired and Dave Robicheaux’s series. Anyway, that’s a start.
Jenny Wheeler: That sounds like heaps, thank you. When do you find time to do all this reading?
What Andy Straka is watching
Andy Straka: I do it in fits and starts. Sometimes I may binge-watch television, if its good television. Lately my wife and I have gotten into watching a show called This is Us which is very well done. It just depends. Along with that I’m watching the new Jack Reacher series, which I highly recommend. Nothing against the Tom Cruise movies, but this is far better in my opinion, closer to the Reacher books. That’s a lot of fun.
Jenny Wheeler: I have seen very positive comments on the actor who plays in the new series.
Andy Straka: Yeah. All those have been fun books. Almost anything that comes out by people like Jeff Deaver, John Gilstrap, C J Box or people like that. I haven’t read as much as C J Box lately. He has a falconer in his books, his books are set in Wyoming and he has a game warden. Those are fun books for me as well to read.
Jenny Wheeler: Looking back down the tunnel of time, if there was one thing about your writing career that you’d like to change, what would it be?
Andy Straka: That’s a good question. I was going to say, I wish I’d started earlier writing seriously, but I don’t know I would’ve been ready for that. I think I may have been accumulating stories into my mid-thirties before I really started writing seriously. I don’t know that I look at that as a regret. From time to time I’ve looked at that, and I see some of these young writers coming up and I’m blown away by the talent and the ability they have in their twenties.
Next book in Jesus Spares series
Sometimes I wonder, where do you go from here? For those of us that got started a little bit later, that’s one thing. I don’t know that I would change that. I can’t. I’m not one of these people that looks back with a lot of regret about things. There are decisions I’ve made that I could have made differently. Maybe I could have accepted a lesser contract with Penguin at the time. I was probably too arrogant about it.
But I don’t sit and dwell on that too much. People have been so nice to me. I’ve been so blessed in the two agents I’ve had. I have dealt with five different publishers and by and large the people have been wonderful and very kind to me and very patient and very good to work with. I’ve been very fortunate.
Jenny Wheeler: Wonderful Andy. Give us an idea of what you’ve got planned for the next twelve months in terms of your writing.
Andy Straka: The next book in the Jesus Spares series is called A Split End, and it’s about a former professional football player who is found face down in a pile of cantaloupe on a farm, dead supposedly of a heart attack. In American football, there is a position called split end. That’s the position he played when he was a professional footballer. That’s very much in progress now. I have a couple of others that are quite different, sort of a sci-fi thriller thing I’ve been working on for some time, even back into my MFA program. I’m not sure when that’s ever going to see the light of day, but I work on it from time to time.
Co-authoring a techno-thriller
I have this international thriller I mentioned that I’ve been working on with the co-author. My co-author is actually a former US Marine intelligence officer who was in Iraq for two tours of duty. I have to get back to that. I’ve been kind of negligent and he’s been very patient with me on that.
So, I have a number of projects that I’m working on. There’s another series I did. I co-authored with a screenwriter a book called Dragonflies which was a technothriller. We finished it up but we didn’t totally finish the story. It needs to be a trilogy, and I need to get back to that. We were trying to sell the screenplay to Paramount and we thought we had a sale, but it all fell through, sadly. Some of the people who’ve read it have said to me, I want to know what happened, so I have to get in and try to finish that.
Of course, there’s the Pavlicek series which I continue to noodle around with. I’ll give a plug for my website, if you don’t mind. If you go to Andy Straka.com you could download for free my latest Pavlicek writing, A Falcon in the Cold, which is a short story that I wrote.
Jenny Wheeler: Fantastic, because that is our concluding question always. Where can readers find you online, and do you like to interact with them online?
Where Andy Straka is found online
Andy Straka: I do to a certain extent. I’m on social media somewhat sporadically, but kind of regularly. Mostly I talk about writing. I try not to get involved too much in current events or anything of that nature. I try to keep it light on social media. Anybody can go to my website and put my name in and learn more about my books. It’s just my name, Andy Straka.com.
Jenny Wheeler: It has been fantastic talking, Andy. Thank you so much.
Andy Straka: Thank you for your time.
If you like Andy you might also like: William Kent Krueger’s Cork O’Connor series with a similar small town community atmosphere. https://thejoysofbingereading.com/william-kent-krueger-master-storyteller/
Next Week on Binge Reading:
Next week on The Joys of Binge Reading we have mystery author Heather Webber. Heather is drawn to the magic side of life, with mysteries that reflect southern charm, food, family, and a very light touch of the supernatural.
That’s it for today. See you next week. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast to be sure you won’t miss out next week on hearing Heather Webber. If you’d like to go the extra mile and support us on Binge Reading on Patreon, check it out for exclusive bonus content like the Behind the Scenes newsletter and the Five Quickfire Questions. All the links for where they can be found are in the show notes.
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