Writing With … Grant Jerkins

Today I welcome Grant Jerkins, author of A VERY SIMPLE CRIME. I first learned about Grant when our debuts were paired together on Amazon.com. He sent me an e-mail introducing himself and now we’re Facebook buds. Such is the way of modern publishing. His latest book is AT THE END OF THE ROAD and it’s getting fantastic buzz. You can learn more about Grant  and his books at www.grantjerkins.com.

Q. Tell us about your book and what inspired you to write it.

AT THE END OF THE ROAD is based on a real incident from my childhood. In the summer of 1976, when I was ten, I was riding my bicycle in the middle of the dirt road in front of my house when a car came speeding around a curve in the road. To avoid hitting me, the woman behind the wheel had to swerve. Her car flipped and rolled, ending up on its side. The woman crawled out, bloody and battered. She asked me to help her, but I ran away. I was scared. I was just ten years old. So I ran away and never told a soul. The next day I went back and the car was gone. No sign of the accident remained. The woman and her car had just disappeared. AT THE END OF THE ROAD is my imagining of what might have happened to that woman.

Q. Did you need to do any special research for the book? If so, what’s one of the most interesting facts you discovered?

Because the story takes place in 1976, I did do a good bit of research, not wanting to rely on my memory alone. Drano plays a crucial role in the story, and I would say 95% of that research time was spent on learning as much about Drano as I possibly could. It was essential I know what color the liquid was and what type of container it came in. In 1976, Liquid Drano (the crystal formulation was more prominent) was a blue liquid that came in a red, white, and blue metal bottle with a plastic cap.

Q. Many people are content to just be readers. How did you become a writer?

Really? Everybody I know who can sound out a sentence wants to write them, too. Seriously, every reader I’ve ever met is certain they can write a book. They’re just biding their time. I was the same way.

Q. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I enjoy amateur medical research. Nothing heavy duty. You know Hemingway prided himself on his medical knowledge.

Q. What are you reading right now?

I’m reading DISSECTION OF THE DOG AND CAT by Michael Shively. It’s for a special project.

Q. If you were stranded on that proverbial deserted island, what five books would you want to have with you?

I would want books that I probably wouldn’t normally read for pleasure. I mean, how many times can you read THE SHINING? With that in mind, I would bring the Bible, the Koran, works of Shakespeare — but I wonder if I would regret that strategy? I wonder if I would find myself reading Leviticus by firelight and wishing I had some Stephen King on hand? Leviticus is pretty dry. It’s quite the dilemma you’ve presented here. Maybe I would bring five blank journals and write my own books. Is that cheating? Or what if I was Burgess Meredith and I broke my glasses and I couldn’t read anything at all? That would be the ultimate twist. I really like this question, Todd.

Q. What’s your favorite movie?

Honestly, anything with Burgess Meredith.

Q. What’s your favorite food?

Pineapple and mayonnaise sandwiches.

Q. Cats or dogs?

I’ve constructed a 100% medically accurate petipede. CatDogCatDog.

Q. Name one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you.

I think the petipede would surprise most people. It’s really alarming the first time you see it. I mean really alarming. I was just thinking, I wonder if I could bring Burgess Meredith and the petipede to that deserted island? And a can of Drano in case I want to continue my research. Do you want to know the secret to constructing a 100% medically accurate petipede? It’s Drano, Todd. Drano. It smooths the edges.

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