John M. Floyd’s work has appeared in more than 250 different publications, including Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, The Strand Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, Mississippi Noir, and The Best American Mystery Stories. A former Air Force captain and IBM systems engineer, John is also a three-time Derringer Award winner, an Edgar Award finalist, and a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. His seventh book, The Barrens, is scheduled for release in summer 2018. Visit him at www.johnmfloyd.com.
Tell us a little about yourself (short bio).
I was raised in Sallis, Mississippi, graduated from Kosciusko High School and Mississippi State University in Electrical Engineering, and worked for IBM for thirty years. My wife Carolyn and I live in Brandon, Mississippi, and we have three children and seven grandchildren.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably when I started selling stories regularly to magazines. I’d been writing fiction for years but had resisted sending anything out to editors/publishers. When I finally did, and started getting paid for it, I began being less embarrassed about telling friends and family about my “new found” career.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Not really. I suppose my writing would be considered more informal than formal, because I like to write (and read) stories that sound almost as if they’re being told, aloud, than being read off the page. I also enjoy inserting an element of humor into most of my stories, whether they’re serious or not—because that’s the kind of fiction I myself enjoy reading.
Are your writings based on someone you know or events in your own life?
Some of them are. I think all writers include real people they’ve known, or at least composites of those people, in their stories, as well as things that have happened to them. But I don’t limit myself to that. Since most of my fiction is mystery/suspense, a lot of it comes from my imagination.
What book are you reading now?
Tatiana, by Martin Cruz Smith. It’s a novel about a Russian investigator trying to solve a murder that his superiors had rather leave unsolved.
What are your current projects?
I continue to write mystery stories, mostly for Strand Magazine, Woman’s World, Alfred Hitchcock, and Ellery Queen, and I’m working with my publisher to put together a seventh collection of my short mystery stories, called The Barrens.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. My most recent book Dreamland, published by Dogwood Press in 2016, is a collection of thirty short stories, most of them mystery/crime, and I like to believe it accomplishes what I intended. It contains stories of all lengths and provides what I hope are entertaining adventures with a lot of twists and surprises.
Who are some of your favorite authors? What really strikes you about their work?
Nelson DeMille, Joe R. Lansdale, Lee Child, Flannery O’Connor, Michael Crichton, Jack Ritchie, Stephen King, Larry McMurtry, Harlan Coben, and too many others to name. What strikes me is how easily and quickly they can pull me into a story or novel, and keep my interest throughout.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I think the best advice any writer can give another is “Don’t give up.” Continue writing, always, regardless of rejections and obstacles.
What TV shows/ films do you enjoy watching?
Favorite TV shows: House of Cards, Longmire, Game of Thrones, Deadwood, The Sopranos, Rome, Stranger Things, The Wire, Hell on Wheels, Boardwalk Empire. Favorite movies: To Kill a Mockingbird, Aliens, The Big Lebowski, Casablanca, Blood Simple, Once Upon a Time in the West, L.A. Confidential.