Interview with Ricardo Sanchez, author of 'Bigfoot Blues'

Our guest today is Ricardo Sanchez who is a writer, toy buff, and lifelong comic book fan. Elvis Sightings, the first novel in his Elvis Sightings Mysteries series, was released in September , 2014. Bigfoot Blues, the follow up, was released in May, 2015. Ricardo has written several books for DC Comics, including Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Teen Titans Go! and Resident Evil among many others. His original project, A Hero’s Death, was a successful Kickstarter released in May, 2015. In addition to writing, Ricardo is an Emmy award winning video and animation producer. When he’s not writing, Ricardo maintains a vintage toy blog, drives 70's muscle cars, and shops year round for Halloween decorations for his home in California.
About Bigfoot Blues:

She eloped with Bigfoot. Or maybe Bigfoot kidnapped her. Either way, I've been hired to uncover the truth behind Cindy Funk's disappearance. Me? I'm Floyd, and I'm a PI living my life as Elvis would have wanted. Not just in sequined jumpsuits. With character.

Cindy's trail leads me to River City, Oregon—aka the Mythical Creature Capital of the World—where I catch Case #2. This one from an eccentric billionaire who's lost a priceless piece of "art." Enter one dead body and I end up deputized to solve Case #3, tracking down a man-eating mountain lion. Or maybe it's a chupacabra. Or just an ordinary murderer. Hard to say.

I've handled my fair share of crazy, but River City's secrets have me spooked. With an influx of tourists arriving for the town's annual Elvis tribute contest—what are the chances?—I've got to save the girl, solve the rich guy's problem and leash that chupacabra before a second body is discovered. It might just be mine.

Read more about Floyd's adventures in Elvis Sightings, available now!

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Bigfoot Blues is the second book in my Elvis Sightings Mysteries series. To explain where it came from, you need to know a little bit about the first book, Elvis Sightings. The idea for that one actually started with a play I write in college, a long, long time ago, after I read a Weekly World News story about an Elvis sighting in Idaho, where I’m from. I thought to myself, where in the world could Elvis Bigfoot Blues, the question for me was, where else could Floyd go where a detective in a rhine stone studded jumpsuit go where he would fit in? This time the answer was River City, Oregon, where the annual King of Elvis Tribute Artists contest is underway and the town is literally filled with men and women in jumpsuits. Then I just needed to come up with a mystery suitably unusual enough for Floyd to be the only man who could solve it, so in Bigfoot Blues, my Lifestyle Elvis P.I. is looking for a piece of missing crypto taxidermy (a stuffed animal that never really existed) and trying to find Bigfoot, the only man more elusive than Elvis.
go where nobody would notice him? Over time, it became the town of Kresge, Wyoming, where there were so many odd ball characters and believed-to-be-dead-celebrities that Elvis, if he were there, would go unnoticed. And who would go looking for him? The answer was my private detective, Floyd, who is a Lifestyle Elvis – he lives his life the way he thinks Elvis would want him to. It’s a “What Would Elvis Do?” kind of thing. For the follow-up book,

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

Honestly, the second book was much easier than the first one. All in, I probably spent six years working on Elvis Sightings on and off, trying to figure out my book. But I wrote Bigfoot Blues in a little under eight months, from first word to final edit. The big difference was that when I went to write the second book, I did a better job of understanding the ending I needed to write, the backstory of the mystery Floyd would need to solve, and I had a stronger understanding of how to structure a story. I’m not sure I could have figured any of that out without going through the process of writing the first book, but doing a lot of planning up front and meticulously plotting out each scene in advance helped a LOT.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

My publisher is a digital first company called Carina Press. They’re an imprint of Harlequin. I’ll be honest, Elvis Sightings was a hard sell. There were a number of potential intellectual property issues with the story, and the premise verges on the absurd. I took it to a lot of agents and publishers who either said no, or said yes, but wanted me to make some fundamental changes to the book. But the reason I ultimately went with Carina is because my editor, Kerri Buckley, got the story. She bought into what I wanted to write. Most writers won’t make much, if any, money from writing novels. I knew this going in. So if I was going to spend hundreds of hours writing a book, I wanted it to be my book, and Kerri made that happen. 

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

I’ve been around publishing in some form for most of my career, so there wasn’t too much that was a big surprise, but I will say I wasn’t prepared for how much impact the editor can have on a manuscript. I’d worked with editors before, and they’d always made my work stronger, but Kerri didn’t just add a little to the process, she added a ton. She challenged a lot of work, in a good way, and she really pushed me to improve the prose, the plot, and the characters. The book that actually got published was orders of magnitude better than the one I had submitted. If anything surprised me, it was discovering how much my prose could be improved. It was both very humbling and gratifying at the same time.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I have two projects I’m trying to wrap up. The first is a book of zombie themed poetry. I’m going to have it illustrated and release it as a Kickstarter. The other project, in keeping with the zombie theme, is called Odd Jobs for the Undead. It’s about a zombie who’s a lot like you and me. He has feelings. He’s self aware. But because he’s a zombie, he can’t get a place to live, find a job, get cable. The book is about his struggle accepting himself as a zombie, and his attempt to find out who he was before he woke up on a mortuary slab as one of the undead.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

The New York Times. I like reading the comments on articles and opinion pieces. Reading what is often pretty raw emotion helps me get a feeling for other people’s mindsets. I think it’s really important to challenge one’s own belief system as a writer, it helps you to create characters that are unique from one another. I get that in spades in the comments. Plus it’s just plain entertaining. But if I’m actually going to interact with other people, it tends to be on Facebook or Twitter.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

I’m not a message writer. I was an English major in college and have read a lot of what is considered serious literature. I know that some of the best books have layers of meaning and point they’re trying to get across. I just like telling stories. They don’t have to mean anything, they just need to entertain you. If I can make a person laugh out loud, I feel like I’ve done my job. I’ve been told there are a few of those LOL moments in Elvis Sightings and Bigfoot Blues. If it’s true, then I am one happy author.
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Thanks for giving me some column inches!

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