Episode 92: Setting the Scene – Interview with C.J. Box

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there word nerds!

Thanks for joining me. Today I’m talking with New York Times bestselling author, C.J. Box, author of sixteen Joe Pickett novels, five standalones, and the short story collection, Shots Fired. He’s also won numerous awards including and won the Edgar Award for Best novel for his first standalone, Blue Heaven.

Off the Grid is his sixteenth Joe Pickett novel and it’s told with pulse-pounding urgency and insight. It’s a timely look at how terror is found—and fought—in the wild expanses of Wyoming, one of the most untouched parts of the United States. This is a part of the United States that Box knows well. A Wyoming native, has has worked on a ranch and as a small-town newspaper reporter and editor. He lives outside Cheyenne, WY with his family.

In this episode C.J. and I discuss:

  • The importance of setting in a novel
  • How to research setting for your novel and capture the details.
  • Using journalistic techniques to get the information you need for your story.
  • Infusing technology into natural and low tech settings.

Plus, C.J.’s #1 tip for writers.



OffTheGridThis latest installment begins not long after the terrifying events of Endangered, which left Pickett and his best friend, Nate Romanowski, separated and out of touch…not to mention very lucky to be alive. Nate, in fact, is living off the grid entirely, relying on survival skills he’s garnered as a rugged outdoorsman, master falconer and ex-special operator, and leaving no visible trace behind after any of his movements. That is, until an ultra-secretive government agency discovers him and corrals him (blackmails might be a better word) into finding a rogue journalist named Muhammed Ibraaheem. Ibraaheem, it seems, has gone off the grid too…but in a way that the government suspects could lead to bloodshed and mayhem.

Meanwhile, Pickett’s daughter Sheridan, a college student, receives a mysterious invitation from her roommate—a nighttime gathering in the wilderness with a group of strangers who may or may not be political activists. Curious—and perhaps against her better judgment, and everything she has learned as Joe Pickett’s daughter—Sheridan agrees to go. It’s a decision that will place her directly in the middle of danger, as well as in the camp of Ibraaheem and his associates, all of whom are willing to kill for their beliefs. Yet a persistent question remains: Just what are those beliefs? Are they rooted, as Ibraaheem claims, in American individualism and freedom? Or is he truly manifesting a plot more sinister and terrifying than can be imagined?

And what of Joe Pickett himself? Conducting a series of unrelated investigations, Pickett soon finds himself in Wyoming’s beautiful but unforgiving Red Desert. Unfortunately for him, he’s also about to stumble across Ibraaheem’s plans, and it will leave him stranded, miles from any civilization, without water. Even if he makes it out alive, he may be too late to save his daughter and his friend.

If you choose to purchase Off the Grid, we hope you’ll do so via this affiliate link (where DIY MFA gets a small commission at no cost to you). Thank you for supporting DIY MFA!

To learn more about C.J. Box, visit his website or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Link to Episode 92

(Right-click to download.)


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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome.


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