Mike Markel writes the Detectives Seagate and Miner Mystery series, which is set in the fictional small city of Rawlings, Montana, home of Central Montana State University. That university is somewhat like Boise State University, where Mike is a professor, but in Rawlings the weather is colder, the football team less successful, and the murder rate much, much higher.
Born into a blue-collar family in Liverpool, England, Pete missed The Beatles but did go to The Cavern a few times. He immigrated to the US in the early 90s, and became a citizen. After twenty years in the corporate madhouse, Pete moved to Western North Carolina where he lives with a couple llamas, two spoiled dogs, a brace of cookie-eating goats, one ferocious cat, and a wonderful wife who thankfully understands his obsessive need to write fiction.
Joe B. Parr
Joe B. Parr is a North Texas based Mystery Suspense writer. As a native of the Fort Worth, TX area, his novels are crime dramas based in and around DFW. Residents of the area will enjoy the familiar sights and sounds. For others, he provides a virtual tour highlighting the area’s feel and diversity.
His current releases, The Victim and Stolen Innocence, are available in both paperback and ebook (Kindle) on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com and selected independent book stores.
He writes entertaining fiction with an undercurrent of social commentary. His books address provocative issues by introducing characters who provide multiple perspectives so that the reader is driven to explore their own thoughts.
In The Victim, those issues include gangs, media stereotypes and the racial tensions within the community. In Stolen Innocence, he highlights the growing issue of Human Trafficking and its disproportional impact on immigrant and minority communities.
What are you reading now or what do you have in your TBR pile?
I’m reading Lionel Asbo by Martin Amis, the British novelist. Even though he produces the most incendiary prose now written in English, I don’t always love his books. His satire is so astringent that sometimes it’s difficult for me to like any of his characters. But Lionel Asbo, about a young British lout who wins the lottery, and his bookish nephew, is, I think, a real breakthrough. It’s being described as a modern Great Expectations, and so far I agree. I’m loving it.
Do you write an outline before every book you write?
Yes, I do. Because I write mysteries in which three or more people could have done the initial murder, my plots are quite intricate. I always have follow-up crimes, too, that occur when my detectives begin to tighten the noose. Therefore, I have to orchestrate the action down to the day and hour. Sometimes I have to revise the outline when I think of something better, but I can’t just let the story take me where it will or I’ll end up in a ditch.
While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?
Yes and no. My protagonist, the extremely flawed Detective Karen Seagate, derives a lot of her dysfunctional personality from me. And the poor woman talks a lot like me. But I made her a female because I wanted to be sure she couldn’t become me. She’s got enough problems of her own.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
This might sound stupid, but I would start with this question: Why do you want to write? If the answer is to become famous or rich, that probably won’t happen. If it is to share your story, that’s somewhat less unlikely, but still not all that likely. In fact, if you can be happy without writing, that would probably be best. Figure out another way to make money or become famous or fill your time.
Being a writer is, in some important ways, unwise. You sit in a chair all day, cutting off the circulation to your legs, making sentences and paragraphs that clearly are not very good–at least until many drafts later, and even then there’s no guarantee. Then–this is the worst thing about it–you ask people to give you something really valuable. I don’t mean a few bucks; I mean a few hours.
When I read a writer announcing a new book with words like “Exciting news: my new novel is now available,” I wonder if he or she realizes that while it might in fact be very exciting for the writer, in what universe is it likely to be exciting for the reader? With many hundreds of thousands of new books appearing, and most of them not very good or at least not to the reader’s taste, the writer is pushing a boulder up a very steep hill.
Let me be clear: I’m not talking about all those other writers out there, but not myself. I’m talking about me, too. Why should anyone care if I’m publishing a new novel? I think it’s good, just like every other author does about his or her new book. But do I think everyone ought to think it’s good, too, or that it’s worth a few bucks and a few hours? I’ve written too much to be that naive.
So, long story short (“Too late,” Dorothy Parker famously said), if you write and ask people to read it, you’re setting yourself up for a world of hurt.
But I’ll end with one other small comment. I love to write. It makes me happy. And when I get positive comments from readers, which I do surprisingly often, I’m very glad that they, for one reason or another, gave me a few hours and thought my book was not horrible.
Detectives Seagate and Miner Mystery
Three-Ways, Volume 4
Books by Pete Barber
Books by Joe B. Parr
The Detective Jake Hunter Series
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