HEIDI'S PICK SIX: Gary Cummings


Gary Cummings

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
My favorite character is Kyle Roach, the protagonist of my book Breaking In. I have to say that because if I don't, he may not say or do anything interesting in the sequel. Knowing Kyle only reads the first couple of sentences, and the last sentence of a paragraph, I can confidently say my favorite character is Kyle's ex-wife, Molly. Molly is the smartest and most creative person in the book. When she drops back into Kyle's life after years of being gone, things happen. And that is why Kyle is my favorite character.

2. Tell me about your travels.
My wife and I absolutely love Glacier National Park. It's a three day drive or a convoluted, multi-connection flight from our home in the Midwest, so we can't visit as often as we would like. We go after Labor Day and, many times, seemingly have the huge park to ourselves.

3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
4. What else can you do besides write?

5. Who are you reading right now?
I try to keep two books going when I read for pleasure: one novel in a genre close to what I write, and one non-fiction so as to keep up with my history-loving protagonist. Currently I'm reading Knight's Ransom, an action-adventure novel by Gordon Kessler and Lindbergh by A. Scott Berg, a biography of Charles Lindbergh.

6. Pop culture or academia?

7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
The action scenes in general are tough to write. My novel is peppered with humor so as I dial up the threat level, I have to tamp down my protagonist's tendency to comment or internalize on each difficulty he faces. When a deadly confrontation occurs I allow him a brief comment near the beginning of the struggle and maybe an ironic thought in the middle. When he survives, he's allowed to vent. He's earned it. By the way, every time I write a scene fraught with danger I end up with a headache!

8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
I've learned to allow my characters to go their own way-within the arena I've set for them. I believe a writer's inner Muse is like a child and the writer's inner Editor is like the child's guardian. My Editor wants Kyle to go to a safe part of the playground and bounce a ball against a wall while thinking clever thoughts, in complete sentences. My Muse allows Kyle to rush to the monkey bars and hang upside down by his knees, do a flip to the ground and run behind the school and pick a fight with the playground bully. I decide on the playground for the characters, the Muse allows the characters to get bloodied and their clothes torn and the Editor patches them up and makes things right with the other parents.

13. Celebrity crush.
I would love to talk about my celebrity crush, but there's that darn restraining order.

14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
15. Do you still watch cartoons?

Gary Cummings retired from his job as a machinist in 2008 to full begin his dream life as a writer. His wife and he joined with a small group of writers who love to write and enjoy helping each other write well. Breaking In is his first novel. He's entered contests and has won awards in the short story, humor, poetry and screenplay categories. You can contact Gary at GaryLCummings.com.

As private detective Kyle Roach flees the scene of a house explosion, his tattered shirt resembling Miss Kentucky’s sash, he suspects his beautiful client has been less than truthful. During the next four days, Kyle will use a licorice rope to drive off a would-be assassin, crash his beloved pickup into a motel room and steal four vehicles. His unorthodox tactics prompt his rich, spoiled client, Stella, to fire him. In turn, Kyle kidnaps her “for her own good”. And this is Kyle’s first case.

It’s not as if Kyle’s life needs turmoil. His week ended with the employer at his day job announcing Kyle’s pension had become a victim of cost cutting. He struggles daily with the loneliness of being divorced. The memory of his late father’s suicide lingers, and he wrestles with his own fleeting suicidal thoughts. Kyle fights on, surrounding himself with friends and immersing himself in sports, alcohol and a study of great thinkers from the past.

Stella and Kyle settle into an uneasy alliance as they hurtle across the Midwest, running from hired killers as well as the police. The clash of wealthy versus middle class, East Coast versus Middle America and cool sex appeal versus wanton wanting punctuate their flight. Stella’s demands and arrogance drive Kyle to the point of abandoning her but his conscience demands that he fulfill his obligation to protect his high maintenance client.

Buy Breaking In

- http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-In-ebook/dp/B00748NT1S


  1. BREAKING IN sounds great, Gary! I love humor in my PI stories.

    Thanks for picking six.

    :) Heidi

  2. Thank YOU, Heidi. It was a lot of fun.


  3. Gary, your humor sneaks into everything you do. Breaking In is a fun read, as is this interview. Heidi, thank you for bringing Gary in for questioning. It's obvious he's guilty of something--in the least it's of being a very humorous writer!


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