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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Stuart Woods: Conversations' Author of the Year 2011-12

by Cyrus Webb

Over the past decade there are few authors that have captivated me like bestselling author Stuart Woods. I have been a fan of his for some time, but I first got the opportunity to interview him in 2008. He had me hooked from then on with his conversational style and immediate appeal.

There is no wonder that his books continue to bring readers along for the ride. Woods is the author of over forty novels, including the New York Times-bestselling Stone Barrington series and Holly Barker series. I have personally read over 20 titles by Woods, and with each one I can see how readers around the world can't seem to get enough of him. His book Strategic Moves was one of my Top Books of 2011, and his continual ability to keep us coming back for more made him an easy choice for Conversations' honor of Author of the Year 2011-12.

In the interview you'll read here I had the opportunity to converse with him about his career, his success and his fans. You will also see that this is one of few interviews that I felt like it would be wrong to address him as anything other than “Mr.” Enjoy the conversation

Mr. Woods, thank you so much for your time. Looking back over your career one of the questions that immediately comes to mind is about your relationship with words. Have you always found it easy to tell a story?
It was harder in the beginning. Experience builds confidence, and confidence is a wonderful thing.

How much do you rely on your feelings about a certain situation or occurrence in the news dictate the story you tell us in your novels?
I have to construct the feelings to fit the scene.

Your career has spanned many years and has been filled with critical acclaim. Does it ever surprise you that you evolve such a eager anticipation for each new release?
All the time, but I like it.

In Mississippi where most of our readers are based, we are faced with a critical case of apathy towards reading and writing. What are your feelings about how the general attitude of books seems to have shifted over the years?
It's my experience that there are more readers and more books than ever. I get a lot of mail from people who tell me they never enjoyed reading until trying one of my books, and now they read all the time. That's very satisfying.

And the electronic age? In talking to librarians in our state (Mississippi), the consensus of visitors are coming to use the internet and not checking out as many books as they would have been 8 or even 10 years ago. In your opinion is that just a sign of the times?
I honestly don't know what that is. My guess is that those people wouldn't be coming at all, if there weren't an internet.

Tying in your books, there always seems to be a sense of morality, no matter what side of the law the characters find themselves on. Do you think this shows it's true that "There is some good in everyone" and are we being too pessimistic about the fate of our youth?
Yes. Normally, you need morality to separate the good from the evil, although I once wrote a book, L.A. Times, in which I set out to make not one of the characters a decent human being (it was set in Hollywood), and people still rooted for the protagonist.

From visiting your site, I know that you get quite a few requests for advice from aspiring authors. Who was inspirational to you in your literary endeavors?
All the writers I read, particularly Mark Twain.

Some of the authors we have talked to, Mr. Woods, tell us that in the beginning it was surreal to go into a store and see their name on books or posters with their face plastered in stores or in magazines. Has there been such a moment for you when it really hit home the magnitude you have made on the literary community?
It happened so gradually that I got used to it over the years. It's not like I was all over the bookstores right away.

Thank you again for your time. Anything you want to say to your fans that might be reading this interview?
I thank them for reading my books and making my career possible.

You can find out more information about Woods by visiting his official website at Missed our last radio interview? Visit

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