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January 18, 2022

11/26/2021 2:23:00 PM
Author: Patience and persistence all part of process

EDITOR'S NOTE: Chances are (it happened to us) that the words ‘foul hook’ entered into a search on the Internet will find text about snagging fish with no bait or lure— just a hook, embedded in a part of the fish that is not its mouth. A foul hook is frowned upon in most communities of fishermen.  It is illegal in Minnesota.

Local resident Mernie Budde has a new book out titled Foul Hook,  which is his fourth self-published story (novels and shorts.).

He talked with the Press about working with Amazon, and the life he leads where his brain is one or two books ahead of where he happens to be at any moment.  The Rutherford in the questions is Jack Rutherford, a main character who is a retired homicide detective.

Q: I am uncertain as to who your publisher has been, so we can start with that.
I have published all four of my stories on Amazon, with my fifth coming out by the end of 2021. Three of the five are full novels - Coincidental Evidence - The Water Killer Story, Foul Hook, and (coming soon), Along the Road to Bemidji. One is a short story - The First Christmas After, and my most recent work, Surviving the Storm, is a novella. The process of self-publishing has its rewards in that I decide what and when to publish, but it is not easy to handle everything myself from start to finish. I write it, rewrite it, send it to my beta readers for comments and feedback, rewrite it, edit it, etc. Anyone who writes knows how difficult it is to edit your own work  Then comes that fateful day when I hit the "Publish Your Book" button in the Amazon KDP publishing portal. I publish in eBook (Kindle) format, but due to several friends who only read "real" books, I can also publish a softbound or even a hardbound version of my books. I don't pay anything upfront and earn a royalty on each sold copy. Don't worry, even with no payment by me Amazon does just fine.

Q: Did you send the draft(s) and work with somebody,  or was the writing basically complete when you connected with a publisher?
I went the traditional "get an agent who finds you a publisher who eventually publishes your book" route when I wrote early versions of Foul Hook and Along the Road to Bemidji 25+ years ago. Working a full-time job and raising our family pushed the pursuit down in priority, and I did not have time to fire off multiple query letters and send out first chapters, etc. That and the rejection letters in the mail over and over again. I put my writing hobby on hold until 2013 when I wrote about half of Coincidental Evidence.
 I took it up again in 2017 and published it in late 2019. Then I started working on Foul Hook, something I wrote about half of at least 27 years ago, and I published that in early 2021. I have another old manuscript that is my next project after I get Along the Road to Bemidji out the door. That one is even older than Foul Hook in its earliest form. I have an idea for what comes after the next two are complete. My brain is always one or two books ahead of where I am right now.

Q: What background led up to you developing your characters?
I am not sure where the characters come from. I have an idea for a scene, a subplot, the main plot, whatever, and then I build the characters to tell the story. No single person translates into a character, but everyone I have met might be part of a character. And, I'm a fiction writer so I get to make stuff up. It just has to be plausible and fun to read, not historically accurate. As an example. a beta reader suggested my climactic scene on the Stone Arch Bridge needed an additional character. I came up with a young man who works as a volunteer bike patrol officer who bumbles his way into a very tense situation. I named the character after the person who suggested I create him, naturally. If anyone thinks they recognize themselves as a character I guess I best plead the 5th. Hopefully, it's a character they like.

Q: Are you former law enforcement or legal professional?
I practiced law for several years before I became a recovering lawyer. I always say one never fully recovers from being a lawyer. I worked for 20 years in legal publishing. I have been with a health insurance provider since 2014. Speaking of work, I am very careful about not doing writing things during working hours. My schedule is I get up at 4 or 4:30 am and write until about 6, sleep for an hour to reset my brain, and then log in to work at 7 am.  I take up the writing again for a few hours after dinner. Working from home has been a blessing for my writing.

Q: Is the Rutherford character based on anybody you know?
Jack Rutherford came about so long ago I'm not sure. Guessing I would say Lucas Davenport from the John Sandford Prey novels, Harry Bosch from the Michael Connelly novels. Foul Hook is set in Bemidji, and Rutherford lives in a cabin that seems an awful lot like the cabin our family owned for many years in Bemidji. I worked for two years as a Public Defender Investigator in Bemidji out of law school and met lots of interesting people in the jails, the courthouse, and in law enforcement.

Q: Who are your favorite authors?
Michael Connelly, John Sandford, William Kent Krueger, John Grisham are the bestsellers. Others are Lawrence Shames, CJ Box, JA Jance, Carl Hiaasen, and Jon Hassler. Growing up I read way too many Hardy Boys books. My mother read two to three books a week all her life and she definitely passed that down to me. I recently encouraged my friend Patrick McCormack to publish his book "Foxed" on Amazon. Add him to my favorites list as well.

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