Thursday, October 19, 2017

Mysteries of the Ozarks, Volume V - Interviews with Johnny Boggs and Larry Wood

Several weeks ago, Jane Hale, president of Ozark Writers, Inc., forwarded names of contributors to Mysteries of the Ozarks, Volume V, who agreed to be interviewed on my blog.

I asked five questions plus a bonus question. First to reply were Johnny Boggs and Larry Wood. Here are their bios and responses:

Johnny D. Boggs has been a full-time novelist and freelance magazine writer since 1998. He has won a record-tying seven Spur Awards from Western Writers of America, the Western Heritage Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, an Arkansiana Juvenile Award from the Arkansas Library Association and the Milton F. Perry Award from the National James-Younger Gang. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his wife, son and two dogs.

Larry Wood is a freelance writer specializing in the history of Missouri and the Ozarks. He is the author of fifteen nonfiction history books, two historical novels, and hundreds of stories and articles.  He maintains a blog at, and is an honorary lifetime member of the Missouri Writers' Guild. Larry's co-author on "Charlie Cries All Night," the MOTO V story, is his long-deceased father, Ben L. Wood. Larry resurrected the story from his dad's unpublished files and made numerous changes, but the basic plot belongs to Ben Wood. Ben was an essayist and poet whose work appeared in publications ranging from The Ozarks Mountaineer to the Kansas City Star.   

1. What sparked your writing bug?
Johnny Boggs: Third-grade English. The assignment was "write a tale." I have no idea what I wrote, but I remember the feeling I got while writing it. This was my calling, I decided, and I still get that feeling when I sit down at my computer.

Larry Wood: I more or less drifted into writing by default during college when I ended up majoring in English because I made better grades in English than my other classes, but the idea of being a writer was probably planted much earlier, since my dad was also a writer.

2. Please summarize your story in MOTO V.
Johnny Boggs:The tongue-in-cheek "Meet the New Dick Powell" has the Ozarks-born actor returning home because his career is washed up in Hollywood. He's mistaken for a private eye, and, having just been rejected for the lead role in "Double Indemnity," decides to play a tough-guy in a real-life situation.

Larry Wood: My dad, author of the first draft of "Charlie Cries All Night," was a correctional officer at the Medical Center for Federal prisoners in Springfield. Thus, the idea for the story, about an escaped, psychotic convict who terrorizes a nurse working late at a doctor's office, although the story was not originally set in Springfield.  

3. Where is your favorite place in the Ozarks? Please describe it.
Johnny Boggs: The Buffalo River. Rented a cabin there for a long weekend in 1990, bought a wooden chest at a shop outside of Eureka Springs, drove back to Dallas. I put a dozen roses and an engagement ring in the chest, and when Lisa opened it, I proposed.

Larry Wood: The nature trail at the Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center just south of Joplin on Shoal Creek. It's not necessarily the most scenic place in the Ozarks, but it's a place I go regularly for relaxing walks in a natural setting.

4. What writing accomplishment(s) are you most proud?
Johnny Boggs: The seven Spur Awards from Western Writers of America blow my mind. I think I'm most proud of the first one, which I got in 2002 for "A Piano at Dead Man's Crossing," because that was for a short story, the hardest form of fiction to write. (Donna's note: Seven spurs--Wow! And I agree about short fiction being the hardest form of fiction to write.)

Larry Wood: As a longtime member of the Missouri Writers' Guild, I think that being named an honorary lifetime member of the organization in 2016 is probably the thing I'm most proud of in my writing career. (Donna's note: That is an amazing accomplishment!)

5. Many of my blog visitors are also writers. What writing advice can you share with them?
Johnny Boggs: Write. Write. Write. Read. Read. Read. Rewrite. Rewrite. Rewrite. Rewrite. Rewrite. And don't miss your deadlines.  (Donna's note: I agree, and I would add you were first to submit your interview responses, so you are serious about deadlines.)

Larry Wood: Have a writing routine and stick with it. It doesn't even have to be a routine in the sense that you write at exactly the same time every day for exactly the same length of time, but you have to have something resembling a routine that shows you're committed to writing. In my own case, I write every day, seven days a week, with very few exceptions, but sometimes I write an hour, sometimes four or five hours, and not necessarily at the same time each day. It's somewhat like my exercise routine. I don't walk or jog at the same time every day, but I don't feel the day is complete if I don't do one or the other some time during the day.   

Bonus Question: Where can readers find more about you? (Your website, blog, Facebook, etc.)

Larry Wood: My blog on regional history can be found at, and I have an author Facebook page at

Johnny and Larry, thanks for your replies.

Over the next weeks I will post responses of the other contributors. 


  1. Thanks for the interview, Donna! It's nice to learn more about Larry and Johnny. Have a great weekend!

    1. Hi Karen,
      I'm glad you enjoyed their replies. I also enjoyed the latest interview on your blog.

  2. I always enjoy reading about how writers work and their inspiration for writing. And, of course, I’m a big fan of mystery and history. I’m looking forward to more of these interviews in the coming weeks. Thanks, Donna!

    1. Thanks, Clara. I enjoy reading the author interviews on your page, and of course their generous giveaways are always a bonus!

  3. It's always fun to read the thoughts of writers.

    Having had an opportunity to read this book, I can attest it's full of lively tales readers will love. Kudos to all the contributors!

    1. Hi Pat,
      As soon as my copies arrive, one has your name on it. I appreciate how you took time to read the draft MS and write a blurb on the anthology.

  4. Wonderful interviews here, Donna. I grew up in Springfield, so it's fun reading stories about the Ozarks. Congratulations to Johnny and Larry on their many achievements!

    1. Hi Teresa,
      Thanks for your kind words. There are a lot of good stories in the anthology I think you'd enjoy.

  5. Donna, thanks for sharing a glimpse of Larry's and Johnny's lives with readers. They are certainly accomplished writers.

    1. Hi Linda,
      Reading about how other writers approach writing is fascinating for me. And getting a glimpse into how they approach the craft is definitely interesting.

  6. That's good writing advice from both of them! I liked the "favorite place" question. I went to college in Springfield, so of course I've heard of the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners. Which I'm pretty sure is nobody's favorite place!

  7. I tried to leave a comment a minute ago, and messed it up, so I hope this isn't a duplicate. I was saying that I am so glad I popped over here to this blog after being absent a while. I admire both of these authors and I learned something new about them. I feel like this is an inspiring interview. I really enjoyed reading about their best accomplishments.

  8. Donna-I tried to leave a comment during my lunch period at work, but I screwed it up somehow.

    I always enjoy hearing what makes other writers tick. Thanks for sharing, and I too look forward to future interviews with writers who have stories in this collection.

  9. Very interesting interviews. Thx! Am looking forward to reading this MotO ASAP!


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