John Knoerle began his creative endeavors in the early 70s as a member of the DeLuxe Radio Theatre, a comedy troupe in Santa Barbara. He then moved to LA and did stand-up comedy, opening for the likes of Jay Leno and Robin Williams.
Knoerle wrote the screenplay Quiet Fire, which starred Karen Black, and the stage play The He-Man Woman Hater’s Club, an LA Time’s Critic’s Choice. He also worked as a staff writer for Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.
Knoerle moved to Chicago in 1996 with his wife Judie. His first novel, “Crystal Meth Cowboys,” was optioned by Fox TV. His second novel, “The Violin Player,” won the Mayhaven Award for Fiction.
John Knoerle’s novel, A Pure Double Cross, was the first volume of a late 40s spy trilogy featuring former OSS agent Hal Schroeder. The second volume, A Despicable Profession, was published in 2010. Knoerle’s latest book, The Proxy Assassin, Book Three of the American Spy Trilogy, has just been released.
Thank you for this interview, John. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I’ve been writing forever, or so it seems. I got the bug in college, at UCSB in the early 70s, writing skits for our comedy group the DeLuxe Radio Theater. (We were a poor man’s version of The Firesign Theater.)
Writing a two-page sketch took me days. Writing stage plays, much less novels, was unimaginable to me at the time. But I kept at it, one small step at a time.
Now that I think about it, writing two pages in a novel STILL takes me days.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
It’s Book Three of my American Spy Trilogy and it concludes the adventures of a conflicted young man by the name of Hal Schroeder. The Trilogy is more character study than spy novel, though it has plenty of action and suspense.
I guess the best way to say it is “The Proxy Assassin” isn’t a spy novel so much as it’s a coming-of-age novel about a young man who happens to be a spy.
Why did you choose your particular genre?
My previous, never-published novel suffered from too much navel gazing. I needed to square my shoulders and engage the wider world.
Deceit, betrayal and skullduggery on a global stage. While it takes a ton of research to get it right, it’s hard to make international espionage boring!
What was your greatest challenge writing this book?
I had to thread all the disparate characters and plot lines from three books into a coherent conclusion. I had not outlined all that when I began this epic journey.
But, subconsciously, I must have. Because the pieces of the puzzle all fit together.
Are you published by a traditional house, small press or are you self-published?
I am now happily self-published.
Was it the right choice for you?
Yes. My writing doesn’t fit the spy fiction formula - I write in the first person, I enjoy more than a bit of wiseass humor and there’s not a corpse at the end of every chapter. The NY houses never could figure out what to do with me.
How are you promoting your book thus far?
Facebook ads, book giveaways on Goodreads and LibraryThing, and this fabulous blog tour!
How is that going for you?
Quite well, thank you for asking.
Can you tell us one thing you have done that actually resulted in one or more sales?
Facebooks ads, though it’s tough to find just the right audience because most folks don’t go on FB looking for novels.
Also, I had a big honking party for my friends and neighbors, handed out free books and sent them off to ply their social media networks.
Do you have another job besides writing?
Yes. Promoting my writing!
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
Try to cluster all your promotion efforts into a short window of time, say three months. “New” is a magic word in any type of advertising.
What’s next for you?
Not sure. I think I may retire to my country estate and breed silkworms.
Thank you for this interview, John. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?