Dutch Rhudy; referred to by his peers as the master of Mystery, Mayhem and Madness; resides in a quaint, east Tennessee post war cottage. Any similarity to serenity, abruptly ends right here. For this mysterious Author of Mischief is about to enter his study. Or should I say, make an attempt at entry.
With a quick two-step, hop-scotching around and over the wildlife feeding pans strewn along the pathway, his feet manage to find a surviving clear landing spot at the study door. He reaches for the doorknob, gives it a sharp push, then stands in the doorway carefully eyeing a profusion of every trinket imaginable, gathered to study and perhaps use as a cue for a scene in a novel; this Pandemonium Plus setting leaves not a square inch of surface or floor area.
Born in the mid-1940s; Rhudy actively interacted with his older relatives from the pre-1900s era. Each had a story to tell about the good old days, their pioneer ancestors, the many antics they pulled as children; including more serious matters, about crime escalating over the years and how they confronted these issues. Each family gathering added more unique stories of mirth and suspense which have found their way into Rhudy’s mental archives.
As a young man, Rhudy worked evenings as a disc-jockey and script writer. Once available for full-time work, he assisted a small advertising firm and worked as a ghost writer for a columnist. Through this association more work followed; with a request to ghost write several novels for teens and young adults, his career was under way and consumed over a decade before he took a break from writing.
Rhudy is getting on up in years; the nest now deserted, peace and quiet has returned to the Rhudy household. Retirement affords him the time to release under the Roaring Falls series, many colorful stories spanning over 150 years. Included within each story are glimpses into the history of his hometown, its activities and bring to life the many crimes from past to present.
Often called “That Mysterious Mystery Solving Mayor of Roaring Falls,” Rhudy claims he solves no crimes; he allows the unraveling of each mystery be conducted by the world-renowned Rumbleigh Investigations. There is much more about Roaring Falls than appears on the surface; if there is a secret to discover; a scandal, a sinister character, a hidden romance, or clue for solving a crime; some character will invariably let it slip out.
What makes you proud to be a writer from Tennessee? Pleasantly surprised is how I prefer to describe living in The Tennessee Valley. Born and raised in St. Louis County, Missouri; a Yankee moving south to ‘The Spunky Little City’ of Knoxville, Tennessee was a major cultural change for me.
Warmly welcomed in my new spouses home town; I soon learned Knoxville was occupied alternately by both Confederate and Union armies during the Civil War. As the most populous metropolitan area in the Southern Appalachians, we were never at a loss for things to do.
Meeting the many famous authors who live here, and their generous offer of expert assistance, has made me feel at home. We often invite fellow writers to our quaint little home, nestled on Rodgers Ridge in the Smoky Mountain foothills.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? I love to write, and have since before I was knee-high to a grasshopper. I still recall resting the log sized pencil, supplied by the school, on my shoulder. The nightmares from trying to form letters around the chunks of wood embedded in the crude paper have never subsided.
While attending high school, one of my early works, a class assignment, was selected for publication. After graduation I did research and draft writing for a journalist, which led to a transcription job for a publisher. Soon I was ghost writing rough draft novels for them.
Personal circumstances drew me away from writing for nearly a decade. I assisted the development and writing of a history book of my home town. After moving south I was invited to join a publishers writing team.
Writing in a personal journal, and researching our family genealogy, gave me an opportunity to learn my ancestors’ stories. These family histories have provided my most recent source of inspiration for my current work in progress, the Roaring Falls series.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? Within my first year of returning to work as a writer, the itch to tell my story my way became overwhelming. I read every book I could get my hands on that fit my intended genre. Then realized the long learning curve to achieve my goal as an Indie would be a hard one.
My various duties at work taught me each phase of building a series, so I embarked on world building first. It took over three years to establish a solid base to work from. I had the groundwork laid, and developed the overarching outline.
Then came the scene and character sketches, the massive genealogy tables to keep track of every family, pet, livestock and structure in my story. This was followed by the individual outlines, plot lines and a lot of tweaking to make certain the chronology was accurate.
After writing an overarching reference to follow, and finishing the rough draft for the first few novels in the series. Came all the critique group meetings, and hiring of editors. I still had a long way to go, and while waiting on edits, I pulled some of my old works out to study.
They were horrible, so I rewrote each of them, mainly to have something to share with our critique group. A little bit of polish and some encouragement from the group, I cringed at the thought, but decided to take their advice and publish.
Urged to join the NaNoWriMo Challenge, I wrote my next novel with full intent to publish. Not right away, but after it was edited and polished. This gave me the confidence I needed to take on the monumental task of developing and writing the multi-novel Roaring Falls series. I’ve come a long way in the past few years and have no fear of publishing my works.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and why? The town in which I was raised did not exist when my ancestors first settled in the remote area. My great-grandfather founded a protective association, and my grandfather, along with other businessmen, a law and order society.
From this latter group, the town was incorporated, and grandfather was the Trustee. The town grew to become a 4th class city, with my grandfather as the first and longtime mayor. More importantly, I came from a large family who maintained accurate records.
One of the eldest children of my baby boomer generation, many of my ancestors were still alive and loved to tell stories of when they grew up. I absorbed their stories, and observed the town grow from an empty field to a major metropolitan city.
This lifetime of history, lore and resources has formed the very basis of my works. A wealth of information to draw from, and write about. I’ve stepped into my ancestors shoes through diaries, genealogical work, and research, to the point I feel I have actually lived their lives.
Do you come up with your title (s) before or after you write the manuscript (s)? The title my stories are marketed under are often written last. However, I assign a working title to the storyline concept long before the actual writing begins. I create a main folder with a title, and place my research, scene and character sketches, etc. in sub-folders.
Before I develop a storyline, many scene sketches, not associated with any story yet, are also filed with a name for the scene. While writing a story, I may need an occupation for a character, which in turn leads me to a scene sketch I can glean information from.
How do you develop your characters? For a character to be believable, possess human characteristics and mannerisms, you must get to know your character intimately. The best way I know to do this is to forget about the story you are writing for the time being, and thoroughly interview your character.
Let the character tell you everything about their life from cradle to grave. Fill out your character sketch form and add this interview. For a visual image of this character, dig through you old photo albums or glean an image from the internet as an aid.
If you know your characters role in the story, let this character tell the story from their point of view and see where it takes you. My characters often come up with things that fit them perfectly, things I never would have never thought of on my own.
You never know what is lurking in the depths of your own mind, until you step into the shoes of someone else and become that person. Now that you know their side of the story, return to your version and bring in the human equation imparted by this character.
Tell us why you write the genre (s) that you write? I have a story to tell, and want to relate it to the person I’m telling it to in the most meaningful and best way possible. I don’t think about genre until I’m trying to classify the finished work. Most of my works fall under Historical Fiction, even when they contain nothing about history.
Trying to assign a genre to a work can and often is a nightmare. My latest novel is Cozy Mystery, which also fits Historical Fiction. Normally Mystery is linked with Crime on bookshelves. What do you do with a book, set in the past, is a mystery, but no crime to solve?
A reader expecting something about history will give you a bad review, because it is not about history. Ditto with those readers who feel a mystery must revolve around crime. Trying to find an appropriate genre that does not exist or fit with your works, is asking for trouble.
To answer the question of what genre I write, I’ll come up with a new one Cozy Historical Mystery with no violence, crime, vulgarity or sex. So they stick my books under genre Children’s Fiction. You can’t win when it comes to genre.
Tell us your most rewarding experience while in the writing process? The most rewarding experience is that aha moment when everything suddenly comes together in the manner originally intended. The twenty rewrites of the last few paragraphs, the worn out delete key, and the warm fuzzy feeling you get when it turns out perfect.
Tell us your most negative experience while in the writing process? When the perfect line you labored over for weeks, the one that gave you the warm fuzzy, comes back from the editor with a red line through it, marked ‘dele.’ Losing a thought before you have time to write it down frustrates me to no end.
Tell us your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? My biggest reward came after waiting on pins and needles to see if the publisher botched my nearly impossible to duplicate cover. No printer I had access to, other than using a true photographic duplication process, could achieve what I desired.
The publishing company that handled my book and cover printing was amazing. Everything about the novel came out perfect, the cover was perfectly registered, and came out exactly as I had it envisioned. Thank you CreateSpace!
What I was trying to duplicate was how a greeting card, with a printed frosted cover, placed over the image on the card appears to the eye. It adds depth to the image, and the cover printing seems to jump off the page. I got both illusions, and the feel of the cover is awesome.
Tell us your most negative experience in your publishing journey? The most negative experiences I’ve encountered have to do with various e-book formats. One conversion process does not work to produce the files for different e-readers. Some of the claims made by conversion distributors is not accurate at all.
A novel formatted for print is nothing at all like an e-book format. Conversion programs cannot possible handle the formatting tags used for a print book. The same is true for an e-book format being touted as printable.
The copyright notice for a print book omits clauses necessary in e-books, and it looks stupid to have e-book clauses in a print book. Not to mention a book printed from an e-book formatted file is about as horrible as it can get.
A properly formatted e-book for a particular device, may appear perfect on one model of that companies devices, and horrible on another model using the exact same file. I suggest going straight to the distributor for the device, for their version, and only use distributors for e-pubs. Format your work for each conversion system, or for printing, for best results.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Keep writing no matter what. Write one story, edit, rewrite, edit again and then publish. Don’t keep trying to tweak your work, this work won’t get any better. Move on to the next work, you learn and improve with continual practice. Keep the beat going.
Think of a music score. You hit a sour note, so what, you can’t go back, it’s water over the dam, or damage to someone’s ears, as the case may be. But the beat goes on, and timing in music is everything.
If you go back to replay that sour note, the whole orchestra is way ahead of you, and the right note at the wrong time is as bad as the sour note. Ray Bradbury said it best. You can’t write fifty bad stories in a row. One of them will soar with the eagles.
Many authors are not recognized until they hit their third, fifth, or seventh novel. Their early works may have been garbage, but only up until the time they hit a winner. Then all of their works are suddenly in demand, and critics enjoy bashing early works. Smile and go to the bank!
Who is your favorite author? This may sound like an odd response to who is my favorite author, but it is directly related to what I have done for over thirty years. My favorite author is: The Stratemeyer Syndicate, with Raymond Douglas Bradbury my individual favorite author.
To explain further, Franklin W. Dixon does not exist as a person using a pen name. Franklin W. Dixon is a pen name, but not of an individual. The name represents a group of writers all working together in a team or in many cases individually. All under the same pen name.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us? Because the main objective of my current works, as told in the Roaring Falls Series, is based primarily on true stories from my home town and my personal life.
To protect the families, including my own, who’s lives, occupations, and history are portrayed in my novels. Their names have been changed, resemblances altered, the time period shifted, and the location moved to a fictitious state and city.
I have also chosen the pen name Dutch Rhudy as the author of this series. Several pen names were chosen before I finally settled on the simplest of all options. The nicknames of my mother (Dutch), and mother-in-law (Rhudy), passed all naming convention clearance tests.
A small town detective agreed to mentor a local newspaper reporter who wished to enhance his sleuthing hobby. In the process of improving his observational skills, the reporter scrutinized various citizens torso and behavior. As his facial recognition abilities increased, he grew more aware of subtle similarities and differences.
The reporter soon became intrigued with an exceptional physical likeness between two young women. Each portray different cultures, and appear nothing alike in manner of dress, or in their separate lifestyles. The reporter, convinced they must be twins, maintained a constant vigil on his suspects.
He befriended one of these ladies to learn more about her. All attempts at justifying to himself she was a twin, proved futile. Subtle comments among her friends and family, confirmed she had only one sibling, an older brother.
These facts led our sleuth-hound reporter, to believe these two women were one in the same person
Turning his attention from the proper lady, with her strict religious upbringing; to the one of questionable moral values. His observations only invited confusion and generated unanswered questions. Each time his suspicions exposed another clue, a positive clarification negated the probability.
Their timetables overlapped, and one person cannot possibly be in two places at the same time. Or can they?
Certain his assumptions are correct, our reporter continued his quest to learn the truth.
Log Line: How can she be in two places at the same time?
Tag Line: Never take anyone at face value.
Genre: Fiction, Mystery & Detective, Historical
Set in a tiny rural community, where everyone crosses paths daily. The Vanishing Corn Mystery, introduces us to a paranoid retired farmer. Like the little boy who cried wolf; Hank Swazi complains to the townsfolk about repeated thefts. To put a stop to these imaginary crimes, he frequently replaces every hasp, latch and lock. From grain bins, secured tighter than Fort Knox, Hank-the-crank begins missing a measurable amount of corn. His obsessive-compulsive disorder drives him to take inventory, level and mark the remaining volume, every time he fetches a pailful. Unbroken hidden seals on the padlocks, clear those he accused of thievery. Hank devises a plan and starts on his quest to discover the culprit.
Genre: Short Stories
Within the confines of a highly secured area, a sniper kills the state senator. The police apprehend the suspect in under three minutes. Successful in his devious plan to hide the rifle; the killer waited on a bench, and showed no sign of fleeing. An extended search by the FBI failed to locate the murder weapon. With no evidence to hold him, the sniper walked. The case remained unsolved for years.
Genre: Short Stories
Set in a famous Franciscan Monk’s Art Studio. Lady Buff & Yardstick is a heart-warming story of a mother and kitten. Shunned by mama Magdalena, and befriended by Brother Matthew; curious little Yardstick provides funding for a new infirmary roof.
Genre: Short Stories
Boot & Milk Balls take us back in time to the mirth and madness of a bygone era. The antics of fun-loving, hometown characters, often turn bazaar. Two popular legends, grossly entwined, evolve to become one macabre tradition.
Three additional short stories; Lost Books Found, Hidden Treasures and The MPA; bring this mischievous Des Peres, Missouri era to a close.
Genre: Short Stories
Author’s Published Works:
- The History of Roaring Falls: Draft Completed, In Editing, Not Yet Published
- The Journal of Josiah Stren 1828 – 1829 (Example Only): In Production
Mystery Series (Examples Only):
- Death on The Landing
- Riverboat Murders
- The Oracle at Winnowing Rock
- Torchlight at Summit Ridge
Romance Series (Examples Only):
- Phoebe’s Wish
- The Blue Petticoat
- Prom Night Parties
- Secret Life of Maggie Grupp
Stand-Alone Novels (Stand-alone publications):
Short Stories (Stand-alone publications):
- Boot & Milk Balls (Plus three additional short stories)
- Lady Buff & Yardstick – The Three-Footed Kitten
Author Dutch Rhudy’s Website and Related Links: