Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The Blog That Became a Book

I get by with a little help from my friends. This time, it's Jean Henry Mead, who started me doing this blogging stuff in the first place. A while ago, I said that Jean was welcome to contribute a guest blog any time and, with me still skulking about and failing to produce the goods and Jean's latest book just out, the time seemed perfect. So, Jean, it's all yours.

When I first began interviewing mystery novelists for my blog site, Mysterious People, I had no idea they would wind up in a book, although I had published three other books of interviews with Western and Hollywood screen writers, politicians, artists and ordinary people who had accomplished extraordinary things.

So it made sense that a book about mystery writers was in order, but who would publish interviews that had already appeared online? Bestselling novelists such as Carolyn Hart, Jeffrey Deaver, Louise Penny and John Gilstrap undoubtedly sold the book. Three publishers were interested and I decided to go with Poisoned Pen Press, the number two mystery publisher in the U.S. Coincidentally, quite a few of PPP’s authors had already been interviewed.

Because mysteries appear in a variety of subgenres, I divided the writers according to their specialties: the traditional mystery or cozy, historicals, suspense and thriller novels, crime, police procedurals, private eyes and senior sleuths (sometimes called “geezer lit”). There are also medical thrillers, romantic suspense as well as science fiction mysteries and the niche novels which cover endless subjects. I had no idea there was such diversity until I started categorizing them.

Those I’d interviewed had fortunately written articles about various aspects of publishing, including writing tips, marketing and promotional advice, and their opinions on the current state of the publishing industry, among other topics. So the book is a good read for aspiring mystery writers as well as readers. I can say that objectively because I didn’t write the book, I just asked the questions.

Carolyn Hart, bestselling author of the Henrie O and Death on Demand series, talks about her new protagonist, Bailey Ruth Raeburn, who returns to earth as a ghost to anonymously unravel complicated mysteries. John Gilstrap explains why a bestselling novelist still holds down a fulltime job and international bestseller Rick Mofina provides sixteen great tips for writing thriller novels as well as discussing his struggle to the top of the charts.

A number of Canadian and UK authors share their publishing views as well as comparing books from their countries with those of the US. Suspense novelist Paul Johnston writes from his native Scotland as well as his home in Greece while Tim Hallinan divides his time between Thailand and southern California, writing much of his work in Bangkok cafes. Gillian Phillip writes YA mystery novels from Barbados and her native Scottish highlands, and international airline pilot Mark W. Danielson composes his suspense novels during layovers in various parts of the world. One of my favorite interviews was with Bill Kirton, whose humor and compassion led to an Internet friendship. I also enjoy his writing.

Another English native, Carola Dunn, writes historical mysteries about her countrymen as does Rhys Bowen, who lives and writes in California about historical English royals. Other historical novelists include Larry Karp, who writes about Ragtime music and the people who made the genre popular during its heyday. And Beverle Graves Myers, who brings operatic mysteries to life from eighteen century Venice.

Jeff Cohen, Tim Maleeny, Morgan St. James, Phillice Bradner and Carl Brookins add humor to their mysterious plots, so prepare to laugh when you pick up their books. There are police procedurals, medical thrillers and romantic suspense novelists represented here as well as niche mysteries designed for readers who love dogs, scrapbooking, zoos, the Arizona desert, space shuttles, weight loss clinics, actors, designer gift baskets and other specialty subjects.
Nonfiction books about the mystery genre round out this eclectic collection with Edgar winner E.J. Warner, Agatha winner Chris Roerden, Lee Lofland, Jeffrey Marks, and small press publishers Vivian Zabel and Tony Burton. So there’s something for everyone who enjoys some or all the mysterious subgenres.

The book is currently only available on Kindle at: http://tiny.cc/zsgsl as well as Barnes & Noble and Sony readers.


  1. Thanks, Bill. I hope readers enjoy the book as much as I did interviewing some very interesting mystery writers, including yourself. :)

  2. Thank you Jean - flattery works on me every time. :)

  3. Sounds like a book I want to read. Will there be a paper version available too in the future?

  4. I asked the same question, Anneke. Well, Jean?

  5. Poisoned Pen Press is noncommital on the subject, but it doesn't seem they intend to publish a print edition. They may, however, sell the print rights to another publisher. (I hope).

  6. I'm sure you'll let us know when they do, Jean. Please.