Wade Cox, author of “Bootleg Spirits”

#YourNextBeachRead is a way to introduce you to a new author and their works in the hopes that you’ll find the next book you want to take with you to the beach, the pool, or the comforts of air conditioning.

Today’s featured author is Wade Cox, author of Bootleg Spirits.

What’s your name and where are you from?

My name is Wade Cox, that’s not a pen name, that’s the name I was born with. I was named after my great-grandfather on my dad’s side. I never met the man, he died 40 years before I was born, but I’m learning things about him, and apparently, we share a lot of traits.

How long have you been writing? How did you start?

7-11 - Wade Cox Birdman author photoI saw Raiders Of The Lost Ark in the theater when I was 7, and from that moment on, I knew I wanted to be in the creative business. I write a lot for film and television, but I also do some shorts and novellas.

Who are some of your influences?

I was heavily influenced by the movies, so a lot of my influences are movie-based. I really like Christopher McQuarrie’s script, The Usual Suspects, I already mentioned Raiders Of The Lost Ark. I like anything adventurous or the typical hero-gets-the-girl stories.

What is your book about?

It would be described as a ‘date movie’ if it were a movie. It’s got something for everyone. For the more action oriented, there is the mob fight between Irish and Italians over control of bootleg (illegal) alcohol during Prohibition, when ALL alcohol was illegal in this country, and for the more paranormal romance-oriented, there is the love story of Rose and Albert, a man and a ghost.

Where did you get the idea?

My dad went on a business trip when I was a kid and when he got back, all he could talk about was the in-flight movie they showed on the plane. It was called Somewhere In Time, and I always wanted to write something similar, but I also like gangster stuff and violence. I was heavily influenced by Quentin Tarantino.

How long did it take you to finish it?

I, of course, had to work a full-time job the whole time I was working on the book, so I didn’t get a lot of opportunity to work on the book. It took me 4 years to write the first draft, after that, it progressed quite quickly, and then it took me another 4 years of looking before I decided to self-publish it.

Is this your first book, or have you written more than one?

This was actually my first book. Of course, I had written short stories before, but nothing this ambitious. And this was also before I discovered screenwriting.

We all like to write about people we know, even if we never name them. Who are some people who inspired characters or situations?

I wrote about a mashup of people for each character. Of course, none of us is one-dimensional, so I would take part of a person for this character, then another part of them for that character and so on. For the love interest (Rose), I used an Italian girl that grew up down the block from me. She lives in New Jersey, last I heard.

What’s your favorite scene in the book?

7-11 - Wade Cox Book Cover Bootleg SpiritsThat’s a tough one. That’s like saying ‘pick out your favorite child.’ I guess I would have to go with the execution scene when one character is called upon to wipe out his best friend, and the psychological battle he fights with himself the whole way to the victim’s house.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you ever got?

Write. A lot. The first bit is going to suck…don’t worry about it, for 99% of the population, it’s unavoidable, but you’ll get better. Listen to lots of advice, and ignore about half of it.

What’s the worst?

Listen to everybody and take it all in. Everybody’s got something positive to contribute to your writing. Yes, for some people, that positive contribution is their absence.

Where can we buy your book?

All the usual suspects. It is NOT available in stores, because it is self-published, but if you want a copy, you can also contact me at wade_cox [at] usa.com, and I’ll be glad to sell you a copy for less than you would pay for it online, anyway. I’ll even autograph it for you, if you’re into that.

Wade Cox was born and raised in Salem just outside of Roanoke, in Southwest Virginia. He was always a storyteller, but didn’t really consider himself a writer when he was young.   He developed a love of fiction early, however.  His younger brother was always an avid reader, and Wade picked up the habit from him.

He graduated from Radford University with a degree in Marketing, but after a few failed sales jobs, found that marketing and sales was not really the path for him.  After being downsized out of a sales job in Los Angeles, California, he sat up all night writing down a story that had been bouncing around in his head for a while.  The creative writing classes that he’d taken in college certainly helped stoke his passion and skills.

That first story turned into his first novel, Bootleg Spirits.  It took him 4 years to write it, working a day job the whole time.  It took another 4 years of trying to get it published.  Bootleg Spirits is the story of a mob war between Irish and Italians during the Prohibition era of 1920s Los Angeles.

His second book followed 2 years later, and was a collection of short stories called Splintered.  Five dark tales of greed, revenge, and the horrors one visits on another populate the short collection.

Wade’s literary influences range from Stephen King to Jimmy Buffet.  When he started writing, Wade leaned more toward the Stephen King style, and emulated him as much as he could until he found his own literary voice.

Many people know Jimmy Buffet for his music and his restaurants, but not as many know that Jimmy has written extensively, and has been on the fiction AND non-fiction best seller’s lists.  The tales of the Caribbean flow through his writings, and now Wade’s as well.

Wade has traveled extensively, living in California (where he wrote his fist book.), Virginia, Florida, and Texas.  Early in his teenage years, Wade traveled to the Caribbean and immediately fell in love with island life.  He has been back many times, and he currently resides in Deltona, Florida.

Caribbean Danger marks Wade’s third published effort and he has authored numerous short stories that have appeared in various anthologies.

In addition to his writing, he also works in film, on both sides of the camera. He has written for film, directed, run sound, produced, and acted.