John H. Byk (pen name, Conrad Johnson) was born and raised on the gritty streets of Detroit, Michigan. After surviving high school, he joined the Coast Guard and then went back to school to earn his Masters of Art in English. Still aching to see more of the world, he worked as a Merchant Seaman and then taught English in Japan and Thailand before returning to Detroit to teach high school.
Having had enough, Byk retired early and now spends his time writing and interviewing contemporary authors on his podcast blog, 2012writersALIVE, from his home in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. When not chained to the computer, he spends his free time hunting, fishing, hiking, sailing and enjoying nature with his best friend Judy and his adoring canine, Sarah.
About the book:
Detroit Daze is a novel about guts, glory, and gangs set in the Mad Motor City of Detroit, Michigan. Not for the faint of heart. Not for the nostalgic minded reader. Not for suckers but for survivors only.
What was your inspiration for Detroit Daze?
I wrote my first novel, Till the Moon Falls, in 2010. When I finished it, a sequel came to mind so I went right to work on that. It’s called, Xe-Nophobia. After finding an old high school friend on Facebook, he suggested that I should write a novel about those wild and crazy days so I did, figuring that a trilogy was better than a “duology.” The book is a prequel that completes The John Oxman Voyages series.
How long did it take you to complete it?
Once I finished my first novel I couldn’t stop writing. I finished all three books in a year and then a fourth one and now I’m working on my fifth. I’ve also written nonfiction, chapbooks along the way. If there’s a day that goes by that I’m not writing, then I’m thinking about writing.
What do you find most challenging about writing crime fiction?
Avoiding sensationalism. Blood and violence for its own sake does not a good story make. There has to be a compelling narrative to justify it all.
What is your favorite scene in the book?
To be honest, I hated the entire manuscript when I was done with it. But then I shared it with Rebecca Forster, indie author of the best selling Witness Series and she nearly flipped out because she loved it so much. She answers this question best when she posted a review on Amazon that says, “Every word, every plot turn, every scene was so graphically presented that the reader prays the main character will be able to escape his circumstances. You will never forget Heavy, Berwyn and the rich cast of characters portrayed in this novel.”
What do you love most about being an author?
The freedom to dream, explore, create, share and to have an excuse for eating fudge brownies for a sugar buzz while working.
What does an author need to do to be a guest on your radio show, 2012writersALIVE?
First of all, they have to have a book that’s on the market and ready to be purchased with a click. Secondly, I prefer authors that have experience related to the work they are promoting and/or credentials more substantial than just being a blogger. I screen potential guests carefully to keep my show classy and relevant (I hope!). Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, they need a telephone or Skype connection, especially if they live outside of the USA.
What’s on the near horizon?
Warmer weather and lots of fishing trips. Seriously. I can hardly believe how much I’ve written in the past two years and all the interviews that I’ve done. I feel it’s time to slow down a bit, catch my breath and cast a few flies for trout as I still continue working on my next project and soliciting guests for my podcast blog at a much more relaxed pace than before.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
If you’re a writer, write from your own social milieu. If you’re a reader (as all good writers should be), always have at least two books on your nightstand (or on your electronic device) that you’re working your way through. Scan and sift through everything that you come across in print. Also, watch a goofy comedy film every now and then. Besides that, make sure you wear sunscreen on the beach.
Connect with John H. Byk:
Link to excerpt: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/79687
Link to purchase page: http://johnbyk.blogspot.com
Link to book trailer: http://youtu.be/pPV9ID3QAHE