Eric Jerome Dickey recently answered 5 questions for USA Today. Now you can find that uneventful interview quickie here:

5 questions for Eric Jerome Dickey
By Deirdre Donahue, USA TODAY

Best-selling writer Eric Jerome Dickey specializes in action. Action in the bedroom. Action with a gun. USA TODAY spoke with Dickey, 46, about his new novel, Waking With Enemies (Dutton, $24.95), a sequel that stars a hit man named Gideon. He’s on the run in Europe — with plenty of sexy women after him.

1: You’ve written 14 hit novels. What’s your secret? Conflict. If you don’t have conflict, you don’t turn the pages. … My characters are troubled souls with a lot of inner struggle and outer struggle.

2: Your earlier books Sister, Sister and Milk in My Coffee were more relationship-oriented. Are you getting more gritty? I don’t read just one genre, and I don’t want to have to write just one genre. … I used to write gritty short stories before I was first published.

3: What writers do you like?I just bought these books: The Stolen HeartTropic of Cancer and Quiet Days in Clichy; William Henry Lewis’ I Got Somebody in Staunton; Sarahbeth Purcell’s Love Is the Drug; and Kathryn Harrison’s Envy by Joyce Carol Oates (writing as Lauren Kelly); Henry Miller’s

4: Do friends or family ever say your books shock them? They might have thought that, but no one has said it to me. It’s like picking up Playboy and complaining about the centerfold.

5: Would your readers be disappointed if you didn’t have the incredible love life of your characters?How would they know? I keep my personal life personal.

Nothing interesting or notable there, right? I used to be an Eric Jerome Dickey fan. Every summer I spent my hard earned money on his new releases. Then the stories started getting a little redundant and I moved my interests elsewhere. Now Dickey is saying that he’s not writing the typical relationship novel anymore, eh? That’s not what one reviewer on Amazon said, “Lots of sex, and a razor-thin plot. So a guy chases another guy? For nearly 400 pages, that’s it. Dickey does have some gifts as a writer — his pacing talents are amazing — but he fails on delivering characters, plot, complexity and larger themes. I’ve heard he wrote this book in a hurry, and it shows.” Ouch. But then again there are an astounding 11 other people who offered the book four or more stars. I’m sure it will be on Essence’s best-seller list in a month or two. I expect nothing less. In the meantime, I found an excerpt from this novel, so I’m posting it to see if it will tickle our reading fancy.

1 – trouble after midnight

Death kept moving back and forth outside my door.

But Death never showed its face.

On the other side of my pulled curtains, the skies were gray, winds were blowing hard enough to sway trees, and the rain was falling, a rain that, in this weather, felt like ice water.

London’s weather was as devastating as my mood.

I was in Bloomsbury, that abhorrence from my past crimes and sins fueling me as I stood by the door, listening for sounds in the hallway, gun in my hand, loaded, angst on high.

I’d done a job in Tampa. Had killed more than a few men in the name of profit.

A gruesome hit that would stay with me the rest of my days.

That job had been a few days ago, and now that hit had turned upside down. A rapper named Sledge had paid me a king’s fortune to kill his rival, another rapper known as the Big Bad Wolf. I had slaughtered Big Bad and his crew, barely made it away from that job with my life, and since then Sledge had been assassinated. And I had been followed to London by a bald man who sported a broken nose, a man who had been sent to kill me as an act of vengeance.

I eased closer to the door and listened.

So much violence and death had happened since I landed in the UK.

My mind was racing as I tried to remember it all; gun in hand, I was trying to put the pieces together. Yesterday afternoon I’d been stalked from Covent Garden to Soho, then around midnight I had realized I was being trailed as I left Soho, had flipped the script on my stalker and chased him, realized he was the same the man I’d seen on my flight from America to the UK, his broken nose making him stand out, and I had confronted him, chased him through Kensington Gardens only to have him vanish at Lancaster Gate.

Only a few hours had passed since that footrace.

And now someone was lurking outside my hotel room.

Freezing rain was falling as dark clouds strangled and smothered the sunrise.

Gun in hand, I listened to see if the messenger was outside moving around.

Behind me, in my room, I heard terrified breathing.

I looked back, saw two huge suitcases on the floor.

I’d forgotten she was here.

A naked woman was terrified, inside my hotel room, hiding in the bathroom.

Her name was Lola Mack.

She was an actress-slash-masseuse I had met on the same flight to Gatwick.

Hers was a long story, one that started with happiness in the U.S. and ended up here with her being in excruciating pain, the kind of pain that came from her flying across the Atlantic only to get rejected by the man she was in love with, that rejection coming a few hours ago.

About five hours ago she had ended up in my room, about three hours ago she had ended up in my bed. Now she was hiding in the bathroom as I tried to deal with this situation.

Bad timing. Bad fucking timing.

Now her life might be on the line.

So…yeah…

Today is my final day of summer vacation. The teacher paychecks have reached their end. Broke will find it’s way into my wallet and bank account soon. Tomorrow unofficially begins the graduate school journey. I didn’t read all the books I planned this summer, but I’m still standing, I’m still strong. This semester I’ll take Black British literature, Creative Writing, and a Research course. Hopefully I’ll find the time to discuss writings from those courses. We’ll see. Happy reading, ya’ll.

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