Bill Crider, Author

Bill059BILL CRIDER is the author of more than fifty published novels and numerous short stories. He won the Anthony Award for best first mystery novel in 1987 for Too Late to Die. He and his late wife, Judy, won the best short story Anthony in 2002 for their story “Chocolate Moose.” His story “Cranked” from Damn Near Dead (Busted Flush Press) was nominated for the Edgar award, the Anthony Award, and the Derringer Award. It won the latter. He’s won the Golden Duck Award for best juvenile science fiction novel and been nominated for a Shamus. His most recent novel is Between the Living and the Dead from St. Martin’s Press.

Here are a few handy links to where Bill can be found on the Internet:

Author homepage

Blog

Facebook author page

Twitter Account

Amazon Author Page

AND NOW A FEW WORDS FROM BILL CRIDER ABOUT BETWEEN THE LIVING AND THE DEAD:

Thanks for the opportunity to say a few words about my latest mystery novel.

One of the difficult things about writing a series of books that’s continued for 30 years is keeping it fresh both for myself and for the readers. I know that by this time people expect certain things in each book. For me to drop the interplay between certain characters would be like Rex Stout dropping Nero Wolfe’s visits to his orchids in his brownstone’s greenhouse or like Richard S. Prather omitting Shell Scott’s description of the women he encounters. So I keep that kind of thing in the book. Besides, I love writing it.

The books always have to include a murder, too. All my books in the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series, including Between the Living and the Dead, are set in a small town in a mythical Texas county, the kind of place where the usual crime is something like a salad bar without a sneeze guard. In a place like that, a murder makes things a lot more interesting. I include the small crimes, because those are as much fun to write about as the characters, but I have to put in a murder or two.

So how do I make things different?

For one thing I try to have the murders related to different things, like modern cattle rustling or the prevalence of feral hogs in rural Texas or the terrible stench of factory chicken-farming. For Between the Living and the Dead, I decided to write a book about a haunted house. A good many years ago when I was writing horror novels under a different name, I planned to write a book about a haunted house, but the horror market sort of disappeared before I could do it. I never gave up the idea, however, and when I started thinking about writing another book in the Sheriff Rhodes series, it occurred to me that just about every little town has an old deserted house with a story that local people like to tell about it. Often that story involves a ghost. So why not write a straightforward mystery novel that also includes a haunted house? It seemed like good idea, and I went with it.

Naturally a haunted house has to have a ghost to haunt it, and that led me to the idea of ghost hunters. One day when I was in the Wal-Mart parking lot here where I live in Alvin, Texas, I saw a van with advertisements for ghost hunters painted all over it. If there could be ghost hunters in the real small town where I live, why couldn’t there be ghost hunters in my fictional town? The Sheriff Rhodes books have a continuing character who’d be perfect as a ghost hunter, so I drafted him for the job.

With a haunted house, a ghost, and a ghost hunter lined up and ready to go, all I needed was a murder, and I thought that the perfect place for it to occur would be inside the haunted house. That’s where it happens. I also wanted to give the house some of the usual trappings of haunted houses: spiderwebs, rats, mysterious noises, and even a surprise or two. I did that, too.

In doing all these things, I was able to come up with what I think of as a book that has the same qualities that the previous books in the series have but that also has a different kind of plot and atmosphere. It works for me, and I hope it works for my readers.

The next book in the series, to be published later in 2016, is called Survivors Will Be Shot Again, and it has an entirely different premise. And of course a couple of murders. Something to look forward to!

indexBetween the Living and the Dead: A Dan Rhodes Mystery (Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mysteries) – August 11, 2015

Life is never easy for Texas Sheriff Dan Rhodes. When he is called in the middle of the night to investigate gunshots at a haunted house, Rhodes finds the body of meth dealer Neil Foshee. Recently released from jail, Foshee has his fair share of potential murderers, including former girlfriend Vicki, her new boyfriend, the nephew of Clearview’s mayor, and Foshee’s criminal cousins Earl and Louie.

Complicating matters is Seepy Benton, the community college math professor who has a new summer job. He’s founded Clearview Paranormal Investigations and wants to solve the murder by communing with Foshee’s ghost. But when Benton connects with something else instead and a second body is found, Rhodes is left with more questions than ever. Who’s the dead person? How long has the body been hidden? Is Benton really able to communicate with ghosts? And, most important, what, if anything, does the body have to do with Neil Foshee’s death?

Between the Living and the Dead, Bill Crider’s latest installment in the critically acclaimed Sheriff Dan Rhodes mystery series, finds Rhodes dealing with ghost hunters, runaway bulls, and assorted low-level crimes, including people’s failure to use their turn signals. It’s all in a day’s work in Clearview, Texas.

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Caroline Crane, Author

portraitSince the age of ten, what I wanted most was to be an actress. Throughout my teens, I wrote, directed, and starred in plays with my relatives and friends. At Bennington College, I majored in drama.

Soon after graduation, the acting bug left me and the writing bug took over.  For one thing, I was better at it. My first six novels were for young adults, published by Doubleday, David McKay, and Random House. My seventh was rejected, and I spent the next several years trying to break into adult mystery writing. Finally I was picked up by Dodd, Mead, which became my regular publisher until it was cleaned out by a venture capitalist.

Now, for the time being, I am back to writing for young adults. My publisher is Fire and Ice, a branch of Melange Books in Minnesota.

While all this was going on, I married Yoshio Kiyabu, of Okinawan descent and Hawaiian birth. He was a travel agent in New York City, where we lived and raised two children. Now widowed, I live in the Catskill area near my daughter and her family, and I still write for Fire and Ice. Recently I received an email from a fan who begged me to write more adult books. After four more young adult novels that rattle around in my head, I will definitely go back to adult suspense.

The books I have recently written are a series about two teenage girls who, in an effort to right wrongs, get themselves into perilous situations. In the one I am working on now, the heroine tries to find a little boy she was babysitting for who didn’t come home on the school bus. In the book whose cover is pictured here, she discovers she had a brother she didn’t know about and he is suspected of murder. The body was found in his car.

The books are published by Fire and Ice and are available, in both print and electronic versions, from lulu.co and from Amazon.com.

LINK TO MY WEBSITE

BOOK COVERIn Under Cover, a high school youth is found dead in a car. It makes news, but has nothing to do with our heroine, Cree Penny. Until her father comes all the way from Borneo, where he has been living. It doesn’t take Cree long to discover that the owner of the car is a half-brother she didn’t know she had. This pulls her deep into the mystery, until she and her brother are tied up in the basement of a school in which explosives are set.

 

Matt Coyle, Author

Coyle Head ShotMatt Coyle grew up in Southern California battling his Irish/Portuguese siblings for respect and the best spot on the couch in front of the TV. He knew he wanted to be a writer as a young teen when his father gave him THE SIMPLE ART OF MURDER by Raymond Chandler.

It took him a few decades but he finally got there. His debut novel, YESTERDAY’S ECHO, won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel, the San Diego Book Award for Best Mystery, the Ben Franklin Silver Award for Best New Voice in Fiction, and was named one of the Best Mysteries of 2013 by DEADLY PLEASURES MYSTERY MAGAZINE. The second book in the Rick Cahill Crime Series, NIGHT TREMORS, was named a top pick for 2015 by Bookreporter.com. Matt lives in San Diego with his Yellow Labrador, Angus where he is currently working on the third Rick Cahill crime novel.

Night Tremors final Jacket (2) (1)NIGHT TREMORS

Nightmares of the man he killed two years ago still chase Rick Cahill through his sleep. The memory of his murdered wife haunts him during waking hours. His private investigative work, secretly photographing adulterers, paid for his new house but stains his soul.

When an old nemesis asks for his help to free a man from prison, a man he thinks is wrongly convicted of murder, Rick grabs at the chance to turn his life around. His investigation takes him from the wealthy enclave of La Jolla to the dark underbelly of San Diego. His quest fractures his friendship with his mentor, endangers his steady job, and draws the ire of the Police Chief who had tried to put Rick behind bars forever. With the police on one side of the law and a vicious biker gang on the other, all trying to stop him from freeing the man in prison, Rick risks his life to uncover the truth that only the real killer knows―what happened one bloody night eight years earlier.

LINK to Matt’s Amazon Author’s Profile

(1) Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?

I watch a lot of true crime and the germ of the idea for NIGHT TREMORS came from a story that was covered by both 48 Hours and Dateline. That story is about a young man wrongly convicted of murdering his parents and the efforts to free him from prison. I fictionalized the story and added a few twists.

(2) How do you get inspired to write?

Deadlines. Inspiration is usually good for about a paragraph. The rest is sweat equity.

(3) What are you currently working on?

I just turned in the third Rick Cahill crime novel to my publisher. In it, Rick tries to prove that a cop and ex-Navy SEAL was murdered and didn’t commit suicide as ruled by the medical examiner and police. He meets resistance from the police and violence from dark forces.

(4) What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

Read, write, and join a writers group. Write when things are going well. Write when it’s difficult. Keep writing.

(5) What’s the best thing about being a writer?

There are a lot of nice things. Putting a “The End” on a 90-thousand-plus word story is a great feeling and a reward in itself. I’ve met a lot of great people and made wonderful friends in the mystery writing community. Receiving an email from a reader who felt touched by your work is right at the top of the list.

(6) How do you deal with writer’s block?

I usually stare at the computer screen for about an hour or so and if nothing bubbles to the surface, I write a scene that may come later in the book but comes easily. Eventually my subconscious will solve the puzzle that had me stumped. It just may take a few days.

Phil Bowie, Author

Phil photo for buzzPhil Bowie is a lifelong freelancer with 300 articles and short stories published in magazines including The Saturday Evening Post, Reader’s Digest, Harper’s, Yankee, Troika, Heartland USA, Make, AOPA Pilot, Southern Boating, and many other travel, aviation, and boating publications.

GUNS, his debut novel in the John Hardin series, earned honorable mention at the London Book Festival. He also has a collection of short stories out. Dagger and other tales includes a number of previously-published yarns such as “The Cat from Hell,” an award-winner begun by Stephen King.

Phil is a light-plane pilot, Coast Guard-licensed boat captain, motorcycle rider, inventor, fiddler, and voracious reader of everything.

WEBSITE LINK

The site includes reviews, a photo gallery, and easy direct-buy links to all of Phil’s books.

Deathsman cover.jpegPhil Bowie’s new novel, DEATHSMAN, is number four in a taut suspense series. The first three books, GUNS, DIAMONDBACK, and KLLRS, have been endorsed by top international bestsellers Lee Child, Ridley Pearson, and Stephen Coonts. The new tale finds pilot John Hardin (a WITSEC identity) and Cherokee girlfriend Kitty Birdsong pitted against a crime lord who sells generic illegal drugs, and a shadowy hit man named after professional executioners of centuries past, the deathsmen.

Like all of Phil’s novels, this one takes place mostly in the misty folds of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Buy link

(1) Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?

I wanted the background to be about illegal drugs because they’re such a huge problem across the country. But I wanted a fresh slant.

Prior to 2012, people were freely selling analogs of illegal drugs through convenience stores, disguised as bath salts or aroma products and labeled not for consumption to avoid FDA scrutiny. Actually, analogs are smokeable chemical concoctions that push the same brain buttons as illegal drugs. They were, up to quite recently, perfectly legal because the specific chemistry was not DEA-listed. Think of them as street generics. Laws have been passed, but that’s only driven the analogs underground and pushed up prices. So this became the novel’s background.

I like to paint such backgrounds for my stories. With my debut, GUNS, it was the world trade in light weaponry, which fuels so many conflicts, often with the sanctions of major governments. The backdrop for DIAMONDBACK was a lost Cherokee gold mine, based on true history. KLLRS involved a psychological study of the approach-avoidance conflict, a study I took part in as a test subject many years ago when I was skydiving.

You have to take care with background agendas, though. The stories can never get preachy or stridently angry or too complex because that will put off readers. I just like to honestly lay out some well-researched anchor or framework issue as a back story and let readers form their own opinions while I hope the up-front story entertains them.

(2) How do you get inspired to write?

My mother was an excellent newspaper reporter back when reporting was supposed to be scrupulously objective and unbiased. She interviewed Boris Karloff (Frankenstein’s monster on the movie screen, but a mild-mannered gentleman in person) and Eleanor Roosevelt, a lady she much admired. She told me real and imaginary stories, and instilled in me a love of and respect for language, for its beauty and power. She ignited my early inspiration.

I can also remember from childhood how I loved to get absolutely lost in my wide-roaming imagination for hours. Pretending a picnic table overturned in my back yard was a sailing ship on the open ocean. Imagining how it would feel to fly from a mountain top near my home out over the valley. Creating a community in my sand box. Voraciously reading stacks of comic books—Superman and Superwoman, Prince Valiant, Popeye.  Playing cops and robbers with my friends, armed with cap pistols. Making up characters and stories.

I’ve never quite grown up. I still like to get lost in my imagination. Now I do it through writing.

(3) What are you currently working on?

I want to set the next novel in Africa because the people and their many dire, entrenched problems intrigue me. But I’m uneasy because I’ve never been there, so it will take a lot of research before I’ll feel confident setting a believable novel there.

It’s a big departure for me because I like to write as much as possible from personal experience for verisimilitude. My series protagonist is a pilot, loves old western movies, rides a motorcycle, and likes to work with his hands. That’s pretty much me. His girlfriend is part Cherokee. My Naomi (editor, incisive critic, soul mate, number-one supporter) is also part Cherokee, and I admire the Indian cultures. I grew up in the Berkshires of Massachusetts so I love the similar Great Smokies of North Carolina, where my stories are mostly set.

And I’m always working on a short story or a magazine article.

(4) What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

Read Elements of Style by Strunk and White. It’s a skinny little book but the finest on how to use language accurately and well. Keep it by your computer. Follow its dictates. Also read On Writing by Stephen King.

Read widely in the genre you want to write. But simply reading lots of good books won’t teach you the basics, because top writers have fleshed out their stories cleverly, making it look easy. Which it most assuredly is not. Choose a few novels by top bestsellers you admire and take them apart. That is, read them through, then go back and read them again, taking notes on characters, scenes, pacing, twists. Strip them down until you expose their bare bones, and you’ll begin to understand how it’s done.

Shun adverbs and don’t overuse adjectives. Don’t use clichés; write from your own careful observations of people and settings. Be clear. Be accurate.

Get stubborn. Never give up. You’ll only lose when you quit. Shrug off rejection, which every writer experiences. Value honest advice from critics to improve your writing but ignore those one-star losers who roam the Net, often anonymously, and who’ll try to drag you down out of sheer meanness.

Above all, write.

(5) What’s the best thing about being a writer?

There’s something attractive, magical, enviable, even admirable about the word freelancer. About setting out to accomplish a major feat like writing a hundred-thousand-word novel simply relying on the wonderful powers stored within your own mind.

Of course it’s also fulfilling to reach people. I keep a file of notes and e-mails from readers who’ve enjoyed my work.

An example: “This is the first fan letter I have ever written in over twenty years of reading . . . your books have taken me back to what I miss the most, the outdoors and all its splendor, what it means to be alive . . . your writing stays with me as I step up the physiotherapy intensity . . . I thank you sincerely.” That came from a man in Birmingham, England, confined to a wheelchair because of an auto accident. It’s taped to the wall behind my computer.

(6) How do you deal with writer’s block?

I’ll take a walk. I can start out on a three-mile jaunt mulling over some vexing plot problem, say, or casting about for a new short story idea, and quite often by the time I get back I’ll have at least the glimmer of an answer. I think it’s because walking lets me focus without distractions and it helps oxygenate my brain.

Steven Martin Cohen, Author

Author's photo from BR back coverSteven Martin Cohen is a scientist, engineer, inventor, artist, humorist, and writer.

Author of Becker’s Ring (Crown Publishers and Warner Books), Seven Shades of Black (Warner Books), Toy Inventor, Katherine’s Bosom, The Watermark, Screw the Planet, Urban e-tiquette, and coauthored Caverns of the Shawangunk and its Environs, Southeastern New York, published by the National Speleological Society. His books have been published in Italy, England, Japan, and Romania.

Link to Author’s Amazon Page

7 shades of black cover 404 verticalSEVEN SHADES OF BLACK

While the Persian Gulf War rages, radio-controlled bombs are murdering hundreds of people in skyscrapers and Manhattan landmarks. Detective Brent Kramer combines forces with a brilliant team assembled to find Saddam Hussein’s elite terrorist cell known as The Seven Shades. Improvised munitions expert Nigel Atkerson reverse engineers bomb construction from shards of evidence. Herbert Raymond Boucher, former classmate of Nigel at MIT, is the FBI’s top anti-terrorism expert. Kurdish freedom fighters are smuggled into the US to search for the same mastermind who murdered 5000 people in a genocidal gas attack. Also enlisted is the most unlikely crime-fighter of all, notorious pickpocket Handy Hands, whose photographic memory guides police to track down the three most dangerous people on earth. Technology, guile, and ingenuity combine in an action-packed techno-thriller, taking us from abandoned New York train tunnels to cable cars high above the East River, from glider air drops over northern Iraq to an ill-fated hostage exchange—they must find the secret lab where a mild-mannered chemical engineer is cooking up on a kitchen stove the most powerful liquid explosive known to man, and no one is safe while his soldering iron connects the wires of another detonator.

Katherine bosom cover 416 verticalKATHERINE’S BOSOM

Katherine Parvo considers herself to be a good Christian, astrologer, scholar of many disciplines, and loving mother of an interracial child. In reality, she is a shallow, pretentious, fetishistic white Afrophile pretending to be more black than her black husband while smothering their daughter in a vice of sadistic control, mixed signals, and lies. And she has a secret sexual life she shares with no one. Under the fig leaf of tedious political correctness, Katherine is really a selfish, negligent scatterbrain with a pathological appetite for worship by those ensnared within her manic web of deception.

Hypocrisy and duplicity are taken to new levels as she manipulates family and friends to create a real estate empire that consists of a single mismanaged eight unit tenement slum. Guilt and psychosexual shame compound her dysfunctional relationships. She thrives on the creation of the chaos, which grows in ever-expanding circles as insane solutions to small problems beget still bigger problems, until things explode in catastrophe and murder. Katherine is a disease masquerading as the cure. And when she finally snaps, nothing good results, with many moving parts on a collision course in this dystopic Petri dish powered by hilariously-flamboyant mental illness.

beckers ring front cover 601 verticalBECKER’S RING

Recently released parolees are being abducted and having their hands amputated in an underground operating chamber. Their bones are then surgically fused to make one continuous limb from elbow to elbow. When dumped back on the street, the press calls them hoopers, and they become media celebrities under the tutelage of a sleazy promoter who shamelessly exploits these victims. The lead detective assembles an eccentric team of experts to catch the lunatic surgeon who is taking the law into his own hands. The mutilations grow more bizarre, resembling tree grafting experiments gone awry, and the comic horror escalates in a techno thriller where all things have gone terribly wrong in a life-or-death race against time. Will the cops find the mad surgeon before the most gruesome experiment of all?

Urban E-tiquette Cover small e 810 verticalURBAN E-TIQUETTE

Everyone who walks on a sidewalk experiences the stupid movement of others. In cities we collectively waste millions of hours just being in each others’ way. In one single rush hour subway stop two entire man-days can be collectively squandered due to aggressively-inconsiderate behavior of a few idiots blocking the doors. This time adds up. Man-days of waste become man-years, and eighty years of stolen time from the collective is not unlike murdering an entire person, several of which are micro-murdered every day. This time is carved from each of us against our will, and it can be prevented. Think of what could be accomplished with all this lost time.
There is a science to walking on sidewalks and stairs. There are optimal places to position oneself in moving crowds. There are sensible ways to get on and off elevators and trains. Conventions of motion etiquette can minimize delay. This pull-no-punches book humorously explains the dynamics of movement to save time. Pathologies are identified and named so people know what to call different time-wasting syndromes. And knowing what to call obstructive movement helps us avoid it.
This book also places bad social behavior under the microscope. Spitting and litter affect our quality of life. Things people wouldn’t dream of doing in their living rooms they freely do in public. As our awareness of intelligent motion and modern 19th century hygiene rises, so too will our movement efficiency and appreciation of where we live, work, and play.
Anyone visiting large cities should read this book, as should seasoned urban residents to refresh what they may only think they already know. Urban e-tiquette is a handbook for movement and general behavior in crowded places, and you’re guaranteed to have a few laughs.

Toy inventor cover 2498vTOY INVENTOR

When a brilliant toy inventor gets his vintage sports car stolen, he wages vengeance on car thieves in New York City. Diabolically booby-trapped cars are used as lures, and when the bait is taken, thieves are murdered within these computer-controlled execution chambers of horror. The press goes wild as the high profile death toll rises, and the heat is on the police to catch the psycho while public opinion splits between getting criminals off the street and opposition to vigilantism. Jealous love interests play upon the sexual deviance of the booby-trapper, threatening to unravel all his plans. Detective Brent Kramer is back from Becker’s Ring, along with Nigel and Sally, and politically incorrect mishaps escalate to give an inside peek at the perversions of the toy industry.

STP cover Issue 1 798 verticalSCREW THE PLANET, ISSUE #1

Like dark humor? Sick of all the politically correct crap they force feed you—the lies, hypocrisy, perversion, religious psychos, sleazy corporations, corrupt governments, and stupidity on a global scale? Well, Screw the Planet might just be the underground antidote for that politically incorrect laugh you’ve been longing for! So go ahead, indulge your inner misanthrope and laugh your ass off. We’re all going to Hell anyway.

WARNING: Screw the Planet is not approved by Corporations, Church, or State. Screw the Planet is harmful to the conformist brain. Screw the Planet can cause irreversible brain damage to those lacking a sense of humor. Many consider Screw the Planet to be a crime against humanity. Do not take Screw the Planet if you suffer from excess sensitivity, ignorance, are brainwashed, unevolved, or are just a plain douchbag.

STP cover Issue 2 798 verticalSCREW THE PLANET, ISSUE #2

Issue # 2 is armed and dangerous. Like dark humor? Sick of all the politically correct crap they force feed you—the lies, hypocrisy, perversion, religious psychos, sleazy corporations, corrupt governments, and stupidity on a global scale? Well, Screw the Planet Issue # 2 might just be the underground antidote for that politically incorrect laugh you’ve been longing for! So go ahead, indulge your inner misanthrope and laugh your ass off. We’re all going to Hell anyway.

WARNING: Screw the Planet is not approved by Corporations, Church, or State. Screw the Planet is harmful to the conformist brain. Screw the Planet can cause irreversible brain damage to those lacking a sense of humor. Many consider Screw the Planet to be a crime against humanity. Do not take Screw the Planet if you suffer from excess sensitivity, ignorance, are brainwashed, unevolved, or are just a plain douchbag.

Tom Coffey, Author

tomcoffeypicTom Coffey’s most recent novel, BRIGHT MORNING STAR, was published earlier this year by Oak Tree Press. His first novel, THE SERPENT CLUB, was published in 1999 by Pocket Books and earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Pocket Books published his second novel, MIAMI TWILIGHT, two years later. In 2008 Toby Press printed BLOOD ALLEY, which also earned a starred review from PW. Tom has worked as a reporter and editor for some of the leading newspapers in the country, including The Miami Herald, The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and New York Newsday. Since 1997, he has been a staff editor at The New York Times, and since 1999 he he has been a member of Mystery Writers of America. Tom lives in Lower Manhattan with his wife and daughter.

CF 1 - Bright Morning StarBook link: http://www.amazon.com/Bright-Morning-Star-Tom-Coffey/dp/1610091698

Here’s a link to my author page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tomcoffeyauthor/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

And here’s a link to my website: http://bloodalleynovel.com/

 

 

And now for those questions:

(1) WHERE DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR MOST RECENT BOOK?

BRIGHT MORNING STAR is a historical novel with a mystery at its core. It’s set in the early 20th century, in both the United States and the Philippines, and the plot revolves around the nasty guerrilla war that American troops fought against Filipino insurgents after the Spanish-American War.

I got the idea for the book a long time ago. I’m old enough to remember the Vietnam War, and its attendant controversies. Many members of the World War II generation were puzzled by all the dissent. Didn’t America always unite in times of war?

Actually, it doesn’t. With the exception of World War II, all of America’s wars faced considerable opposition while they were going on. Which led me (I’ve always been a history geek) to study this country’s military involvement in Asia, which dates to the Spanish-American War (1898), when America, to the astonishment of everyone in the United States government, gained control of the Philippines.

The Filipinos wanted independence, but the United States was not going to grant it. The result was a protracted struggle that featured atrocities by both sides, but particularly by the Americans. The squelching of another people’s desire for independence, coupled with lurid stories about war crimes, combined to make the war deeply divisive in the States. Many prominent Americans, most notably Mark Twain, lined up to denounce the government’s policy as being in direct violation of the principles upon which this country was founded.

I’ve wanted to write a novel with the Filipino war as its backdrop for many years. With our seemingly endless struggles in Iraq and Afghanistan, the topic seems particularly timely. (We keep fighting wars in Asia. We keep learning nothing.) A few years ago, I hit on the idea of framing the book as a love story. The protagonist is a young woman (a departure for me) who is, daringly for her time, a magazine journalist. She is assigned to investigate the court-martial of a soldier who has been convicted of murdering civilians in the Philippines. The twist is this: the soldier is a young man she was romantically involved with back in her hometown in upstate New York.

The setting gave me a chance to explore issues about sex, race, religion and America’s role in the world — all topics with a great deal of resonance today. It also gave me a chance to have some fun with historical figures like Twain and Theodore Roosevelt.

(2) HOW DO YOU GET INSPIRED TO WRITE?

“Inspired” really isn’t the word I’d use. Writing is the best way I know of trying to say something meaningful about the human condition. To that end, I view writing as a craft, and I do my best to set aside time every day for writing. Since I work nights, I’m almost always able to get some writing done during the day.

I’m always looking for ideas. I carry around a small battered notepad with a New York Mets logo on it, and whenever an idea strikes me (which can happen frequently as I go about my business), I write it down immediately. At this point in my life, I have to write down an idea right away. If I don’t, I’m almost certain to forget it.

(3) WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?

I am returning to my roots and writing noirish crime/mystery novels. I recently completed a novel titled PUBLIC MORALS, which is set in the New York of the 1970s and today. I don’t want to give away too much, but I’ll say this: In the first part of the book, in the ’70s, a crime is committed. In the second part of the book, in the very different New York of 2015, the crime is revisited. I’m trying to get an agent to represent it, and if anyone out there knows of anyone …

Right now I’m writing a sequel to PUBLIC MORALS titled SPECIAL VICTIM. All of my previous books have been one-offs, and the process of writing a sequel is interesting. For one thing, I already know a lot of things about the main characters. That’s saving me a lot of time.

(4) WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE FOR ASPIRING WRITERS?

Do not wait for inspiration, whatever that is, to strike. You have to write consistently, and you have to hone the craft constantly. Carve out a specific time of the day, every day — at least an hour — and make that your writing time.

And be observant. As Yogi Berra was once reputed to have said, “You can observe a lot by watching.” If you prefer to quote Henry James, he put it this way: “Be the type of person upon whom nothing is lost.”

(5) WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?

When my daughter was in second grade, her reading ability made tremendous strides. One day she was looking around our apartment and she asked me, “Daddy, why does that book have your name on it?” And I replied, “Because I wrote it.”

That felt good.

My daughter is now a teenager, and about a year ago she read my novel BLOOD ALLEY, a murder mystery set in New York in the 1940s. She was visiting her grandparents while she read it, while I was stuck in New York, and she started texting me as soon as she finished it. She went on and on about how twisted it was, especially at the end, and finally I asked her if she liked it. She confessed that she did.

That felt good, too.

(6) HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH WRITER’S BLOCK?

Weirdly enough, I’ve never gotten writer’s block. I think that stems from creating a schedule where I write at least five days a week. I know that some days will be better than others, but I never get too down on myself when I struggle — or too euphoric when it all seems to be coming easily.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that I’m just not intelligent enough to get writer’s block.

Closing out this e-interview, I just want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to promote my latest book and say a little bit about it. And thanks for the questions — they gave me a lot to think about.