December 23, 2014

All's Wyatt on the Western Front: an interview with W.L. Ripley, author of "Storme Warning"

About Storme Warning: Vietnam vet and former Dallas Cowboys player Wyatt Storme just wants to be left alone in his remote Ozarks cabin – but violence and trouble have a knack for finding him. And when it does, he doesn’t back down. This time, Chick Easton, a hard-drinking, shockingly lethal ex-CIA agent, asks his buddy Storme for back-up when he's hired by the director of a big budget western to protect a bad-boy movie star who is getting well-deserved death threats. There’s also an annoying catch: the director wants to shoot the star’s new western on Storme’s land. Storme reluctantly agrees to it all, unaware that a sociopathic mob enforcer that he once put in traction, and in prison, is on his way and gunning for revenge.  

Available at 

Gef: Where did you get the inspiration for Storme Warning?

Warren: I'm a movie buff and love old Westerns. When "Springer's Gambit" was optioned for a major film I became interested in how they are made and thought it might be fun to place Wyatt Storme and especially, Chick Easton, in that setting.  Both characteristics are iconoclasts in that particular world.  It made for great tension and basically, some fun situations. I enjoy humor in writing.  I don't attempt to write comic situations, I let my characters react to any and every situation in a manner that fits their personality. If you try to write humor you often fail.  It should flow organically from the character's world view.

Gef: What kind of a gear shift is it writing-wise or marketing-wise or otherwise since the advent of digital publishing?

Warren: It has really been quite a ride.  I started off typing my books on a manual typewriter, then a dedicated word processor, submitting hard copy manuscripts.  The shift to all-electronic submissions is much easier.  With change, as a writer, I have learned I must adjust the way I do business.  Researching the change I've learned digital publishing is mushrooming and the first novel I wrote for the new industry was "Springer's Fortune".  Since, I've migrated to Brash Books and have found a home with people who both advocate for writers and love the printed word as much as I do.  They are on the cutting edge of this new industry and think they are the best publisher in the digital business.

Gef: How intensive does the research process get for you? What little tricks have you picked up with approaching the research phase of writing?

Warren: I'm constantly researching -- talking to people, reading, watching great movies.  First I get the story down and write straight through to the end.  Rewrite, for me, is the best part of the process.  That done, I check online and even call experts in the field that I'm writing about.  Fortunately, I have a brother who was one of the top law enforcement figures in the midwest for 33 years and he is a great source.  I have called or interviewed others including a high-ranking investigator with the ATF. 

Gef: What do you consider to be the strength or saving grace of the crime genre?

Warren: Great characters, great dialogue, a story that moves the reader from chapter to chapter with a satisfying denouement.  It is the same as any genre or entertainment venue.  Readers like to step into a world of action and adventure they might otherwise never experience.

Gef: What's the worst piece of writing advice you ever received? Or what piece of writing advice do you wish would just go away?

Warren: There is no bad advice.  You just have to glean what you can from the source.  My books have received wonderful reviews from some of the top critics in the nation.  Of course, there is always someone who will nit-pick something in your book.  The worst advice for young writers, frankly, often comes from High School and College English teachers who have never written a book.  This is not a rap on teachers, merely that you will only learn to become a published author by reading and following the best writers in the business and the best in history.  Best source?  Read, read, read.  Read everything from various writers and genre and it will improve your writing.  Promise.

Gef: What kind of guilty pleasures do you have when it comes to books or movies or whatnot?

Warren: Guilty Pleasures?  I'm going to have to say the writing team of Matt Stone and Trey Parker who produce "South Park".  I feel terrible laughing at that stuff, but conversely am amazed by their ability to both make their point and make one laugh.  I think they are among the best writers in the visual medium working today.   Also love another cartoon show, "Archer" plus "The League" and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia".  Sometimes they're over the top, surreal and even too raunchy but they all make me laugh.  

Gef: We're coming up to the end of the year, which means everyone and their mama is writing a year-end lists. So what book, movie, game, show, song, or dirty limerick has found its way to the tippy-top of your favorites this year?

Warren: Several books come to mind.  I'm currently reading Ace Atkins "Cheap Shot" (Spenser) and Atkins has made the transformation complete -- Robert B. Parker would be proud of what Atkins has done with his hero. Also reading Tom Kakonis' "Treasure Coast" and the new Fox and O'Hare novel, "The Job" (Evanovich and Goldberg), lined up after that.  Looking forward to seeing "Horrible Bosses 2" and enjoy any movie that stars Denzel Washington, particularly like "2 Guns" with Mark Wahlberg which is one of the best buddy/action/comedy movies I've seen in years.  I, of course, watch and re-watch any and all Clint Eastwood and John Wayne movies.  My favorite television show at present is the BBC production of "Sherlock".  The dialogue is amazing and the characterizations are among the best in any venue.  I love music -- everything from classical (Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart) to Classic Rock and even some country.  Music is the background to my writing and is always playing while I'm writing.  Music is the soundtrack of my books and I often gear the music to whatever scene I'm writing.

Gef: What projects are you cooking up that folks can expect in the near future, and how can folks keep up with your shenanigans?

Warren: Almost finished with the first draft of a fifth Wyatt Storme, "Wind Storme", set in Texas.  It finds Storme hooking up with his old Quarterback, Murphy Chandler, who is one of the best characters I've ever developed.  Chick Easton will come along to help Storme sift through the cadre of thugs and lowlifes.  Also, in development I have a fourth Cole Springer roughed out and will move on it when I have finished "Wind Storme".  Also have two new novels with two new characters -- "Home Fires" and "McBride: Double Down" that are finished.  "Home Fires" stars, Jake Morgan, a young Texan Ranger, on temporary suspension, returning to his hometown to find his best friend murdered.  "McBride: Double Down" is set in Vegas where small time security director, McBride, is forced to recover a stolen briefcase for a local Mob boss or face the loss of his business.

For those who wish to keep up with my work and projects you can find me on facebook on my W. L. Ripley page and also on my W. L. Ripley page at

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