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Q&A About “Secrets To Keep”

StK_bookcover_mkThis past week, my first mystery novel, Secrets To Keep, hit the shelves (or the electronic version of shelves). Here’s a little Q&A about the book:

Q: Secrets To Keep, what’s the book about?

A: An early morning car accident leaves one person dead and intersects the lives of three others, threatening to reveal their secrets. It’s a story of ambition, truth and lies, the desire for vengeance, and most of all, the things people will do to keep their secrets hidden.

Q: The book starts off with a driver hitting a young man on a bicycle. Was this inspired by your own experience of being hit while riding your bike?

A: Actually no, although I did draw upon my own experience. I’d had an idea for a novel that involved a private investigator and a steroids dealer, but other than these two general characters, I didn’t have much else. One morning, I got up around five to go to the gym. As I was exiting the neighborhood, I nearly hit a jogger who was dressed entirely in black. It’s hard to explain, but my mind started playing with the scenario and the elements of a story started coming together. While I was at the gym, I kept coming up with more and more ideas. It was just one of those moments. As soon as I got home, I ran upstairs and jotted them down.

Q: Were you wanting to write a mystery? Your first two books were memoirs. Why a mystery book?

A: I’ve been reading mystery’s for a number of years and they’re my favorite genre of fiction. I’m always reading at least one mystery, crime novel, police procedural, whatever you want to call it. Even though my first two books were memoirs, fiction, particularly mystery, is far and away my first interest. I’ve written two, maybe three, other mystery novels in the past, so this is the direction I’ve been headed. As for those others, yeah, they weren’t that good. I like mystery books because they allow you to put characters into challenging and difficult situations and see how they deal with it.

Q: How long did it take you to write Secrets To Keep?

A: I spent a week or two getting a general outline together before I started writing. The whole writing process took around twelve months. Maybe a little more or less.

(Note: There will be a later post when I’ll write more about my writing process.)

Q: Would you consider Secrets To Keep a Christian novel?

A: No. This is a mystery novel in the vein of Ken Bruen, Jo Nesbo, Adrian McKinty, Raymond Chandler, Richard Stark, and the like. Or if you’re a movie person, Fargo. I can’t imagine this book being anything a Christian bookstore would stock. In this book, people cheat, kill, die, and look out for themselves. In that regard, it could be considered like the parts of the Old Testament, but my intent was not to write a Christian novel. It was to write a mystery.

Q: Given that list of mystery writers, who would be some others who are your favorites?

A: This is going to be a long list. Ken Bruen is at the top of the list. When I first read one of his books ten or fifteen years ago, he blew me away. His writing style was so different, his stories were so unique. I’ve not come across anyone like him.

Lately, Jo Nesbo has been one of my favorites.  But there have been others- Raymond Chandler, Jussi Adler-Olsen, Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza, Olen Steinhauer, Richard Stark/Donald Westlake, Arnaldur Indridason, Stuart Neville, Ben H. Winters, Qiu Xiaolong, Adrian McKinty, James Thompson, David Peace, Simon Kernick, Hallgrimur Helgason, and Fuminori Nakamura. I’m probably forgetting some as well. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the Sherlock Holmes creator, can’t forget him. Gene Kerrigan is a recent addition to the list. James Ellroy, he’s phenomenal as well.

Q: Back to Secrets To Keep, what about Linus Walker’s (the private detective) past?

A: I hope to be able to address it in a later book. If not the next one, then the one after.

Q: So does that mean there’s another book in the works with the same characters?

A: About halfway through Secrets To Keep, I had an idea for a second and possibly third book. As for the second book, I’m halfway through the first draft.

Q: Anything you want to say about it?

A: Not yet.

***

Check back soon for another Q&A where I’ll discuss how and why I became a writer as well as my writing process.

Secrets To Keep is available exclusively at Amazon.

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