JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
George Wier, author of “Capitol Offense”
When Death Row inmate Norman Howell drops a tidbit about how he and his father once helped the current Texas Governor get rid of competing Vietnamese fisherman with the use of high-powered explosives, Bill Travis has to decide whether to kick (and awaken) this particular sleeping dog, or whether to let it go. But then the Governor’s men come calling for him, and all hell breaks loose.
“Capitol Offense” is the second novel in the Bill Travis Mysteries.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write “Capitol Offense”?
George Wier: I am reluctant to admit that there is some factual basis for this book. Back in the 80s, there was — for want of a better word — a war between the Vietnamese expatriates living and fishing our Gulf Coast, and the fishing families who have been trolling our waters for generations. “Capitol Offense” has its roots in that conflict.
I don’t know that I would call it “inspiration,” but also back in the 1990s, there were a number of cells operating out in West Texas who were determined to return our state to the status of a Republic. Those who are not from Texas or who didn’t grow up here probably don’t know much about our history, but for ten years we were our own sovereign nation. But these folks were serious about it, and there was even some armed conflict over it. So that little chapter of our history also made its way into the book.
The main inspiration for this work came from the main character himself. I needed Bill Travis not to solve a murder or recover the missing money, or even to put the bad guys behind bars. What I needed was for him to save the day. I needed him also to have a stage as vast and as grand as the Lone Star State itself, so Bill has go from Austin to East Texas and then back west again almost to El Paso. And he does, and returns in time to prevent an assassination before a crowd of forty thousand witnesses. So there you go. If you don’t think big and write big, you don’t get anywhere.
JP: What sets Capitol Offense – A Bill Travis Mystery apart from other books in the same genre?
GW: I’m not certain that there IS a genre that holds this book. First of all, it’s action, pure and simple. There is also, however, adventure, thriller, political intrigue, and even aerial acrobatics. I threw it all into the hopper in this one.
I suppose the real answer is that with “Capitol Offense” you get to escape for awhile. As one reader put it, you get to follow Bill while the plot “twists at breakneck pace.” I wanted that. I wanted my readers to live dangerously for awhile. As another reader put it in her review: “the action scenes in this book are absolutely fantastic; they pull you right in and make you feel like you’re there.”
When I go to bookstores, I’m always on the lookout for a book that does just that, and I find very few. But I also wanted one about and for Texas and Texans. You can’t find those in any bookstore. That’s why I wrote this book.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Capitol Offense – A Bill Travis Mystery getting out to the public?
GW: It’s easier to say if I feel like I’m talking to someone who wants to be a writer, so if you’ll pardon me, here goes: The keys to success in writing are simply stated. First, write what you, yourself, most like to read. When you write, push the limit in entertaining yourself.
Breathe enough life into your characters that they start doing things on their own. You’ll find they begin behaving in ways that will startle you. And above all, don’t write for “success.” Success is the journey, not the destination. Write because you can’t not write.
Finally, at some point or another you are going to have to rely on people talking to other people about your books. There is no substitute for “word of mouth.” Write your books so that your readers will spread the word for you. If you’ll do this things, you’ll never miss!
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Capitol Offense – A Bill Travis Mystery?
GW: Start to finish, a book takes no less than 40 actual hours in the chair for a first draft. That’s about it. Got 40 hours?
JP: What’s next for George Wier?
GW: Well, we’re about to do the casting call for “The Last Call”, the film for the first book in the series, which will be filmed right here in Austin. I’ll be involved with that in a consulting capacity.
Also, “Long Fall From Heaven”, my collaboration with Milton T. Burton, is coming out this Spring from Cinco Puntos Press. It’s a dual publication, both trade paperback and hardback, with, needless to say, an ebook version.
At the moment I’m putting the finishing touches on a standalone mystery called “Murder In Elysium”, which is about a retired FBI agent who takes the job of Police Chief in a small Texas town. It’s as much thriller as it is mystery, and, I believe, some of the best writing I’ve ever done.
After that I still have thirteen more Bill Travis mysteries to complete.
I suppose, though, that my collaboration with J. Conrad on a book entitled “The Banishlands”, will be one of the most major efforts I’ve ever undertaken. Think “Harry Potter” meets “Star Trek”, with a little post-apocalyptic “Terminator” thrown in for good measure, and you’ll have it. We’re off and running on the manuscript already, so we’ll see what the future holds there.
In the meantime I have this idea for a sci-fi series called “The Vindicators”. You’ve never seen or heard of anything like it, I assure you.
I guess that’s about it.
Thanks, Joey. It’s always a pleasure to talk to you.