Q&A with Thriller Author Michael Parker

Today I’m thrilled to have British thriller author Michael Parker answer some questions about his books and his writing.

Michael ParkerMichael is the author of ten books. His first novel, NORTH SLOPE was published in 1980, and is now available as a POD paperback and Kindle on Amazon.

You can find out more about Michael and his books at www.MichaelParkerBooks.com


1. What drew you to writing the types of books that you write? Books that interweave historical events, mystery and elements of the thriller genre.

Having been brought up with children’s classics through to ‘grown up’ fiction, I became fascinated with authors such as Hammond Innes, Desmond Bagley, Denis Wheatley and many others. I discovered new authors in the library such as Nigel Tranter who wrote ‘The Master of Gray’, a novel about Queen Elizabeth and Mary, Queen of Scots. One of the writers who had the biggest impact on me was Mickey Spillane with his Mike Hammer novels. Ed McBain was another. So there was a fairly eclectic mix of authors from which I learned the art of story-telling in different genres.

2. A couple of your books involve events from WWII. Is this period of particular interest to you? Do you think you’ll write another book set in this time?

Devils TrinityWhen I learned that the British invented centimetric radar to defeat the Nazi wolf packs in the Atlantic in World War Two, it fascinated me enough to want to write something. I invented a fictitious island off the north coast of Scotland for the story. Apart from the military research, I studied much about whaling and life on a remote island and how the island community lived. I don’t think I’ll write another war story though.

3. Where do your ideas for books come from?

Usually from some relevant fact. i.e., The discovery of oil in Alaska (North Slope). Centimetric radar (Shadow of the Wolf). Constructing a railway line from Mombassa to Uganda in the nineteenth century (Hell’s Gate). An American project to divert the Gulf Stream in the nineteenth century, later abandoned (The Devil’s Trinity). The sale of Nazi gold by the Bolivian government (I had a friend who was involved in the early stages (A Dangerous Game). There are other reasons, of course, but mainly inspired by real life events.

4. One of your reviewers described your books as ‘impossible to put down’. How do you create tension and compelling forward momentum in a book?

I believe it is important to keep the reader ‘hooked’. An opening paragraph is the first hook, but each scene should, I believe, finish with a hook too; this encourages the reader to want to read on. When I put my characters in seemingly impossible situations, I have to come up with a way for them to extricate themselves without inventing something that would seem unlikely. The elements of those situations must be planted elsewhere in the plot without the reader realizing why they are there.

5. Your book that was released earlier this year, A Dangerous Game, is set in present-day America and Mexico. Do you have a preference for writing in the present or the past?

Eagles ConvenantI’ve no particular preference; it depends on where my inspiration has come from. Writing in the present means keeping up with modern trends like technology etc., whereas writing in the past means I can avoid such things as cell phones, computer hacking, forensic science etc. But whichever way I go, it doesn’t make it easier.

6. Please share a bit about the book you are currently writing.

I have brought Marcus Blake back (A Covert War) to investigate the death of a British cabinet minister. Officially the minister died from cancer, but a suicide note was found by his body with a disgusting revelation about his private life. The police and the coroner are all satisfied it was suicide, but one man believes it was murder. Marcus has a part time secretary working for him. Her name is Vereen and she is a single mother on benefits who likes smoking marijuana. Marcus learns of a private clinic where illegal genetic engineering is carried out. The cabinet minister was connected to this in some way, but his secrets have gone to the grave. Vereen comes under the influence of a nightclub owner who is involved with a satanic set and is also linked to the dead minister.

I am about halfway through the first draft and have a couple of dead bodies in there so far. This novel isn’t inspired by anything other than to change direction a little and develop a mystery thriller.

Comic Noir and Advice from Sue Grafton with Renee Pawlish

Introduction

Podcast episode 22Author Renee Pawlish (and our very special guest Harley the cat) and I have a great chat today about her comic noir detective series, her new mystery series featuring a hard-boiled detective in the WW II era and much more.

Renee is a prolific author and a huge fan of the mystery genre. She’s been reading mysteries her whole life and it shows in the thoughtful way she’s created the detective for her longest running series, the Reed Ferguson Mysteries. Reed is a smart aleck, as Renee describes him, who is different than many other traditional noir detectives; he’s not a recovering alcoholic and he has a loving wife and family. Renee and I discuss Reed’s connection to other noir detectives like Robert B. Parker’s Spenser, Columbo, Jim Rockford and more.

I forgot to ask Renee about the ‘punny’ titles to some of her books. You can see some of those shown below, like The Postman Always Brings Dice and The Maltese Felon. I love an author with a sense of humour!!

Mystery fans will be thrilled to know
that Renee has started a page on her website aimed and offering readers mystery novels each month at a bargain price. Each month she features new mystery novels that are either free or on special for $0.99. You can check out this month’s deals here.

You can find out more about Renee and her books on her website ReneePawlish.com. She’s also on Twitter and Facebook.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with Renee

Alexandra: Hi, mystery readers. I’m Alexandra Amor. This is It’s A Mystery podcast, and I’m here today with Renee Pawlish. Hi, Renee.

Renee: Hi, how are you?

Alexandra: Very well, how are you?

Renee: Doing just great.

Alexandra: Good, and I should say we’re here with Renee and Harley, who’s there in the background.

Renee: That’s right, yeah, yeah.

Alexandra: That’s fantastic. I just want to explain to everybody that I have a bit of a cold, so I have a cold lozenge in my mouth. If I sound a little weird, that’s what’s going on there. Let me introduce our listeners to you.

ReneePawlishRenee Pawlish is the award-winning author of the best-selling “Reed Ferguson Mystery” series and other mysteries and stories. Critics have said that Renee is a promising new voice in the comic murder mystery genre and a powerful storyteller. Her book, and I might mispronounce this, “Nephilim Genesis of Evil”, is that right?

Renee: It’s Nephilim.

Alexandra: Nephilim, “Nephilim Genesis of Evil” has been compared to Stephen King and Frank Peretti. Renee was born in California but has lived most of her life in Colorado. So I’m really excited to have you here today, Renee, to talk about your “Reed Ferguson Mysteries”.

Renee: Yeah.

Alexandra: The thing that really attracted them to me is they’re in that sort of comic noir genre, and I’m a huge Robert B. Parker fan. He’s not with us any longer, of course.

I wondered was there a particular author like Raymond Chandler or somebody who inspired you?

This-Doesnt-Happen-In-The-Movies-new-450x643Renee: Yeah, kind of a lot of the classic authors. I actually wrote the first book in the series, “This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies”, gosh like 14 years ago. I was influenced by Sue Grafton. I’ve met her a number of times back when she was just getting going and another one was a local author here named, John Dunning who wrote the “Booked To Die”, the “Bookman’s Series” I guess they call it. And I was trying to come up with a detective that was a little bit funny, a little bit of a smart ass, and Reed was sort of born out of that.

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