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.”

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Book Review of LA Late @ Night by Paul D. Marks

If you like tautly-constructed hard-boiled stories featuring gritty characters, snappy dialogue, and plenty of action, then LA Late @ Night is right up your alley.  The title story features a hotshot defense attorney–Cassie Rodriguez–who successfully defends a rich Hollywood director on murder charges.  Several elements of this story interested me, beginning with the format. Written as a modified movie script, this story feels as if you’re a cinematographer, simultaneously shooting and observing the action up close and personal from behind a camera. Another compelling element was the theme. I mean, how often does a wildly successful attorney even attempt to right a wrong the justice system couldn’t, let alone actually succeed? But in this story, it happens. And it’s believable, primarily because of the way Cassie’s character is portrayed and developed.

The title story is by far the most original of the five tales, but my favorite is definitely “Angels Flight.” This one is about Tom Holland, a jaded homicide detective who gets saddled with Lucy Railsback, a member of the mayor’s Community Police Action Committee.  Lucy assists Holland in the death investigation of a body the police find in Echo Park Lake. Without spoiling the ending, Lucy uses both good old fashioned street smarts and voodoo to help solve the case.  Similar to the title story and the other tales in the book, “Angels Flight” is satisfying for its memorable characters, quick dialogue, and clipped prose. But what I enjoyed most about this story was what I enjoyed most about the collection in total: the setting of Los Angeles, which simply comes alive in the hands of a skilled writer like Marks. The L.A. Marks depicts is dangerous and raw, and it is, for my money, the most compelling character present.  Just like in his excellent PI novel White Heat, Marks manages to capture the dirty underbelly of one of the most written about cities in modern history, and, miraculously, he does so in a uniquely singular way.  . .a true literary feat indeed.

Bottom line, I highly recommend this collection to any true fan of the hard-boiled/noir genre.  Oh, and make sure to read the excerpt from White Heat; the opening chapter hooked me from word one.

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

 

 

 

 

White Heat by Paul D. Marks

In White Heat, former Navy SEAL turned PI Duke Rogers makes a quick $250 dollars by locating the address of Teddie Matson, a burgeoning TV actress.  A day later Matson is murdered, and Rogers, wrenched with guilt, sets out to find the killer.  Set in L.A. during the riots following the Rodney King case, Rogers is beset on all sides by looters and gang bangers, stalkers and criminals, grieving families and damsels in distress, fires and bullets. But it is Rogers’s conscience that proves to be the biggest obstacle. Occasionally calling on the assistance of Jack, a racist/xenophobic ex-SEAL who is eerily likable, Rogers is a formidable hero and more than interesting enough to carry a series.  No spoilers here, but I liked the ending precisely because every narrative thread was not neatly tied up, and yet, in the vivid, hard-boiled world Marks has created, justice is served.

White Heat won the Shamus Award for Best Indie PI novel in 2013, and I certainly see why.  There are several elements to this book that make it more than just the run-of-the-mill private dick story.  Exhibit A: the fantastic descriptions of Los Angeles. Having been to L.A. a total of once, most of my ideas about La-La Land come from TV, movies, and books. Marks does a remarkable job of portraying a city in crisis, a portrayal, I might add, that is more vivid than Raymond Chandler’s L.A. and more realistic and complex than James Ellroy’s. (Note: I love both of those writers and their books).  Exhibit B: the palpable tension running through the narrative. Stalking is a big theme in this book, and as I read, I felt the fear, anxiety, and paranoia gripping me.  Throughout the novel, there are italicized sections of inner monologue that serve to put the reader inside Rogers’s head and in the belly of the riots.  Exhibit C: the commentary on race. It’s damned hard to successfully weave social and/or political commentary into a novel without coming off as preachy, but Marks pulls it off.

Bottom line, I’ve come up with a simple question for determining if a book is really good or not: how many hours of work and/or sleep did you lose because you couldn’t stop reading? Let’s just say I have a stack of ungraded essays on my desk, and my eyelids are very heavy. Cheers to the author of White Heat for that.

P.S.–Check the author’s blog linked below. Love his thoughts on old noir films.

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http://pauldmarks.com/index.html

http://www.amazon.com/White-Heat-P-I-Duke-Rogers-ebook/dp/B007SIR8QG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386340106&sr=8-1&keywords=white+heat+paul+marks