An interview with author Thomas Shawver
THE WIDOW’S SON is the third in the Rare Book Mystery. Did you have an interesting experience in the research of this book?
I live in Jackson County, Missouri, where Mormon founder, Joseph Smith, Jr., declared that the righteous would gather to greet the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The site of Independence, Missouri, is where he claims Adam and Eve dwelt in the Garden of Eden. About 70 miles north of Kansas City is where Smith proclaimed they were banished after their fall from grace.
The latter site, called Adam-onde-Ahman, is a well-maintained, attractive, but otherwise undistinguished park. There are few signs and no monuments. Given its importance in Mormon teachings, it’s odd that little attention is brought to the area. While there, I came across a most unusual flat stone resting upon another rock. A small sign at the top of the hill far above it described it as the alter upon which Smith would address the prophets of old during the Second Coming.
Tell us about your characters.
Michael Bevan is a widowed former lawyer who owns a second-hand bookstore in Kansas City. He’s big, athletic, and has a checkered past, having been disbarred for shady dealings with former clients who ran strip joints, among other things. He lives with the bright and feisty Josie Majansik, a former FBI agent who helped save his life in The Dirty Book Murder. Riverrun Books has been his redemption, but things get tricky when the beautiful Natalie Phelan, director of the local Irish Center, seeks his help. Her boyfriend, Emery Stagg, possess a first edition Book of Mormon with a sinister history involving ‘blood atonement’ that puts her life and that of her eccentric young daughter, Claire, in grave danger.
You’ve had an interesting career, marine officer, lawyer, journalist and book store owner. What led you to become an author?
I was a creative writer before and during all of those careers, beginning in my early teens after reading Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim. Despite a heavy schedule in law school, I found time to take creative writing courses from Professor Edgar Wolfe. While in the Marine Corps I finished a novel—as yet unpublished—based on events I witnessed. Throughout my law career I found time to write four full-length manuscripts. It led me into journalism. Then back to the law and ultimately to owning a second-hand bookstore. Throughout it all I worked to develop my writing skills, going to writer conferences, talking to agents, working on my pitches. Writers write. I’d still be doing it if I had never found an agent and editor.
If you could have dinner with any mystery character by any other author, who would you choose?
Easy. Nick and Nora Charles. They are witty, charming, fun to be around, and common sense smart. And they really, really like each other. By the way, William Powell who played Nick in the movies was a Kansas Citian.
What’s next for you?
I plan to let Michael Bevan rest for a while to concentrate on a new series involving a former French commando who solves crimes in a Missouri river town. I’ve also finished a spy novel set in the early 1920’s Japan and Micronesia.
THE WIDOW’S SON A Rare Book Mystery #3
By Thomas Shawver
Alibi (July 7, 2015) Mystery
Michael Bevan stumbles into another mystery in this 3rd book in the series. The story starts with the 1844 murder of Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, and the vow of his followers to avenge his death by killing the descendants of those they deemed responsible.
One hundred and seventy years later there are still those trying to fulfill that vow and Michael’s friend Natalie Phelan is next on their list.
Shawver weaves a tight tale of vengeance that mystery lovers will enjoy.