An Interview with Scott Bell Author of the Abel Yeager Thrillers

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Abel Yeager has settled into a life of domestic bliss with his lovely wife, Charlotte. He’s left the violence and bloodshed behind to concentrate on being a good father and husband. For their long-delayed honeymoon, Abel and Charlie take a Hawaiian cruise. They’re looking forward to hiking volcanoes and sightseeing, once they meet up with Victor “Por Que” Ruiz and his new love, Dr. Alexandra Lopez.

Their idyllic vacation explodes in violence when a group of Hawaiian separatists, incited by a foreign power, rip through the islands, leaving blood and destruction in their wake. When Charlie is caught up with a group of hostages held by the terrorists as human shields, Abel is forced back into warrior mode.

The Hawaiians are supported by a few dozen foreign special forces soldiers, modern gear, and plenty of munitions. Abel has the help of three septuagenarian Vietnam veteran Marines and his pal Victor. Outnumbered and outgunned, Abel will stop at nothing to rescue his wife.

 

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*How do you introduce your story to readers in the first chapter?

The beginning of a novel involves three aspects: A character, in a setting, with a problem. (Credit to Monalisa Foster, who came up with the easy definition.) A character means someone with whom the reader can identify. (It doesn’t mean an entire backstory infodump.) A setting is an identifiable place, usually created with minimal brushstrokes, though sometimes more. A problem can be anything from a ticking bomb to a hangnail, and it is rarely the main story problem, though it can be.  I never want to drop an unknown actor into a blank screen and hope the reader will engage–even when starting with an action scene, that’s a recipe for a weak opener.

 

 

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*What comes first before you write a book? An idea, character, specific crime?

Characters are always first. They may not be fully fleshed out, and I may not have everyone’s foibles identified, but I have a general idea of who’s who in the zoo. Next comes the “what if”. What if a truck driving Marine veteran unknowingly picks up a load of cartel cash, which is diverted for delivery to a bookstore? And what if the bookstore is run by a spunky woman who carries a big pistol for protection? What might happen to these two folks if they were jammed together?

 

 

*How do you navigate writing a story without an outline?

Rewrites. Lots of rewrites. Diving into any store without an outline sometimes means I write myself into a corner, but I can’t write to outline. A story is too organic for me to follow a cookbook. Things change. Ideas occur. Characters may go sideways on me. Writing to an outline would be more efficient, but I would get bored and quit.

 

 

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*How do you create your characters?

I look for stereotypes, then I try to twist them up a little. Or I take real life people and exaggerate something in their nature I like, or dislike. The Male Main Character in my Sam Cable mystery series is a big guy with a Boy Scout complex, not always the brightest guy in the room, but a stalwart, straightforward, action-oriented kind of guy, and I juxtapose him with my FMC who’s a small woman with a high IQ and a smartass view of the world. I like to take these different dynamics and throw them in the blender and see what happens.

 

*What’s your experience like writing in first person?

It’s limiting in a lot of ways.  Everyone starts out with 1st person, as it seems natural to tell a story from the “I” perspective, then you quickly realize you’re limited to only the things your POV can sense. I switch POVs from first to third in some novels, which I find helps me jump out of the track and tell a broader, richer story. “They” say don’t do this, but hey. Sue me.

 

 

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*Who is Abel Yeager?

At the DNA-level, Abel is modeled on my paternal grandfather, an uneducated man who was brilliant with mechanical devices and worked with his hands. He was also rumored to have the “hardest fists in the county.” Abel is a sheepdog among the sheep. A protector and a warrior who is fiercely protective of his friends, and bad news to his enemies.

 

 

*Do your books have any thematic elements?

I’m big on the Average Joe theme. None of my characters are James Bond or Jack Reacher types, and they all struggle with day-to-day things like paying the bills. Typically you’ll find my Everyman and Everywoman people thrown into combustible situations and forced to do their best. They make mistakes. They struggle to do the right thing. Sometimes they have to grow to reach their potential.

 

 

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*Name three of the hardest aspects of writing.

1.) The middle. Beginnings are easy, endings are fun. Bridging the gap from the endorphin rush of a good beginning to the pulse-pounding climax takes discipline and work ethic.

 

2.) Plotting. Writing organically (not by outline) can mean scrapping whole sections of a novel. Figuring out how to get my character out of the corner I just wrote him into and keep the plot on track can be a challenge.

 

3.) Waiting. If you trad publish like me, there’s a cycle of waiting that happens with every book and every short story. Query, wait, submit, wait, lather, rinse, repeat.

 

And, just for fun…

 

4.) Reviews. Getting reviews, querying bloggers for reviews, reading reviews and not responding to, or slitting your wrists over, the bad ones…the whole review process is a pain. I typically get good reviews, and I stay in the 4-plus range on average for both Goodreads and Amazon, and yet a single bad review can rub a blister on my ass for days at a time.

 

 

 

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Scott Bell writes because that way he can daydream and claim it on his taxes. A Certified Fraud Examiner and professional Suburban Man, Scott has a wife, two grown kids, and at least one cat sleeping on his keyboard. (The cat, not the wife and kids. They have their own keyboards to sleep on.)

His works include the mystery/thrillers Yeager’s Law, Yeager’s Mission, and April’s Fool, along with the forthcoming Yeager’s Getaway and May Day. He has a Science Fiction novel out called Working Stiffs, and his short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies and online publications.

 

 

Mysteries, thrillers, authors, readers, true crime. Bring your voice. Make some noise in this year’s MYSTERY THRILLER WEEK May 13-24 2019.  #MTW2019 Spread the word.  Sign up to participate:  Participate in MTW 2019

 

 

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An Interview with Morgan Summer Author of the Jean Stone Crime Series

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*What do you love most about mysteries and thrillers?

The edge of your seat feeling you get while reading through the pages to discover who done it.

 

*What’s it like writing your own?

Nerve wracking, but fun all at the same time using my imagination to bring my stories to life.

 

*How did you come up with the name Jean Stone for your story?

It came to me a few days after I began writing the book. Jean is my grandmother’s name, my mom’s middle name, and my mother in law’s name. I found out later that my grandmother’s last name, Raulston is derived from the ancestral version of Raulstone. It was meant to be.

 

 

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*Can you tell us a little more about the setting?

A small rural town in Texas at a local high school nestled in the piney woods. It has aspects of my hometown and many other places I lived around the state of Texas. Jean is a new high school science teacher who has found herself stuck in the middle of a mystery at Harmony High School.

 

 

 

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*Why did you choose an amateur sleuth?

Jean finds herself in the middle of a mystery. Utilizing her educational background in forensics, she is able to put her skills to use. It is a way for self-discovery, here she sharpens her skills and learns as she goes.

 

 

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*What makes her a good one?

Her passion, her desire for the truth and to save a student of hers from harm.

 

*What separates a decent mystery from a great one?

A decent mystery is either too slow in the story or not building enough anticipation to where it falls flat while a great one moves at a decent pace building up the momentum to knock your socks off!

 

*Who are your favorite mystery, crime writers?

Peter James, Patricia Cornwell, James Patterson

 

*What’s up next for you?

I have about 20 books outlined for the Jean Stone Crime Series, Book 2 is in storyboarding and Book 3 is in pre-production plus I am working on a young adult unnamed mystery series inspired by my daughter.

 

Thanks Morgan!

 

Mysteries, thrillers, authors, readers, true crime. Bring your voice. Make some noise in this year’s MYSTERY THRILLER WEEK May 13-24 2019.  #MTW2019 Spread the word.  Sign up to participate:  Participate in MTW 2019

 

 

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Author Interview with Rebekah Dodson of the Life After US series

Daisy Song Cover

 

 

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Seven months ago, Vicki Morel was supposed to be happy, not in the midst of the apocalypse. She and her fiancé, Will, should have been married and about to celebrate the birth of their child. Instead, she is on the run in fear for her life and the life of her baby. Her only hope is Ambrose—the man she truly loves.

Vicki entered Ambrose’s life like a bomb and blew everything apart. Just when he thought they could get out of this hell hole alive, she walked away. Or did she? After a cryptic message on a satellite phone, Ambrose is willing to risk it all to find her. Through a plane crash, escaping crazy doomsday preppers, and invading a military base, Ambrose and his band of survivors is determined to rescue Vicki. He wasn’t born a leader, yet the people follow him, determined to carve their own path in this world.

When everything ends, the daisy’s song promises a new beginning, a different life, and a fresh path in this altered world.

 

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Rebekah Dobson author photo

 

 

 

*How did you develop a love for writing?

As a kid, I was homeschooled, which meant I had a lot of free time on my hands. Both my mother and I disliked math, so she always gives me an option to write a story about topics instead. Thus, I started writing historical romances from a very young age! This was cultivated over the years with journaling and writing poetry, but I never lost my intense obsession with historical figures and romance.

 

 

*Writer. Editor. Teacher. Mother. Wife…Is it hard wearing so many different hats?

 

Yes, definitely. I couldn’t do it without my husband, who is a disabled veteran who stays home to help with kids and things. Wearing so many different hats requires precise time management; my days start at 4am and end at 9pm, and in that short amount of time I have to fit in writing, editing, teaching, and grading. It’s very tiring, so I have to snatch a little downtime whenever I can steal it. And wine, lots of wine.

 

 

*How does being an editor and teacher influence your writing? And vice versa? 

Being and editor and teacher has influenced my writing because it made it more precise with the rules of grammar, and also concise and clear writing. As an editor I’m able to quickly fix my own grammar mistakes with commas and dialogue, and as a teacher (in technical writing and GED studies) I’m also able to say things with less wordiness. I can’t believe how much my writing has increased in quality just since I started teaching five years ago! My writing also influences my editing and teaching, because I’m able to look at things more creatively. When a client is stuck on a scene I can help them pull through with a new idea or piece of dialogue, and when my students are frustrated with assignments I’m able to communicate clearly how to overcome their issues.

 

 

*What do you love most about history? 

The fact that it’s ALWAYS changing, and most of what we know isn’t really what happened. What we know is never fact; it’s just based on anecdotal pieces of evidence that we have based on a triangulation of artifacts: painting, first-hand accounts, records, and all of that. But I’m more interested in the little details: what did people look like? How did they walk? What did they do for fun? Those are some things we have lost to time in many cultures.

Also, I’m really fascinated with food. In my book Mirrors I spend three days researching medieval banquets for a simple 3 paragraphs of writing! It was awesome to be able to describe it through my time traveler’s eyes! You’ll notice I’m always about the food in many of my books.

 

 

*Is it challenging writing in different genres? 

No, not at all. It’s very refreshing. When I’m stuck writing romance, or I don’t have any fresh ideas, I switch to fantasy to unlock my creativity. The (time travel) fantasy I write isn’t far from science fiction, so that seemed a logical jump. It’s also exciting to go back to plain ol’ romance where all I have to worry about is boy + girl, or boy + boy, or girl + girl or… well, you get the drift.

 

 

*There seems to be an underlying theme of love and romance in all of your series. One of your catch phrases is “Love even in the apocalypse.” Can you tell us more about this and how it bleeds into your writing process?

I think all my characters start with a small motive of love. In my Curse of Lanval series, I knew he was going to find Marie, who is based on the historical poet from the 12th century, Marie de France. I didn’t know they’d have such an epic time at figuring it out, however. In Life After Us, I knew Vicki and Ambrose were going to fall in love after the airport, I just wasn’t sure how it was going to happen.

Romance plays a huge part in my process because it makes everything more intense and dangerous, I feel. The dialogue is more exciting, and so is the body language. When friends fight, for example, they aren’t staring deep into each other eyes or wanting to hold the other person. I love writing a romantic angle because it shows us some raw human emotion: the need to be loved, held, and care for are fundamental, “lizard” brain stuff. It’s as old as time itself.

 

 

*Daisy Song in the Life After Us series is awesome. How did you take the initial idea and shape it into a compelling story?

Oddly enough, this book series Life After Us was born from the song “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane” by John Denver. I was at the gym one day when the song came on and I started thinking about a couple embracing at an airport where one of them is leaving and not coming back (that became Vicki and Will).

I kept thinking about it all day – why wasn’t he coming back? What if he doesn’t love her, and he’s trying to escape? But why would he do that? Does he get kidnapped by terrorists? What if the airport was bombed and America was invaded, and one of them was lost?

It just rolled downhill from there: what if they had to escape the end of the world and flee Portland, Oregon, a perfect place for an invasion that no one ever considers. So, I sat down to write what became chapter two of Poppy Bloom that very day. Over a few months, a friend and I started bouncing ideas between each other, and Vicki, Will, and Ambrose as characters were born.

And actually, there’s a bit of a joke in there, as well. My best friend and beta reader at the time challenged me to sneak some WWE characters in there, so you’ll notice some names of famous wrestlers sprinkled throughout. Which ones? I won’t say…

 

 

*What is your creative process for characters? 

A LOT of looking at pictures and photographs! Before I even write much about them I make a graphic or teaser about the character, so I know exactly what they look like, so I can refer to it when they need to do something like rub their chin or push back their hair or something. Then – and this is weird, but – I write out a modified Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying sheet, where I know their alignment (morality, basically) and what they look like, their strengths and weaknesses, and what their fears and dreams are. When I get stuck in a scene, I have an arsenal of things to work with. No more dialogue? Well, talk about dreams. Run out of scenes? Drop them in their fantasy. It’s grand fun.  

 

 

*Tell us about the relationship between Vicki Morel and Ambrose Palamo. 

Vicki and Ambrose really have some things they have to get over in their past, and that prevents them from having a real relationship. In Lavender Dream, we learn Ambrose had his heart broken and hasn’t been able to move past that. In Daisy Song, we learn more about Vicki’s parents and her abuse as child, which lead her to an “easy going” man like Will. Both of them quickly learn they lacked affection growing up, and that’s what they truly seek from each other.

In the beginning, though, they hate each other. Vicki doesn’t like to be ordered around: she has an absent fiancé, so she does what she wants. Ambrose isn’t used to ordering people around but suddenly has to step up. After the airport attack, it’s all about not dying, but then Ambrose realizes that he’d like Vicki to die less, and one day he wakes up and realizes he can’t live without her (like I said, it’s that need for affection thing). That’s when the story changes (at the end of book 1, Poppy Bloom), when Ambrose realizes that there’s no one else he’d rather be stuck with than her. And even though they only spend a few short weeks together in Book 2, Lavender Dream, he will go to the ends of the earth to save her in our third and final book.

I guess you could say they are enemies turned friends turned lovers, but that’s not entirely true. I think they were both lonely for a long time and it took the end of the world to see that time was of the essence to be happy, or as happy as they could be. In the end Vicki ends up being very broken, and Ambrose becomes the leader, and so their roles change, and with it does their relationship.

I’m excited to show you what this means in the new Series release, which will include exclusive content with Vick and Ambrose a year after the Daisy Song ends. Look for it in March 2019!

 

 

*How has writing this series affected you? 

This is the first book I ever wrote in third person (my preferred writing style is first person, and first person POV switch between male and female) and I learned a great deal about “head hopping.” My first editor for Poppy Bloom left me a crying, sobbing mess in the corner when she destroyed my book for “hopping” between Ambrose and Vicki’s innermost thoughts. But I fixed it, and the next too books came out even better!

In fact, I’d say this series affected me because in Daisy Song, Vicki had to go to some dark places. She’s suffering abuse and has PTSD, and I did a lot of research on the victimization of women especially. As a result, my next novel, a standalone called Road More Traveled, is a romantic suspense about a woman who is feeling a criminal from her past. I channeled a lot of Vicki into my new character, but instead of giving them PTSD, I’m watching it unfold and allowing the character to heal. I’m glad I was able to write Vicki’s anguish to the point that it influenced another new book. And guess what? It’s also in 3rd person, which is quickly becoming my new favorite way to write. Stay tuned for a release date, likely it will be April!

 

 

Rebekah Dodson Author Bio

Rebekah Dodson is a prolific word weaver of romance, fantasy, and science fiction novels. Her works include the series Postcards from Paris, The Surrogate, The Curse of Lanval series, several stand alone novels, and her upcoming YA novel, Clock City. She has been writing her whole life, with her first published work of historical fiction with 4H Clubs of America at the age of 12, and poetry at the age of 16 with the National Poetry Society. With an extensive academic background including education, history, psychology and English, she currently works as a college professor by day and a writer by night.

 

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Why You Need to be Publishing Audiobooks – With Mark Dawson, James Blanch, and Tina Dietz

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Why You Need to be Publishing Audiobooks

 

 

 

 

Highlights

  • The importance of creativity in every type of business
  • How creativity makes us more productive
  • The different approaches to audiobooks by fiction and non-fiction authors
  • Thoughts on narrating your book yourself
  • The range of cost for producing an audiobook, including what you can expect to pay a narrator
  • Auditioning narrators to find the right voice for your book
  • Providing character information to narrators to find a good fit
  • Reading your book out loud yourself to get a sense of your characters’ voices
  • The three reasons for starting a podcast

 

This podcast originally appears on selfpublishingformula.com Sept. 14, 2018. Duration 50 min. Download full transcript: Here

 

 

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Tina Dietz: Website

 

 

 

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ThrillerFest 2018 part 3 with Mark Dawson – SPF

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Prepare to be thrilled….

 

 

 

 

Highlight summary

In the final part of our three-part series of interviews from ThrillerFest 2018, James talks to prolific hybrid romance author Lexi Blake, Rambo’s father David Morrell, USA Today best-selling author Alan Jacobson, and, last but not least, megastar thriller author Lee Child.

 

 

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Lexi Blake

 

 

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David Morrell

 

 

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Alan Jacobson

 

 

 

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Lee Child

 

International Thriller Writers

ThrillerFest

 

 

Bloody Hand

 

 

ThrillerFest 2018 Part 2 via Mark Dawson

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Highlights per Mark Dawson:

Mike Lewis on building relationships at conferences, Jon Land on picking up the Murder She Wrote franchise — Bringing Jessica Fletcher into the present day, The advantages to readers when authors have choices about how to publish, Lynda La Plante on doing research for her novels, The inspirational female police officer behind Prime Suspect, The luck and skill involved in Lynda’s writing career, Resources mentioned in this episode: Karen’s marketing book for authors of children’s books.

 

Sneak Peek of ThrillerFest 2018 via Mark Dawson

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How To Get Your Book Into Schools And Double Your Income With Volume Sales With Dave Hendrickson

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Link to full transcript

 

 

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Have you ever dreamed of an entire school reading your book?

 
Would you like to double (or more!) your writing income?

 
This book shows you how.

 

Drawing from his own first-hand experience, David H. Hendrickson leads you through every step of the process. He highlights the critical pitfalls to avoid, and points out ways to maximize your profit when a school adopts your book.

With advice and insights that are adaptable to getting your book in front of audiences ranging from middle grade to high school to college, and even to corporations, this book is for you!

 
“If you have a book you want to get into K-12 schools and sell in the thousands,
you MUST read this book.”
—Maggie Lynch, bestselling author, Career Author Secrets series

 

www.hendricksonwriter.com

 

 

Getting to Know Author Cameron Poe

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Cameron Poe (Barry Cameron Lindemann) is a student of classic literature. He earned his undergraduate degree from Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and his MBA from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. He is an observer of politics and the interplay between nation states. He has a keen interest in structural and mechanical engineering. He has three sons and resides in Las Vegas where he manages real estate portfolio financing.

 

 

 

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The most sought after commodity in the world is power, and when money is no object, power is up for grabs. Desiring autonomy, one small nation develops an unlikely plan to procure a nuclear-powered submarine. If all goes as intended, the Middle East will destabilize and the OPEC Alliance will crumble. Yet as money might buy power, there’s no guarantee that it buys loyalty. So when the submarine breaks the ocean surface it doesn’t travel to the Middle East, it sails for Russia, in an attempt to return the nation to its Soviet roots.

Alerted to the possibility of the theft of a Russian sub, the CIA must foil the plan for acquisition without alarming the rest of the world. A step behind and suffering from department infighting, the CIA watches in disbelief as the single most powerful weapon in the world rises from the ocean floor. It doesn’t take long for them to realize that the commander of the vessel has no intention of honoring his contract.

Scrambling to prevent a world-wide disaster, CIA operatives in coordination with the US Navy launch a daring and risky plan to quietly thwart a rogue submarine captain before he can obliterate Moscow and take control of the country. Those who volunteer for this mission risk their lives. Those who don’t risk the safety of the entire world.

 

 

 

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GETTING TO KNOW AUTHOR CAMERON POE

 

What was your journey like becoming a writer?

Very long! Most people talk about writing a book, but doing the first one takes forever. Approximately 25 years because back in the day you had to beg people to read it, and if they liked it then maybe they would talk to you about publishing. Needless to say, it was written and then collected a lot of dust.

 

 

What are your favorite pieces of classic literature?

The Homeric tales, The Iliad and The Odyssey. I have an appreciation for Tolstoy, especially The Death of Ivan Ilyich. That being said Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is always at the top of my list. The inverse would be Ulysses; not a fan of James Joyce and his supposed adaption.

 

 

Is Red Agenda your first novel?

Yes. The initial draft was back in the Clinton era. When editing and publishing became problematic (I couldn’t afford it) I shelved it. In late 2013 I resuscitated the book because the story still resonates today. All I did was upgrade the technology and lingo. It’s true, the more things change the more they stay the same. That being said I did write a screenplay (Supergrass, with co-writer Clem Connolly) and submitted it to Final Draft’s Screen Writers contest in 2007. Out of 3,200 submissions the screenplay place in the final 10. I heard later it was 6th. Still, it is Hollywood and no one had their story made.

 

 

 

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What were some major hurdles while learning to write?

Convincing myself that my writing style worked. I don’t like input until I have a finished draft. It was a big risk for me to write it (yes, no one saw it for 20 plus years), have it edited, and then wait and see what the reviews say. It is very gratifying to see the positive comments on the pace and style of the book.

 

 

What’s the difference between good writing and telling a good story?

I would think they are too similar to separate. Word usage is key. Good writing demands tactile expressions and good story telling also requires such. On some level your story telling has to engage your writing ability. You become laser focused and your story gushes through your repertoire of words, down to your fingertips, and spills onto the page

 

 

Take us through your plotting process for your book Red Agenda.

That is tough. I know I wanted a story where the Soviet Union rears it head, but I didn’t want it as simple as someone in the Russian government plotting the overthrow. I also like the confluence of unrelated events producing an outcome no one thinks about. The problem with that kind of plot is that it comes off as expansive with many character for the reader. So to keep them engaged you have to move the book fast to a point in the story where it all melds together. Then you can step off the gas and let them become engrossed. I also wanted to blow up a nuclear missile for grins. So I did.

 

 

 

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Do you take your ideas based on world events or create your own?

I base them in world events and then put an unusual twist on it. I would assume today that what we don’t know about our government is 10x more scarier than what we can think about.

 

 

Is there a central protagonist?

Yes. Nicholas Shaw. I don’t introduce him until a third of the way through because he needs something to rescue. He is loyal, flawed, and scared most of the time. Most of written American hero characters seem to be able to solve any problem, no sweat. I don’t want a McGyver for my protagonist. I want a guy who needs a shot of bourbon to calm his nerves later.

 

 

Are there any authors you model yourself after?

Cussler and Clancy. That is the fiction in which I will fit. I have never read a Vince Flynn novel but I might have smattering of him in my style too judging from reviews on his books.

 

 

What are you working on next?

I am keeping some of the characters in Red Agenda to continue into the next book. I am thinking about a platform from which they all work and solve pressing problems to the US and the world. The plot will be about rare earth metals and China’s (or some antagonist)  reason for purchasing all that is mined across the world. Am waiting for the antagonist to form. Title – Dyson Sphere. Which is a hypothetical megastructure that completely encompasses a star and captures a large percentage of its power output. Just kicking that around.

 

 

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Interview with Historical Mystery Author Jennifer Kincheloe

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Jennifer is a research scientist turned writer of historical fiction. Her novels take place in 1900s Los Angeles among the police matrons of the LAPD and combine, mystery, history, humor, and romance. THE WOMAN IN THE CAMPHOR TRUNK was released in November, 2017. Her debut novel, THE SECRET LIFE OF ANNA BLANC was a finalist in the Lefty Awards for Best Historical Mystery, The Colorado Author’s League Award for Best Genre Fiction, the Macavity Sue Feder Award for Historical Mystery, and is the WINNER of the Mystery & Mayhem Award for Historical Mystery and the Colorado Gold for Best Mystery.

Jennifer grew up in Southern California, but has traveled to such places as Nicaragua, Ethiopia, and Papua New Guinea. She’s been a block layer, a nurse’s aid, a fragrance model, and on the research faculty at UCLA, where she spent 11 years conducting studies to inform health policy. Jennifer currently lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and two teenagers, two dogs, and a cat. There she conducts research on the jails.

 

 

 

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*What’s a typical day like for you?

 

I’m a corrections researcher, so by day, I’m coding multi-level statistical models and shadowing deputies in the jails. By 6:00 AM I’m at my desk at the Sheriff’s Department. It’s culturally so different from academia, where I came from. After work, I lift weights with my personal trainer in the jail. I’ll go over to a weight machine and someone will have left their gun on the seat. Then I go home, take care of my teenagers,do an interview, arrange a reading in a bookstore, write a little, fall asleep on my laptop.

 

 

*Do you still struggle with Chronic fatigue?

I gave up sugar and that helped me a lot.

 

 

 

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*What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?

Art inspires me. Music inspires me. When readers respond to my work in a positive way, it’s a huge jolt to my creative energies. I love readers.

 

 

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*On your website you state the following, So when I wasn’t writing or conducting research, I was reading every writing book I could get my hands on. I treated it like one more graduate degree. This took a couple of years.”  

 

  • During this time frame name some of the writing books that helped you the most.

I started writing screenplays before I wrote fiction. I sent my first screenplay off to my Oscar-nominated screenwriter x-boyfriend, David, who graciously read it and told me it stank. It did. He recommended three books to me: Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting, by Robert McKee; The Art Of Dramatic Writing: Its Basis in the Creative Interpretation of Human Motives by Lajos Egri; and The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler. They changed my game. Screenwriting books are incredibly instructive for fiction writers because they teach you story structure. Now David is a big Anna Blanc fan (and I know he’d tell me if he wasn’t).

  • Any favorite quotes, tips, techniques?

Give into your voice. Don’t self censor. There’s a Neil Gaiman quote that is right on the money.

 

“Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”  

  • Were you ever overwhelmed by the amount of information?

I was famished for information. Writing was a fresh discovery for me. I hadn’t known that I could do it or love it so much. And once I made that discovery, it’s all I wanted to do or talk about. So, I was like, ‘bring it!’

 

 

Write Sign, Love for Writing, for writers and authors.

 

 

 

* “I treated it like one more graduate degree…” Tell us more about this and your approach to learning the craft.

 

When I first started writing fiction and screenplays almost ten years ago, I was surprised that I wasn’t good at it.  I thought it would be easier because I was a already a competent non-fiction writer. It wasn’t. Writing fiction or screenplays is a whole different beast and you have to learn the craft. You’ve got to put in your ten thousand hours. I read dozens of screenplays and dissected them. I diagrammed novels. I would read books I loved five times in a row. Each time I’d look for something new. What was the ratio of description to action? What rules did they break? How did the author make me feel so deeply? I would study first paragraphs of novels that were effective and mimic them. When I presented my writers’ group with my first sex scene, they laughed, because it was unintentionally hilarious. So I started reading romance novels–just the dirty parts–to try to figure out what made a good love scene.

And, I wrote. Some days, I wrote for fourteen hours. I’d wake up in the middle of the night and write. I wrote first thing in the morning. I wasn’t working much at the time, so I could do it.

 

 

 

University image with books

 

 

 

*With a MPH (I’m guessing it’s a Masters of Public Health–My wife has one of those), a Ph.D, a love of reading, and what you’ve accomplished so far in writing, I’ve assumed the following.

 

-You love to learn new things. Is this true?

Yes, which is why I love corrections research so much. I get to learn a whole new discipline that also ties into my fiction.

 

-You have great self discipline. How did you develop such great character?

Thank you. I don’t know. My mother worked us pretty hard when we were kids, be it doing chores or hiking up mountains, and I’m grateful. Then I traveled extensively in the developing world, so I know about cold showers and picking bugs out of your food. Working hard and pushing through when things are tough is key. But it’s crucial to know where to focus your energies. I let a lot of things slide because they would take me away from writing or time with my kids.

 

-I can also tell you have a sense of humor, which I love in Anna Blanc, The Woman in the Camphor Trunk. Where does your sense of humor come from?

 

Boredom. Childhood used to be filled with boredom. Wonder too, but in the 60s and 70s we had to make our own entertainment. I liked to amuse myself by finding the humor in things. Even now, I’m often giggling behind my hand.

 

 

 

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*How do you utilize research for your novels?

 

I love to use primary sources for my Anna Blanc research. The Los Angeles newspapers from the early 1900s enthrall me. Most of my story lines come straight out of the papers. I steal events from the newspapers, descriptions of technology, prices from advertisements, fashion, entertainment. I love eyewitness accounts. I harvest slang and social morays from novels written in that period — things that Anna Blanc would have read. Text books from the period. Magazines. Photography is my very favorite source I’ve collected thousands of pictures of the 1900s on my Pinterest page. Here’s the link. Prepare to be amazed https://www.pinterest.com/jrobin66/

 

 

 

Newspaper image roll

 

 

 

 

*I love Anna Blanc! She’s such a unique character. This sounds weird but, did it take a while to create her?

 

Thank you so much!. I was planning on writing someone else entirely and she forced her way onto the page. She’s maturing a bit, and that takes time. But her voice is in the very first paragraphs of the first draft I wrote. In some ways, Anna is like me at 19 only magnified. I was self-absorbed. She’s even more self-absorbed. I was naive and privileged. She’s sheltered and filthy rich. I was relatively smart and brave. She’s even braver and more brilliant. And, like most women of my generation, I was frequently dismissed. So Anna is dismissed.

 

 

*What’s next in the Anna Blanc series?

 

Book three will be out next Spring. It’s based on a true story and involves a white slavery ring, a murder in Griffith Park, and a mysterious man who comes into Anna’s life and drives Joe Singer crazy. There’s a trip in the Blanc’s luxurious private train car, a brutal trek in the desert, family drama, and lots of skeletons in closets.

 

 

 

Jennifer Kincheloe author image

 

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Partners in Crime Podcast Hosts Crime Writer Angela Marsons

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Partners in Crime hosts speak with crime writer Angela Marsons about her bestselling DI Kim Stone novels.

 

 

 

This podcast originally appears on Podbean.com

April 27, 2018 Duration: 49 min.

 

 

Angela Marsons author image

 

 

Angela Marsons is the author of the International Bestselling DI Kim Stone series and her books have sold more than 2 million in 2 years.

She lives in the Black Country with her partner, their cheeky Golden Retriever and a swearing parrot.

She first discovered her love of writing at Junior School when actual lessons came second to watching other people and quietly making up her own stories about them. Her report card invariably read “Angela would do well if she minded her own business as well as she minds other people’s”.

After years of writing relationship based stories (The Forgotten Woman and Dear Mother) Angela turned to Crime, fictionally speaking of course, and developed a character that refused to go away.

She is signed to Bookouture.com for a total of 16 books in the Kim Stone series and her books have been translated into more than 27 languages.

Her last three books – Blood Lines, Dead Souls and Broken Bones reached the #1 spot on Amazon on pre-orders alone.

How far would you go to protect your darkest secrets?

When teenager Sadie Winter jumps from the roof of her school, her death is ruled as suicide – a final devastating act from a troubled girl. But then the broken body of a young boy is discovered at the same school and it’s clear to Detective Kim Stone that these deaths are not tragic accidents.

As Kim and her team begin to unravel a dark web of secrets, one of the teachers could hold the key to the truth. Yet just as she is about to break her silence, she is found dead.

With more children’s lives at risk, Kim has to consider the unthinkable – whether a fellow pupil could be responsible for the murders. Investigating the psychology of children that kill brings the detective into contact with her former adversary, Dr Alex Thorne – the sociopath who has made it her life’s work to destroy Kim.

Desperate to catch the killer, Kim finds a link between the recent murders and an initiation prank that happened at the school decades earlier. But saving these innocent lives comes at a cost – and one of Kim’s own might pay the ultimate price.

The utterly addictive new crime thriller from the Number One bestselling author – you will be gripped until the final shocking twist.