Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Dick Wybrow to Chat About Books!
His most recent book, The InBetween, is OUT NOW! (Purchase link to follow.)
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
I’m a lifelong story-teller. In my youth, this helped me get out of trouble on occasion. Now, my mother would call these lies… however, I’d prefer to say this was merely honing my craft.
A Canadian who moved to the US around the age of ten, for most of my life, I’ve been an outsider. I found the best way to attract friends (and not get beat up by the bigger kids) was to be entertaining. Or at least interesting. I then took that to the page and at the age of 17, I wrote my first book.
It was terrible.
But, I kept writing and eventually found a way to get “instantly published.” That what stand-up comedy. Around the age of 20, that was my career. In Minneapolis, I worked with some amazing people like the comedian Louis Anderson. Later, I would perform with pros like Kevin Pollack and Larry the Cable Guy.
I made the switch to rock radio deejay (this is obviously they play a big part in my stories) for about a dozen years. Then I worked at CNN for a while and now, when I’m not writing, produce a live, comedy-news show in New Zealand.
My hope is always that my books entertain. I’m not really trying to “make a point”, other than maybe we should be nicer to each other. And don’t underestimate how great people can be (especially those who we do habitually underestimate).
A very nice best-selling author summed up my writing like this: Dick, you’re a humor author who likes his reality to be a little bit unreal. Your characters and stories exist in worlds that look like ours, but often a layer is peeled back to reveal there is something extra underneath.
That nice descriptor has become a part of my bio the last year.
I currently have four books The Mentor, The Swordsmen (of Fifty Shades of Gray Matter), Hell inc, and The InBetween.
The latter published on July 1st.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
This is an author’s most dreaded question because the answer is basically, I don’t know. They just show up. I’m lucky.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
I like to say that I “plagiarizer life.” While no character is directly someone I know, I’d say most are a combination of friends, family and just people I meet.
How do you pick your characters’ names?
I just sort of reach out with my mind and take what’s given to me. The InBetween‘s main character Painter Mann is a bit different but for the most part, it’s just what hits me. For some of the side characters, they are often people I know.
On occasion, I’ve put in a sort of place holder for a name with the thought of changing that later. I’m hit and miss with this strategy. A fun stoner character in The Mentor was originally named Melon because I picture a guy with a mess of curly hair (yes, this made sense to me at the time). Later, I changed that to Pavan because it fit better.
In The InBetween the character name Jan Jorgensen was supposed to be a place holder. It’s a mash-up of names I’d heard back when I lived in the Minneapolis area (the first name is Norwegian, pronounced like “Yahn”). In truth, it’s a cumbersome name but in the end it just sort of worked, so I left it.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
I get up each morning at 4:45, make coffee for my beautiful wife and crawl into my office to write. I now use Scrivener, so I can track my words. I tried to bang out at least 1500 a day.
Another thing: I try to not end a day’s writing at the end of a scene. It’s hard to kick start a new scene at 5am, so it’s best that there’s something already happen that you can finish. I always try to wrap up the morning’s writing in the middle of something. It’s just easier to pick it up again.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
That changes all the time (and it probably should), but as for modern authors, I love these guys:
Of course folks like Mark Twain, Charles Dickens and others taught me heaps as a young writer.
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Douglas Adams. I’d just ask how he determined something was funny versus just absurd for the sake of being absurd. He was brilliant. He was taken from us far too young.
Were you a big reader as a child?
At the age of six, I was given my first book by my father. It was Wind in the Willows. Naturally, that put me off reading for several years.
After discovering The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, I caught the reading love bug. And with it came the compulsion to get lost worlds like Douglas had created.
When did you start to write?
Probably pre-teens. But my first novel was written when I was 17. As I said before, it was terrible.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
Hopefully, stories are crafted in a way that the characters dictate. So, with that in mind, I wouldn’t be so bold as to tell any of them they’re wrong.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
As a kid, I fell in love with Dune. Frank Herbert’s style dazzled me. I can’t do what he does.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
To be honest, I have far better stories to tell than my own. I can’t imagine ever taking the time to write one.
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
My love for Hitchhiker’s runs deep. I’d love to meet Ford Prefect and do a pub crawl.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on Book 2 of the Painter Mann series. The plan is to have that available to readers by December 1st.
Tell us about your last release?
The InBetween is about a dead private investigator. He’s a ghost. His job is to help other ghosts move on, those who are stuck in “The InBetween.” You get there if you’ve been murdered, and the killer isn’t known.
Painter investigates the death of his clients and once the murder is revealed, those ghosts are “cleared,”– that is, they move on to whatever is next (Heaven? Hell? A big ghostly shopping mall?).
Our hero stumbles upon the case of a serial killer. Revealing that murderer would clear dozens of ghosts, something he’s sworn to do. However, Painter realizes this is the person who also killed him!
So will he reveal the name of the killer, if that means he will also clear… leaving behind all of those lost souls in The InBetween with no one to help them?
(hint: you have to read it to find out)
Do you have a new release due?
The InBetween publishes July 1st.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
To be honest, nothing much special. I should do something, right? But, for now, I just keep writing the next one.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
Email or Instagram. I don’t really pay much attention to Twitter or Facebook. All those details are on my website: dickwybrow.com
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
As you’ll learn in the new book, Painter has three rules to live by for the living and the dead. The first one is basically be nice to people. As a rule, I think we should all strive to do that.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Dick 🙂
Thank you for asking. Good luck with Chat About Books. Nice site!
The InBetween (Painter Mann Series Book 1)
Painter Mann is a one-of-a-kind private investigator. He may even be the world’s best, but mainly that’s because he’s dead.
Assisted by his “Temps”— a select few of the very old who are so close to death they can actually hear him— Painter has sworn to help the murder victims stuck in The InBetween by revealing their killers so they can move on.
But, a new mass murder case threatens everything after Painter recognizes the killer’s face as the person who murdered him.
Exposing them will free dozens of ghosts but will also clear Painter, leaving no one to help the souls trapped in The InBetween.
Also, he’s really into the whole private investigator thing. When alive he was never really good at much. Dead? He’s a hell of a PI.
Is Painter willing to risk it all to save those he’s sworn to help?
happy reading 🙂