Getting to know John Achor

poster-12-12-13-14The first of John Achor’s three careers spanned twenty years as a U.S. Air Force pilot. He accumulated over 4,000 hours flying planes from Piper Cubs to the military equivalent of the Boeing 707. After the military, he entered the real estate industry. He joined a national real estate franchise as a management consultant working at the regional and national levels. Those positions led him to Phoenix, Arizona, and an affiliation with a major Savings & Loan institution.

In John’s words, “When the Savings and Loan industry melted away like a lump of sugar in hot coffee, I knew it was time to develop a third career.” He became a freelance computer instructor, user-developer, consultant, writer and Community College instructor.

In mid-1999, John moved to Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, where he lived in the piney woods with his wife Pat and their two cats, Lexus and Betsy Ross. As you may know from his latest book or web site; these two cats are no longer with them. Big hole in their lives, but both are waiting for us by The Rainbow Bridge. Their latest move was a recent relocation to the Omaha, Nebraska area where John is busy meeting and greeting new writers, readers and writing groups.

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How would my friends describe me in 20 words or less?

Friendly and outgoing extrovert. However, check my next response.


Tell me a little about yourself

I’m basically a shy introvert. I’ve trained myself to be a trainer, a speaker and present myself as more extroverted. I believe that if I don’t feel a bit of anxiety before performing, I’ve lost interest in the subject.


If you weren’t a writer, what you would be?

Most likely a vegetable – spell that couch potato binging on TV mysteries.


When did you decide to become a writer?

Back in the day; somewhere in the 80s.


When did you begin writing?

I typed (on a real portable typewriter) the beginnings of a couple of stories/vignettes in the late 1980s. I became a serious writer in the mid-1990s. It took me into the -2000s to refer to myself as a writer; and then as a professional writer ― because I’ve been paid for my writing. And, the answer to your next question; do you make a living at writing – the answer is no.


Who is you mentor? Who do you look up to?

In the writing field, I like Janet Evanovich and Sue Grafton in the mystery field and for thrillers, I like Vince Flynn and Lee Child. I’ve had a number of mentors via critique groups, who gave unselfishly to help me improve as a writer.


Who are your cheerleaders?

Friends, family and readers. I’ve received a good amount of positive support in the form of Amazon comments.


Did you have support at the beginning and/or during your writing?

I think that if a person is serious about writing, you need to: Read, read, read – in the genre you like to write and nonfiction books about writing. JOIN a critique group. I’ve learned as much or more from the groups I’ve worked with as any other approach.


Do you keep track or write reviews for books you read?

Yes, and I’m surprised what previously published authors get away with. Many would have trouble getting their manuscripts through the critique groups I’ve been associated with.


Do you read reviews written about your book?

Yes. I enjoy the positive ones and for those who do not like my writing I think; that’s why there are so many shelves in a bookstore and hope they find an author they like.


What started you on your journey to be a writer?

I had a short vignette in mind about flying. I wrote it and it became a 10,000 word flash back in a novel. My critique group said, that’s gotta go – cut it. It was cut from the novel, but still resides on my computer hard drive, maybe sometime …


When you made your first sale, how did you celebrate and with whom?

The first sale was to “Good Old Days” magazine in September 1992. The check was for $40.00 USD; I puffed out my chest, strutted around, but with the size of the remuneration, there wasn’t a whole lot of celebrating. However, that money put me in the ranks of professional writers.


Do you listen to music while writing?

Yes, but not all the time. I do have a favorite play list I put together from five movie albums. When I completed the list, I realized they all had a similar theme: perseverance. Here they are: Flight of the Intruder, Quigley Down Under, The Great Escape, The Longest Day and Monuments Men.


What are your favorite hobbies?

While I consider writing a profession, I have fun and enjoy the act of writing, as well as meeting and speaking with readers and writers.


What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

I set up a book sales table at an outdoor festival in a small rural town in Arkansas. I asked a lady walking past my table if she liked mysteries. Her response was, “I don’t read books.” I mentioned that with holidays coming up, my book might make a decent present. Her response was, “I don’t give gifts.” I wished her a pleasant day and she kept walking. I smiled at her answers and went back to enjoying the warm summer day.


With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

I believe my female protagonist, Casey Fremont, is representative of what many of us face in our lives 3-4-kill-covertoday. She begins the series with her own self esteem in shambles. As the series progresses, Casey begins to regain a belief in herself and recognizes others in her life are of value as well. I do my best to leave Casey in a better place at the end of the book as opposed to where she was before the bodies began to fall. In some ways, she is a mirror of how I have gained my own insight over a life time.


What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

Never give up; keep writing and do everything to improve you manuscripts.


Your favorite books and author?

I like Janet Evanovich and Sue Grafton in the mystery field and for thrillers, Vince Flynn and Lee Child are at the top of the field.


Which genres do you prefer to read?

Mysteries and thrillers top the list, however lately I’ve discovered any number of nonfiction books I enjoyed; The Elephant Whisperer is a top pick.


What book is currently on your nightstand?

It’s on my phone (Kindle) and it’s a Michael Connelly mystery featuring Harry Bosch.


Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

I use both and prefer Facebook.


Where can your fans find you?

Google John Achor or Casey Fremont mysteries and you’ll more about me that you ever wanted to know. My web site ( has a lot about me and a search on Twitter or Facebook will pop up my pages.


Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

My wife and I have a giant soft spot for Indie bookstores. Living in Phoenix, we loved The Poisoned Pen mystery book store run by Barbara Peters ― we met a ton and a half of major mystery/thrillers authors at her store. Since relocating to Omaha, The Bookworm owned by Beth & Phil Black is a super resource to authors and readers.


Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

“One, Two – Kill a Few,” a Casey Fremont mystery

“Three, Four – Kill Some More,” a Casey Fremont mystery

“Five, Six – Deadly Mix,” a Casey Fremont mystery (is poised for release)


Where can we buy it?

All are available in Trade Paperback, eBook and audio formats from your favorite online book sellers. If you run into me, I have a couple in my trunk.


Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

I am currently writing the fourth in the Casey Fremont mysteries, and I’ve researched and plotted the third in the Alex Hilliard thriller novels. When? Down the line …

One thought on “Getting to know John Achor

  1. radine says:

    Fabulous interview, John. So much I could identify with. Shame on me, I didn’t know you’d moved to Omaha–a city we love, and once the home of “Mayhem in the Midlands” one of the best-run mystery conferences ever. How about visiting the main library there and getting their input about a re-birth of Mayhem? (Held yearly at Embassy Suites on the edge of the historic district.) Speaking of which–I am sure you have discovered the Spaghetti Warehouse there. And, both of you should visit The Lotus, a favorite shop in that area where, over the years of visits, I probably purchased eight or more hats. “New age” and wonderful. Also have clothing woven of hemp–dirt or clay-dyed– purchased there. Oh, how I envy you the opportunity to enjoy Omaha. Been to the art museum yet–or the zoo–or both? We never missed a visit to see all the museum holds, esp. the Dale Chihuly glass art. Gee, memories of wonders in Omaha are about to overwhelm me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, a real gift to the Nehrings, especially.

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