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Character Interview: Frank Swiver from Harley Mazuk, mystery/private eye, White with Fish, Red with Murder

WhiteFish_RedMurder FinalWe’re thrilled to have here today Frank Swiver from Harley Mazuk’s new mystery, White with Fish, Red with Murder.  Frank Swiver is a 35-year-old shamus living in San Francisco, California.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Frank.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

It’s funny how things work out. The book is my story, in my words, but when I go back and read it now, I do seem a little slow on the uptake sometimes. And I make mistakes with the dames. But I was telling it the way it happened. You look at the big picture, I do all right with women. And I never claimed to be Sherlock Holmes, just a hard-working private eye.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

I don’t know about “colorizing my personality.” We were trying to write a page-turner here, and we told it the way it went down. That was fair enough to me.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I’m not fearless, but I have the courage it takes to do the job. And I’m a hard worker. If I take your money, I’ll keep at it until I solve the case. Courage and perseverance . . . you can take your choice.

Worse trait?

My loyalty to women is not always all it should be. I’m thinking here about Vera Peregrino, my secretary. I let her down. I look back on it and I don’t know how it happened. But at least I stuck with the case and sprung her from jail on that murder rap.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

While I was on this case, a redhead I met in Chico told me I looked like that cat in Out of the Past, Robert Mitchum. I believe he’s a little younger than me, so I took that as a compliment. He’s a bit beefier than I am—I lost a lot of weight in Spain during the Civil War and never put it back on. And I don’t have a dimple in my chin. But I think she was getting at something about Mitchum’s eyes.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Yeah, two. And that’s the problem.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

I questioned one of the suspects, Spitbucket McQuade, the wine critic, over lunch at the Black Lizard Lounge. Just my luck he picks that day to open a poisoned bottle of Burgundy. McQuade got me a little hot with his cracks about Cicilia, and I slapped him in front of witnesses before I left. Twenty minutes later, he drops dead on the steps of his apartment building, and the owner of the Black Lizard tells the cops my name. I had to do some fast talking to keep them from taking me in. That’s where I started to worry. If I’d ended up in jail on a murder rap, I wouldn’t have been able to solve the Thursby killing and save Vera.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I wouldn’t have wanted to be McQuade, because he died. And while he was alive, nobody liked him.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

The ending is not happy—I don’t get married and live happily ever after. At least it’s not a tragedy—I don’t die. But when the story ended, I felt I’d be better off dead. I guess that’s what they call noir.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?

Next time, Mr. Mazuk, less wine, more sex. And give me a chance to make it up to Vera.

Thank you for this interview, Frank Swiver.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Oh, yeah. There’s a short adventure I had in Utah, in 1950. I called the case, “Pearl’s Valley.” It should be coming out as a stand-alone novelette in April, from Dark Passages Publishing. And there will be more novels, too.

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Harley Mazuk [http://www.harleymazuk.com/] is a mystery writer living in Maryland. His first novel, White with Fish, Red with Murder [http://www.drivenpress.net/white-with-fish-red-with-murder] is out now, from Driven Press. [http://www.drivenpress.net/]

 

 

Character Interview: Ed Earl Burch from Jim Nesbitt’s hard-boiled Texas thriller, The Right Wrong Number

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We’re thrilled to have here today Ed Earl Burch from Jim Nesbitt’s new hard-boiled Texas thriller, The Right Wrong Number.  Burch is a 44-year-old private detective living in Dallas, Texas.

It is a pleasure to have Ed Earl with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Ed Earl.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I think that Nesbitt guy did a fairly good job telling my story. He’s an ex-journalist and has a pretty keen eye for details and a sharp ear for dialogue. I just wish he hadn’t made me look like such an idiot with women and hadn’t repeatedly told folks I’m bald and fat. I’m an ex-jock gone to seed, a big guy who used to play football and have the bad knees to prove it. I’d much prefer to be seen as svelte and streamlined.

EdEarl56-300dpi-3125x4167Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

I spent a lot of time with Nesbitt and he flat wore me out with questions about this case. He’s a nosy bastard and you can’t shut him up. But I have to give the devil his due—he caught me square. I’m no Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe, although I do crack wise like those sharp guys. And I’m not supercool like Frank Bullitt. I’m more like Columbo—without the caricature.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I don’t quit. I get on the trail of a case and I stay there and don’t veer off into the brush. I’m relentless and don’t mind the long hours and tedious details of detective work. I’m no Sherlock Holmes with dazzling leaps of deduction and intuition. Nobody is. Building a case is slow, demanding work—people lie to you all the time and the truth is hard to come by. As a buddy of mine once said: there are a helluva lot of facts, but very little truth.

Worse trait?

I’m fatally attracted to women who are ready, willing and able to drive a stake through my heart.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Tommy Lee Jones and Jeff Bridges immediately come to mind, but those boys are getting a little long in the tooth. Tom Sizemore would be good, if clean and sober. I think a great, dark-horse candidate would be Nick Searcy, the guy who played Art, Raylan Givens’ boss in Justified.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

I wouldn’t necessarily call it love, but it surely was lust. I banged boots with an old flame, a rangy strawberry blonde with a violent temper and a lethal knack for larceny and betrayal named Savannah Devlin Crowe.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

When I came out of a pharmaceutical fog in a hospital with a Houston homicide detective yammering in my ear about people I didn’t remember killing.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

My best friend, Krukovitch, a cranky and brilliant columnist and fellow traveler at my favorite bar, Louie’s. You’ll have to buy the book to figure out why.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Hollow, empty, guilty but glad I didn’t get a stake driven through my heart.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?

I’d like that sumbitch to give me a little more hair on top and use the terms svelte and streamlined to describe me. Give me a hat like Raylan Givens, maybe. And get me out of paying my bar tab.

Thank you for this interview, (name of character).  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

You bet. Count on it. Can’t get rid of that Nesbitt guy. He’s like a bad habit. I expect he’ll be along shortly with another laundry list of questions.

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For more than 30 years, Jim Nesbitt roved the American Outback as a correspondent for newspapers and wire services in Alabama, Florida, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Washington, D.C. He chased hurricanes, earthquakes, plane wrecks, presidential candidates, wildfires, rodeo cowboys, ranchers, miners, loggers, farmers, migrant field hands, doctors, neo-Nazis and nuns with an eye for the telling detail and an ear for the voice of the people who give life to a story. He is a lapsed horseman, pilot, hunter and saloon sport with a keen appreciation for old guns, vintage cars and trucks, good cigars, aged whiskey and a well-told story. He now lives in Athens, Alabama and writes hard-boiled detective thrillers set in Texas.

Find out more about the book:www.amazon.com/author/jimnesbitt

Website: www.jimnesbitthardboiledbooks.com

Facebook author page:https://www.facebook.com/edearlburchbooks/

Blog: https://spottedmule.wordpress.com/

Interview with Rosemary and Larry Mild, Authors of ‘Death Steals a Holy Book’

mild5Rosemary and Larry have published award-winning novels, short stories, and essays. They coauthored the popular Paco and Molly Mystery Series and Cry Ohana, a thriller set in Hawaii, as well as stories in anthologies. Members of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Hawaii Fiction Writers, they now call Honolulu home. Visit www.magicile.com.

  1. What is the best thing about a husband and wife writing team?

            Larry: You’re never writing in a vacuum. There’s always someone close by to listen to your story’s direction and your choice of words. The helping hand when you can’t find that ever-so-right word or story twist is a godsend.

Rosemary: Being able to read aloud to each other allows us  to hear how the story really sounds. And we always leave room for playtime!

  1. What is the worst thing about a husband and wife writing team?

            Larry: If you’ll excuse my Latin, there’s this co-writus interruptus thing. Working back-to-back in the same room, it’s too easy to stop her and ask: “Doesadrenaline have an e? rather than look it up myself.

Rosemary: Sometimes I interrupt in a more dramatic way. I was fishing a hammer out of Larry’s tool drawer (he’s a retired engineer) and the conversation went like this:

Larry: “Where are you going with that hammer?”

Me: “I’m going to discipline the vacuum cleaner. It’s stuck on high.”

Larry: “Bring it here.”

So I do, he turns the vac upside down, and in five minutes has it fixed. I asked: “If I had given it a few whacks would I have broken it?” Larry: “Probably.”

There are times when Larry’s pridefully, elegantly written passages don’t work for me; they can stop the action. So I’ll do what I call “judicious pruning,” but Larry calls it “slash and burn.” Then, with sleeves rolled up, we negotiate. I’m a little more diplomatic than I used to be. But not much. Larry’s greatest strength as a writer is his imagination, his inventiveness. He conjures up all our plots and writes the first draft. He’s at the computer for five to six hours of writing on most days. He has a much longer attention span than I have.

cover-art            Larry: She could work a little faster. We’re getting a little behinder by the day.

Her strength as a writer? She has this wonderful feel for people and human nature. So she breathes life into my minimalist characters: physical appearance, sharpening the dialogue, and often adding a defining trait. And Sometimes she adds a scene for more conflict.

     

    Rosemary: What can get in the way of our working together is my own nonfiction writing life: personal essays and my memoirs. Love! Laugh! Panic! Life with My Mother is the newest. Miriam’s World—and Mine is my second memoir of our daughter Miriam Wolfe, whom we lost in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. She was 20 and my only child. Larry and I had only been married a year when we lost her.

3. What part of the process do you look forward to most?

            Larry: That instant when all the story parts come together. The first draft is an exciting journey, especially when new, unplanned pieces join the trek and fit just so. And it’s no slight pleasure when the finished and bound book arrives from the printer.

  1. In terms of writing, what are you most likely to disagree on?

            Rosemary: When Larry churns out extended poetic passages that slow the action.

            Larry: When Rosemary comes up with her mixed metaphors. And when she edits my stuff ruthlessly! She even tweaks my short business letters.

            Rosemary: You know how it is. Stephen King said, “To write is human. To edit is divine.”

            Larry: Somehow we’ve managed to write seven novels and dozens of short stories and haven’t killed each other yet!

  1. How are you most like your protagonists Dan and Rivka Sherman?

            Larry: We made them like us (I won’t say how long ago): a Jewish couple in their early fifties. Dan and Rivka leave thriving careers as an editor and electronics engineer (which we were) to buy our fictional Olde Victorian Bookstore in Annapolis, Maryland.

            Rosemary: Physically, Dan is his own man. Tall and gangly, he sprawls when he sits. He has bushy, black hair and eyebrows. The only thing thin about Larry is          his gray hair. However, Dan is very much like Larry in personality: analytical and practical, yet imaginative. He’s a born problem-solver. He’s also kind and sensitive and an incorrigible punster.

            Larry: Rivka is a lot like Rosemary: feisty, super-smart, affectionate, and addicted to chocolate. She has coffee brown hair and glasses with a slightly pear-shaped figure.

            Rosemary: Larry is too kind to say that I’m also bossy (so is Rivka) and I can get really hyper. I’m a high-energy person. I rush around, bumping into furniture in our little apartment, sometimes bruising my hips, and even stupidly falling. Larry says, “Relax!” He’s right, of course, but I get mad because he’s right. I hate being wrong!

  1. Why do you think bookstore owners make good sleuths?

            Larry: They must be intellectuals and probably also extroverts. Dan and Rivka create an inviting climate so they have a constant flow of interesting characters coming through their front door.

            Rosemary: Books and the world around them possess the potential for many engaging plots.

  1. What is the real-life story behind the plot of Death Steals A Holy Book?

            Rosemary: Here’s Larry’s preface explaining it all.

My Sacred White Elephant

Many of us possess something out of the past for which we have never found a practical or decorative place. Maybe it’s a gilt-framed picture of a great-great uncle, a bewildering trinket, an ugly vase, or a haphazard stamp collection. Or it may be a trunk stuffed with such items…kept in the family, even though no family member recalls exactly why.

My own white elephant is a rare holy book passed down from my maternal grandfather to my mother and then to me. Sefer Menorat ha-maor arrived at our house in a flimsy, white department store gift box nestled in tissue paper. This edition is written in Yiddish, the language that predominated among European Jews at the end of the eighteenth century when it was printed. Sefer means book. The English translation of Menorat ha-maor is The Candlestick of Light. It was originally written in Hebrew in the fourteenth century as a moral and religious household guide for Jews in the Middle Ages. One of the most important books of its time, it is filled with biblical topics and rabbinical interpretations on righteous living; a compilation of sermons, anecdotes, and tales drawn from both written and oral Jewish law and ethical teachings.

I cannot read Yiddish. The Sefer Menorat ha-maor sat in my house year after year deteriorating. In 2008 I opened the gift box, gently lifted the book out, and placed it on the table. Small brownish flecks of the heavy leather cover fell off. Carefully opening the cover, I found neat script on the flyleaf: dates ranging from 1803 through 1836, along with names I did not recognize—births, I presumed. The edges of the yellowed pages had turned brown as well. They were brittle, too brittle to continue in my care. The projected extent and cost of restoration were beyond anything I could manage. Sadly, in its condition, I could not display this fragile holy book in the place of honor it deserved. I sought professional help.

After consulting with a cantor and three rabbis, my Sefer Menorat ha-maorwas carefully packaged and sent on its way to Cincinnati, Ohio, for curator evaluation at the venerated Klau Library of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Dr. Dan Rettberg, of blessed memory, attested to the book’s authenticity. Its permanent home is in the Klau Library’s Rare Books Collection. It was my honor to donate it.

Sefer Menorat ha-maor inspired me to create the basic plot for Death Steals A Holy Book. Forgive me for taking a few literary liberties with its condition, content, and monetary worth for the sake of the story.

—— Larry

  1. Do the two of you read the same books, or the same types of books?

            Larry: Not often. I prefer action/adventures, thrillers, and spy stories: David Baldacci, Clive Cussler, Frederick Forsythe, Robert Ludlum, Robert Ruark, James Clavell, Nelson DeMille, James Michener, Leon Uris, and Wilbur Smith. Add great historical novels to that, like Ken Follett’s two trilogies.

Rosemary: Larry is much tougher than I am. He’s a Navy veteran (Korean War) with a strong stomach . I cannot stand graphic violence—and descriptions of torture. I think they’re disgusting. I really appreciate Michael Connelly, John Grisham, Louise Penny, P.D. James, etc. We’re both crazy about Ken Follett‘s two historical trilogies. I also like really good nonfiction like The Boys in the Boat and Kathryn Graham’s autobiography. I’m a huge fan of Nora Ephron, Heartburn, etc. I totally tune in to her.

  1. What’s next for Dan and Rivka Sherman?

Larry: The Shermans are busy selling books until we come up with a new plot for them. Currently under rejection are the following: A Missing Body at a Nudist Colony; A Vegan Commune in Bhutan; Verbal     Complaints from a Murdered Woman; and If  I Could Do It Over, I’d Still Die.

  1. What’s next for Rosemary and Larry?

            Larry: I just finished the first draft of a big novel tentatively titled Between the Mountains and the Great Sea. It’s a continuing saga of the families in our Hawaiian adventure/thriller Cry Ohana 

            Rosemary: Larry has also finished the first draft of a text, Exploring the Mystery, 18 Valuable Lessons. Both books are waiting for me to work on.

            Larry: We’re publishing our second series of short stories in Mysterical-E,an online mystery magazine. The “Copper and Goldie” stories are lots of fun, about a disabled ex-cop, now a cabbie, and his golden retriever. They drive around Honolulu, Hawaii, together solving crimes.

  1. Also very exciting: we’re panel co-chairs for “Honolulu Havoc”—the Left Coast Crime mystery fans’ convention coming in March 2017. Join us for a fabulous four days at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Register now for a discount at http://www.leftcoastcrime.org/2017.

Character Interview: Jessie Murphy from jd daniels` mystery Quick Walk to Murder

We’re thrilled to have here today Jessie Murphy from jd daniels new mystery, Quick Walk to Murder.  Jessie is 28 and a property manager/artist living in Matlacha, FL & Cambridge, MA.

It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

QW_lg.jpgThank you so for this interview, Jessie.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Oh, sure, jd did a great job portraying me, but I would like the readers to make sure to understand that just because I love a plaster of Paris Gargoyle, that doesn’t mean I’m not logical and smart.  I’m sure jd got that across, but I just want to make sure they get it. I mean, I do believe you need to follow your intuition, but that doesn’t mean that you also don’t use your brains. Thanks for asking, by the way.  Great to get that straight. I’m sure you understand.  One doesn’t like to feel that just because they have their quirks that they are considered totally a goofball.  I’m a creative person—a painter.  There are those out there that think because you’re imaginative that you aren’t logical too.  Well, I’m sure there are people like there like that, but I’m not one of them.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Colorizing my personality?  What an interesting phrase. As an artist, those words are making me want me to paint an image to match them.  Very cool. I just might do that later.  But personally, I think my zany, creative, but clever personality shines through loud and clear in Quick Walk to Murder.  Heck, I’m so naturally colorized, jd didn’t have to do much work on that score.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Hm.  I’d say being honest when need be and being capable of knowing when a little lying can go a long way.  Grandma Murphy taught me that.

Worse trait?

Oh, that’s easy.  Being too vulnerable.  I’ve always had to fight this tendency.  When I was younger anyone could pull one over on me anytime.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Well, Anne Hathaway would be perfect. I loved her in Becoming Jane, didn’t you?

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Oh, yeah. He’s a hunk.  Name’s Jay Mann. He’s a sculptor. Like, you should see him in his long white cotton robe.  Oh, dear, I’m blushing. Could we talk about something else?

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

When I was afraid it was Caitlin, a young woman who had convinced me she’d been abused by her brother.  I really, really did want her to be the killer.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I wouldn’t want to be Gator.  I couldn’t stand to smell like him and I’m really not a fisherman. Can’t imagine ever hunting gators either.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Oh, I just had to shake my head.  I mean, I really, really thought I had that worst trait thing (being vulnerable) under control. Not!  Life’s a surprise a minute—that’s what I say.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it?

What words of wisdom would I give jd?  I’d say don’t let anyone tell you what to do or which way to go when you’re creating.  Artists need freedom.  Best advice:  You go, girl!

Thank you for this interview, Jessie Murphy.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Cool set of questions you asked.  Been more than a pleasure answering them.  See me in the future?  You can bet on it.  In fact, I’ve already solved another tough murder case in Mayhem in Matlacha.  A buzz has already started. Business owners are marking their calendars for a launch party and reading extravaganza. Last reading I was led in by a bagpiper!  Can you believe it! And he ran me afterward to Micelli’s on the back of his Harley. Whooee! I’m sure you know that all Irish girls love a good party and swoon when bagpipes are played. And that’s the truth.

Thanks for having me. It’s been a blast.  Bye now.

Title: QUICK WALK TO MURDER

Genre: Mystery

Author: J.D. Daniels

Website: www.live-from-jd.com

Publisher: Savvy Books

Purchase on Amazon

Quick Walk to Murder opens with the murder of the son of a local crab fisher folk family. Young Jessie Murphy, an artist from Cambridge, MA who solved a homicide the previous season on the island, joins forces with two quirky, but savvy locals in hopes of bringing the murderer to justice. In her search for the reasons behind the murder, Jessie uncovers hidden—and frighteningly disturbing—relationships between the victim and many of his acquaintances.  Among them? A local crab fisherman who secretly hired the young man, the victim’s girlfriend and her over-protective brother, the victim’s college roommate, an adviser at college, a psychic, the victim’s mother and two strangers who show up on the island with badges.  With no shortage of suspects, Jessie launches a pulse-quickening investigation that  leads her to death’s door. But through her own power of reasoning and feisty Irish refusal to not finish a job once begun, Jessie uncovers a startling, surprising ending.

J

About the Author:

jd daniels is a mystery writer who divides her time between Southwest Florida and Iowa City, Iowa. She has also lived, written prose and poetry, and taught writing at the college level in Boston, Massachusetts and Ankara, Turkey.  She’s published five books, receiving an Iowa Arts Grant for her biography and reached the top of a best seller list for her book of poetry. Over the years, she has worked as a college professor, an aerobics instructor, a bartender, a restorer of historic homes, a landlady and has learned the art of carpentry, dry walling and bookmaking.  Quick Walk to Murder is the second release in the Jessie Murphy mystery series.   Through Pelican Eyes, the first Jessie Murphy mystery, was released in 2014.

Links:

http://www.live-from-jd.com/#!blog/c112v

www.live-from-jd.com

Character Interview: Tuck from Tj O’Connor’s Cozy Mystery ‘Dying to Tell ‘

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We’re thrilled to have here today Tuck from Tj O’Connor’s Cozy Mystery Dying to Tell.  Tuck is a 40ish, at least at the time of his death, a homicide detective living in Winchester, Virginia.It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so much for this interview, Tuck.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight for your readers?

Set things straight, oh heck yeah! First, let’s be clear. Tj is an okay guy, but he’s just the ink and I’m the story. I do the heavy lifting—I solve the crimes—and he gets to sit around listening to 40’s swing music and banging away on the computer as I dictate my cases to him. What a life, right? He has the easy part … heck, I had to die to make this series work! Talk about a character flaw! And come on, he’s always making me sound like a smart-ass. Me? I’m really a cool, reserved, soft-spoken kinda guy who just happens to commune with the dead—at least those who have a beef with the living. So sure, I have a few quirks, maybe even a sarcastic quip now and then. But if Tj were dead and rattling around in the same clothes all the time, he’d be a little crazy too!

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Sure, he colorizes my personality pretty well. Like I said, I tell the story, he types it, and we get along just fine. Except when he changes what I tell him and tries to make things too clever. Then, holy crap on a peanut butter sandwich, we have issues. Rewrites, edits, the works. If he’d just listen to me, there would be fewer edits. No, my personality is as the books portray it. I love solving murders. I love Angel, my wife, and Hercule—he’s my black Lab—and above all, I love the thrill of the chase. Tj thinks he understands all that from his days as a government agent. Ha. He got to chase terrorists and bad guys. Big deal. Was he dead? No. Did he have to worry about revenge-seeking spirits? No. But all in all, I’ll keep him.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

My gut instincts and my sense of humor. In this business—homicide and dead people (they’re not necessarily connected) you have to have a sense of humor. If you don’t, it’ll kill you. (See what I did there? I turned it around on you.) And without gut instincts, Tj would have to solve the cases himself and BOY would we be in trouble!

Worst trait?

Being humble?

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book were a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Easy, Nathan Fillion from Castle and Firefly. He’s a great actor, funny, charming, handsome … just like me. Except for the fact that he’s alive and I’m well … living-challenged, we’re identical.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Professor Angel Tucker, my wife, er, widow. She helps me solve my cases. Or at least, I let her tag along. I let her find some big clues and chase a few bad guys, too, just to make her feel part of the team.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Page 1. So, most murder mysteries begin with a body. Sort of goes with the territory. But Dying to Tell, the third book of my cases, begins with Angel getting attacked and nearly kidnapped by would-be bank robbers. THEN there’s the body. So yeah, page one had me guessing all the way to the end and then some. I had to explain the ending to Tj, too. Go figure.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

The dead guy—William Mendelson. After all, other than me—and I’m back amongst the living but not really one of them—who would want to be dead? And besides, William has some really dark secrets and a history that, well, will kill you (there I go again). No, I’m more of the catch-the-bad-guy kinda-guy. Not the be-the-bad-guy kinda-guy.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Pretty damn good. Like Dying to Know and Dying for the Past, my cases always have three big parts to them. First, there’s the murder that’s traditional like an Agatha Christie story. Then, there’s a historical subplot that intertwines with my family’s history—and since I never knew my family at all, that’s kinda neat. In the end, the two plots smack into each other and reveal a deeper, more intricate case. In this one, we’re looking at a reclusive, bizarre banker with roots back to WW II Cairo and a Nazi spy operation called Operation Salaam. All the historical plots are based in facts with Tj’s weird twists and turns thrown in. This one’s a blast. And be careful when you read it, no one is whom you think and there are no innocents. None.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

Listen to me more. Type my story as I tell it, don’t adlib. Oh, and remember, being dead may sound cool and intriguing, but it’s lonely and empty sometimes. Ask Angel, she’s struggling with it too. And hey, watch my old partners in the Sheriff’s department. I’m starting to wonder about them. No one in Winchester is who you think they are. Not all the time. Not in the least.

Thank you for this interview, Tuck.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Absolutely. I’ve already been talking to Tj about three more cases. It might take a little time because he’s working on a thriller right now, but he promised to have more of me to come. Be patient. And if you hear bumps in the night or see mysterious images in your house, it’s just me checking the fridge. No worries.

Title:  DYING TO TELL

Genre:  Mystery

Author:  Tj O’Connor

Websitewww.tjoconnor.com

Publisher:  Midnight Ink

Purchase on Amazon

About the Book:

In Dying to Tell, the latest mystery by award-winning novelist Tj O’Connor, Oliver “Tuck” Tucker—dead detective extraordinaire—is back for the case of a lifetime, or, rather, the afterlifetime. 

A former police detective who now solves mysteries from beyond, Tuck doesn’t appreciate just how perilous the past can be till his wife, Angel, is nearly killed and reclusive banker William Mendelson is found dead in a hidden vault.  Tuck knows there’s more to Mendelson’s murder than decades-old skullduggery. As murderers, thieves, and spies descend on small-town Winchester, Tuck joins up with Angel, old detective partners, and a long-dead grandfather still on an army mission from 1942. With the case unfolding around him, Tuck must confront haunting family secrets and the growing distance between his death and Angel’s life.  The outcome could be a killer of its own, but Tuck is set on solving this case. Dead set.  After all, some things never die…

About the Author:

Recipient of the Gold Medal in Independent Publisher’s IPPY Awards (Mystery Category, 2015, Dying to Know) Tj O’Connor is an international security consultant specializing in anti-terrorism. As a consultant and former government agent, O’Connor has lived and worked in such places as Greece,Turkey, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, and throughout the Americas. A native of New York, O’Connor lives in Virginia.

Connect on the web:

www.tjoconnor.com   /  https://www.facebook.com/TjOConnor.Author/    https://twitter.com/tjoconnorauthor  /https://twitter.com/tjoconnorauthor

Character Interview: Thalassery Vatoot Mohammad Koya from Vasudev Murthy’s new thriller, ‘Sherlock Holmes, the Missing Years: Timbuktu’

9781464204524_FCWe’re thrilled to have here today Thalassery Vatoot Mohammad Koya from Vasudev Murthy’s new thriller, Sherlock Holmes, the Missing Years: Timbuktu. Mr. Koya is a 30 year old Spice Merchant living in Thallasery, on the Malabar Coast, India
It is a pleasure to have Mr. Koya with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Mr. Koya Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Thank you.

I must say that the story is complex. My involvement was completely unexpected and I suddenly found myself first in Morocco and then in Timbuktu within weeks of my father’s death. I must remind you that I was just a small-time merchant, barely literate, with no idea that I was the descendant of the great traveler, Ibn Batuta. Mr. Murthy takes me from humble beginnings to becoming the heir of an astonishing story. I believe he did justice to my character on at least two dimensions. First, from a quiet and bewildered man to an authoritative leader of men, a metamorphosis caused by events. Second, he did not paint me as a villain, which I was not, and indeed, understood that I had developed a new set of values towards the end of the story. I am not a hero, but a gentleman caught in peculiar circumstances being forced to battle with Sherlock Holmes.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Yes, he did a good job, and did not amplify any trait. I am human and humble, uncomfortable in the knowledge that I have a magnificent lineage. A man spends many years doing the very same things day after day. An accidental discovery forced me to travel and encounter strange people and cultures quite alien to mine. I may not be a very educated man but Mr. Murthy gave me a layer of wisdom, fairness and politeness. I am pleased.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Courage, though you might say that we often discover ourselves only when we are forced into situations that demand the uncovering of something lying within. For a man who could barely speak Arabic and only a little English, it took courage to set off on a voyage to my ancestor’s tomb and related mysteries. Then imagine taking charge of the ferocious and somewhat crooked Guardians of the Letter, meeting the custodians of the Sankore Mosque, and leading a charge across the African continent. I never knew I had that in me.

Worse trait?

None really. In the book, I am far from perfect, but do not suffer from extreme traits either. Yes, I co-existed for a long while with men who were fanatically loyal to my ancestor but were otherwise criminals. But that is no reflection of me.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

At this time, there is no one who can play my part with conviction.

Do you have a love interest in the book?
No, not me. But there is a moving love story in the book.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

At about the time we lost Holmes and Watson at Timbuktu. I wondered if this chase was really worth it. But I did not say anything to anyone then. Leaders cannot afford to appear unconfident.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

There is a Catholic Priest in the story who has several layers. Sherlock Holmes told me about him towards the end and I too disapproved of his duplicity.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

The ending was ethical in every sense of the world. Some secrets ought not to be aired, even if it frustrates the reader. Dr Watson has done a good job in his allusions but no reader can act on the hints (and even the map, so generously provided) and achieve what he thinks he will get.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

Men and women are the same everywhere. They may speak different languages and have different cultural contexts but human traits are universal, both good and bad. I’m glad that the author is writing about different cultures (Japan first and Timbuktu now). The book in which I was featured involved languages, history and more. The center of the world is not London. Perhaps there is no center of the world. I hope to see another such book. If you feature me, do explain to the reader that often times, people are sucked into situations without their explicit understanding. Let that moderate your views on the conduct of everyone, including Mr. Moriarty. Could he actually be a good man?

Thank you for this interview, Mr. Koya. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Thank you. No, I do not wish to leave the Malabar Coast again. The world is too dangerous. Even for the descendant of the great traveler Ibn Batuta. Visit me and take home some cinnamon.

Find out more on Amazon

Vasudev Murthy Final - CMYK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vasudev was born in Delhi and has meandered around the world with lengthy stopovers in Tallahassee and Dallas. His books span a variety of interests, from Indian classical music to crime fiction, humor, and business management. A violinist and animal rights activist, Vasudev lives with his family and five snoring dogs in Bangalore, India where he runs a consulting firm.

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Character Interview: Victoria Leung from Georges Ugeux’s mystery novel, The Flying Dragon

9781480818569_COVER.inddWe’re thrilled to have here today Victoria Leung from Georges Ugeux’s new mystery novel, The Flying Dragon. She is a 34-year old Chinese detective living in Hong Kong.

It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Victoria.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I honestly believe that Georges has truly captured some of the complexities of my personality: my mix of sensitivity and assertiveness, my femininity and my determination. I am proud of these qualities. I often felt that he was so perceptive, he even uncovered some of my vulnerabilities in a way that I might not have been aware of in the moment. It isn’t often one meets a man that understands such a complicated woman.

My readers have noticed or will probably notice how I react under duress and stress, especially when I am pushed. I immediately go back to the inquiry. This, of course, does not mean I am not shocked or upset. However, Georges knew what I was going through and decided to be discreet. I thank him for that. I would not have liked to see what I went through in excruciating detail on paper. He respected me.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently? 

Let’s face it: I believe that he loves me even if he will not admit it. The color he gave to my character was truthful, but he painted it as a friend would do. So my personality is a very appealing one. In fact, Georges was probably a little too nice. He is obviously an emotional guy…and probably a romantic one!

I actually really like the way my personality was colored, but I know I cannot always be as nice as he made me. I also happen to know, my character was created and based on a combination of women he has known or admired. It is, of course, very flattering to be associated with pianist Yuja Wang and actress Zhang Ziyi.

What he captured extremely well is the difficulty for a young woman, particularly in the Chinese culture, to be taken seriously in the professional world. Flirtation is, of course, plentiful, and I am not shy. I have to use my charm sometimes. But, I also want to be recognized for the professional I have become. Having been a bank auditor, a financial fraud cop and now a detective, I have gained experience and knowledge – and I expect it to be recognized and respected. It is an uphill battle, and Georges captured my challenges very well in the novel. 

What do you believe is your strongest trait? 

I am assertive. Even in emotional moments, I am capable of holding myself and maintaining my position. I am not a crier, even though I am emotional. When I encounter people that are dishonest or try to manipulate, I can be ruthless and unforgiving. For example, one of the suspects in this case was trying to seduce me and was lying to me simultaneously. He quickly found out it was NOT the way to convince me of anything.

Worse trait? 

I can overreact, which is probably connected to the emotional part of me.

I am not convinced it is a bad trait, but I can be a bit sneaky. I use all the tools I have to destabilize a suspect or a liar. When I know I am right, I apply my skills to make sure he or she falls into my trap. I relish the moment I see some arrogant liar become a paper tiger. I have found that men can often be so infatuated with themselves when interacting with women. I can very well pretend to be seduced if it encourages a suspect confess.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)? 

Georges has contacted Zhang Ziyi. He was impressed by her roles in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha. I agree completely. The combination of her films fit the two sides of my character: the warrior and the seductress. I would be thrilled if she accepted to play me. We are even the same age. If not, there are certainly other Chinese actresses who could represent my character perfectly.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

If you’re asking whether or not I was attracted to a man in the book, the answer is yes. There were moments in which I struggled internally to remain objective and assertive. Many of the men were very handsome…but there was one in particular I wouldn’t have minded spending an evening with. Of course, he was one of the prime suspects and had betrayed my best friend, Diana Yu. So, it was definitely a non-starter.

I also could understand the elements of passion and sexual orientation in the story – they fit with my personality.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out? 

As soon as I realized that sexual orientation was a major factor and a reason for aggression, I knew the story would evolve into a different world. I did not mind it, but it this was the moment I needed to mobilize assessment of its role in the plot and realized that some of the character’s motivations would likely be irrational. I knew it would become ugly.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why? 

Without disclosing details, there is a sleazy character in the book, one who actually approaches Victoria Leung to launch the investigation. He is so infatuated with himself, disingenuous and manipulative, not to mention the way he treats his peers and women in general.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away? 

I never thought that the hatred of the primary suspect would be so extreme and irrational, and it was a true challenge interrogating him. However, I do like the fact that I enraged him to the point where he unconsciously admitted his own guilt. 

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it? 

Georges should continue the path he is on. He incorporates so many of his own values in the story. He may, however, have to include a bit more detail in the sex elements of the book…I will be 36, and each day that goes by I can feel my biological clock ticking. I do wonder what he has in mind for me. He certainly knows my femininity but protected me this time. Hopefully he will unveil that side of me in the next book. 

Thank you for this interview, Victoria.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Absolutely. I know Georges wants me to travel.

He did share with me that the next plot will likely take place in the city of London. I look forward to it, as I am delighted to spend some time in London. It is a city that Georges himself, lived in for many years so I am sure he is going have me discover unusual parts of his own experiences. He is truly unpredictable.

I should be back early 2017!

////////////////////////////////

Title:  THE FLYING DRAGON

Genre:  THRILLER/SUSPENSE

Author:  Georges Ugeux

Website: http://www.georgesugeux.com

Publisher:  Archway Books

Find out more on Amazon

About the Book: 

Celebrated non-fiction author Georges Ugeux delivers an intense, imaginative and intriguing financial thriller in his debut novel, The Flying Dragon.  Set against the backdrop of the high-energy, high-tension world of global finance, The Flying Dragon plunges readers deep into a world where power, greed, money, and passion can intersect in a most dangerous way.

The Flying Dragon introduces protagonist Victoria Leung, a beautiful, brilliant, fearless, and highly accomplished financial fraud investigator.  Responsible for taking down Sun Hung Kai Properties’ Kwok Brothers, a real estate empire, Victoria not only established herself as a formidable talent, but earned the nickname “The Flying Dragon” in the process. When she leaves the fraud department of the Hong Kong Police, Victoria accepts a position as a senior detective at Pegasus, an international security firm based in London.  The Pegasus job affords Victoria much-needed freedom, but that calm is shattered when Victoria receives an urgent message from her close friend Diana Yu. It seems Diana’s ex- boyfriend Henry Chang is in danger.  Henry’s co-worker, Bertrand Wilmington, head of the derivative trading desk of a global bank, has fallen from a window of the twenty-second floor trading room.The Hong Kong Police Force quickly concludes that the death was a suicide, but is there more to this story than meets the eye? Henry Chang thinks so—and knows that if anyone can find answers, it’s Victoria, the Flying Dragon herself. Hong Kong and Mainland authorities are unsuccessful in cracking the case, but Victoria uses her expertise to discover key clues. And Victoria, a dogged, tough, tenacious investigator, won’t back down until she gets answers. As she races to piece together the puzzle of what really happened, Victoria is swept up in a world of danger, deception, and deadly consequences.   Can she extricate herself from this perilous web of arrogance, power, money and greed? Will she expose the corruption and bring down a financial giant?  Or will time run out? The clock is ticking….

GU Author Photo for Blog

A Belgian and U.S. national, Georges Ugeux is the Chairman and CEO of Galileo Global Advisors LLC, an investment banking advisory boutique.  Ugeux joined the New York Stock Exchange in 1996, as Group Executive Vice President, International. An adjunct professor at Columbia Law School, Ugeux is the author of a numerous nonfiction books about finance.  The Flying Dragon is his first work of fiction

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