Interview with John D. Bethel Author of Blood Moon

 

Blood Moon

 

 

 

J. David Bethel is a writer of fiction and non-fiction. He has been published in popular consumer magazines and respected political journals. He is the author of Evil Town, a novel of political intrigue that is receiving praise from a number of Washington opinion leaders

 

 

 

“Truth is stranger than fiction”…Mark Twain

 

 

“This was a story well worth telling.”- Benjamin Thomas

 

 

 

Questions and Answers for Mystery Thriller Week

 

How did you come across this story and what compelled you to tell it?

The details of the crime came to me from Ed DuBois.  Ed runs a security firm, Investigators, Inc., and had been brought into the case by a mutual friend of Marc Schiller, the victim.  Ed read my novel Evil Town and enjoyed it, and when he wanted to explore the possibilities of having a book written about the crime, he contacted me.

Initially, Ed wanted a true crime book written to counter the treatment the real story was getting in a movie that was being made of the crime, “Pain and Gain.”  Ed was serving as a consultant on the movie and grew disenchanted with the “black comedy” slant being applied to the script.  I wrote a treatment of the book but when it became apparent a true crime book could not be written and published in time to provide a balance to the movie, that project was abandoned.

I had become intrigued by the crime, especially by the courage of the victim, Marc Schiller, and Ed’s determination to get the “bad guys.”  Schiller’s survival of 30 days in captivity during which he was brutally tortured, and had every single penny of his substantial estate extorted, was a story that was too compelling to ignore.  My wheelhouse is fiction so I went to Ed and Marc and asked if they’d mind if I treated the story as fiction, hewing close enough to the real events to convey the true horror of what Marc endured and how Ed worked skillfully to solve the crime.

With resources like Marc and Ed, and a story of human will and courage, how could I go wrong?  Marc agreed to add another layer to the book by writing the Foreword and Ed wrote an Afterword.

 

 

 

Courage

 

 

 

What was your first reaction after hearing what happened to Mr. Schiller?

Astounded. Dumbstruck. Horrified. All of which grew into admiration and respect for the courage that Mr. Schiller displayed is surviving the ordeal, and for Mr. DuBois who was like a dog with a bone until the case was solved and the perpetrators brought to justice.

 

 

“Sometimes the wheels of justice grind slowly.” -Terry Waite

 

 

 

What was it like working with him?

Marc Schiller and Ed DuBois were very giving of their time and very open about their experiences. Without their cooperation Blood Moon would never have been written. I am in their debt.

Marc Schiller has written a first person account of his experience that readers can find at: Pain and Gain- The Untold True Story

 

 

 

 

What was different writing this book compared to your other novel?

The books are different genres, Evil Town being a political thriller.  Other than that, there really wasn’t much of a difference in the writing or the creative process.

For Blood Moon, I worked with a story line that had some markers for me to follow since I was inspired by a true-to- life crime.  I also had some traits I could instill in the main characters by studying the ways Marc and Ed dealt with their challenges.  Developing the characters of the antagonists was a little different since I don’t think like a psychopath.  Putting myself in the shoes of Dario Pedrajo and his cohorts was disturbing.  But by playing them off against the courage and actions of Suarez and Stevens, and having the antagonists react in the extreme opposite of civilized, empathetic human beings, I think these characters are believable as multi-dimensional human beings, if very evil human beings.

For Evil Town, I mined my 30-plus years in politics to add dimension, reality and, hopefully, to create a compelling story that takes a look behind the curtain at how Washington and the political system work.  My experience provided me with markers along the way much in the same way as did those I followed in writing Blood Moon, thereby allowing me to create believable scenarios and characters.  A former member of Congress, Jim Lightfoot put it this way in his review of Evil Town:  “For those of us who have been there and lived the political life it is easy to attach the names of people we know and/or have known to David’s characters. I think you will find that part of the fun when you read his book.  Perhaps you will also pick up a little understanding of the high stakes poker is played with your life and income by thousands of faceless bureaucrats and unscrupulous politicians whose only goal in life is re-election.” 

 

 

 

Writer

 

 

 

Is there a certain theme employed in Blood Moon?

If you’re referring to a “message” or “takeaway” that I intentionally incorporated into the novel, then “no.” I had a compelling story to tell and I told it.

That said, Blood Moon – simply in its telling — is an account of good versus evil. There is evil in this world; evil that most of us will never have to deal with and cannot possibly imagine. There are also people like Marc and Ed (as represented by Recidio Suarez and Nolan Stevens, respectively, in the novel) who are courageous enough and good enough to stand against it and defeat it.

At any time Schiller/Suarez could have succumbed and said “to hell with all this pain and indignity” and laid down and died. That, believe it or not, would have been the easy way out for him. DuBois/Stevens could have given up when the authorities wouldn’t cooperate with him to find the psychopaths, and he could have gone on to another case, but he refused. He put himself at risk and stayed on it until his efforts forced the police to do their job.

 

 

 

Justice on Wooden Piece Arranged by Businessman

 

 

 

Are all your books based upon true stories or current events?

To date my novels have been based on true stories or current events. The novel I am currently working is not; however, it is told around events occurring during the final days of World War Two. For more on this see my answer to the final question.

 

 

Why did you decide to write fiction?

The novels of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald entranced me and demonstrated how brilliantly-written fiction could gobble readers up and transport them to another place and time. And the storytelling ability of Stephen King showed me that a good tale could pull the reader into the story, increase their heartbeat, cause them to perspire with fear and anticipation, and come out the other end invigorated.

Plus, I have an imagination that plants stories with me that I feel compelled to write about. I’m cursed with a very active imagination.

 

 

 

Conceptual Light Bulb (Set) - Imagine

 

 

 

What are you working on next? 

I am working on a novel set in a small Midwestern town during the final days of World War Two.  The gruesome murder of a local family starts an investigation that opens a door onto the national stage of politics and treason.

 

 

I wanted to thank Marc Schiller for his courage, Ed DuBois for his service, and John D. Bethel for taking the time to tell this story. It is truly a story of survival, hope, and justice.

-Benjamin Thomas

 

 

If you haven’t done so already, purchase Blood Moon on Amazon or add it to your Goodreads account. 

 

 

 

Crime Division: How to Achieve Accuracy by Stephen Bentley

There is nothing so annoying as reading a book or watching a movie and finding inaccuracies in things like police and courtroom procedures.  I am not a pedant but I prefer accuracy in my own writing and that of others, whether the result is within the pages or up on the screen.

As a former UK detective and a barrister, trial counsel to Americans but we got to wear those wigs and gowns, I have an advantage in my own writing to portray accuracy.

So how does a crime writer without the same advantage set about achieving accuracy?

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Crime Division: Suspending Disbelief in the Age of Digital Wonders by Heinrich Bohmke

 

I cast an idle eye over the TV in my landlady’s living room. A handsome cop in a car enraptured her. The cop radioed his partner back at HQ to tell his wife he’d be back late that night.

‘That’s rude’, I mumbled, ‘… text her yourself’.

The camera shot widened and, from the shape of the car, I saw the era predated the mobile phone. My landlady snorted.

“OK then”, said I, leaving the rent money on an expectant table. Fingering the remote, she turned the volume up as I edged out the door.
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Photo: Pinterest: Fargo Season 2

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I’m Going to Post it For the World to See* by Margot Kinberg

I’m Going to Post it For the World to See*

Subtitle: Reading and Writing in the Age of Social Media 

 

One of the most important changes we’ve seen in the last ten years has been the advent of social media. It’s had a profound impact on the way we communicate. If you keep in touch with friends on Facebook, or catch up on news and sports stories through Twitter, or check out someone’s Goodreads reviews, you know what I mean.

It’s no secret that social media has transformed the way people buy, sell, review, and share crime fiction books. For readers, social media has made it possible to learn about books from all over the world in ways that would’ve been impossible just a few years ago. Choosing what to read isn’t just a matter of going to the local bookshop anymore, and being limited to that store’s selection. Now, readers can choose what they want from among many thousands of different places.  

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Mystery Thriller Week Kickoff February 12-22, 2017

GET READY FOR THE POWERHOUSE EVENT

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Mystery Thriller Week

Begins February 12-22, 2017

Don’t miss it

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#NANOWRIMO2016 Writers Sought

Mystery Thriller Week 2017 has a surprise for you when all the hard work of NaNoWriMo screeches to a halt and is a distant memory. A completely free online MTW scheduled for February 12th – 22nd next year will help keep you motivated to crank out that final Work In Progress you started in November. This is your personal ticket for a unique opportunity to connect with both new and award-winning published authors, writing specialists, story coaches, editors, publishers, bloggers focused on reviewing books, vloggers, podcasters promoting the craft of writing, filmmakers, and numerous fans itching to learn more about the Mystery Thriller genre.

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Books Are Being Offered for Review

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Books For Review:

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Cozy Mystery Heist

Meet Lex, whom I’ve hired to gather all the cozy mystery writers to sign up for Mystery Thriller Week  Feb. 12-22, 2017. So, don’t make him angry.

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