What am I working on?
As a break from the unfinished business that often sparks my crime novels, I find myself getting intrigued with my new surroundings. Here I am after six months, enfolded by the Blue Ridge and a tradition of storytelling. After meeting a teller of tales from nearby Asheville, her directive of “bypassing logical reality” in order to set characters like the Hobbit off on an impossible adventure prompted me to pencil-in the beginnings of a missing person’s case. At this early stage, the story will doubtless be steeped in the lore of this region and have nothing to do with me personally.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
It seems my work doesn’t fit neatly in any particular category. Apart from the fact that it’s always a stand-alone, there are a number of elements percolating and colliding. As an example, take my Southern crime-and-blues odyssey. Here are the NPR book critic’s opening comments:
TWILIGHT OF THE DRIFTER is more than a mystery, although it is quite a delicate and surprising mystery. It is also a novel of manners, exploring the roots of the blues in its southern setting. The book is riveting and charming at the same time. What is uncanny is the absolutely convincing dialogue, the eloquence of the southern characters and their ways of saying profound things in simple words.
Now how is a publisher or an agent going to label this? “A literary crime novel of suspense, at times delicate but mainly rooted in the haunted memories of the Deep South as murder and the unsettling strains of the blues run through its passages?” In short, it’s unique, which is both a good and bad thing depending how you look at it.
Why do I write about what I do?
A creative writing teacher in a Midwest college used to advise students not to write. That is, put it off till you feel if you don’t work through this dilemma you’ll never get any rest. A good example is “the Drifter.” While exploring Faulkner country and the Delta, I realized I’d finally have to come to terms with the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. It was simply high time.
How does my writing process work?
In a way it has a lot to do with the setting. In my last novel something happened while I was walking down the Lower East Side in Manhattan. Out of the blue, a muscular guy in a torn sweatshirt introduced himself as Johnny Diamonds and started telling me how things weren’t the same anymore. Where were the old Mafia guys who kept things together? My last published novel, Tinseltown Riff, was initiated when my wife and I were given a tour of an old movie studio whose dilapidated sets seemed to want to come to life again. Soon after, I began to wonder what would’ve happened if I’d stuck it out with my old pals like Joan Rivers instead of opting for a secure life as a drama professor. Thus the birth of my lead character Ben, given one last chance, unwittingly on a collision course with Vegas and danger.
[Since neither of my “blog tour coming attractions” contacted me, I was advised to just mention that reviews of my efforts are on Amazon. You can purchase a paperback or Kindle version of any that seems promising or order through your local bookstore.]