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Friday, June 10, 2016

Interview With Mystery Writer B. J. Bourg by Jacqueline Seewald

Our interview today is with a very special mystery writer. I will refer to him as the real deal when it comes to writing police procedurals.

B.J. Bourg is a twenty-five-year veteran of law enforcement and has worked as a patrol cop, detective, police academy instructor, SWAT officer, sniper leader, and chief investigator for a district attorney’s office. He is a former professional boxer and a lifelong martial artist. He loves vacationing in the mountains and is especially drawn to hiking, climbing, photographing dangerous animals, and traversing wild rivers in anything that will float. Above all else, he is a father and husband, and the highlight of his life is spending time with his wife and children.


B.J., before we start, I just want to congratulate you on the fine reviews you received from Library Journal and Kirkus among others. 

Question: What is the title and genre of your novel? Why did you select them?

Answer: The title is Hollow Crib and it’s a mystery.

Question:  What inspired this novel? How did it come about?

Answer: When Brandon and Grace were young, I’d take them camping in the Kisatchie National Forest in northern Louisiana. As we explored the area in daytime and at night, I thought it was a great setting for a creepy mystery. I’d tell them scary stories by the campfire and, after they’d go into the tent for the night, I’d stay up by the campfire and plot out what later became HOLLOW CRIB. Earlier this year, Grace and I went on a father-daughter adventure hike in the Kisatchie Forest. Instead of telling her a scary story by the campfire, I read an excerpt from HOLLOW CRIB—she didn’t want to stay the night.

Question:  Could you tell us a little bit about the heroine and/or hero of your novel?

Answer: Brandon Berger works as a detective for the Magnolia Parish Sheriff’s Office. His loyalty to his department and dedication to his job are admirable qualities, for sure, but he finds himself struggling to strike the right balance between his family and his job. This is something that many detectives face in their real lives and there’s no easy way to resolve that conflict. While Brandon always tries to do the right thing in his job, he doesn’t always make the best choices when it comes to his family, and this puts a strain on his marriage, which in turn distracts him from his case.


Question:  Can you tell us about some of your other published novels or work?

Answer: My debut novel is titled JAMES 516 (originally published by Amber Quill Press) and it features a police sniper named London Carter as the main protagonist. I was a sniper myself and, being very passionate about the job, I decided to write something I was dying to read. I didn’t know if anyone else would care to read a book about a police sniper, but I had a lot of fun writing it. It literally flew off of my fingertips and I started to wonder if I’d written it too fast. I was pleased when Amber Quill Press accepted it for publication and later flattered when it won the 2016 EPIC eBook Award for Best Mystery.

Question:  What are you working on now?

Answer: I’m currently wrapping up the sequel to my latest novel, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN, where I introduce readers to a new cast of characters. Clint Wolf is the police chief of a small swampy town called Mechant Loup, and his sidekick is Susan Wilson, a no-nonsense patrol sergeant who moonlights as a cage fighter. In case Hollywood’s reading this; if this series were ever made into a movie, I’d want Gina Carano playing Susan Wilson.

Question:  What made you start writing?

Answer: When I was very young, I started telling stories to get out of praying and reading the Bible. My mom was very religious and she would make my brother and me kneel down in our rooms and pray for what seemed like forever. And then we’d have to read our Bibles. That wasn’t my idea of fun, so I started making up stories to tell my brother. He loved hearing them and I loved telling them, and I later began writing some of them down. I soon discovered Louis L’Amour’s novels and was immediately hooked. I dreamed of being a writer when I grew up and I wanted to write Westerns like my hero. However, life got in the way and it wasn’t until 1998 or 1999 that I decided to pursue that childhood passion. It didn’t take me long to realize the only thing I knew about the Old West was what I’d learned from Mr. L’Amour. I then read a book on writing that suggested I write what I know. At that point, I’d been a detective for about six years and I knew how to solve mysteries, so I began writing in that genre.

Question:  What advice would you offer to those who are currently writing novels?

Answer: Approach everything you do with a beginner’s mind, always hungry for knowledge. Once we think we know it all about a particular subject, that’s when we’ll cease to learn. And above all else, never give up on your dream of being a writer. I’m 45 and I’m still pursuing my dream of being a writer when I grow up.

Question:  Where and when will readers be able to obtain your novel?

Answer: HOLLOW CRIB is now available anywhere books are sold. It can be ordered in hardcover through the publisher’s website at www.cengage.com, as well as through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books-A-Million, and it’s available as an e-book on Amazon.


Questions and/or comments for B.J. are welcome here.

17 comments:

Maris said...

Wonderful interview. B.J. it sounds like you're a great father as well as a great story teller, and you certainly have the background to write interesting, believable stories. I'll be looking for Hollow Crib.

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Great interview Jacquie and BJ!

Good luck and God's blessings to both of you.
PamT

jrlindermuth said...

Enjoyed the interview BJ and Jacquie. BJ is proof the adage of 'write what you know' can work very well. Best of luck with the new book. Sounds like a winner.

Susan Oleksiw said...

Very interesting interview, Bj (and Jacquie). I hope the camping scenes make it into one of your novels. Good luck with your new book.

Jan Christensen said...

Fascinating interview. I just finished reading Hollow Crib--a stunning plot and great read. I want to mention that B.J. has given back a lot to the writing community with advice about police work. He saved me from a big goof in one of my novels a few years ago. Thanks Jacqui and B.J. for this blog post.

Kaye George said...

I agree that B.J. is the real deal. Besides his own novels and short stories and giving advice to other writers, he used to run the excellent ezine, "Mouth Full of Bullets" and he and his son now have a great little publication for flash mysteries called "Flash Bang Mysteries." I've never actually met B.J. but consider him a good friend in the mystery community.

Thanks for this interview, Jacquie and B.J.! Love the camping story.

Earl Staggs said...


Outstanding interview, Jacqueline, of an outstanding man. Like everyone else who knows him, I hold BJ in the highest regard as a person and as a writer.

BJ Bourg said...

Thank you, Maris! I absolutely LOVE being a dad!!! I always hear people say they can't wait for their kids to grow up and go out on their own, but I don't get it. My son is about to leave for Utah to attend law school and my daughter will be starting college next year, and I have no idea what I'm going to do with myself. :-(

BJ Bourg said...

Thank you, Pam! I hope to see you in Lake Charles in November!

BJ Bourg said...

Thank you, JR!

BJ Bourg said...

Thank you, Susan! As for camping scenes, there are a few that made it into Hollow Crib. One was of the homeless man who was talking to his pit bull named Satan. When I was a kid, I really saw a man drawing diagrams in the dirt while talking to his dog, Satan, about blowing things up. Although I was a kid, I recognized it would make a great scene in a book or movie.

Thanks again!

BJ Bourg said...

Thanks for the nice words, Jan! It's always a pleasure to help writers where and when I can. The writing community has always been so helpful to me, and it's the least I can do. :-)

BJ Bourg said...

Thank you, Kaye! I consider you a good friend, too, and I hope to someday call you neighbor. My family and I will actually be in that area in two weeks (again--I try to visit every year). We're spending two nights in a cabin in Gatlinburg and six nights in a cabin in Townsend. One day, I'll show up and never leave.

BJ Bourg said...

Earl, I'm nothing special, lol, but I'm certainly honored that you hold me in such high regard. As for you, who was the first editor to ever accept one of my stories, you'll always be my hero. That first acceptance is what gave me the confidence to believe I could really do this writing thing. Many thanks for getting me started!

Linda Thorne said...

Sounds like a great read. The author has his credentials. That is always a help when writing a book about things the author is experienced in. Good job.

Bonnie Tharp said...

Nice to meet you BJ and what a nice interview. Your books are on my to be read list now and I can't wait. Thank you for sharing your journey.

BJ Bourg said...

Thanks Linda and Bonnie! It's nice to meet all of you here and I really appreciate Jacqueline interviewing me.

bjb