- The David Wolf Series
- Foreign Deceit
- You Are The Universe
- Rendezvous With Rama
C. G. Cooper: Welcome to Books in 30 with me, C. G. Cooper. Here at Books in 30, we discuss great books with some of today's top authors. So, welcome to our listeners, and a big Books in 30 welcome to today's guest, Jeff Carson. Jeff, how you doing, man?
Jeff Carson: Hey, good. How you doing? Thanks for having me.
C. G. Cooper: Oh, yeah. How's where you're at? Are you in Colorado today?
Jeff Carson: Yep, I'm in Castle Rock, Colorado, which is about 30 minutes south of Denver.
C. G. Cooper: Awesome. Is it chilly out there yet?
Jeff Carson: Yeah, it was like 22 degrees last night. It was real cold bringing the kids to school this morning.
C. G. Cooper: I'll bet. Getting out the winter clothes already, right?
Jeff Carson: Exactly.
C. G. Cooper: Nice. Well it's not too chilly here in Nashville, not quite yet, but it's blowing in. Well hey, let me read a quick bio for the listeners. Jeff Carson is the Amazon bestselling author of mystery, thriller, action, and suspense novels. His popular David Wolf series has ten installments chock full of action, mystery, realism, suspense, riveting plots, and thrills. Jeff graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in Environmental Science, used that degree to weigh down paper on his dresser for over a decade, worked in the golf industry, and now writes fiction full-time. The first novel in the David Wolf Series, Foreign Deceit, is an international mystery thriller he wrote while living in Italy for 11 months with his wife and son. The next nine books in the series are set in the mountains of the Western United States. Jeff and his wife, Cristina, live in Colorado with their two sons.
C. G. Cooper: Once again, welcome Jeff. Anything to add to that bio?
Jeff Carson: Who wrote that? It sounds great. No, nothing to add.
C. G. Cooper: I specifically was chuckling when I was reading the degree weighing down paper on your dresser for over a decade. Environmental Science, what led to that one?
Jeff Carson: I don't know. I don't even know what ... Yeah, I didn't know what I was doing in college other than kind of drinking a lot and ... You know, had to pick something.
C. G. Cooper: No, none of us did that in college, did we?
Jeff Carson: No. Never, never. No, but I like science. I like Earth Sciences type of stuff, and that's what I was going for, yeah. So there you go.
C. G. Cooper: And now you're a full-time writer.
Jeff Carson: Exactly, yeah.
C. G. Cooper: Nice. Well, I went from serving in the Marine Corps to being a writer, so I don't know. I don't know how we connect the dots there. It's a weird, weird thing. I always love to hear how did you end up being an author? What was your ... What was that moment where you're like, "Alright, forget the rest of this stuff. I want to do this for the rest of my life"?
Jeff Carson: Yeah, that's ... Yeah, I think I hit ... During when we went to Italy, I had, like, a bug up my butt to start blogging. I had been doing affiliate marketing and stuff like that online for a couple years. And I just wasn't very good at it, and I wasn't making very much money at it. And, yeah, I just kind of ... I don't know, it was like a rock bottom-type thing, and I was just like, "Alright, I want to do something that I really want to do, you know." And at the same time I learned that people were making money doing this, and I was just like, "Holy crap. Wait a minute. You can do what, you know, for money?" And that was it. I think it was ... Like, you know your friend L. T. Ryan, I knew him through some other forum and he was talking about what he was doing and I just said, "Wait a minute, wait a minute, man. Tell me everything you're doing here. What's going on?" And from that moment on, you know, I've been just ... I haven't looked back. I've just been obsessed with writing fiction and learning how to do it and just doing it.
C. G. Cooper: Well, awesome. Well let's get down to the meat of things. Let's talk about books. Tell me about a book that you're reading right now or something that you finished recently that you just fell in love with.
Jeff Carson: Well, I think that I'm, like, always reading ... I'll read, like, fiction at night, but during the daytime, I'll do a lot of walks in between writing and stuff, and I'm just hooked on self help stuff. I just constantly just bombard my brain with self help stuff. Right now, I'm reading Unshakeable by Tony Robbins. It's just all about investing and stuff like that. And then I guess I just finished You Are the Universe, by Deepak Chopra, which I thought was super, super cool.
C. G. Cooper: What is that one about?
Jeff Carson: It just breaks apart everything we know scientifically. Or, what we think we know, scientifically, up to this point. And kind of just shows that we might be going along the wrong lines or the wrong direction. I know this is out there, but I mean, we might be going the wrong direction with science. We're not taking into account consciousness enough. We're trying to be too objective with the laws of physics and stuff like that, even though everything is pointing towards, it's all about consciousness. I think I got hooked on this whole consciousness thing because I want to start a new series about a guy who might be somehow enhanced, consciously. And I just was like, "Okay, what does that even mean?" So I've been diving into, like, consciousness and stuff like that.
Jeff Carson: Anyway, that book is super interesting. I would recommend it for, like, the real scientific-minded person. But also the person who is open to spiritual stuff like that.
C. G. Cooper: Cool. Is that, like, a Limitless thing? Like, the movie and the show? Or are you talking even deeper? You're talking about a different state that Deepak gets into?
Jeff Carson: Well, it's Deepak and some, like, PhD scientist, physicist guy who writes this, so it's not just Deepak. And it's not just self help stuff, as much as just kind of realizing that the universe is like a participatory thing. You know, like, if you look at an electron, it can behave as a wave or a particle at the exact same time, depending on if you're looking at it or not, or trying to measure it or not. It's just like... It's super mind-blowing. And you'd have to read it so they could explain it better than I can.
C. G. Cooper: Got it. Alright, so You Are the Universe. What about Unshakeable? What's been grabbing you, reading that one?
Jeff Carson: I've been just getting into investing recently, just now that I'm making a little bit of money as a writer. I'm trying to figure out what to do, and I'm not very savvy with investing, so I just needed to do that. And I'm just realizing, like, there's just all sorts of hidden stuff. Which I knew instinctually, as I talk to these investing people. You know what I mean?
C. G. Cooper: Yeah.
Jeff Carson: But, I don't even know what's going on, you know what I mean? I just don't know what's going on. So, I feel like this book is really good.
C. G. Cooper: Sweet, well Tony's the guy to listen to, too, right?
Jeff Carson: Yeah, exactly. And then as far as fiction, I'm reading ... I just finished reading Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke.
C. G. Cooper: Okay.
Jeff Carson: I read a lot of sci-fi, as well.
C. G. Cooper: I didn't know that about you.
Jeff Carson: I know.
C. G. Cooper: You're a sci-fi guy, too?
Jeff Carson: Yeah. I've been threatening to myself to start writing sci-fi, but I just don't know if I can pull it off.
C. G. Cooper: I've written some of it, and just make sure you get the audience right.
Jeff Carson: Yeah. Is that right? Okay, yeah.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah, just make sure you know which subset you're going after, and I'm sure the listeners will tell you the same thing. Well, alright, let's move on to your favorite book. What's your favorite book of all-time?
Jeff Carson: Yeah, this is tough. I guess I'd have to say The Janson Directive by Robert Ludlum. I don't know if you've read that before.
C. G. Cooper: Is that one of the Borne books? Or, is that something else?
Jeff Carson: No, it's a Paul Janson book, and I think it was his last book that he wrote before he died, or right before he died he wrote this. And it was actually published, yeah, right after he died. But, I haven't read all of his books, but that one I have, and it stood out as just awesome. Like, there's such a major twist at the end that you're just like ... You know you like cross your eyes a little bit as you're reading it. You're just like, "Oh!" I don't know, it's such a good book and the way he introduces the character and his intelligence and how badass he is and stuff. It's great.
C. G. Cooper: How has that affected what you do? I mean, I know I kind of pick and choose. If I read something great like a Vince Flynn or a Tom Clancy, inevitably some of that, kind of, drips into my writing.
Jeff Carson: Oh yeah.
C. G. Cooper: How has that book kind of influenced you on the writing level?
Jeff Carson: Well, the next book that I'm gonna write ... I just finished writing the eleventh book of my detective series, and I'm gonna start writing an espionage series, and I'm halfway through this book, and it's definitely bleeding in there. Just, I think it's like the point of view characters. How he switches back and forth and just really shows them so well. Yeah, he works through four or five different flashbacks in the book, too, which I've always read ... You know, I read a lot of books on how to write, and they always say, "Don't go into flashbacks," but he does such a good job, and it really helps with his story, so I've kind of thought about doing that with this book, too.
C. G. Cooper: How many rules do we actually follow when we're doing this, though? You know? Like, personally when I read a book, I love flashbacks. It gives us some insight into who a character is and some of their history. I mean, who is the one that said, "No flashbacks? That's so taboo, you're not supposed to do that."
Jeff Carson: I know, and then I tried that on my tenth book, doing flashbacks, and I feel like it was my best book, finally. Yeah, I agree. I totally agree with you there. I think it's something really cool to do. That, as long as it's not, like, a certain spot where the reader really wants to know what's happening next and you kind of pull them out of that, you know?
C. G. Cooper: Yeah, I agree. As long as it doesn't totally screw up the flow. But if it's something that builds up a character, absolutely. I mean, I never hesitate to throw those in anymore. I've learned my lesson, and plus I don't really like following the rules anyway.
Jeff Carson: Right. Well, I think the only rule that I would say ... Well, that I would say is a good one, is to not do cliffhanger endings. My first book used to be a cliffhanger ending, and it got some bad reviews for that, but I had to fix it.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah, I've been there, done that. In fact, we kind of did that with our most recent launch, and we got some nasty notes because of that. But, whatever. Alright, well let's move on to-
Jeff Carson: Move on.
C. G. Cooper: -a snippet of your work. Did you bring something that you could read for the listeners?
Jeff Carson: Yeah, this is from my ninth book. I'm not even sure why I picked this, but I did. So, are you ready?
C. G. Cooper: Yeah, set up the scene for us.
Jeff Carson: Okay, yeah the scene is: David Wolf is my main guy. He's a detective in the Sluice Byron County Sheriff's Office in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, and there's been a murder, and a woman's body was found along the river. The FBI has shown up to the scene before they even showed up, so it's kind of a little weird. And now he's working with the FBI, and they're on their way up to a suspect's house.
C. G. Cooper: Cool.
Jeff Carson: [Reading from his book, Signature]: County Road 34 ran up a well-populated valley at the northern perimeter of the Rocky Points Ski Resort, doubling as an access road to the area in summer months. Clusters of condos and town homes built in the 1980s with their straight, boxy lines and faded blue paint littered the narrow valley on both sides. Jeremy Attichy's place was one of these, an end unit in a row of three town homes with a decent view of attractive forests to its north side. It was small, the type of place Denverites snatched up for a seasonal retreat because one could technically ski in and then ski out, though one would have to ski up the valley for a few hundred yards to get to the nearest ski lift. But there were shuttles that ran year-round to the base, and when people were done, they could point their skis to the door, which meant that even though the units were small, they were pushed north of expensive. According to department records, Attichy rented.
Jeff Carson: By the way, Attichy ... Excuse me, I'm poking in here. Attichy is a fellow deputy on the force.
C. G. Cooper: Got it.
Jeff Carson: [Continues reading from Signature): Wolf drove himself, trailing Special Agents Luke and Hannigan, who rode in Luke's black Tahoe. Behind Wolf, Lorber and Gene Fitzgerald followed in the county meat wagon, as Lorber referred to it. A Ford Econoline van equipped with the latest and greatest tools of the medical examiner's trade. Wolf parked in a vacant spot and got out into a cool breeze that whistled through the pines to the north. It looked like the clouds of yesterday were gone and not coming back, replaced by wind, blue sky, and piercing sun. Luke and Hannigan were already parked and appraising the place. Carrying matching aluminum cases, Lorber and Gene got out of their van and joined the huddle behind Luke's Tahoe.
Jeff Carson: "Kind of a sh8$ hole," Hannigan said. "I live two buildings down," Lorber said.
Hannigan raised an eyebrow and looked at him, "Really?"
"Well, I'm sure they're great places." Hannigan took a big breath through his flared nostrils, "It's good to be back in the mountain air. No smog, no crack hobos, just mountain air. Smell those pines."
Wolf wondered how the man could smell anything because they were standing in the eddy of his metrosexual cologne. The special agent's jacket flipped open, revealing his muscled physique through an expensive looking button up shirt. The tie was held firm by a silver bar clip that matched the platinum chunk of a watch on his left wrist. He'd taken the FBI dress code and added a few chapters of his own to it.
Jeff Carson: And, that's it.
C. G. Cooper: Nice, man. So, I'm not even ... I was about to ask, "What happens next?" But I don't want to ruin it for the listeners. You said that's from your ninth, or your tenth book?
Jeff Carson: That's my ninth, yep.
C. G. Cooper: And what's it called?
Jeff Carson: Signature.
C. G. Cooper: Signature, alright, cool.
Jeff Carson: A serial killer who leaves, like, a signature on his victims.
C. G. Cooper: Alright. Well for the listeners out there, if you want to get the rest of that story, make sure you pick up Signature. And now, on to definitely our author's least or most favorite part of the show, Mean Reviews. Did you bring some mean reviews to read?
Jeff Carson: Yeah, I brought a couple. It was a nice exercise in depression, thanks.
C. G. Cooper: You are welcome. I seem to have this same conversation every time we have an interview.
Jeff Carson: Yeah.
C. G. Cooper: But it's therapeutic. Just get it out, laugh about it, and the listeners ... They tend to enjoy this part, too. So, let's hear it, man.
Jeff Carson: Alright. First one is one out of five stars. And it's called "Wow....": "This book could be summed up in just one word, 'SUCKED.'" And sucked is really big in capitals. Yeah. And then the next one, and it's ... The more I read this now and after reading my last snippet, it starts making me wonder ... Okay, one out of five stars: "Was a good book all the way through except for being too..." [And then it goes on]: "Was a good book all the way through except for being too ... descriptive. But the final chapter? Come on, why did it end like that? That's absolutely stupid. Why would a man who had been through all that roll over? I don't think so. Won't make me read the next one. Loser."
C. G. Cooper: Just that one last jab in there, huh. "Loser."
Jeff Carson: Yeah, just one last word, loser.
C. G. Cooper: Nice.
Jeff Carson: I don't even know what he's talking about. He didn't roll over at the end of the book, either. Anyway, whatever. I didn't, you know, move on from that one ...
C. G. Cooper: You mean you didn't call up that reviewer and say, "Hey, I was just wondering what you were talking about?"
Jeff Carson: Come on, what are you talking about? No, but yeah that's it. That was my two that I found.
C. G. Cooper: Alright, well cool man. Alright, let's move on to the speed round, shall we? I've got some questions for you. We've got some time, so feel free to take a little extra if you'd like. Normally we keep it short, but you've got time, so we'll use it. Alright, number one. What's your favorite thing about being an author?
Jeff Carson: I guess I have a couple things, since we're taking time. Well, the creativity, I think is just, like, so cool. Just the act of not knowing what you're gonna come up with and then just 30 minutes later having something come out that's just, "Holy crap, what was that?" You know, it's just almost a magical thing, whatever. Authors say that all the time, but it really is.
C. G. Cooper: Birthing that idea out of thin air, right?
Jeff Carson: Yeah, exactly.
C. G. Cooper: Well, cool. Alright... Sorry, go ahead, I was totally interrupting you.
Jeff Carson: I was just gonna say, the freedom and the positive feedback from people that you get. Like, people will email you and tell you how cool it is, and it's just ... I went from getting hate mail from people with the job before, you know, doing that affiliate marketing stuff ... Just people really angry. And it was just; it really made me quit. I mean, that's what made me quit. And then just to go to people showering you with, like, "Dude, thanks so much for writing ..." Or, not, "Dude," but you know, "Thank you so much for writing this book. It really helped me through a tough time," or something, and you're just like ... You know, getting those type of emails is just awesome.
C. G. Cooper: I love those, too, and then you get to have those personal conversations. And I know you are one of the guys that actually answers your emails. Can you remember one of those times where you got an email that said thanks or they said something, and you're just like, "Holy cow, it all makes sense. This is what I should be doing for the rest of my life"?
Jeff Carson: Yeah, I mean ... Yeah, some person ... One lady told me that her mother died, and reading the books was helping her through that. I was just like, "Oh, wow. Really? Okay, that's heavy, you know? I didn't know that kind of stuff was going on." And then there was like another really old guy that I know that I just constantly talked to who lives on a farm in Tennessee, and he just kind of lets me in on what he's doing. And then his son, like, emailed me and just thanked me for doing that. It was just like, "Hey, I'm just a normal guy," but I feel like, "Wow, okay, cool." Anyway, just stuff like that. I guess those were two things that stand out.
C. G. Cooper: I love that. And you said it, "We're just normal guys, you know, trying to entertain people and hopefully make a little bit of money in the process." You know, it's like I tell listeners, "Email me. I will definitely ... I might not give you a novel back. I might not write a lot, but I'm definitely gonna say, 'Hello.'" And I appreciate other authors like you that actually respond. I mean, we have plenty of peers who don't do that, and so when I run into other guys and gals that actually do respond, I feel like it's like a little family. We're actually real people, like you said, you know?
Jeff Carson: Right, yeah I hear ya. I really hear ya on that, because I've done the same thing. I've tried to communicate with some people and they're just ... Well, they're too cool for that, so it's like, alright, you know? Move on?
C. G. Cooper: Yeah, amen.
Jeff Carson: Exactly.
C. G. Cooper: Amen. That's all you can say, you know? So why get mad at it? It is what it is.
Jeff Carson: Oh, exactly.
C. G. Cooper: Alright, well number two. What (and this is another loaded question), what is the best advice you ever received?
Jeff Carson: Well, okay I took this in the context of my writing career, and the first ... I took a course by this guy, Geoff Shaw. I don't know if you know him, the Kindling?
C. G. Cooper: Oh yeah, mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jeff Carson: And I just remembered he said, "Don't listen to the losers." And it was just, like, a simple statement, but then he just went on to tell what he meant by that, and it really stuck with me. You know there's plenty of people who don't make it out there and have all the reasons in the world they didn't, but why would you listen to them? Why wouldn't you ... If you want to ... If you want to be a winner, why would you listen to the losers in anything you do?
C. G. Cooper: I think it's one of the reasons that you and I kind of latched on to L. T. Ryan. You know, he's not only a good dude, he not only answers his emails, but, I mean, he's done it.
Jeff Carson: Right, that was exactly it.
C. G. Cooper: And I always wanted to kind of model it, you know?
Jeff Carson: Yep, yep.
C. G. Cooper: I like that. "Don't listen to the losers." I know my readers would appreciate that.
Jeff Carson: Exactly.
C. G. Cooper: I think I sprinkle that in my writing. We don't have much time for losers.
Jeff Carson: No.
C. G. Cooper: Alright, number three. What is one piece of technology you could not live without?
Jeff Carson: Yeah, that's my MacBook Air. I gotta take it, you know. I take it everywhere and write with it. That's it, right there.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah, me too. I've got mine sitting in front of me right now, looking at your picture on Skype.
Jeff Carson: Yep, me too. Looking at myself, too. No, I'm looking at you.
C. G. Cooper: Okay. Alright, number four. Last one. Who do you look up to?
Jeff Carson: I did put L. T. Ryan. I put L. T. Ryan here because of the same thing ... Just the way he was one of the winners, you know, that I could look up to. You know, guys like you, you know. Guys like David Archer, any of those self-published guys that are doing it and are nice enough to talk about it and stuff like that.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah, well there's not much to hide, right? I don't understand the people that try to hide stuff.
Jeff Carson: Right, exactly. And then, C. J. Box was just a really big author that I liked and tried to emulate at the beginning, and you'll see that. If people are C. J. Box fans, you would find my books to be similar in that regard.
C. G. Cooper: She was the doctor, is that right?
Jeff Carson: Well, C. J. Box is the author, and he writes the Joe Pickett series.
C. G. Cooper: Oh, okay. That's right. C.J. Box. I'm thinking C.J. Lyons.
Jeff Carson: Oh, yeah yeah yeah. So, C.J. Box, and he writes Joe Pickett, and he's like a game warden in the middle of Wyoming.
C. G. Cooper: Got it, okay. Yeah, I mean I should know that. I see the name all over Amazon.
Jeff Carson: Well, because at the beginning of my career, I was wondering if people would want to read about a cop in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, and I was trying to figure out who my character was gonna be, and I figured, well, if someone can be successful writing about a game warden in Wyoming, the least populated state in the United States, then, you know, I could do this.
C. G. Cooper: And the rest is history, right?
Jeff Carson: The rest is history.
C. G. Cooper: Yes. Alright, well we're wrapping things up. Can you give us a few last words to our listeners? Let them know how they can find you. Maybe a work that you have that's coming out or recently released.
Jeff Carson: Yeah, I'm not sure when this will be published, so it might be just recently released. My next book is called Rain, and it's the David Wolf Series, Book 11. And you can find me at jeffcarson.co, without an m, and/or on Amazon.
C. G. Cooper: Alright, cool. Alright, so jeffcarson.co to talk to Jeff. As we said, he will actually answer emails, so feel free to email him.
Jeff Carson: Oh yeah.
C. G. Cooper: And then his new book, Rain, number ... Did you say 11 of the David Wolf series?
Jeff Carson: Yeah.
C. G. Cooper: Alright, number 11. Jump on the first one, too, if you haven't started. And thank you again so much for being with us, Jeff. I'll give you one last shot. Any last words for our listeners out there?
Jeff Carson: Just thanks for having me and for listening.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah man. Hopefully we can do it again, and I can't wait to share these books with our listeners.
Jeff Carson: Thank you very much.
C. G. Cooper: This has been Books in 30 with C. G. Cooper. Thank you for listening, and don't forget to email me at email@example.com to say hello, or let me know of an author you'd like to see as my guest. Thank you for tuning in. C. G. Cooper, out.
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