- What was your motivation or inspiration for writing “SILVER GOODBYE”?
As a resident of Key West, I saw firsthand the destruction caused by hurricane Irma, so combining that into a story where Buck Reilly pursued his own family mystery that took place there during the 80s and 90s, while being simultaneously hunted by an ex-con drug smuggler and torn between two women made the story very compelling.
- How did you research information hurricanes and storms and other information for your book?
I have lived through a few hurricanes and had firsthand accounts from several friends in Key West and around the Caribbean specifically during Irma. The impending natural disaster made for a natural backdrop to Silver Goodbye, and ultimately an additional antagonist that put everyone at risk.
- When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer, and how did that happen?
I was the editor and chief of a professional photography magazine thirty years ago and have always loved the written word. I wrote my first book in 1990 and have written several since. The Buck Reilly series was the natural culmination of writing what I know and love: Key West, the Caribbean, seaplanes, social issues, and a flawed Everyman protagonist. To tell a story that both grips the reader on the edge of their seat, while also provides historical insight, romance and takes them on a journey of self-discovery where no white knight is there to bail them out, where they must overcome their own fears and failures, it is a form of life therapy that is as thrilling to write as it is to read.
- What are your goals for the reader to take away after reading your novel?
I hope the reader can experience being in a hurricane, the pull of a family mystery, the sense of need to learn the truth, the urgency fight evil, to take the risk of being vulnerable, to trust in someone you want to believe in, the burn of betrayal, hope, and ultimately surprise and joy. As an Everyman protagonist, Buck Reilly makes mistakes, like we all do, and a big part of the experience is how he, and maybe we, respond.
- What is a typical day in your life as a writer?
There is no typical day for me as a writer. I live in both Virginia and Key West, and work in New York City, so like my protagonist, I’m often up in the air. During this time my mind creates the moments that become another Buck Reilly journey to self-discovery, struggle, overcoming mistakes, romance, battling for a cause and catharsis. These stepping stones become an outline, then chapters that I refine with my editor and beta readers.
- How do you maintain a balance between being an author,a career person?
I have been in commercial real estate for over thirty years, but was the editor of a magazine before that, and wrote my first book almost thirty years ago. When not with family or working, my mind and heart are searching for the myriad ingredients that become the fabric of a Buck Reilly story. I have a writing barn at my 200-year-old farm in Virginia, my 140 year old home in Key West has porches on both levels, and in New York I often cap my day off writing, editing or researching the latest or next book. I don’t think of myself as a workaholic, but recognize I have an innate desire to learn, and experience life to the fullest, which this very busy, yet full existence provides.
- What are things that you enjoy doing in your downtime?
Since I live and work in amazing locations, my downtime is filled with nature, mountain biking, scuba diving, boating, fishing, walking beaches with my wife and dogs, spending time with friends, travel to all parts of the world living a life of adventure to imbue my Buck Reilly series with first hand experiences that will make my readers feel as if they too are there in the moment.
- Did you base any of your characters or events on anyone that you know in your life?
All of my stories include aspects of my own life, that of people I know, history, and in every book, real life characters who give me their permission to include them in the story. Buck Reilly adventures have included multiple musicians that I have co-written songs with, or others who contribute to the story. Other characters include presidents of island nations, executives, men and women I know, that by inclusion provide a multiplier effect to the story. The inclusion of real people, often celebrities, provides another dimension to the Buck Reilly stories that makes it difficult to separate fact from fiction, which enriches the experience for readers.
- Can you tell us something of your future writing plans?
I have several more Buck Reilly books planned. His journey from Red Right Return, the first book in the series, to Silver Goodbye, the seventh one, has been full of self discovery, pain, victories, love, and sorrow, but also hope. Like Buck, we are all on this same path, and readers identifying their own journey with his is one of my favorite accomplishments in writing the series. I am also writing a television series that takes place in south Florida in the 1970s and 1980s that is both timely and would be an amazing complement to not only the history that Buck Reilly is pursuing in Silver Goodbye, but also an era that I experienced living there at that time.
- How would you like readers to connect with you?
My readers are active followers on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/johnhcunningham, my Instagram page, my Amazon page and my website at www.jhcunningham.com. I love to interact with readers and friends online so encourage people to follow and participate. Thanks for sharing me and the Buck Reilly series with your fans and followers. As I like to say, once you’ve seen the world through Buck Reilly’s eyes, the view will never be the same. Enjoy.