Tell us about your current novel/collection.
My 16th novel, FATAL HARBOR, has just been released by new publisher, Pegasus Books, who have been a dream to work with. It’s the eighth novel in my Lewis Cole mystery series, and I’m both pleased and yet a bit horrified to note that this is the 20th anniversary of my first novel, the debut work --- DEAD SAND --- in my Cole series.
FATAL HARBOR picks up after the end of the previous Cole novel, DEADLY COVE, where Lewis’ best friend, Detective Sergeant Diane Woods, had been beaten nearly to death and left in a coma. In FATAL HARBOR, Lewis is working hard to find the person who nearly killed his best friend, despite so very many obstacles. This book is different in that it’s not a mystery novel, per se. It’s more of a thriller/revenge work, where right from page one, Lewis is on a mission of revenge, and nothing --- setbacks, attacks, a deeply personal loss and betrayal --- will hold him back.
In some ways, I think of this as being the best of my Cole novels, with a fast-moving plot and an insight to just how far someone will get to seek justice.
2. Can you give a sense of what you're working on now?
Ah, so many projects, so little time. A month ago, I finished the first draft of the next Lewis Cole novel, BLOOD FOAM. It’s currently with my first readers, and I hope to get it out to my publisher in a few weeks.
I’m also gobsmacked to find myself in a position where I have three other novels in the hands of three separate publishers, in various stages of review, including a stand-alone crime thriller, my first true science fiction novel, and a futuristic thriller that I modestly think is the best thing I’ve ever done.
I also have about seven or eight short stories out making the proverbial rounds, and I’ve totally embraced the e-book revolution. I’ve gotten the rights back to some of my previous novels, have also done collections of my short fiction, and are selling all via Kindle, Nook and Smashwods.
I also wrote a self-published book on the strange yet exciting experience of being a “Jeopardy!” gameshow champion, and am working to get that --- along with other works --- converted to an audiobook format.
Besides that, nothing much else is going on.
3. What is the greatest pleasure of a writing career?
To have the best job in the world, in which I set my own hours and pace, and get paid for storytelling, and to meet fans and writers from all over the world.
4. What is the greatest DISpleasure?
Editors who take months to make a decision. Agents who act as gatekeepers and editorial reviewers, overlooking their primary job to assist writers in their careers. Royalty statements that make no sense. And pay scales, for the most part, that haven’t even come close to the realities of today’s economy.
5. If you have one piece of advice for the publishing world, what is it?
Try to reduce the insane pressure to find “the next big writer” and focus more on us poor mid-list folks. Sniff-sniff.
6. Are there two or three forgotten mystery writers you'd like to see in print again?
I’m still stunned that John D. MacDonald is now practically ignored. Amazing. When I broke into the mystery field in the 1980’s, he was the proverbial Goliath in the field, and I spent an exhilarating year or so, reading all of the Travis McGee series. Now… almost entirely forgotten. Then there’s Tony Kenrick, who wrote a bunch of humorous and twisty thrillers back in the 1970’s, and Edwin Corley, who wrote a number of stunning books in the 1960’s and 1970’s, including “Seige,” about an African-American army of revolution that seizes the island of Manhattan, and “The Jesus Factor,” a breakneck thriller about the possibility that nuclear weapons don’t work, have never worked, and that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were an elaborate hoax.
7. Tell us about selling your first novel. Most writers never forget that moment.
I was working at my corporate communications job at utility in New Hampshire when my agent called in the summer of 1991, saying that my first Lewis Cole novel, DEAD SAND (and my fourth novel in actuality) had been purchased by Pocket Books I had to admit tears came to my eyes; ever since I was twelve, I wanted to be an author, and now, 20 years later, my dream had come true.