Posted by authorcamilson
My Darkest Prayer
by S. A. Cosby
Whether it’s working at his cousin’s funeral home or tossing around the local riff raff at his favorite bar, Nathan Waymaker is a man who knows how to handle the bodies. A former Marine and Sheriff’s deputy, Nathan has built a reputation in his small Southern town as a man who can help when all other avenues have been exhausted. When a local minister with grandiose ambitions is found dead, Nathan is approached by his parishioners who feel the local police are dragging their feet with the investigation. What starts out as an easy payday soon descends into a maze of mayhem filled with wannabe gangsters, vicious crime lords, porn stars, crooked police officers and a particularly treacherous preacher and his mysterious wife. Nathan must use all his varied skills and some of his wit to navigate the murky waters of small town corruption even as dark secrets of his own threaten to come to the surface.
I handle the bodies.
That’s what I say when people ask me what I do for a living. I find that gets one of two responses. They drift away to the other side of the room and give me a sideways glance the rest of the night or they let out a nervous laugh and move the conversation in another, less macabre direction. I could always say I work at a funeral home, but where’s the fun in that?
Every once in a while when I was in the Corps, someone would see me at Starbucks that modern mecca Wal-Mart in my utility uniform. Sometimes they’d catch me in my dress blues after a military ball just trying to grab something before heading back to the base. They would walk up to me and say, “Thank you for your service.” I’d mumble something like “No, thank you for your support” or some other pithy rejoinder, and they would wander away with a nice satisfied look on their faces. Sometimes what I wanted to say was, “I took care of the bodies. The bodies with the legs blown off or the hands shredded. The bodies full of ball bearings and nails and whatever some kid could find to build his IED. I loaded the bodies up and dragged them back to the base, then went back out on another patrol and prayed to a God that seemed to be only half-listening that today wasn’t the day that someone would have to take care of my body.”
But I don’t think that would have given them the same warm and fuzzy feeling.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
S.A. Cosby is a writer whose work has been published in numerous magazine and anthologies. His story “Slant-Six” received an honorable mention in Best Mystery Stories of 2016. His life experiences include being a retail manager, a bouncer, a forklift driver, a landscaper, a roadie, a construction worker, a mortuary attendant, and he once wore a cow suit when he worked for Chik Fil-A. He majored in English at Christopher Newport University and now lives in Gloucester, Virginia.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:
S. A. Cosby will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Enter to win a 25 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway
S.A. Tell us about you.
Well I was born in a small southern town. My parents separated when I was five. My mother was disabled when I was seven. We had to move in with my grandparents. It was there I discovered a love for reading and writing. We were very poor. We didn’t have cable or more than one tv. My grandmother would let me read her True Story magazines to keep me occupied. Soon I became a voracious reader. Eventually I began writing my own stories. I had complained to my mother about how some of the books I read ended and she encouraged me to tell my own stories. That way I could end them anyway i wanted to.
If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
Wow ,that’s a great question. I think if i had a chance to hangout with Walter Mosely that would be a great way to spend a day on this good ol’ space rock. He’s a black crime writer and he is a fascinating person. I would love to pick his brain. Not just about writing but about his life and the inspirations for his great characters.
What’s the story behind your latest book?
MY DARKEST PRAYER was born out of my desire to tell a story that incorporated the traditional noir tropes but tell the story through the prism of a man of color in the South. I felt like it was a story no one else was telling . I had a hard time finding a way into the book though. In my experience a murder in small town is rarely a whodunit. It’a a can we prove it. So I had trouble visualizing a situation where a private investigator would solve a crime in a small town. One day i was talking with my friend Todd Robinson , a great writer and the creator of ThugLit, and he told me i should just make my MC a trouble shooter. My day job is at a funeral home. To paraphrase Todd there are hundreds of ready made stories walking through your door every day. It was like a light bulb went off in my head. After that came to me pretty quickly.
What is your writing process?
First I have to be alone. I sometimes talk to myself when i write and it’s just less awkward if I’m by myself. I usually have some type of music playing. Different songs for different scenes. If i am writing a fight scene then I’m listening to something aggressive. If I’m writing an emotionally wrenching scene I will listen to something more nuanced like jazz or trip hop. I usually will get up and walk around to work through plot points that are giving me trouble. I used to have a writing hat but my dog (RIP Pugsley) ate it. That didn’t kill him but I never replaced the hat.
Tell us about your main character:
The main character of MY DARKEST PRAYER is Nathan Waymaker. Nathan is a biracial man living in a small southern town. A former Marine and ex-sheriff’s deputy Nathan left the force after the police declined to charge the man who killed his parents in a road rage incident. Blackballed and unable to find work Nathan takes a job working for his cousin Walt at Walt’s funeral home. Nathan becomes a bit of a guy Friday at the funeral home. He also moonlights as a troubleshooter. An unlicensed investigator for people who can’t or won’t go to the police. I envisioned Nathan as another iteration of the the traditional noir hero with just a few differences. He is a damaged character but he retains h is sense of humor. He is a man of color living in a state that was once the home of the confederacy. He is a hero but a tarnished one. He is capable of great violence but also great love and caring. The main thing i wanted to accomplish with Nathan was to make him likeable enough a reader wouldn’t mind spending 220 pages with him. I hope i succeeded.
If your book was to be turned into a movie, who would play the lead role and why.
When I first starting writing MY DARKEST PRAYER I had the idea that Nathan looked a lot like Dwayne The Rock Johnson. But upon reflection I think he has more in common with Jason Momoa. They share a self deprecating sense of humor but also embody a strong aura of determination and fierceness.
What are you working on next?
Right now I am in the middle of edits for a rural heist novel. I have also been working on a revenge thriller that would tackle some delicate social issues in the rural community. I am also working on several short stories for various projects. And I am scheduled to read at several NOIR AT THE BAR events. These are events where crime writers read short stories in a an appropriately noir setting, a bar.
What advice do you have for other writers who want to get the word out about their book?
Go to where the people are. Go to conventions. Live reading. Join a writing group. Make people remember your name and the title of your work. Network with other writers. Having friends in the writing community will help you promote your work and will make you a better writer.
What is your favorite book on your shelf right now?
THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME by Daniel Ray Pollock. It is a haunting novel.
Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
I am a fair chess player. but I still can’t beat my uncle who taught me how to play.
You are given the choice of one super power. What super power would you have and why?
Invincibility so I could stop wearing my seatbelt. I really hate that thing.
List 5 things on your bucket list:
- Go to Paris.
- Swim with dolphins.
- Compete in a sanctioned boxing match.
- Make a perfect pancake and flip it in the pan.
- Meet Barrack Obama.
Any final thoughts?
I just hope people will buy MY DARKEST PRAYER and enjoy it. At the end of the day that’s all any writer really wants. To make people happy. And lots and lots of money LOL. Kidding. (not really)
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