What First Sparked Your Interest in Writing Murder Mysteries?
I like reading them—particularly the Nero Wolfe books by Rex Stout. I love Sherlock Holmes. In fact, every chapter of Deception starts with a great quote from a Holmes story. It was fun matching those with the contents of particular chapters. Many people enjoy murder mysteries, so there’s potential for a wide audience.
My first novel Deadline was an experiment. I love research and wanted to write something different, so I spent time with homicide detectives and journalists, to see if I could get inside their world, and take readers there. Based on reader responses, the experiment seemed to work. I still get letters from readers who’ve read Deadline and Dominion for the first time.
Dominion is by far my longest novel, at six hundred pages. I once met a junior higher who had read it six times. I shake my head in wonder at how many people have gotten into these novels! There have been theatrical productions of Deadline, and several major companies have explored making a movie out of Deadline, but financing is usually the holdup. In fact, the screenplay has already been written. It was my first novel so I don’t think it’s the best written, since hopefully I’ve learned something over the years. Safely Home and Deception, my sixth and seventh novels, are probably the best, but for some reason Deadline and Dominion capture the imagination and just keep right on selling.
From a pure murder mystery point of view, I’m really pleased with the audio version of Deception. The first voice actor who auditioned—an award-winning audio reader—had a great voice, but it was too young and clear for Ollie, who’s a Vietnam vet with a gruff voice. Oasis Audio found just the right guy with a voice pleasant enough to listen to, yet raspy enough to be Ollie. His voice really does Ollie Chandler justice.
I enjoyed writing about Ollie so much that I’m considering another murder mystery centered on him. I had thought Deception would complete what began in Deadline and Dominion, but Ollie’s the first viewpoint character I’ve ever had who made me want to stay with him for another book or two. I keep thinking of more things Ollie could do and say. So if there’s a strong response to Deception, likely I’ll try another.