Monte and me met over a pitcher of sweet iced tea. Cubes clanked in our glasses as he plucked his guitar and a race hummed from the TV screen in the background. It struck me then that Monte's got things to say about life...
Let's see what Monte has to say about zombies, reading, and writing!
1. It’s the zombie apocalypse and writers have got to stick together to survive. Pick 3 authors to be on your zombie apocalypse killing team and tell us why you’d choose them.
Monte says: Elmore Leonard because he was a pitiless realist. James Wayland, who wrote Trailer Park Trash & Vampires, so I think he’s got the imagination to deal with them, too. Larry Brown because he knew that small-town desolation such a task would require. Two of the three have died, so they could work from the beyond, which would be quite a coup.
Meredith says: I mean... zombies can't kill someone who's already dead. That might be the best theory to surviving the zombie apocalypse that I've ever come across!
2. If Stephen King and J. K. Rowling were drowning in a river, who would you save first? And now you have to tell us why.
Monte says: I’d save King because he is a Red Sox fan, and I have read a few of his books, and he likes a lot of the same music I do, so, after the ordeal, we’d have stuff to discuss.
Meredith says: It's all about the ways we connect with others. Nice.
3. We authors are voracious readers. My TBR list is approximately 8 miles long. What are you currently reading?
Monte says: Daughter of Fortune, by Isabel Allende. It’s long. I like it, but I really need to get it finished so that I can read and review several other KindleScout authors.
4. What is the one book that you could read a million times and never get bored with?
Monte says: John Steinbeck’s East of Eden.
Meredith says: Yes! Another re-reader!
5. Last year my favorite read was The Martian by Andy Weir. What was your best read of 2014?
Monte says: In an upset … Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom by Conrad Black. I’m fascinated by FDR.
6. This year my favorite read has been The Dog Stars by Peter Heller. What’s the best book you’ve read so far in 2015?
Monte says: A Son of the Circus, by John Irving. He’s a normal man who loves writing strange stories.
Meredith says: My TBR list just got so much longer.
7. You’re a writer by day and a superhero by night. (Take off those geeky glasses Superman) What’s your superpower?
Monte says: Lethal irreverence. It catches the bad guys by surprise.
Meredith says: Nice.
8. I have writing spots all over my house: my desk, my couch, the patio, and my bed. Where’s your favorite spot to write?
Monte says: The portable, rolling table, in front of the easy chair, with the guitar on the left and the TV straight ahead.
Meredith says: Writing in an easy chair sounds super comfortable.
8. We’re supposed to love all of our children equally, but there are some scenes I’ve written that really stick out in my mind. Tell us your favorite scene from your book Crazy of Natural Causes.
Monte says: The conclusion shifts from scene to scene, as characters in Kentucky, L.A., and aboard a plane, unknowingly wrap it all up. It was a new experience, and I enjoyed the imagination and creativity necessary to pull it off.
Meredith says: It's kind of amazing pulling all the bits of a story together in the end. I always think to myself - wow, I just did that. I can't wait to read Crazy of Natural Causes!
9. Sometimes a little too much of myself slips into my characters. Which one of your characters most resembles you?
Monte says: This was a major step. No one is based on me or even much like me in Crazy of Natural Causes. In my first novel, The Audacity of Dope, Riley Mansfield was me as, oh, I might have been. He was a greatly idealized version. A character, one of many in The Intangibles, had much in common with me. At some level, I have to get inside the heads of all my characters. In Crazy, Chance Benford read the entire Bible, so, in order to think like him, I did, too.
10. I’ve always got tunes rocking while I’m writing. Tell us five songs that are on your playlist.
Monte says: “Rex’s Blues,” by Townes Van Zandt. “Corpus Christi Bay,” by Robert Earl Keen. “Night Rider’s Lament,” by Michael Burton. “One’s on the Way,” by Loretta Lynn. “Let the Mystery Be,” by Iris Dement.
12. If you could tell an aspiring author one tiny tidbit of information, what would you say?
Monte says: If you're fit to do something else, do it. I don’t mean it as a criticism. I just believe that writers have to possess a burning, righteous desire. The worst reason to write is self-gratification. If every word one writes is designed to elicit acclaim, it’s not going to get it.
Connect with Monte
(PS I follow his blog. He's got good stuff there!)
(Monte has got old-school cool down to a science)
Monte Dutton lives in Clinton, South Carolina. In high school, he played football for a state championship team, then attended Furman University, Greenville, S.C., graduating in 1980, B.A., cum laude, political science/history.
He spent 20 years (1993-2012) writing about NASCAR for several publications. He was named Writer of the Year by the Eastern Motorsports Press Association (Frank Blunk Award) in 2003 and Writer of the Year by the National Motorsports Press Association (George Cunningham Award) in 2008. His NASCAR writing was syndicated by King Feature Syndicate in the form of a weekly page, "NASCAR This Week" for 17 years.
Monte Dutton is also the author of Pride of Clinton, a history of high school football in his hometown, 1986; At Speed, 2000 (Potomac Books); Rebel with a Cause: A Season with NASCAR's Tony Stewart, 2001 (Potomac Books); Jeff Gordon: The Racer, 2001 (Thomas Nelson); Postcards from Pit Road, 2003 (Potomac Books); Haul A** and Turn Left, 2005 (Warner Books), True to the Roots: Americana Music Revealed, 2006. (Bison Books); and is an Editor/Contributor of Taking Stock: Life in NASCAR's Fast Lane, 2004 (Potomac Books). The Audacity of Dope, 2011 (Neverland Publishing) was his first novel, and Neverland published his second, The Intangibles, in 2013. Crazy of Natural Causes, a KindleScout selection, will be released on July 21, 2015.