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A perfect interview for the waning Dog Days of summer, David Rosenfelt talks about his latest Andy Carpenter mystery Hounded,  the ups and downs of writing and the redeeming quality of dogs.

 

Rosenfelt at Book Carnival March 2013ahounded

 

David Rosenfelt was so funny and self-deprecating in his interview. And he made some surprising revelations about his writing methodology. But the best part, I think, was when he talked about the work that the Tara Organization—founded by David and his wife and named in honor of “the greatest Golden Retriever the world has ever known.”

 

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Lawyer, Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Director of Life After Innocence, author of 14 novels—including her just released The Dog Park and the Izzy McNeil series of mysteries—and the non-fiction Long Way Home: A Young Man Lost in the System and the Two Women Who Found Him.

 

laura caldwellDog Park Cover

 

Laura Caldwell is a busy woman, as she tells Leslie Klinger and me in her interview. And her pursuits run the gamut: from writing summer-read Chick Lit The Dog Park (and Laura embraces the sobriquet) to the life-and-death seriousness of helping innocent people who have been convicted of crimes and then released pick up the pieces of their lives.

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The protagonist of Roger Hobbs’ debut novel, Ghostman, may not be a nice guy, but he’s a great character. This is the second in our two-part series on fixers.

 

Hobbs (MLionstar)978-0-307-95996-6

 

Roger Hobbs is nothing if not thoughtful and methodical. He timed the seven years of rejections that writers endure to coincide with his time as a student in high school and college, coming out the other end with the remarkable first effort, Ghostman. He shares a little bit about his second novel, Vanishing Games, another story featuring “Jack” (which may or may not be the Ghostman’s name). But not too much because that would spoil the surprise. It gives us something to look forward to in the Spring of 2015.

Photo of Roger Hobbs © Michael Lionstar

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The Baker Street Babe talks with Les Klinger about the next book in the Timothy Wilde trilogy, writing for the Watson and Holmes graphic stories and how Jane Eyre can coax out the dark side for a character in her new novel.

 

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By her own admission Lyndsay Faye thinks it’s a good idea for her to keep busy. We’ll say. The Fatal Flame, the third installment in the Timothy Wilde series that began with the Edgar Award-nominated The Gods of Gotham, followed by Seven for a Secret (which was released in paperback on August 5) is in the can and will be published in Spring 2015. She’s currently working on a book that centers on a character who, like Jane Eyre, is told she’s wicked but, unlike the saintly Ms. Eyre, decides she can break bad. And she’s writing for the delightful Watson and Holmes comics, which is currently engaged in a Kickstarter campaign to fund its second volume. Speaking of Mysteries is proud to have supported the efforts and encourages everyone else who loves all things Sherlock and Lyndsay Faye to join us.

 

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Political Fixer Joe DeMarco is back in House Reckoning, which takes him back to his hometown of Queens, New York, to rekindle old friendships and make new enemies.

 

MikeLawson_BW (2)credit Tara GrimmerHouse Reckoning by Mike Lawson

 

I like what Mike Lawson had to say about choosing a fixer as a central character. Not a private investigator, police detective, or lawyer, a fixer is someone who can walk on both sides of the line without necessarily being identified as a renegade. In Mike Lawson’s House series, DeMarco’s the guy his boss Congressman Mahoney turns to when he needs to get something done.

Mike Lawson and I also talked about Rosarito Beach, the first book his other series featuring DEA Agent Kay Hamilton. The second in that series, Viking Bay, will be out in January 2015.

photo © Tara Grimmer

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Not detectives, private or police, nor attorneys, the next two interviews feature writers whose protagonists make things work out—one way or the other.

Mike Lawson’s House Reckoning, the latest in his series on Joe DeMarco, personal fixer for Congressman John Mahoney, delves into DeMarco’s past and the death of his father, who had been a hit man for a New York City mob. Look for SoM’s interview with Mike Lawson later this week.

Roger Hobbs, whose debut novel, Ghostman, is snapping up noms for “Best First Novel” from mystery-thriller genre organizations around the world, talks to SoM about his protagonist Jack (which may or may not—okay, probably isn’t—his real name). Hobbs had very specific reasons for wanting to make Jack a fixer. SoM will publish its interview with Roger Hobbs next week.

 

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Becky Masterman describes Brigid Quinn, the 59-year old protagonist of her debut novel, Rage Against the Dying, as a cross between Bruce Willis and Sarah Jessica Parker.

 

Masterman, Becky_CREDIT Neal KreuserRAge Against the Dying

 

It turns out people are interested in female characters over the age of 30, in spite of what one agent to whom Becky Masterman initially sent the book said. In fact, people are so interested in a well-crafted mystery about a woman over the age of 30 (retired FBI Agent Brigid Quinn is 59) that Ms. Masterman’s novel was nominated for six “Best First Novel” awards given in the mystery/thriller genre. And Brigid will be back, Fear the Darkness, the second in what I can only hope is going to be a long series, will be out from St. Martin’s Press in January 2015.

In her interview, Ms. Masterman gives us some fascinating insight into how she created this unique character, including inspiration from a J. Jill catalog and a friend with long, white hair worn in a pony tail. She described Brigid as “Miss Marple she ain’t.” That’s true. Brigid has a gun and isn’t afraid to use it.

We also discussed the popularity of mystery fiction and how writers approach their craft. In Ms. Masterson’s case, it wasn’t difficult to explain; she has a manifesto. And she shares it with us here.

 

The Reader’s Manifesto
Courtesy of Becky Masterman

I’m about to give you, Author, a little piece of my life.  No matter what you write, fiction or non, thrillers or high literature, here is what I deserve in return:

  • Give me at least one character I can hang my heart on.
  • Make me laugh and cry.
  • Hold me in suspense by making me wait for the payoff.
  • Thrill me with the unpredictability of an action I should have seen coming.
  • Make me stop and gasp at a fresh way of saying something old—but don’t do it too often because that’s just showing off.
  • Move my heart with compassion for a part of humanity I’ve never understood before.
  • Make me know I’m not alone by expressing feelings I never knew I felt.
  • Enlighten me.
  • Change me.

Finally, Author, grow comfortable with failing to achieve all this as you write, for I grant you will certainly fail most days.

Photo of Becky Masterman © Neal Kreuser

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Her Rage Against the Dying has received nominations for “Best First Mystery” awards from the genre’s top organizations.

Talk about last laughs: when Ms. Masterman first submitted her novel (with the then title One Tough Broad) an agent rejected it, saying “no one was interested in a woman who’s over 30.” Well, plenty of people are interested in Ms. Masterman’s 59-year old Brigid Quinn, who can kick ass with the best of them of any age, any gender.

SoM’s interview with Becky Masterman will be posted later this week.

 

Masterman, Becky_CREDIT Neal Kreuser

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also coming up: Mike Lawson on his recently released Joe DeMarco mystery, House Reckoning; David Rosenfelt on Hounded; and Roger Hobbs talks about his much-nominated first novel, Ghost Man.

Photo © Neal Kreuser

 

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Later next month, just in time for a good Labor Day read, Summer of the Dead—the third in Julia Keller’s series about Raythune County, West Virginia prosecuting attorney Bell Elkins—will be released.

 

CT keller_bks.jpgSummer of the Dead

 

If you haven’t read Ms. Keller’s previous two works A Killing in the Hills and Bitter River, I suggest you start reading now. If you are already waiting for Summer of the Dead, I suggest you download the e-short story, “The Devil’s Stepdaughter,” a look into Bell’s back story. Consider it a concentrated chill.

This is a long interview. Although I had no troubled editing down my ramblings, Ms. Keller speaks as eloquently as she writes: every anecdote is worth listening to. At the end we discuss the work of T. Jefferson Parker and Stuart Neville and Ms. Keller perfectly describes how important place and setting are to crime fiction, and I feel she knows whereof she speaks, for there are few better practitioners.

Photo of Julia Keller ©Mike Zajakowski

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