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DJ Swykert is a fiction writer and wolf expert living in the Cincinnati area. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Coe Review, Monarch Review, the Newer York, Lunch Ticket, Gravel, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, Alpha Wolves, The Pool Boy’s Beatitude and The Death of Anyone. You can find him at www.magicmasterminds.com/djswykert.

YVONNE: When did you know that you had to tell Jack’s story? Do you remember the catalyst?

DJ: The inspiration to tell Jack Joseph’s story came to me sitting in an AA meeting and listening to a man tell the room: “Most of the people in this room will die with alcohol in their veins.” It really stunned me, because it’s absolutely true. When I left that meeting I knew one day I’d write a novel about the struggle of love over addiction.

YVONNE: You’re a novelist, and you also write poetry and short fiction. How do you structure your writing life? Do you have a routine? How do you decide which writing endeavor will get your attention? 

DJ: I’m not the most organized person. I used to describe myself as a disorganized person with a disorganized life. I have gotten better, and writing helps me to structure my time. I usually write during the morning, seems my head works the best at that time of the day. But I also scribble ideas down on envelopes, scraps of paper, and leave them all over the house, and at most any time of the day or night.

YVONNE: If The Pool Boy’s Beatitude was made into a movie, which actors would you cast in the lead roles?

If you imagine Paul Newman as he was in Cool Hand Luke, he’d be a great choice for Jack Joseph. Of today’s younger stars, my choice would be Bradley Cooper for Jack. Sarah would have to be Scarlett Johansson. His wife Elle, Anne Hathaway. And his mistress Rosemary, Demi Moore.

YVONNE: Any words of wisdom for a writer beginning to craft his or her first novel?

DJ: Write your first draft with abandon, you just want to get your idea down on paper before you lose it. When the first draft is finished, put it away for a couple of months, then edit it. Repeat this again in a couple more months. When you find a publisher, seriously listen to their editor. First drafts get the “feeling” you have for your characters and conflict on paper, but editing is what shapes your final story into a book.

YVONNE: What are you writing now?

DJ: I just finished the first draft of a story about an aging woman living in a ghost town who kills a bounty hunter to protect her imaginary wolf. What I haven’t come up with is a good title for the story. Anyone have any ideas? The best I’ve come up with so far is: Upon Reflection.

You can find DJs novel, The Pool Boy’s Beatitude here


Yvonne Lieblein is a writer and creative producer who lives in the seaside village of Greenport, NY. Her debut novel with a musical soundtrack, The Wheelhouse Café, will be released this summer. Visit Yvonne Lieblein’s website.

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