1) What’s your name, and where are you from?
Dusty Sharp, straight outta Cali! Born and raised in Southern California. But I live in the un-glamorous section of inland Southern California.
2) How and where did we meet?
I don’t remember exactly when, but it was from traveling in the same circles on social media, being in some of the same indie author groups and promos together. And we’re also both SPF alumni.
3) Do you remember the first fiction you ever wrote? Could you tell us about it?
I don’t remember exactly what it was, as I used to write a lot as a kid. Very little of those early works still exist. They were mostly just small snippets and short stories. I would write them to help me deal with whatever emotional issues I was going through at the time. But there is one short story that I wrote while I was in college (1990 or so), that I still had an old Word document for. Last year I dusted it off and started offering it to my email subscribers as a bonus. So my earliest existing work is almost thirty years old.
4) When did you know you wanted to write novels?
Ever since I discovered Stephen King, as a kid in the late 70’s. I thought “I want to do that”. But it had always been sort of a fantasy and not a real goal. Back then I knew about what a pain in the ass it was to get a book deal and I didn’t want to deal with it. Years later, when independent publishing became a thing, I was too immersed in my career to notice. And then one day I read that one of my favorite authors, Steve Berry, was 48 when he published his first book. I was then 47, and I’d realized that quite a few of the authors I had been reading were indies, so I decided to go ahead and start, with a goal of publishing my first book while I was still 48, to match Steve Berry. I ended up publishing the first two books that year.
5) What writers do you admire, and why?
Stephen King is my all time favorite. Not so much for his story telling, but for how immersive his writing is. He is the definition of “show, don’t tell.” I’ve worked hard to emulate that quality in my own books. Also Lee Child, for his depiction of action sequences and also his economy of words. He gets right to the point and keeps you in the action without too much extraneous text. I’ll include Steve Berry too, for his ability to put the reader into exotic locations with an intriguing story. I read his books with an iPad in my other hand because there’s always so much great information in there that I like to look up in more detail, or go on Google Maps to see the area and terrain for myself.
6) What makes a good story, and do you have an example?
The age old definition of good literature is that it both instruct and delight. I like to add that I enjoy a story that has good characters who either grow over the course of the story, or our understanding of them evolves. Plots need to be tight, or if they’re complex, well done. But it’s the characters that grab me. The best example that comes to mind for me, in recent media, would be the television show The Haunting of Hill House. That was an awesome piece of story telling.
7) Do you have a favourite author/novel?
Stephen King. It's hard to single out one book, but if I had to, I’d say The Stand.
8) What are we working on together?
The Alexandria Ridley thrillers. In the Hiram Kane timeline, they are set in between The Shadow of Kailash and The Feathered Serpent. They feature Hiram Kane’s girlfriend Alexandria Ridley, along with Natalie Kaye, who was introduced in The Shadow of Kailash. These two women go on a crusade to take down human trafficking rings, beginning with the one that ensnared Natalie Kaye, and later Alex Ridley, during the events of Shadow of Kailash. The first book is set in Mumbai, India, with the following two books planned for Morocco and Italy.
9) Why should people check out our series?
I think current readers of both of our main series will find more of what they love within these pages, along with discovering something new. For the Hiram Kane series fans, they will get to know Alex Ridley more intimately. We’ll be taking her down some dark paths, stress-testing her in new ways to see how she reacts. For my Austin Conrad fans, they will get a chance to enjoy my gritty writing style but in a more exotic setting than they’re used to, with colourful new characters they will love. For both sets of readers, it will introduce them to the other author’s books, writing and storytelling styles.
10) Could you tell us a little about our main character?
Alexandria Ridley is, as mentioned, Hiram Kane’s girlfriend/fiancé. She’s tough, smart, and beautiful. But she’s not quite flawless. I’m writing her stories as sort of a “coming out,” in other words, giving her the opportunity to assume her own identity rather than being Hiram Kane’s constant shadow. Along the way we discover that, despite her love and respect for Hiram, she’s not a carbon copy of him. She focuses more on results than means, meaning that she isn’t afraid to break a few eggs to make the omelette. This isn’t necessarily a good thing, as her methods can sometimes be cruel to those who get in her way. But her love for Hiram, her growing admiration for Natalie, and her determination to exterminate the human traffickers keep her motivated.
11) Aside from our collaboration, what other projects are you working on?
This is my only current collaboration, though I’ve been talking with Nick Thacker and we may do something together in the future. Currently, I’m dedicating all of my writing time to the Alex Ridley books. But waiting in the wings are the continuation of my Austin Conrad series, as well as a spin-off series featuring his cousin Henry Stone, which will lean more toward action-adventure than thriller, with historical and archaeological elements. I also have a completely unrelated “post-apocalyptic-western--fantasy” series planned out.
12) Where can people find you online?
My website: https://www.dustysharp.com
My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dustintaylorsharp/
Thanks for your great answers, Dusty. It’s an honour and a pleasure to be working with you on our exciting series.