Writing in Shorts-Randy Rawls

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This is interview eight of fourteen highlighting the authors in the Happy Homicides 6: Cooking Up Crime anthology. 

Randy Rawls is a prince among men. Let me revise that– he is a gentleman cowboy among men. I have never seen or heard of Randy being sans cowboy hat. He wears it well. For those that wonder, yes, Randy is a Texan but he’s lived in South Florida for a while now. The hat is not entirely out of place being that north & central Florida is or used to be cattle country. But Randy isn’t herding lil’ doggies. He is spinning entertaining yarns of murder and mayhem. He has two series one with Ace Edwards, PI set in Texas and the other with Beth Bowman, PI set in Florida.

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Randy attends a lot of the Murder on the Beach bookstore events. I encourage you to seek him out at one of them. He is a charming person you will enjoy knowing.

When and why did you begin writing “in shorts”? Is it harder or easier than full-length novels?

Both are always a challenge. I stumbled into writing short stories. It was after I finished one of my novels several years ago. As I edited it, I realized my writing had lost some of its sharpness as I progressed through the story. Working to fix it, I decided I needed a challenge, something to force me to concentrate on tightening the prose while laying out the plot. I decided to write a short story with a maximum word count of 10,000 words. It worked. By the time I finished it, I was once again well aware of throwing away the unnecessary and concentrating on what was needed. Since then, I’ve found it therapeutic to write one or more short stories between novels. There is something re-educational about bringing in a story below an established word count.

What is your favorite short story anthology besides the Happy Homicide series?

I am always thrilled to have one of my stories accepted for publication, whether it be a short story or a full-length novel. Anthologies are always fun, especially those with themes, such as Happy Homicides. It’s a challenge to write to that theme—one I enjoy.

Randy, you didn’t answer the question. Very diplomatic of you. That must be one of the reason you made such a great president of the Florida Mystery Writers of America chapter. You can’t play favorites as a president. Writers egos are fragile. 

As an author, what has been our most embarrassing moment, typo, or gaffe?

One of my most infamous occurred in an Ace Edwards mystery. I meant to write something like, as sharp as a barbed wire. Unfortunately, I wrote as sharp as a barbed wife. The typo survived through several book signings, conferences, and other appearances. Finally, a reader commented that he got a good chuckle out of my barbed wife comment. I was dumbfounded. But, after stammering my way through it, I checked the passage. The fan was right. I’ll always wonder how many married women never picked up another Randy Rawls book.

What is your favorite vacation spot to be in shorts? (I want you to say Miami, but no pressure. Wink.)

This question requires a pre-cancer and post-cancer answer. Pre-cancer, I used to say I’d never live any place where it was too cold for short pants—and South Florida was my perfect paradise. Then, boom, Mr. Cancer invaded, and I took a large weight loss. (No, I don’t recommend it in lieu of a good diet.) With the weight loss came a messed up internal thermostat and an inability to exercise, among other things. Long and short of it, I had to give up my beloved short pants. Now, it’s long pants only, no matter what the temperature outside.

Since this edition of Happy Homicides is food themed, I have to ask—What is your favorite comfort food?

Again, I have to go pre-cancer and post-cancer. I grew up in a small town in North Carolina where Southern Fried Chicken was king. And my mom made the best ever. That love stayed with me until Mr. Cancer came to town. Yeah, Southern Fried Chicken was my favorite comfort food. Post-cancer, it’s anything I can chew and swallow comfortably. The Irish Texas Chili in my short story fits that description nicely.

Get Randy’s Irish Texas Chili recipe along with other recipes from the HH6: Cooking up Crime authors in the bonus pdf. Instruction on how to claim your bonus are on the last page of the e-book. 

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I am taking a few weeks break to enjoy the holidays. Use the archive links (Oct. Nov. Dec.) in the right hand column to visit the seven other HH6 author interviews then come back on Jan 8th for the return  of the series. 

Happy Holiday!

Best wishes for a Yuletide book flood like the Icelandic Jolabokaflod.

Hoping that some of the HH6 authors are in your book flood.