Ron Hutchison began writing young adult novels after a long career in journalism and public relations. He graduated from the University of Missouri in 1967 with a degree in journalism. He has worked as a reporter, editor, and columnist for newspapers in Texas, California, and Missouri. His work has appeared in many national publications, including Time Magazine. Employed by Sun Oil Company as a Public Relations executive, and later operated his own PR agency.
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Christopher, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
A: I was an Army brat growing up and attended high school in Japan. I began my writing career as a 19-year-old sports writer for the El Paso Times. I didn’t begin writing fiction until I was in my 60s.
Can you please tell us about Voices of the Locusts?
|Author Ron Hutchison|
A: Sixteen-year old Jack O’Brien has never known the bittersweet stint of love, and romance is the farthest thing from his mind as he and his family arrives at a remote U.S. Air Force outpost in Japan where Jack’s father is base commander. The year is 1948. Jack’s life changes after a chance encounter with Fujiko Kobaysi, a beautiful and enchanting 17-year-old Japanese girl. Jack is immediately smitten.
Fujiko’s traditional parents are overly protective and monitor her every move, and Jack and Fujiko meet secretly at her garden, located some distance from her village. There is a good reason why Fujiko’s parents are so protective and Jack is devastated when Fujiko tells him that her parents have promised her in marriage to an older man, a practice common throughout Asia at the time. The marriage is only a months away. Jack devises a cunning plan, one that will overshadow her arranged marriage and bring Fujiko and him together.
Playing against a backdrop of swirling post-War social change, Voices of the Locusts tells the story of three families – one black, one white, one Asian. Told in Jack’s voice in vivid and sometimes haunting detail, Jack and Fujiko are frustrated in their romantic quest by story characters coming to terms (often violently) with the emotional scars of World War II.
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Will you share an excerpt from Voices of the Locusts?
A flutter of panic races through my body. It is instantly replaced by a sweep of joy, and a strange, unnatural lucidity overcomes me.
Fujiko and I hesitate for what seems a small eternity, our eyes locked in a moment of mutual understanding. Finally, I lean in toward Fujiko and she leans in toward me. Our eyes close and our mouths touch in a whisper-soft kiss, a brief, gentle brush of lips.
I pull back slowly, my heart racing, my head alive with all manner of strange, warm images. This must all be a dream. A wonderful, glorious dream. I don’t want to ever wake up.
Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?
A: Like most creative endeavors, there have been inspirational highs and mind-crushing lows. A Kid Called Duct Tape began life as a screenplay—Andy Sweet and the $20 Gold Piece—and in 2009 that screenplay was optioned by Antibody Films in L.A. My hopes of seeing the story on the big screen were dashed, however, when the option ran out and Antibody did not renew it. I then transitioned the story from screenplay to novel.
Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?
A: I had an agent for three years. Her name is Leticia Gomez. Her advice and guidance were invaluable. We parted ways in late 2011 when I made the decision to self-publish A Kid Called Duct Tape. I can’t say enough good things about Leticia. She was a tireless champion of my work.
If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?
A: Hmmm…interesting question. A full-page ad in the Sunday Book Review section of The New York Times would be a good place to start.
How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?
A: Honestly, marketing a novel is as important as writing a novel. No promotion, no sales. I imagine that many literary masterpieces have had a short shelf life because the author failed to recognize the value of self-promotion. Shameless self-promotion is essential to the success of a novel.
What’s the most common reason you believe new writers give up their dream of becoming published and did you almost give up?
A: My message to unpublished writers is this: Take as much solace in the telling of your story as you do in the selling your story. I have never thought about giving up because I take great joy in stringing words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs and paragraphs into chapters. If writers take no satisfaction in the creative process, then…well, they’re screwed.
Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?
A: Find a genre you are comfortable with, and have a go at it. I honestly believe that a good story will always find a home.
Thank you for your interview, Ron. I wish you much success!