Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I have been a professor of philosophy for over thirty years. Most recently I retired from teaching at a small university in western Massachusetts. For much of that time I have also written mystery and suspense fiction, starting with books for young adults and moving on to writing for adults. I have had twenty-five books published, twelve of them in the last fifteen years as time has allowed me to write more. All are cozy in nature and suitable for any reader.
I live in western Massachusetts with my wife. My hobbies include reading (of course) and going to the gym. We also look forward to traveling to Maine and Cape May, New Jersey for our needed dose of the beach.
Tell us about your new release.
STORMY WEATHER, my latest mystery, is about Stormy McCloud, a meteorologist at a local television station who runs into trouble when the body of Travis Lambert, the senior meteorologist at the same station, is found in a shallow grave next to her house. Although the police do not have enough to charge her, she is definitely their prime suspect. When the station hires private detective Chance Malone to investigate the murder, her situation doesn’t improve. Malone is attractive, charming, and funny, all qualities that Stormy’s past experience with men has led her to avoid. It also doesn’t help that Stormy has little background or interest in religion, while Malone is the unusual private detective who has a Bible in his desk drawer rather than a bottle of scotch. As they work together to solve the murder, surprising aspects of Travis’ life come to light, and Chance and Stormy find their relationship deepening much to Stormy’ dismay. When Stormy’s estranged mother appears on the scene, Stormy also must decide whether to have a relationship with the woman who deserted her as a child. As the story proceeds, Stormy is forced to reconsider her view of men, her mother and her future.
What led you to write this book?
Like most people who watch the weather report on their local television station, it has occasionally crossed my mind that this is a job, like all reporting, that turns a person into a local celebrity. I wanted to examine the problems that can arise with this kind of notoriety, and how conflicts can develop as people compete for a limited amount of fame. As with many crime novels, it also focuses on how your life can be instantly turned around once you are suspected of having done something wrong. I also wanted to have a subplot that dealt with the conflicts that can arise when people with different attitudes toward religion are attracted to each other, which is a common issue today.
What is more important: character or setting?
Usually my stories are highly character driven with the personality of the protagonist being as important as the plot. If you don’t care about the main characters, why would you care about what happens to them? However, in this novel the setting was very important because I was concerned to create a realistic depiction of a small television station. Where Stormy works is an important aspect of who she is, and why she’s in trouble. The small city setting is also important because it shows that serious crime can take place in relatively bucolic environments.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I am a recently retired professor of philosophy, and I still teach occasionally. Although I don’t intentionally add philosophical concepts to my novels, I’m sure some slip in. Since I think a sound body is essential to a sound mind, I also exercise frequently, and my wife and I like to travel. I am also a fairly active reader, and I belong to several organizations for writers.
Do you read the same genre that you write?
Yes. I think it is essential to enjoy reading the kind of books you like to write. If you try to write a type of book you wouldn’t read just because you think it will sell, you are unlikely to be successful. The reader will know that your heart isn’t in it. However, it is also important for a writer to keep expanding his or her horizons, and this means that you must also read widely outside of your genre. You can learn new things about style, character, and plot by studying novels that you might never write. These can always be incorporated into the kind of writing you actually do.
What’s next for you?
I am planning to try something new by writing a romantic suspense novel with a heist/caper theme. My heroine will be put in danger when she steals a valuable diamond from a powerful Russian oligarch. She and the hero must then come up with a plan to save her from the oligarch who is bent on revenge. I hope it will be an exciting combination.