Category Archives: JT Ellison

5.1.15 - A Note From Lee Child on SWEET DREAMS, on sale today!

By JT Ellison

Kindle | Nook | Apple

Today is the release day of several anthology box sets to benefit Brenda Novak’s Juvenile Diabetes foundation. You’ve already heard me talking about SWEET DREAMS (thrillers) SWEET SEDUCTION (erotica) and SWEET TALK (romance). I contributed my very first Taylor Jackson novel, never before seen until today.

All told, 36 authors contributed stories. We receive nothing for this. It’s a labor of love, a way for us to help Brenda raise money for this wonderful cause.

Which sounds great, but what does it really mean? Why have we done this? Why are we participating?

The wonderful and fabulous Lee Child wrote the foreword for the SWEET DREAMS box set. I’m sharing it with you today so you can understand the WHY behind this very cool fundraiser.

I’m a thriller writer, and a thriller reader, and hence a sucker for the classic thriller plot, where an ordinary man or an ordinary woman slowly becomes aware of a looming threat: someone or something is out there, close by, infinitely dangerous; or perhaps an intruder is already in the house, mocking, violating a sanctuary, or perhaps – really creepy – he’s been living in the attic for a couple of weeks already, camping out, undetected, silent, leaving odd nighttime disturbances … who moved that chair?

Or perhaps, for added anguish, it’s not the ordinary man or woman under threat: it’s his or her son or daughter, their child, their responsibility, the intended victim, a helpless target. What mother or father wouldn’t fight to the death? And they do … 400 pages later, an investigation has been conducted, the bad guy has been identified, close scrapes have been survived, and finally the family is sitting together on the bottom stair, stunned but finally safe, as the bad guy is put in the cop car and driven away. The end.

Diabetes starts like that. But it doesn’t finish like that.

It’s a mysterious malfunction. No one knows the cause. Researchers suspect an element of genetic susceptibility, and in those susceptible it’s possible the Coxsackie B4 virus kicks things off. Then a tiny balance among the human body’s billion moving parts goes slightly out of whack, and the beta cells in the islets of Langerhans (such an innocent name) inside the pancreas shut down and stop producing insulin, so the body can no longer deal with the kind of sugars we crave.

The intruder is now in the house.

Untreated, all kinds of complications will follow. Cardiovascular disease, and stroke, and damage to the eyes, kidneys, and nerves. And more. Including death. All in store, unbelievably, for the ordinary parent’s beautiful and vulnerable child. No one’s fault. Type 1 diabetes is unrelated to lifestyle. Most victims are thin or normal, healthy, well fed, well loved.

The fight back begins with maintenance. Sometimes diet is enough; more often, insulin must be provided. An endless round begins: testing and injecting, testing and injecting. Most sufferers do OK for a long time, but only OK. Quite apart from the social and organizational burdens of diet and injection, they can feel under the weather a lot of the time. But in thriller terms, we can at least get them barricaded in a safe house, at least temporarily, doors and windows locked, guns drawn, with the bad guy lurking outside in the yard.

But how do we get the bad guy in the cop car?

Research is the answer, but it’s fantastically expensive. All around the world, teams of biochemists are working hard, but they have to pay the rent. And eat. Their funding comes from governments and institutions and drug companies – but also from hundreds of thousands of concerned individuals. Many of them are parents of diabetic children, and it’s easy to see why. The primeval instinct that makes a mother or father fight to the death is a powerful one – perhaps the most powerful among our emotional inheritance. But in the case of diabetes it’s frustrated. There’s no identifiable antagonist, no role for a gun or a blade. There’s no bar fight to be had. If only it was that easy. I know of no parent who wouldn’t gladly smash a long-neck bottle and join the fray. But they can’t. Such parents have to channel their natural aggression into a long, patient, endless struggle for progress. They raise awareness and money any way they can.

This anthology is an example. It will help fund the search for a cure. All good. In fact better than good, because whatever else, there are some great authors and some great stories here to enjoy. So if you buy it, you’ll get some excellent entertainment – but also you might just get the chance to be that mysterious character on page 297 of our notional thriller, who contributes the tiny but vital clue that eventually leads to the big reveal on page 397. Your few cents could make the difference. You could be the one.

Lee Child
New York

Here’s your chance to help fight this insidious disease. Buy your copy today!

Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble Nook | Apple
Kobo | Google Play

Via: JT Ellison


4.30.15 - 7 Minutes With... Jim Born

By JT Ellison

All hail Jim Born.

Not only because he’s an amazing writer. Nor because he’s a cop (two of my biggest likes in the world – writers and cops).

Nor even because he went to a shooting range wearing a Killer Year T-shirt, and showed we debuts of 2007 so much love.

Jim sporting some fine Killer Year swag

Not even because he spent a day walking around a conference with my debut novel in his back pocket. Not even because he’s, you know, cool.

Jim suavely sporting PRETTY GIRLS in his back pocket

No, we much all bend the knee to Mr. Born because it was he, and he alone, who cured me of my insane fear of public speaking. I’ve told the story far and wide (and, as some of you know, in the wrong forum, to the wrong people, using Mr. Born’s exact words – ahem), but I will sum it up here in less colorful language.

Nashville, 2007. The Southern Festival of Books. After his own panel, Jim was walking me to mine. It happened to be my very first time on a panel. I was scared. Actually, scared doesn’t even come close to describing the overwhelming fear and anxiety and panic I was experiencing (My palms are sweating just thinking back to it).

Jim saw my hands shaking as I opened a bottle of pills to take something to calm myself. He inquired why. I told him I was totally freaked by the idea of public speaking. He looked at me like I was a loon, and said something to the effect of, “What are you afraid of? The audience will rush the stage and beat you up?”

When I said, “Well, yes, that’s exactly it,” we had a good laugh. He told me I was the expert, and I was the one who knew the most about my book. That the audience won’t know if I make a mistake or say something wrong. And they would forgive me if I did, because readers are wonderful people made of unicorns and puppies (I don’t’ think he said exactly that, but you catch my drift). I still took the pill, but it was the beginning of something for me. Every time I’ve ever spoken since, I remind myself that I’m not about to get mugged. It helps.

Jim has a new book out, which I highly encourage you to purchase immediately, and share among your friends. Any guy who will take pity on a scared girl and offer her succor is a prince among men, and deserves all the good things.

Welcome to the Tao, my friend.


Set your music to shuffle and hit play. What’s the first song that comes up?

“Night Moves” by Bob Seeger

Now that we’ve set the mood, what are you working on today?

Today I’m traveling to New York for the release of SCENT OF MURDER. I will be making a few notes on a co-authored book with Lou Dobbs. It is the sequel to last year’s BORDER WAR.

What’s your latest book about?

Three K-9 officers and their relationship with their dogs. They end up on a task force on the trail of a kidnapper that forces them each to consider how far they’re willing to go to catch the suspect. It explores the relationship between dog handlers and their super talented partners.

Where do you write, and what tools do you use?

Usually all my porch overlooking the water on a simple laptop. The only thing unusual I use is Dragon NaturallySpeaking. It takes extra editing, but I’ve probably saved myself carpal tunnel syndrome.

What was your favorite book as a child?

THE LIVING SEA by Jacques Cousteau, and a young reader’s version of MOBY DICK. I memorized the first page of MOBY DICK from my father reading it to me every night. I would then tell people I could read when I was only a couple of years old by looking at the page and reciting it by memory.

What’s your secret talent?

I am an excellent chef.

What book are you reading now?

WORDS OF RADIANCE by Brandon Sanderson

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

In my late 20s. I remember seriously starting my first novel (unpublished) in June of 1989.

Who is your writing idol? Have you met him/her? If so, did you completely nerd out or keep your cool?

Elmore Leonard. Yes, I worked for him for many years. Now it would probably be Bernard Cornwell, whom I have not met and will nerd out when I do.

What’s your favorite bit of writing advice?

Keep it in perspective. No one is shooting at you, and you’re not putting a roof on a house in the middle of summer.

What do you do if the words aren’t flowing?

Go for a run.

Are you creatively satisfied?

Generally yes. All things being equal, I have a giant fantasy novel that would take six years to finish that I would like to write.

What would you like to be remembered for?

Good kids who have their heads on straight.

Alright, now for the really important questions:

Beach or mountains? Beach

Coffee or tea? Neither. I don’t think I’ve ever had an entire cup of either. In my whole life.

Skydive or bungee jump? Skydiving

Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate. Vanilla should be outlawed.

Winter or summer? Summer

Cake or pie? Cake. Pies are meant to be thrown.

Cats or dogs? Dogs

Pens or pencils? Pens

Truth or dare? Dare

Print or ebook? Print


Jim Born

James O. Born is a graduate of Florida State University and received a Master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in Psychology.

Born started his career in police work as a US Drug Agent (DEA) and was part of the late 1990’s Miami drug war. He then moved on to become a Special Agent with the elite Florida Department of Law Enforcement, working undercover and spending eleven years on the agency’s Special Operation’s Team (also called SWAT).

In 2014, Born coauthored the popular BORDER WAR with TV commentator Lou Dobbs. His current series is a realistic view of police K-9s. The first novel in the series Scent of Murder, due for release in April of 2015, follows the pursuit of a serial kidnapper and showcases police service dogs.

A native Floridian, Born currently lives on the east coast with his wife, Donna and has two children, John and Emily.

And here’s a little bit about Jim’s newest book, SCENT OF MURDER, out in stores now!

Two years after being tossed from the detective bureau for his questionable tactics catching a child molester, deputy Tim Hallett’s life is finally on track. Assigned to a special K-9 unit with the best partner in the world, a Belgian Malinois named Rocky, Hallett has finally learned to balance police work with his family life. But that all changes in the heat of a Florida sugarcane field.

While searching for a kidnapper, Rocky locks on to the scent of a predator unlike anyone has ever seen. Or have they? The more Hallett digs, the closer he comes to the case that ended his career as a detective and appears to be the key to a series of kidnappings.

When the trail turns to murder, Hallett risks everything to catch the killer, even if it means clearing the child molester who drove him to violence and ruined his career. Along the way, Hallett and his partners learn the true meaning of loyalty and courage as their canine partners take police work to a new level and show that instinct means more than training.

A realistic view of cops and canine’s lives from a veteran law enforcement agent and award-winning author, SCENT OF MURDER takes the reader into the world of police service dogs in a way no other novel will

Via: JT Ellison


4.27.15 - The Definition of a Win-Win

By JT Ellison

If you’ve been around the Tao for a while, you know that my first novel, a Taylor book, was shoved in a drawer long ago, never to see the light of day—let alone, a bookshelf.

But recently I’ve taken it out, dusted off the cobwebs, and remembered how proud I am of my first book. I’ll tell you, it was great fun to revisit where it all started for Taylor and Baldwin, albeit with a few more tools on my literary belt.

And now, I’d like to share it with you in one of the coolest projects I’ve ever been a part of.

The long-awaited prequel to the Taylor Jackson series, CROSSED, will be released this Friday, May 1, as part of SWEET DREAMS, a limited edition, digital-only boxed set curated by Brenda Novak for the benefit of diabetes research. It includes thirteen never-before-published novels and novellas for only $9.99 (that’s a deal, folks—less than $1/story).

Who else is in the set, you may ask? So many awesome writers and friends! Fellow New York Times bestselling authors Allison Brennan, Alex Kava (who is contributing BEFORE EVIL, the long awaited prequel to her fantastic Maggie O’Dell series), Erica Spindler, Cynthia Eden, Heather Graham, Liliana Hart, CJ Lyons, Carla Neggers, Brenda Novak, Theresa Ragan, Tiffany Snow and Jo Robertson.

Pre-order SWEET DREAMS now (wherever ebooks are sold—links are below!) so you’ll receive it when it’s released on May 1st.

Take note: once SWEET DREAMS goes on sale, it will only be available through June 30th. All proceeds will go to The Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami (they are doing some amazing, cure-focused work). Our goal is to raise $300,000 and, with your help, we should be able to do it.

And with her wickedly sharp brain, Brenda has also curated a contemporary fiction box, set as well as a hot romance box set, so check those out too. You can find more information at

Go order your copy of SWEET DREAMS, and make a difference while you read!

Amazon | B&N | Apple | Kobo | Google

Via: JT Ellison


4.23.15 - 7 Minutes With... Andrew Culver

By JT Ellison

This week, I give you another writing member of the Culver clan – Andrew Culver, son of last week’s guest, Carol. Lest you think I know everyone in the free world – I don’t, trust me – I’ve not met Andrew, nor read him, so this interview is his introduction to me, as well as to you.

I hope, as this series grows, to share all sorts of creatives with you – from readers to writers to artists and musicians. Some are friends, some are people I admire, some are strangers I’d like to get to know better. Some I will have consumed their art, some I will plan to do so, and encourage you to do the same. Regardless, I hope you’re enjoying the glimpse behind the scenes of your favorites, and those new to you, as well.

Take it away, Andrew! It’s nice to meet you!


Set your music to shuffle and hit play. What’s the first song that comes up?

I actually just did this, and it’s “Love Dance” by Martin Denny, who released a lot of great exotica records in the fifties. It’s pure kitsch and I love it. When you listen to Martin Denny you feel like you’re in a bar in Honolulu in 1953 having a mai tai and you’re surrounded by parrots and waterfalls.

Now that we’ve set the mood, what are you working on today?

Brainstorming the next book in my series of cocktail mysteries. It’s going to take place in a Mexican cantina. There will be a lot of margaritas, really good tequila, and probably murder.

What’s your latest book about?

My latest book, MAI TAIS AND MURDER, is about a guy who moves to a small town on the California coast and lives in a houseboat. He starts going to a tiki bar on the beach and he falls in love with the bar, and he gets wrapped up in a murder that could threaten everything that he cares about. He has to keep going to the bar in order to get clues to solve this murder.

Where do you write, and what tools do you use?

I write in my house, in my writing room, with the stereo blasting and a strong cup of coffee next to me. The music has to fit the mood of the book I’m writing and it can’t have lyrics for obvious reasons. Writing my last book I listened to a lot of tiki music, including the Tikiyaki Orchestra, a modern group who makes great retro exotica music.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I read all of the Hardy Boys books. They were great because the brothers were always 17 years old and I wanted their lives. They never had to work or go to school, and they just solved mysteries all the time.

What book are you reading now?

I just got an old translation of DON QUIXOTE by Charles Jarvis. It was published in 1742 and I just started it. I’m a little crazy about translations. I have three or four translations of Don Quixote and that many of Virgil and Homer. If it’s in another language, I can’t just trust one translation. Don Quixote is the greatest novel ever written because it has something the other great canonical novels don’t have (except for TRISTRAM SHANDY): it’s really, really funny. It’s also very warm and human and it’s about friendship, and on some level I would like to live in the fantasy world that Quixote lives in.

What’s your favorite bit of writing advice?

Charles Bukowski said something like “it should come roaring out of you.” I think it has to be burning inside of you first, otherwise the book won’t have any urgency. Even if you’re writing a cozy mystery, or a story that takes place on Mars, it has to mean something to you personally. I like to wait until I’m bursting, until the story has been percolating in me for a while and I have the major substance of it figured out before I sit down to write. I’ll go for a long time talking to people about stories, characters, and locations, or making notes, or making day trips to different places in Southern California to scout locations. I will talk to my wife during the whole process and see if ideas make sense. She was a film student and she watches all the new shows on Netflix and she has a good eye for story and character, and she helps soften and round out my ideas. I will even think about the story so much that I start having dreams about it – that’s when a lot of the good stuff comes out. If you’re dreaming about the world of your novel, you’re on the right track. I love the story that Coleridge dreamed his poem “Kubla Khan” and woke up and wrote half of it. Then a friend came over and called him away on some business, and when he returned he had forgotten the rest of the poem, so he just published it like that.

What do you do if the words aren’t flowing?

Go for long walks. Exercise is the key for me to get ideas. I say just step away from the computer if it’s not happening. I’m not going to sit there for two hours writing something that’s terrible if I don’t have any ideas. I like to go on a walk, plan the whole scene, and what needs to be communicated plot-wise, and what the atmosphere and setting are, and then come back and write it down.

What would you like to be remembered for?

I want to be remembered for writing books that were important to me, for following my muse wherever it took me. I always like the writers or musicians who let their muse call the shots.


Andrew Culver

Andrew Culver lives in Los Angeles with his wife. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California and has a Master’s Degree in English. His memoir, YELLOW DAYS, and other novels are available for download on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Here’s a little more about Andrew’s latest novel, MAI TAIS AND MURDER:

Law school dropout Aristotle McCreadie has just inherited a bunch of money from his dad, a lawyer to the stars. Now that he can do whatever he wants, he moves to the California beach town Playa Santiago. He is determined to spend his days in a houseboat lying in the sun and drinking mai tais at the legendary tiki bar, Pirate’s Cove.

But something weird is happening in this idyllic town. A wealthy old real estate mogul, and patron saint of Pirate’s Cove, has just been murdered in his sprawling mansion. And whoever did it knew exactly how to dismantle the alarm system, where his cash was hidden, and where his most expensive antiques were. Now everyone in town seems to think it’s no big deal and no one wants to answer Aristotle’s questions about it.

Aristotle can’t enjoy his mai tais when an unsolved murder is killing his buzz. Now weird things are happening at the victim’s house at night, and to complicate things, a sexy local girl wants to show him all around town. Which would be great if she didn’t have a boyfriend in grad school in Portland.

Why are the police so eager to pass off this crime as an isolated robbery? And why are people whispering about big real estate plans for Playa Santiago? Suddenly Aristotle gets the suspicion that this perfect little town is about to get very tacky and very crowded. Now the future of Pirate’s Cove is in jeopardy, and this will mean the end of the best tiki bar, arguably, in the world. Which means that dozens of drinks with secret family recipes may be lost forever. The Pooka Pooka Bowl. The Mexican Mai Tai. The Naked Surfer Girl. All lost. And Aristotle can’t let that happen.

The good thing about tiki bars is when the liquor flows, people talk. So, in the interest of justice, Aristotle must go to Pirate’s Cove to get information out of these weird and colorful locals. With each mai tai he will get closer to the truth, and he may just save this town.

Via: JT Ellison


4.16.15 - 7 Minutes With... Carol Culver

By JT Ellison

I have the distinct honor of hosting Carol Culver today. Carol is good friends with Catherine Coulter, and I met her at an author’s lunch at Catherine place a couple of years ago. She’s a fascinating woman, travels all over the world teaching writing, on cruises, mostly. I am not a cruiser – that whole can’t-swim-to-shore thing freaks me out – but I might be willing to make an exception for my friend. Enjoy your introduction to her wonderful world!


Set your music to shuffle and hit play. What’s the first song that comes up?

There’s no music in the room where I work. It’s hard enough to concentrate on those elusive characters and their problems without distraction. So here are the rules: no noise, no talking, no email, and no music.

Now that we’ve set the mood, what are you working on today?

A new series about a family of five sisters, which coincidentally resembles my daughter-in-law’s family. She’s delighted, but she hasn’t read it yet.

What’s your latest book about?

The newest book I’m writing is about a woman who gets sucked into being a bridesmaid for the 7th time. This time the wedding takes place on a cruise ship. Sound romantic? Not if you get seasick. But what if the ship’s physician – Dr. McDreamy – prescribes dancing under the stars, plenty of fresh air, and some TLC?

Where do you write, and what tools do you use?

I have a spacious office in my house in a redwood forest. From my window I have an ocean view which inspires me, especially when I see a cruise ship sailing out into the Pacific. Did I mention I love being at sea? I often teach writing classes aboard cruise ships. I’ll be sailing in April to Tahiti and other palm-fringed islands.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I loved the Heidi books, the ones where she lives in the Alps milking cows and eating cheese. It sounded like a wonderful life, once she won over her cold and frightening grandfather. Lots of conflict and a strong and plucky little heroine. Just like I wanted to be.

What book are you reading now?

I plan to read every book by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, the queen of romance novels. Great characters, wonderful settings and to-die-for heroes. I’m currently in the middle of WHAT I DID FOR LOVE.

What’s your favorite bit of writing advice?

Keep writing whether you feel like it or not. What’s that Nora Roberts says? “Put your butt in the chair and some words on the page.” And that means every day. Day after day. Got it?

What do you do if the words aren’t flowing?

What, words flow? You mean like water or wine? Not in my life. I just keep pounding them out.

What would you like to be remembered for?

For making readers smile and even laugh out loud sometimes. It would be great if someone said, “Yes, I get it. That’s just what it feels like.” But I’ll be happy just to finish a new book and publish every few months. It’s the world’s best job. I know because I’ve tried everything else – receptionist, ESL teacher, PR on a hospital ship, French translator and librarian.


Carol Grace is the author of over 40 romance novels for Harlequin, a mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime, a YA series for Berkley Jam, a mystery series for Midnight Ink, and two romances for Pocket Books. She lives in California on a mountain overlooking the ocean and she travels the world for work and fun. Next month she’s off to French Polynesia.

And here’s a little more about the latest book Carol just released on April 1, THE BILLIONAIRE’S BRIDE:

Abbie Porter caught her French fiancé cheating on her, then she flunked out of cooking school in Paris. Feeling like a failure Abbie leaves for Bella Vista, her home in California, determined to get a new job but never ever to get married.

When she arrives at her family’s woodsy property she’s met by Jake Crenshaw, the new neighbor and Silicon Valley entrepreneur. It’s love at first sight for the dot-com billionaire who is not only rich, he’s gorgeous, friendly and sexy too.

But Abbie keeps her cool around Jake. She knows better than to fall for the first man she meets after her disastrous affair in Paris. Though Jake invests in her new food truck business, helps drum up business and buys her a puppy, she tells him they can be friends, nothing more. After a few weeks of working together making French crepes in the food truck, and after Jake has repaired the flat tire on her truck and fixed the faulty griddle and eaten every test crepe she creates, she finally falls madly in love. But Jake has to take a business trip which leaves Abbie to run the truck by herself. To her surprise she’s inundated by hungry customers and her food truck is a big success.

Turns out Jake has secretly supported her venture by underwriting the cost of the lunches and sending customers her way. When she finds out she’s furious and determined to make it on her own . . .

Get your own copy of THE BILLIONAIRE’S BRIDE to see how it all turns out!

Via: JT Ellison


4.9.15 - 7 Minutes With... Bryon Quertermous

By JT Ellison

I’m beyond thrilled to have my friend and very first editor Bryon Quertermous on the blog today. Bryon gave me my first break – accepting a short story I wrote for Demolition Magazine’s “Women of Crime Fiction” issue. That story was X – a title of his own choosing which was much better than my original – and I’ve always been indebted to him for taking a chance on a complete newbie. Now’s my chance to return the favor. Bryon’s debut novel, MURDER BOY, came out last week, and it’s burning up the charts, which isn’t a surprise to any of us who know him. Here’s what I thought about the book:

“Rough and raw and fast and furious and genuinely funny, with a dizzying array of villains and a hefty dose of madcap adventure, Bryon Quertermous’s love letter to the crime fiction genre, MURDER BOY, is an awesome debut from a talented, assured voice. MURDER BOY is a winner.”

As for what I think about Q? He’s a great guy, with a cool family, and a VERY twisted mind. So without further ado, may I present Bryon!


Set your music to shuffle and hit play. What’s the first song that comes up?

“Smoking Gun” by Robert Cray. I love this song so much and it NEVER comes up in shuffle. Must be my lucky day today.

Now that we’ve set the mood, what are you working on today?

I’ve got some freelance editing projects I’m trying to wrap up so I can put more effort into finishing the second book on my contract (man, that is fun to write) called RIOT LOAD. On the surface the book is about a sperm bank robbery and a writer trying on a new career as a private detective, but at its core it’s about adjusting to fatherhood and dealing with real life after that one big dream in your life comes true. I’m very excited about the book but just last night realized I was attacking it in completely the wrong way and had to go back and rewrite a big chunk of the beginning. Oops.

What’s your latest book about?

It’s called MURDER BOY and it’s about a writer named Dominick Prince, a student in a Detroit creative writing program who has wasted a lot of great opportunities in his life but is determined not to waste his latest opportunity for a chance to live and write in New York City. The only thing standing in his way is his elitist thesis advisor who refuses to sign off on his final project because he thinks crime fiction is beneath a good writer. So, like any normal person would do, Dominick hires a bounty hunter to kidnap the professor and things go very, very wrong. But, as with the other book I mentioned, what it’s really about is my own struggle with writing and wasted opportunities and failure to reach my stated life goals in an appropriate time frame.

Where do you write, and what tools do you use?

I have three little kids and a day job so I write anywhere I can. I like coffee shops and the McDonalds in town, as well as dive diners and book store cafés. My main tool is a laptop and that’s all I really need. I have an awesome little MacBook Air that works like a dream and also has software on it called Freedom that shuts me off from the internet so I can actual get stuff done. Though I do have to put an asterisk on this because I sat on the final draft of MURDER BOY for almost a year absolutely unable to figure out how to end it. But one cold fall day in an Arby’s in suburban Milwaukee, I grabbed a stick pen and a composition notebook and started writing by hand and was finally able to work out the ending. I enjoyed the experience and may try it again if (when) I get stuck again.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I read so fast and so varied that I never really had a favorite book. The first book I really remember speaking to me though was when I read THE OUTSIDERS in junior high. It was such a great book and hit me at just the right time that it really stuck with me.

What book are you reading now?

I’m reading Lou Berney’s new one THE LONG AND FARAWAY GONE. It’s really amazing. I love it because Lou started like me by writing two fun caper style crime novels and I can only hope to eventually write a big book that’s even half as great as this one is. Everyone should go buy it RIGHT NOW.

What’s your favorite bit of writing advice?

Write 1,000 words a day. This seems to be pretty divisive writing advice and I know it won’t work for everyone, but for me, it makes all the difference. I need to be working on the book every day for everything to work right with it. When I start skipping days and only putting in minimal effort is when things start going poorly. Writing 1,000 words is enough to keep the pages piling up at a steady clip but isn’t so taxing mentally as to undercut the effort.

What do you do if the words aren’t flowing?

If I haven’t been writing regularly, I’ll force myself to do my 1k every single day whether the words are good or not, and it usually only takes a day or two to clear the cobwebs. If I have been writing regularly and find the words suddenly go quiet, I read through the book to figure out where I went wrong. Writer’s block, for me at least, is almost always the result of a stupid decision I made somewhere in the book that took it in a direction it had no business going in.

What would you like to be remembered for?

I know I’m supposed to say my family and all of that, and it’s really true I hope I leave a legacy of great kids who change the world and are great people and good citizens. But I can’t shake the desire to be legendary. I want to be remembered as a writer who pushed the genre in a new direction or did something new with an old form.


Bryon Quertermous

Bryon Quertermous is the author of the novel MURDER BOY and the forthcoming RIOT LOAD. His short stories have appeared in PLOTS WITH GUNS, THUGLIT, and CRIME FACTORY, among others, and in the anthologies HARDCORE HARDBOILED, THE YEAR’S FINEST CRIME AND MYSTERY STORIES, and UNCAGE ME. He was shortlisted for the Debut Dagger Award from the UK Crime Writers Association. He currently lives outside of Detroit with his wife and kids.

And here’s a little more about MURDER BOY, now available wherever books are sold!

Dominick Prince is out of options. He’s lived in Detroit long enough to use his experiences of crime and poverty to fuel his writing, but he’s ready to move on to bigger and better things. Dominick’s thesis advisor, the elitist Parker Farmington, refuses to let Dominick pass his class, thinking the genre of potboilers beneath him. Which means rather than becoming the next literary sensation, Dominick will spend his life asking customers if they’d like fries with that. And if that’s the only plan, kidnapping doesn’t seem like such a bad plan B.

So if Farmington won’t pass him willfully, Dominick will make him do it forcefully. And once he has Farmington’s signature, fame and fortune are within Dominick’s grasp. But while Dominick may have a devious and brilliant mind on the page, in reality he’s more Betty White than Walter White. And before he can write ‘the plot thickens,’ Dominick’s plan begins to go horribly wrong. Teaming with Farmington’s jilted mistress and her loose-cannon bounty hunter brother, Dominick finds that if even the best laid plans go awry, then his doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell. And being a great writer won’t matter much if he’s six feet under.

Via: JT Ellison


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