Welcome to Earl Staggs

December 2, 2011

Mystery We Write Blog Tour

Earl, thank you for visiting my blog today and sharing your thoughts on Inspiration, Author Enjoyment, &  Reader Wishes

Earl Staggs is a Derringer Award winning author and has seen many of his short stories published in magazines and anthologies. He served as Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Magazine and as President of the Short Mystery Fiction Society. His novel MEMORY OF A MURDER earned thirteen Five Star reviews online at Amazon and B&N. His column “Write Tight” appears in the online magazine Apollo’s Lyre. He is also a contributing blog member of Murderous Musings and Make Mine Mystery. He hosts workshops for the Muse Online Writers Conference and the Catholic Writers Conference Online and is a frequent speaker at conferences and writers groups.

Author Earl Staggs

Great questions, Madeline. On Inspiration–Everything and everybody around me. I never know when something will trigger a story idea. I watch a number of true crime documentary shows on TV and occasionally the seed of a story idea will spring from there. I may meet an interesting person I think might be the model for a good fictional character. There has to be a plot, of course, so I play the “what if” game. What if this guy killed his wife and buried her in the woods? Or, what if he’s an undercover cop who turns up dead the next day?

Once, I saw a movie about a killer for hire. That led me to wonder: What if a hit man sees someone he’s sure he killed but is very much alive? That idea led to a story called “Dead Wife Walking,” which was originally published in an anthology titled DIME and was reprinted in the magazine Mouth Full of Bullets. It’s now included in my collection, SHORT STORIES OF EARL STAGGS.

There’s never a shortage of inspiration for stories. The problem is finding the time to write them all.

What do you most like about being an author? It’s the feeling I get when I’ve written a story, have struggled through the process of rewriting and rewriting again, and it finally develops into a story I’m pleased with. The process is frustrating, it often takes an incredible number of rewrites, and I frequently reach a point where I want to toss it and forget about it. I don’t toss it, because once I start something, I’m as stubborn as a Missouri mule and stick with it. When an especially tough story finally works out, the feeling of accomplishment makes it all worthwhile. I allow myself a little time to enjoy it, then start a new story, and the whole ordeal begins again.

What do you most want readers to take away from your novels–When they reach “The End,” I want them to be satisfied but, at the same time, disappointed. If I’ve been able to create characters they were happy to spend time with and a story that held their interest all the way through, I want them to be sorry it’s over and to want more. That’s why it’s important to have a series. The reader only has to move on to the next one.

Now, everyone who read all the way to here is invited to drop by my Blog/Website at: http://earlwstaggs.wordpress.com and visit with my special guest for the day.

While you’re there, you can read Chapter One of MEMORY OF A MURDER, my first mystery novel, which earned thirteen Five Star reviews.

Also while you’re there, you can read “The Day I Almost Became a Great Writer,” which some say is the funniest story I’ve ever written. There’s also one called “White Hats and Happy Trails,” about the day I spent with my boyhood idol, Roy Rogers.

And please don’t forget to leave a comment there. Those who do will be entered in a drawing on December 9. The first name drawn will receive a print copy of MEMORY OF A MURDER. The second name drawn will have a choice of an ebook or print copy of SHORT STORIES OF EARL STAGGS, a collection of sixteen of my best short stories.

Earl can be reached at — Email: earlstaggs@sbcglobal.net Website: http://earlwstaggs.wordpress.com

Memory of a Murder

Short Stories

Earl, thank you so much for visiting with me today! It was a pleasure meeting you!

If you leave a comment, your name will go into the drawing for a free copy of Reticence of Ravens (three copies in total, randomly selected by Buster!)

 —AND —

Today  Anne K. Albert  interviews me on her blog and we talk about all kinds of interesting things!

Blog url: http://anne-k-albert.blogspot.com


9 Responses to “Welcome to Earl Staggs”

  1. A belated thank you to both of you for a terrific post, and any time Earl wants to lend me some of his “what ifs,” I’ll accept them gratefully.

  2. mmgornell said

    Indeed, it was a good visit, Earl. Drop by anytime.


  3. Jackie, you’ve got it. I could what if myself into dozens of novels if only I had the time to write them.

    I’m glad you liked Dead Wife Walking, Jean. That was a different kind of story for me. Not so much who done it, but how. Thanks for the kind words about the other stories in my collection also.

    Alice, I’ve had stories begin with a character, too. Then I had to what if them into a plot. Whatever works.

    Yes, Marilyn, my job puts me in contact with a lot of people everyday – parents, teachers, other drivers and, of course, kids. There’s no shortage of character models.

    Wendy, it’s painful when you have a story idea screaming to be written but you have to do other things instead. Like cleaning, cooking, eating, sleeping.

    Madeline, thanks a bunch for letting me drop in and talk about my favorite subject – writing. It was a genuine pleasure.

  4. I’m with you, Earl, nothing is as much fun as playing, ‘what if?’ Great post.

  5. “Dead Wife Walking” is a great stpory, Earl, as are all the others in your lateset book of short stories. I highly recommend it as a good read.

  6. Interesting, Earl! My books generally begin with the characters. They hammer on my brain until their story appears. No wonder some people find me strange 🙂

  7. Hey, Earl, that is exactly where ideas come from–just about everywhere. As a school bus driver I bet you come across some interesting parents.


  8. mmgornell said

    Good morning, Earl, and welcome to the land of sand, wind, and heat! Although it’s pretty chilly this morning. I’m very fond of the “what if” way of looking at not only writing–but life in general. It’s a pleasure, Earl, having you here!


  9. W.S. Gager said

    Earl: Strange how ideas just come from something totally unrelated but they get a thought trail going and soon you can’t wait to start typing away. Great post Earl.
    W.S. Gager on Writing

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