Thursday, November 15, 2012

I often stay in my bathrobe until dinner - Interview with @catsklgd1

Tell us about you.

I am the author of the Matt Davis Mystery Series, which includes As The Twig Is Bent, Opening Day, and Twice Bitten.  I am a former sportswriter for a major Metropolitan New Jersey newspaper; I worked as a free-lance advertising copy writer, a professional fly fishing guide, a limousine driver, and many, many other occupations.  I love cooking, music. fly fishing, reading, and, of course, writing.  I've been married for 31 years to Becky, and, together, we live in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

Tell us about your book.

While in prison, Ron Trentweiler, a petty thief, is befriended by an itinerant preacher and gets "religion." Upon his release, he founds a small, storefront Pentecostal-style church in his native, rural Alabama. Enter Winona Stepp, a visitor at one of his services who seems to know all about "Brother Ron," as he has taken to calling himself, yet insists upon keeping her past to herself. Things go smoothly for the pair, that is until Winona suggests using venomous snakes in their "act" and all hell breaks loose. Eventually, they make their way north into Matt's "backyard," where things take a murderous twist. What secrets are hiding in Winona's closet? Is Brother Ron exactly who he appears to be? Is he a religious convert or just a con man? These and other questions confront Chief of Police, Matt Davis, along with the usual cast of characters in the new Matt Davis Mystery, TWICE BITTEN, as he once more comes face to face with murder in the sleepy village of Roscoe, NY.

What inspired you to write this book?

I read a non-fiction book called Salvation on Sand Mountain, which dealt with Pentecostal snake handlers.  The subject really fascinated me, and planted a seed that germinated and bloomed into a novel.

What can readers expect when they open your book?

Readers can expect solid, three-dimensional characters, along with a plot that will hold their interest.  Much research went into this book, and I think that that, too, will be apparent.

What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment as a writer?

Probably overcoming ADHD, and maintaining my focus well enough to have written six books, with a seventh currently in progress.  I have engaged in self-promotion effectively enough to have my first mystery, As The Twig Is Bent,  reach #24 among best sellers at one point in the Kindle book store among police procedurals.  I am most proud of having the privilege of helping at least a dozen other authors realize their goal of publishing their books.

Who is your favorite author and why?

It is nearly impossible to name just one author as my favorite, but if pressed, I would have to say William Goldman (Marathon Man, Boys and Girls Together, Father's Day, among the many that I have enjoyed).  Others who have brought me joy are William G. Tappley, Truman Capote, Sinclair Lewis, Harlan Coben, and  Lawrence Sanders.

Do you have any suggestions for writers just starting out?

Don't rush!  Take your time, and edit, edit, edit...then, edit some more.  Pay special attention to dialogue, because it is the lifeblood of believable fiction.  Also, never be afraid to discard a passage, chapter, or more if it just doesn't work (no matter how much you may like it).  Learn to accept criticism, and learn from it!!

What is your favorite quote?

I honestly don't have one.

If you could exchange lives with any of your characters for a day which character would you choose and why?

Frank Kuttner, the owner of Kuttner's Fly Shop.  I've always loved fly fishing, and Frank's place (it's a real place) is exactly the kind of business that I always wanted to own.  His life is uncomplicated, and dedicated to what he loves the most: fly fishing.

If your book was made into a movie which actor/actress would play which character(s)?

Oh, wow; that's another tough one.  I'd probably choose Ryan Gosling as Ron Trentweiler, and Jennifer Love Hewitt as Winona.  Matt Davis might be played by Christian Bale, with Nicole Kidman as Val.

If the book being featured is part of a series, tell us more about it.

Matt Davis is a former New York City homicide detective, who was the protagonist in my first mystery, As The Twig Is Bent.  Without giving away the plot, suffice it to say that he took early retirement after his last case in Manhattan, and settled into what was expected to be an easier, less pressure-filled job as Chief of Police in a little fishing town in Upstate New York, called Roscoe (a real town) in Opening Day, the second in the series.  The plot of that book revolves around the murder of a young girl, found by Matt while fishing on opening day of trout season.  The real puzzle turns out to be not just finding the killer, but identifying the victim, which could be any one of three girls.
In Twice Bitten, Matt has become a fixture of sorts in the town, and finds himself faced with solving the murder of a suspected drug dealer.  The trail leads him on a curious journey that ends with an unexpected twist.
I am currently writing the fourth in the series, called Broken Promises, which revolves around the apparently motiveless murder of an 88-year old woman, found shot through the heart on the grounds of an old, burned out hotel.

What does writing mean to you?

It means everything to me.  I think about it, and I am engaged in it all the waking hours of my days.  It brings me tremendous satisfaction, both in the actual crafting of a story, and in the tedious act of editing and refining it into a book.

Anything else you want to share with us?

Q: When did you first become interested in the written word?
A: My true love affair with the books began when I was ten, and my family moved from Brooklyn to suburban New Jersey, where our residence was directly across the street from the library.  I never read less than ten books a week, every summer until I was about fourteen.

Tell us 5 random things about you the person, not the author:

1) I love Bach
2) I am a chocoholic
3) I'd rather fly fish than almost anything
4) I often stay in my bathrobe until dinner
5) My self confidence is paper thin, and I'm easily hurt.

Where to connect online

Twitter: @catsklgd1

FEATURED BOOK:  Twice Bitten: A Matt Davis Mystery
Genre: Mystery
Buy on Amazon