Interview with Frank Etier

Frank Etier

Interview Date: 8/27/2012


Born in Louisiana, FCEtier spent most of his adult life in Baton Rouge, eventually splitting his time between Baton Rouge and Gulfport, Mississippi. Hurricane Katrina sent him in search of a safer harbor, which he found in Western North Carolina. With an eye for the unusual found within the usual, Etier has been involved with photography for many years. He began freelance writing several years ago, concentrating on music and book reviews and essays. His writing influences range from Dr. Seuss and Ernest Hemingway to William Safire, Ferrol Sams, Mark Twain, Miriam Goldberg, Ian Fleming, Michael Crichton, Carl Hiaasen, James A. Michener, and John Grisham. He is the author of The Tourist Killer (Fall of 2012 from Venture Galleries, publisher)and is currently writing his second novel.

When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?

I began writing in grade school. A family member who was a newspaper reporter inspired me to write and also influenced my style. I high school, I was the reporter for our football team. About four years ago I began blogging and then reviewing music and books for several online sites. Today, I cover history as a National History Examiner for

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? (Assuming said power would be reasonably "powerful.")

It would be great to be able to travel at the speed of light! Not only could I get more accomplished, but I would be invisible to others!

Kev's response: That would be about as good as teleportation, depending on the range of teleportation. On the other hand, you'd still get outdistanced by those traveling at Plaid speed. Just saying.

Do you have a favorite superhero from novels, comics, or movies?

Superman -- no doubt. George Reeves and Christopher Reeve are the icons for me. Superman was “faster than a speeding bullet!”

Kev's response: I'd love to as well! Generally, I've shifted to a builder super, myself, but would be happy as all get out to have Superman's powers - pre or post '86 update.

Where do you get your inspiration for writing? What motivates you?

Life. The older I get the more experiences I have -- or observe -- that I can relive through my characters. It’s interesting to enjoy doing things through my fictitious minions that I may have learned about through research, but never actually done myself. Motivations include the desire to be recognized and greed.

Do you pre-plan your stories, or are you a by-the-seat-of-the-pants style writer?

Both. Once I get a broad idea of the plot line, I write the first and last chapters. If you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t know it when you get there. Then, I write “by-the-seat-of-the-pants” and let the characters be themselves. In spite of the fact that the writer creates the characters, when given the opportunity, they’ll often surprise you.

Kev's response: Hmm, that's an interesting way to do it (as opposed to an outline).

Do you write only when inspired, or do you have a set schedule where you sit down to write?

I’m a full time pharmacist with a 30 minute commute each way so there is lot’s of time to think about my stories. Anytime I can sit down at a keyboard or pick up a legal pad, I can write. No schedule. I write when I can -- sometimes at the expense of chores. I haven’t mowed the grass now in two weeks.

Kev's response: I would have agreed with you years ago, but I find my 40 minute-each-way drive is frustrating at times. I'll get inspired, but by the time I actually get home, I've lost the feeling.

Do you have a favorite genre in which to write? To read?

No. It’s best to write about something you know about through experience or research, so I stick to those areas. I’m fortunate that life has been diverse. I’ve practiced pharmacy, sold life insurance, taught at both LSU and Western Carolina University, became a professional photographer and refereed high school football. When I read, I like historical fiction or non-fiction. I devoured everything Michael Crichton wrote as soon as I could get my hands on it.

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

Two things stand out: 1) Writing is another form of escape, plus, you’re creating a way for readers to escape. 2) It’s therapeutic. Bob Dylan wrote, “I’ve got a head full of ideas that are driving me insane.” I’ve been living that line of lyric for years. Now, it inspires both my photography and my writing.

Is there any part of writing that you don't enjoy?


Can you tell me something odd about yourself?

Yes. I bought my wife a pink AK-47 for Christmas a few years ago. She loves it! Also, this may not be odd, but I enjoy flying radio controlled helicopters.

Kev's response: But what color are the bullets?

Do you write one story at a time, or do you have several novels in the works at one time?

Several. My wife has often commented about how I can read several books simultaneously. Writing is the same for me. I’ve got two books in the works now and several blog articles.

In my evil plot to take over the world, what one animal type do you advise I use and why?

Insects. I wrote a short story when I was in the seventh grade titled, “Revolt of the Underworld.” It wasn’t about organized crime. It was about insects that had developed a resistance to all poison. They were on a mission to take back the world and they were pissed.

Kev's response: I don't know about that. I've been trying out evil butterfly minions. They stop at nearby fields, and no longer spread evil. It's frustrating.

Where do you see the future as far as paper books versus digital e-books?

There is a currently popular analogy with what happened in the film vs digital photography paradigm shift. I don’t see that playing out in the same way. There are too many readers who won’t give up the thrill of curling up in their favorite easy chair with a real book. That doesn’t mean those same readers won’t enjoy e-books as well. I just don’t think they’ll ever completely give up their hard bound or paperback books.

What are your current projects?

The sequel to The Tourist Killer, entitled, A Year Without Killing. Then there’s a spin-off novel, The President’s Club. It’s due to hit the streets after The Tourist Killer and includes the adventures of several characters introduced in my first book.

Kev's response: Poor tourists, what did they do, other than spread some funds around to some locales often in need of an influx of such?

Do you have any advice for others about self-publishing?

Don’t go it alone. There are too many resources available to make it easier and more profitable than to try it without assistance.

Do you have any online sites where readers can find out more about you (and your books)?

My personal blog:
I’m a featured photographer and writer on my publisher’s site:
My blog there:
My photography there:

Kev's response: Frank, here's to hoping you never get writer's block, and the wife decides to pull out that pink AK-47 as a means of "inspiring" you!

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