Author Interview With Mystery Writer Brian L. Porter

Breathe… if you dare.

English countryside, 1958. The idyllic village of Olney St. Mary has stood in its peaceful location for over 900 years.

Until one day, when two teenage boys are struck by a mysterious illness. The newly arrived Doctor Hilary Newton suspects a common flu to be the cause of their malady. Before long, the doctor and residents of Olney St. Mary are plunged into a nightmare, as the disease ravages the local population. Despite the doctors employing the latest medicine available, the death toll keeps rising.

Someone in the village knows the reason behind the pestilence that has struck at the heart of the village, but can the medics learn the truth before it’s too late, or will they join the growing list of names that appear on the death roll in Olney St. Mary?

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  1. Describe your experience dreaming fueling an idea for a story. 

This began a few years ago. I simply woke up one morning and turned to my wife Juliet, and said, “I just dreamed a great plot for my next book.” I dreamed about the story in general, the opening, and how it would end. I decided to give it a go and once I started working on the book, the characters kind of developed a life of their own and they drove the story forward as I typed each chapter. I made a few changes to the original dream version of the story simply to add areas of drama and tension to the basic premise. When I completed the book, and read it through before went to my editor I was surprised at how closely the finished article coincided with something that came to me in my sleep. That book was A Mersey Killing, http://getbook.at/Mersey Killing which went on to become an Amazon #1 bestseller and my publisher loved it so much they asked me if I could develop the book into a series. That was the birth of my successful Mersey Mystery series and I’m currently working on the 9th book in the series. 

 

  1. Which of your books/series have been done this way?

Once I learned to trust my ability to dream storylines and more importantly to retain them when I woke up, (sometimes in the early hours of the morning), I can honestly say that at least four more of the books in the series, A Mersey Maiden, A Mersey Mariner, A Very Mersey Murder, and The Mersey Monastery Murders can be attributed in some way to my dreams. 

 

  1. How do you determine if the idea is viable enough to commit an entire novel?

Good question. The only way I can make that determination is by starting the process of writing the book. If I manage to get the first three or four chapters written and I’m confident that I can go forward with the concept, I will keep going until the book is completed. If I begin a book and immediately find myself struggling with the story or the continuity of the tale, I will stop writing put it into my pending file and leave it for another time, in case it eventually adds up in my mind and I’m able to return to it and complete the project. 

 

  1. How long does it typically take for you to write a book?

One of my Mersey Mystery series will typically take between 6 months to a year to complete. The includes the research, writing and all checks and edits prior to submitting to my publisher. 

 

  1. Describe your creative process for fleshing out an idea once it’s there. 

As I said earlier my books are heavily character-driven, and the central characters of my series have grown and developed as the series has progressed, so I find those characters almost have a life of their own in my mind. So, I can create, a storyline and situations within that story, and ‘allow’ my characters to direct the way they will react to any given circumstances. It’s really a lot of fun, letting those fictional characters take over my thoughts so far, I haven’t been disappointed with the results. 

 

  1. Do you have a routine when it comes to editing your books?

I have a great editor, and together we make a good team. Over the years we’ve developed a routine where, as I write, I will send one or two chapters at a time to her and she immediately checks and edits the work. Once I have agreed and made any changes those chapters go into a separate document which will form the final book. When completed, the finished book then undergoes a final edit which includes a line by line spelling and grammar check. 

 

  1. Do you utilize beta readers?

Before I found my editor I used to have a small team of Beta readers but nowadays I find them unnecessary and generally just use one of them who I retained as a final ‘fail safe’ for checking the manuscript. 

 

  1. How much are you influenced by feedback by others during the process?

My wife is one of my fiercest critics and she reads and comments on my work as the book progresses. The only other feedback I take notice of is that of my editor, researcher and sole Beta reader. 

 

  1. How do you perform research for your books?

Most of my books contain some references to real events in the past so I spend a lot of time involved in historical research to ensure that any references to true events in the past are as accurate as possible. 

I also have a terrific researcher, a lady called Debbie Poole, who lives in Liverpool. As my Mersey Mystery books are set in and around that city, it’s important that any and all references to places on the city are accurate and reliable. Nowadays, I live in Yorkshire and the Liverpool of my youth really has changed so much that my own memories of streets, buildings and roads are just not up to date, so Debbie’s knowledge is of vital importance to the books. 

I can give you a good example of her contributions to the books. When I was working on Last Train to Lime Street, I needed to find a suitable piece of railway track, close to a road bridge, which could be used as a ‘body dump’ site. Debbie spent days driving around Liverpool, stopping the car, peering over the edges of various Bridges, looking for a suitable site, one which had to have hedges and trees close to the tracks. She found the perfect location which I used in the book. We had a laugh at the time wondering how she would reply if a police officer followed and approached her and asked her why she was looking over the parapets of various bridges. We could just imagine his reaction if she replied in all honesty, “Oh, I’m just driving around looking for a suitable body dump site!” She’s so committed to the books, that I simply couldn’t manage without her expertise. 

 

  1. What kind of advice would give to new aspiring authors?

I’ve been asked that question many times. I think the best advice I can give is first of all, read, read and read some more. When asked how to be a good writer that was exactly what Charles Dickens replied. So yes, read as much as possible, your favourite authors if possible and try to learn from them in terms of writing styles, sentence construction etc. 

When you’ve actually written a book, if it’s good enough a publisher will eventually show an interest, but expect to receive a few rejections once you start submitting the work to publishers. It happens to the best authors, treat rejections as an occupational hazard. It might take a while but if you’re confident you have a good product, don’t lose faith and maintain your self-belief. If it’s good enough, you will eventually find a publisher. Don’t give up and don’t be afraid of occasional harsh criticism. If it’s constructive then it can be helpful. 

 

  1. What are you currently working on? 

I’m currently working on the ninth book in my Mersey Mystery series, The Mersey Ferry Murders.  Convicted rapist/murderer Howard Blake has died in prison. Now someone appears to be viciously killing the members of the jury that convicted him of the crimes, to which he always pleaded he was innocent of committing. Detective Inspector Andy Ross leads his Specialist Murder Investigation Team in search of the unknown killer, as the body count grows!

 

A Short Biography 

To introduce myself, I’m best known as Brian L Porter, the author of many novels and nonfiction books including the bestselling Mersey Mystery series, set in and around the city of Liverpool and the bestelling Family of Rescue Dogs series. I also write children’s books as Harry Porter and romantic poetry as Juan Pablo Jalisco. My most recent releases are my Cold War Thriller, Pestilence and my Study in Red Trilogy based on the Jack the Ripper murders in 1888, in Whitechapel, London.
 
My books have won numerous awards over the years. Most recently, Pestilence, won the Best Mystery Award in the Critters Readers Choice Awards 2020, and Dylan the flying Bedlington and A Liverpool Lullaby finished 2nd and 5th respectively in the Read free. Ly 50 Best Indie Books of 2020. 

 
 I’ve been fortunate to have penned almost 30 Amazon bestsellers, at home and internationally, and my books have been the winners of many literary awards.
 
I live with my wife, Juliet in the North of England, who shares my passion for dogs and we currently share our home with nine beautiful rescued dogs.
 
Readers can find my books at Amazon.
Or see my author page at Next Chapter Publishing.

Death Is An Illusion: A Luci De Foix Mystery by L. Lee Kane

Luci de Foix is an archeologist and artifact expert who travels extensively to country’s attempt to save their priceless treasures. On a trip to Greece, she discovers a clay shard with writings from an ancient society that disappeared during an earthquake on their island of Helike. When her best friend and adopted sister, Sarah, is kidnapped by a ruthless Russian oligarch determined to find the legendary treasure of Helike, they struggle to survive against terrifying odds, only to discover a secret that governments will kill for…even her own.

 

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AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Linda L. Kane


What was your path to becoming a writer? 

As a kid, I grew up in Inglewood, California, my mom worked as a waitress, my dad had left and we were very poor, so poor that the leftovers from others at the restaurant were given to us for food. It was a nice restaurant so we really did get pretty terrific food. This left me with my mom gone, hours to write. I was left alone most nights and for me, writing became an escape. I could be anyone, a wealthy person, an artist, or an actress. It was all in my imagination and I had big dreams.

 

Who has informed your writing the most over the years?

As a child, I read everything that my school library had in biographies. Women that were courageous, women of science, women who made a difference in other’s lives.

 

 Can you tell us a little about archeologist Luci De Foix? 

Luci de Foix was placed in an orphanage after her parent’s death. Little did she know that there was a group of men, The Order, that had been watching her family for hundreds of years, waiting for the opportunity to acquire a very important codex. 

 

What is the relationship like between Luci and Sarah? 

Luci met Sarah at the orphanage, two lonely little girls who found one another, helped each other, protected one another. Luci’s grandparents who lived in France, finally found Luci and came to take her home. They saw the friendship between Luci and Sarah and didn’t want to tear them away from each other, after many months, Sarah was adopted and came to live with Luci and her grandparents

 

What are they up against in Death Is an Illusion? 

Sarah became an expert in computer science and was on a scientific expedition in Greece where the group came across evidence of an island that had long been forgotten, Helike. Some of the people survived and made they’re way across oceans to South America carrying with them a very special plant that could heal the sick forever. Many people that were on that expedition told others, namely the Russians who were out to acquire that plant. Sarah flew home to have Luci come with her to Greece and read shards of pottery pinpointing the location of the lost tribe of the Helike’s.

 

What are some interesting facts you discovered in your research? 

Something I discovered in a BBC magazine was that there was an island, Helike that was destroyed by a volcano and a tsunami. Aristotle believed that this was Atlantis. Something that all of us know is that there are many plants in S America with healing properties, the land is being destroyed by loggers and others. Soon there will be no plants to help us as a people.

 

Have you ever been to Greece? 

I’ve never been to Greece, had a missed opportunity on a sailboat. Maybe one day, I’d like to see what they’ve found of Helike.

 

What’s next for you?

A continuation of the adventures of Luci de Foix. I wrote her first book, The Black Madonna: A Popes Deadly Obsession, and I would like her and her friends to find the book John Dees was writing about Angels. His delving into alchemy and gold. That should be a fun mix.


About L Lee Kane

Linda L. Kane MA in Education, PPS, School Psychologist, and Learning Disability Specialist, is the author of Death on the Vine, Chilled to the Bones, Death Among Us, Non-Fiction with Nina Amir, The Black Madonna, A Popes Deadly Obsession, The Sorceress, and Death is Only An Illusion. She has written several children’s books, including Clyde to the Rescue, Matty’s Adventures in Numberland, Cowboy Jack and Buddy Save Santa, Katerina Ballerina, and Witch Number is Which. She lives with her husband, two dogs, and eight horses in California.
Writers’ Associations: Sisters in Crime. The Open Book, A Novel Idea, 2nd Chance Romance, Make Mine Mystery, The Mystery Reader, Romance Writers, and Writer Unboxed.
Articles written: Kings River Life, Make Mine Mystery, Woodward Lake Magazine, Audere, Master University with Nina Amir, and Dark Rose.
Social Media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Youtube.

www.lindaleekane.com

Book Review: The Coast To Coast Murders by James Patterson & J.D. Barker

A detective and FBI agent join forces on what seems like an open-and-shut case—but a new rash of killings sends them on a pulse-pounding race against time in this intense thriller.

Michael and Megan Fitzgerald are siblings who share a terrifying past. Both adopted, and now grown—Michael is a long-haul truck driver, Megan a college student majoring in psychology—they trust each other before anyone else. They’ve had to. Their parents are public intellectuals, an Ivy League clinical psychologist and a renowned psychiatrist, and they brought up their adopted children in a rarefied, experimental environment. It sheltered them from the world’s harsh realities, but it also forced secrets upon them, secrets they keep at all costs.

In Los Angeles, Detective Garrett Dobbs and FBI Agent Jessica Gimble have joined forces to work a murder that seems like a dead cinch. Their chief suspect is quickly identified and apprehended –but then there’s another killing just like the one they’ve been investigating. And another. And not just in Los Angeles—the spree spreads across the country. The Fitzgerald family comes to the investigators’ attention, but Dobbs and Gimble are at a loss—if one of the four is involved, which Fitzgerald might it be?

From coastal California to upstate New York, Dobbs and Gimble race against time and across state lines to stop an ingenious and deeply deranged killer—one whose dark and twisted appetites put them outside the range of logic or experience.

 

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This was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time! I mean, it begins with a BANG. And. Does. Not. Let. Up. The Coast to Coast Murders has a great hook to suck the reader deeply into the story. Michael Fitzgerald, has quite a surprise when he returns home from work, when he discovers an unknown woman in his bathtub. Dead. Except he has no idea how she got there! I loved the story concept behind this, plot, characters, villains, detectives and F.B.I. law enforcement officials. What a wild goose chase. James Patterson and J.D. Barker form quite a duo! Highly recommended.


James Patterson is the world’s bestselling author and most trusted storyteller. He has created more enduring fictional characters than any other novelist writing today, with his Alex Cross, Michael Bennett, Women’s Murder Club, Private, NYPD Red, Daniel X, Maximum Ride, and Middle School series. He has sold over 380 million books worldwide and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers. In addition to writing the thriller novels for which he is best known, among them The President Is Missing with President Bill Clinton, Patterson also writes fiction for young readers of all ages, including the Max Einstein series, produced in partnership with the Albert Einstein Estate. He is also the first author to have #1 new titles simultaneously on the New York Times adult and children’s bestseller lists.

 

www.jamespatterson.com


J.D. Barker is the New York Times and international best-selling author of numerous novels, including DRACUL and THE FOURTH MONKEY. His latest, SHE HAS A BROKEN THING WHERE HER HEART SHOULD BE, released March 31. He is currently collaborating with James Patterson. His books have been translated into two dozen languages, sold in more than 150 countries, and optioned for both film and television. Barker resides in coastal New Hampshire with his wife, Dayna, and their daughter, Ember.

 

www.jdbarker.com