Interview with Paul D. Marks, author of WHITE HEAT

Why do you write?

MARKS: I write so I can kill people…on the page that I can’t kill in real life……….. Seriously, why do I write – why does anyone write – because we have to.

When do you write?

MARKS: I keep “vampire hours,” so mostly I write in the middle of the night.  My sleep schedule has shifted over time.  I’ve always been a late-night person.  But that used to mean going to bed at 2 or 3 or 4am.  Now it means going to bed at 9am and getting up at three or four in the afternoon.  So I tend to write starting at about 11pm these days.  It’s quiet.  There’s no interruptions. And the nighttime sets the proper mood for most of what I write.

Where do you write?

MARKS: I write in my home office.  Sometimes I do it other places.  But my office has everything I need. I have a nice view. Pictures on the wall that inspire me. Mostly album covers and movie lobby cards, some other things. And, of course, my picture of Dennis Hopper flipping the bird from Easy Rider. I also have access to my addictions, diet cherry Pepsi and Waiwera water.  Plus I have my assistants, my dogs and cats, to help out.

If I’m out and about in the world, coffee shop, beach, library, I get too distracted by what’s going on around me…but that can be fun.  Too much fun.  And you might think there would be distractions in the office, TV, phone and food.  But I’m pretty good at avoiding those.  What I’m not good at avoiding is the internet.  I love to research and it makes me feel like I’m working even when I’m not.

What do you write?

MARKS: I write mostly noir and mystery fiction, but sometimes mainstream and humor or satire. For example, my Shamus Award-Winning novel, White Heat, is a noir-mystery-thriller set in and during the “Rodney King” riots (see below for more details) and its sequel, Broken Windows (not yet published) is in the same vein.  I’ve had over 30 short stories published that run the gamut from noir to mainstream and satire, including several award winners.

How do you write?

MARKS: I put my ass in the chair, goof for a few minutes on the computer, doing whatever I want, and then I start in on one of my projects.  Doesn’t matter if I’m not in the mood – you get in the mood by doing it.  And even if it’s not going well, just write, stream-of-consciousness.  Hone it later.

Tell me about your previous books and where they can be found.

MARKS: White Heat and L.A. Late @ Night, a collection of five of my previously published short stories, can be found on Amazon in both paperback and e-versions, as well as other venues.  White Heat is my Shamus Award winning novel that Publishers Weekly calls a “taut crime yarn.”  It’s set during the “Rodney King Riots” of 1992 and is about a screwup P.I. who inadvertently leads a murderer to his prey and has to find the killer in order to make things right.  L.A. Late @ Night is a collection of 5 of my previously published short stories.  All set in L.A. and in genres ranging from noir to hardboiled to medium boiled. Lawrence Maddox, the reviewer in All Due Respect, Crime Fiction Magazine said this about that collection: “You could hate L.A. for the way it screws with the decent folk so deftly conveyed here, but you won’t be able to put this highly recommended collection down.”

Tell me what you’re currently working on.

MARKS: I’m working on a slew of projects.  The sequel to White Heat and another novel, this one a mystery set on the World War II homefront, are already done and sitting with an agent.  So I’m currently working on two stand-alone novellas.  One for a publisher of novellas and one for myself.  Both are mysteries, but one is more noir than the other. But the other is interesting because it’s set all in one location. But if I told you exactly what they were about, well, you know…  I’m also working on three different short stories, plus the blog I write for every other Friday (http://7criminalminds.blogspot.com/).  And I’m co-editing an anthology of mystery short stories from various writers called Coast to Coast: Murder from Sea to Shining Sea (that may or may not remain the final title), that includes several big name and award-winning mystery authors.  I’m definitely not wanting for things to occupy my time.

Tell me something funny.

MARKS: I write so I can kill people on the page that I can’t kill in real life………..  You gotta admit, that’s pretty funny….

Thanks for having me, Max!

 

Find Paul D. Marks at:

www.PaulDMarks.com
https://www.amazon.com/author/pauldmarks 
facebook: www.facebook.com/paul.d.marks
twitter: @PaulDMarks

blog: http://www.7criminalminds.blogspot.com/
blog: http://pauldmarks.blogspot.com/

http://www.amazon.com/White-Heat-P-I-Duke-Rogers-ebook/dp/B007SIR8QG

http://www.amazon.com/L-A-Late-Night-Mystery-Streets-ebook/dp/B00I9289HM

 

Paul D. Marks’ novel WHITE HEAT is a 2013 SHAMUS AWARD WINNER.  Publishers Weekly calls WHITE HEAT a “taut crime yarn.”  And Midwest Book Review says “WHITE HEAT is a riveting read of mystery, much recommended.”  Paul is also the author of over thirty published short stories in a variety of genres, including several award winners – and L.A. LATE @ NIGHT, a collection of five of his mystery and noir tales.  His story HOWLING AT THE MOON will be in an upcoming edition of Ellery Queen.  And he has the distinction, dubious though it might be, of being the last person to have shot a film on the fabled MGM backlot before it bit the dust to make way for condos.  According to Steven Bingen, one of the authors of the recent, well-received book MGM: Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot: “That 40 page chronological list I mentioned of films shot at the studio ends with his [Paul D. Marks’] name on it.”

White-Heat-cover----new-pix-batch----D22b

 

 

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On Why Villains are Fun. . .

The world needs villains. Especially in Judeo-Christian America, we need villains in order to validate our own moral superiority; we need villains to be the living embodiment of Evil, to be out there committing the Big Crimes, so that the rest of us can shake our heads and keep right on cheating on our taxes and stealing our neighbor’s WIFI and parking in handicap spaces.

But philosophical and moral arguments aside, we need villains because well, they’re cool. And they have way more fun than most of us.  They allow us to watch (from a safe distance) as they not only succumb to their base desires, but really revel in them. Personally, I enjoy them for their unapologetic nature, for thumbing their collective noses at the world and saying, “I do whatever I want, whenever I want, and stop me. . . if you can.” Really, how fun does that sound?

Now think about this.  What would Superman be without Lex Luther?  Answer: just an uptight guy with glasses and a strong chin.  I mean, James Bond is just a womanizer without the likes of Auric Goldfinger and Dr. No;  without the many foes Bond has battled and defeated in those books and movies, he would be a cliche, a very one-dimensional character, who would have to find a rich widower to pay for his first-class air travel, gadgets, and dry martinis.  Hell, even my beloved Red Sox are much more fun to watch when they are pitted against the Evil Empire known as the New York Yankees.

Which brings me to an article on villains and villainy I found at a tumblr site called CleverGirlHelps. I linked to the entire article below, but I’ve excerpted some choice bits for those interested, as I am, in the dynamics of villains.

On the difference between a villain and an antagonist:

What makes a villain a villain is action. What makes an antagonist an antagonist is force against the protagonist. Again, these things can overlap, but do not always do so. I would like you to disregard the notion that villains and antagonists must be characters. They can be, but they do not always have to be.

On villainy as a reflection of the hero:

A villain can be a reflection or shadow of whatever the hero stands for and loves. A villain who is good at their job might be this because they represent whatever the hero fears, loathes, or is scared of. A reflective villain is more than not-the-hero, a villain is the essence of not-the-hero.

On villainy as conflict:

Conflict and villainy can easily coincide. Conflict is the basis of the story, the thing that drives the plot and spurs on the characters. Bear in mind, if your villain is a part of the conflict, I expect you to deal with the villain somehow before resolving the plot in its entirety.

Here’s the entire article, which is filled with smart observations on the subject as well as a variety of examples to back up her opinions. Check it out.

http://clevergirlhelps.tumblr.com/post/84565698794/hi-i-was-wondering-if-you-have-any-advice-on-writing-a

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A SUNDAY IN ALPHABET LAND, my latest novel

I am 33,000 words into my new crime novel A SUNDAY IN ALPHABET LAND, and I am sneaking up on what I think will make for a killer ending. Similar to my Eli Sharpe books, this one features a “problem-solver” (a.k.a. detective) named the Rook, who is trying very hard to clean up Alphabet Land, a neighborhood that has gone to the dogs since the nuclear plant was decommissioned nine years prior.  Set in a fictitious town in South Carolina, Alphabet Land is blue-collar all the way, a neighborhood that has relied on the plant for employment for the past forty years, and when the novel begins, Alphabet Land is awash in drugs, violence, and crime, all of it controlled by a man named Luke Bump (a.k.a. villain).

This novel takes place during one Sunday, and it is action-packed, gritty, and totally noir.  It has guns and fights and cool, but scary settings where all the action takes place. I’m hoping to have this book finished within the next couple of weeks, and then I plan to submit it to agents before the summer is out. Hopefully, someone will be interested in it.

In the meantime, be on the lookout for the first book in the Eli Sharpe series entitled GO GO GATO. It’ll be released on August 1st. Click on the link below to pre-order.

http://www.amazon.com/Go-Gato-Max-Everhart/dp/1603819118/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1395937767&sr=8-2&keywords=go+go+gato

Or enter my Goodreads giveaway and win a signed copy.

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/88620-go-go-gato

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Review of TALKING ABOUT DETECTIVE FICTION by P.D. James

Aside from digging her work, particularly the Commander Adam Dalgliesh books, James has many brilliant insights on both British detective stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dorothy Sayers as well as American hard-boiled fiction by Raymond Chandler and Ross MacDonald.  Anytime a master of the genre writes what amounts to a How To Write and/or Interpret Great Detective Fiction book, a mystery novelist would be well-advised to read and take notes. . .which I did. I’ve cobbled together my favorite bits below.

James on using setting, from pages 129-131:

Place, after all, is where the characters play out their tragicomedies, and it is only if the action is firmly rooted in a physical reality that we can fully enter their world…the setting is where these people live, move and have their being, and we need to breathe their air, see with their eyes, walk they paths they tread and inhabit the rooms the writer has furnished for them.

James on Raymond Chandler’s contributions to the detective genre, from page 86:

He showed crime writers that what is important goes beyond an ingenious plot, mystery and suspense. More important are the novelist’s voice, the reality of the world he creates and the strength and originality of the writing…he rejected the editor’s insistence in cutting out all descriptions on the grounds that the readers disliked anything that held up the action.

James on serial detectives, from page 153:

A serial detective has…particular advantages: an established character who does not have to be introduced afresh with each novel, a successful career in crime-solving which can add gravitas, an established family history and background and, above all, reader identification and loyalty.

James on why readers are drawn to mysteries, from page 14:

(Mysteries–my word) provide not only the satisfaction of all popular literature, the mild intellectual challenge of a puzzle, excitement, confirmation of our cherished beliefs in goodness and order, but also entry to a familiar and reassuring world in which we both involved in violent death and yet remain personally inviolate both from responsibility and from its terrors.

 

Bottom line, this book offers a treasure trove of great stuff, and it would be enjoyable for the avid mystery reader and educational for any mystery novelist, whether aspiring or already established. Often when you read a non-fiction book by a fiction writer, you can see why the writer’s novels are so good, and Talking About Detective Fiction is an excellent example of that.

talking-about-detective-fiction

 

Eli Sharpe Mystery #2. . .in the works

My publisher Camel Press has green-lit the second Eli Sharpe mystery, and we’re currently editing it for publication, which is tentatively scheduled for next Spring or early Summer.  Very loosely based on Shakespeare’s King Lear (if you’re gonna steal, steal from the best!), Split to Splinters (tentative title) is about a Hall of Fame pitcher turned wildly successful real estate investor named Jim Honeycutt.  Honeycutt has four daughters ranging in ages from fifteen to thirty-six, and they’re all vying for his affection, attention, and, of course, his money.  And he has a lot of it. Close to $15 million.

The MacGuffin?  Honeycutt’s 300th career win game ball, an important piece of baseball history and a damned valuable one, vanishes. Enter Eli Sharpe. After a brief investigation, he soon discovers that the missing ball is just the tip of the iceberg, for the Honeycutt clan is crawling with subplots–blackmail, embezzlement, and other fun backstabbing hijinks–and that each of the daughters Honeycutt is more cunning than the last.

More on this come . . . as well as my other so-called writing, including a new series featuring the Rook: a “problem-solver” who builds custom coffins, plays chess, watches birds, and carries a .45 Chief’s Special.

Cheers.

Press Release for GO GO GATO

Camel Press Announces the August Release of Go Go Gato, by Max Everhart: A Ballplayer Vanishes

Seattle, WA.—On August 1, 2014, Camel Press will release Go Go Gato ($14.95, 278 pages, ISBN: 978-1-60381-911-4), by Max Everhart, the first book in a new mystery/suspense series featuring Eli Sharpe, a former baseball player turned detective.

From its hero to its milieu to its eccentric, three-dimensional characters, Max Everhart’s GO GO GATO is a terrific read. The North Carolina minor-league baseball scene feels authentic and beloved, and I was always rooting for protagonist Eli Sharpe. The best news is that this excellent mystery is first in a series. Fans of Harlan Coben will want to check out Max Everhart, a major new talent!

–Steve Ulfelder, Edgar finalist author of WOLVERINE BROS. FREIGHT & STORAGE

Go Go Gato is the debut entry in a promising new series by Max Everhart, and it’s a fast-paced, entertaining tale. Eli Sharpe is a very appealing character who combines just the right amounts of wit, humor, intelligence and courage, and it will be fun to watch him in action as the series continues to grow and develop.

–James L. Thane, author of UNTIL DEATH and NO PLACE TO DIE

When Almario “Go Go” Gato, a handsome young Cuban baseball player, goes missing mid-season, his agent Veronica Craven hires a private investigator to track down her best client. No police. No press. Enter Eli Sharpe, an Asheville, North Carolina-based ex-ballplayer turned private detective who specializes in investigating professional athletes.

Eli begins by questioning Maria Gato, Almario’s roommate and fraternal twin. Maria watched while both her parents drowned on the boat ride from Cuba to America, so she is naturally desperate to get her only brother back. She tells Eli a secret: Almario may have a problem with drugs and alcohol.

Eli tracks down Almario’s supposed girlfriend, a rich sorority girl, but is soon led to another woman in his life, Sheri Stuckey, his cocaine supplier and fiancée who works in tandem with a gay bartender named Dantonio Rushing. Stuckey, a drug abuser and single mother, claims Almario split because she wanted the two of them to check into rehab. But Rushing, dazzled by Almario’s boyish good looks, tells a different tale: Almario has taken out a $500,000 life insurance policy on himself and named Stuckey as the primary beneficiary.

With the help of his a mentor—a former homicide detective—and five ex fiancées who still care about him, Eli follows Go Go’s trail, determined to locate the elusive ballplayer before one of the nasty people in his life—or his own bad habits—do him in. Max Everhart had this to say about his protagonist:

Eli Sharpe is an amalgamation, a Frankenstein I cobbled together out of spare parts just lying around the junkyard in my brain. From television, I constructed my detective from Atlanta Braves games circa mid-1980s, reruns of The Rockford Files, the first season of The Wire, and the Fletch movies. From hard-boiled PI books, I borrowed elements from Lew Archer, Philip Marlowe, C.W. Sughrue, Archy McNally, and dozens of other fictional detectives. From my own life, I drew on half-remembered conversations between my father and me, fragmented images from my time in Asheville, and god-only-knows what else. But in the end, Go Go Gato is the kind of story I like to read, and Eli Sharpe is the type of detective that I, as a reader, would become obsessed with. Hopefully, other readers will share my obsession.”

Go Go Gato is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.com. After August 1st, it will be also for sale in eBook and print editions on BN.com, the European Amazons, and Amazon Japan. Bookstores and libraries can order by contacting info@camelpress.com or through Ingram, Baker & Taylor, or Partners West. Libraries can also order through Follett Library Resources or Midwest Library Service. Other electronic versions can be purchased on Smashwords or at any of the major online ebook stores.

http://www.amazon.com/Go-Gato-Max-Everhart/dp/1603819118/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399319850&sr=8-1&keywords=go+go+gato