Straight from the panhandle of Texas, where canyons abound, the sound of windmills blow, and tornadoes twist, we bring you an interview with Travis Erwin and his novel TWISTED ROADS. Travis, thank you so much for visiting our blog. Readers don’t forget to answer Travis’s question at the end of the post.
Travis, what inspired your latest book TWISTED ROADS?
A friend who has spent nearly three decades in wrong with the wrong woman. A woman he can’t have for a variety of reasons, but none of the actual characters are reflections of the real people. My friend’s situation merely made me start thinking about how rough it must be to find one’s self in love with someone you A) can’t have and B) is completely wrong for you on so many different levels.
How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?
An entire exact replica is highly unlikely, but I do steal bits and pieces as well as certain bits of dialogue. However, my first book was a humorous coming-of-age memoir so no doubt my friends who have read it and know much of it is true must have a certain fear I will again write a memoir someday.
You write the female point of view very effectively. What tips could you give to female writers who want to also include the male POV in their novel?
It’s all about motivation. The character’s motives must ring true so when writing a POV from a gender other than you own you must ask why is this character behaving this way. Why are they wanting what they want? And, of course, you have to study the way the other gender speaks and thinks. You don’t have to understand or agree just recognize the method of their madness so to speak.
What is your preparation for writing? (Do you develop characters first? How did you go from first idea to a full-blown novel?)
I ALWAYS start with character. Characters actually. I begin with the question what does this character want and why can they not immediately have it. Usually there are other characters standing in their way, though the primary obstacle can be internal or environmental as well. I begin building characters in my mind and doing character sketches by writing vignettes of the characters life. For POV characters I write six or seven slice of life looks at moments of emotional impact from their childhood on up. First kiss, prom, first heartbreak. Fights. Falling in love. Once I know how a character will react and cope in changing situations, writing them is much easier. For lesser characters I write two or three such scenes. Often times I go back, alter and use these scenes as the basis for short stories.
What is your favorite part of writing?
Surprising readers. Whether they be friends family members or strangers. As a 6’5″ nearly 300 pound bearded Texan with a decided twang I am not what people expect in an author of any genre, but especially Women’s Fiction. So I think most readers go in with a certain trepidation or at least doubt. I especially like to watch them read the opening chapter. Their eyebrows shot up and at some point they glance up at me and ask, “You wrote this?” I grin and nod and know I have achieved my goal by the wonder and respect in their voice. Just last week I got an email from a reader who just happened to like the cover while perusing Amazon. Her email read, “Never in my life did I think my favorite book ever would be written by a beer swilling, bacon chomping, bearded man from Texas.” Those kind of comments motivate the storyteller in my to try even harder on the next one.
What is your pet peeve in reading?
Lazy writing such as characters describing themselves while looking in the mirror and bad transitions like … meanwhile back at the ranch. If you want me to invest my time as a reader then you as an author need to work hard so that I can lose myself in the story and forget I’m reading a book.
Thanks and a Question for Readers
I’d like to thank Ruby for allowing me to visit her blog, and I thank you, her readers, for taking the time to read my opinions. I will be sure to pop in and out of the blog for the next few days so if any of y’all have questions or comments I’d love to hear them. So what are you reading?
A tarnished name and a bitter heart.
That’s all Angela Ross took when she fled Texas fifteen years ago as a teenager. Now, she’s back to take care of her grandmother’s estate. But in a town like Grand, where reputation means much more than the truth, some sins are never forgotten much less forgiven.
Shelly Sampson has worked hard to cultivate her image as reigning queen of Grand, but long kept secrets mean her crown is precarious at best. And nothing could knock her tiara off faster than a chill wind from the past …Like the return of Angela Ross.
Left with nothing but an old house and painful memories, Angela soon takes a job at the local tavern owned by Lucas Cahill hoping to earn enough to leave this town behind for good. Lucas still holds the same flame for Shelly Sampson that he had in high school and though she welcomes his attention, he can’t understand why she won’t leave her rocky marriage behind to finally give them a chance at happiness. Once Angela, Shelly’s old arch rival, enters the picture as Lucas’ new employee Shelly’s desperation to keep her life and secrets intact starts a chain reaction whose outcome no one in Grand could have ever predicted.
Excerpt From Twisted Roads…
Shelly pulled into The Whirlwind Cafe’s lot and parked next to a rusted-out flatbed truck. The blue heeler sunning atop the spare tire opened one eye at the disturbance.
“Go back to sleep, Highway.”
The dog’s tail thumped the metal bed at the mention of its name.
Inside, Shelly nodded and smiled at the dozen or so farmers and ranchers gathered at the lunch counter before joining Misty at their regular table. As usual, Charlene was late and nowhere to be seen.
“Pathetic.” Shelly flopped down across from her friend.
Misty glanced around the room. “What’s pathetic?”
Shelly spread her arms wide, to encompass the restaurant, Grand, the entire world. “It’s bad enough I know the name of every single person in here, but do I have to know the names of their damn dogs too!”
“There are worse things,” Misty said.
“You’re right about that.” Shelly stared at her friend. “It’s much worse to have my best friend slap me in the face by hanging out with my worst enemy.”
Misty blushed. “I … ”
“Don’t try to lie. Leann Grayson already told me your minivan has been parked in front of that whore’s house three different nights this week.”
“Angela’s not the horrible person you think. She’s been in Grand a week and hasn’t caused a bit of trouble. She’s changed.”
“People don’t change. Once a home wrecker — always a home wrecker.”
“You’re wrong.” Misty appeared ready to cry. “Angela isn’t like she was back in high school. Besides, she’s leaving just as soon as the estate is settled. She meets the attorney this morning.”
Shelly shook her head. “The world’s not a Disney movie, Misty. Everything doesn’t end happily ever after.”
Erwin, Travis (2013-04-30). Twisted Roads (Kindle Locations 743-762). TAG Publishing LLC. Kindle Edition.
About Travis Erwin…
A native Texan, Travis lives in the Texas Panhandle with his wife and two boys. Despite the ever-present gale force winds, he can’t imagine living anyplace else. Travis writes both Women’s Fiction and Humor. Travis is best known for his comedic coming-of-age memoir, THE FEEDSTORE CHRONICLES, and his long running blog where he pontificates, about both writing and life — which for him means bacon, beer, and books.
To learn more about Travis visit: