Born into a blue-collar family in Liverpool, England, Pete missed The Beatles but did go to The Cavern a few times. He immigrated to the US in the early 90s, and became a citizen. After twenty years in the corporate madhouse, Pete moved to Western North Carolina where he lives with a couple llamas, two spoiled dogs, a brace of cookie-eating goats, one ferocious cat, and a wonderful wife who thankfully understands his obsessive need to write fiction.
Joe B. Parr
Joe B. Parr is a North Texas based Mystery Suspense writer. As a native of the Fort Worth, TX area, his novels are crime dramas based in and around DFW. Residents of the area will enjoy the familiar sights and sounds. For others, he provides a virtual tour highlighting the area’s feel and diversity.
His current releases, The Victim and Stolen Innocence, are available in both paperback and ebook (Kindle) on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com and selected independent book stores.
He writes entertaining fiction with an undercurrent of social commentary. His books address provocative issues by introducing characters who provide multiple perspectives so that the reader is driven to explore their own thoughts.
In The Victim, those issues include gangs, media stereotypes and the racial tensions within the community. In Stolen Innocence, he highlights the growing issue of Human Trafficking and its disproportional impact on immigrant and minority communities.
Mike Markel writes the Detectives Seagate and Miner Mystery series, which is set in the fictional small city of Rawlings, Montana, home of Central Montana State University. That university is somewhat like Boise State University, where Mike is a professor, but in Rawlings the weather is colder, the football team less successful, and the murder rate much, much higher.
What are you reading now or what do you have in your TBR pile?
I read and review about forty books each year for a book blog http://booksandpals.blogspot.com/, so I survive on an almost exclusive diet of indie and small press titles. Currently, I’m enjoying a post-apocalyptic thriller- The Reset, by Daniel Powell. Big Al—who runs the review site—has a list of fifteen hundred titles. No matter how fast we reviewers read, that number never seems to drop.
Recently, as an experiment, I picked up a compilation set of Stephen King novelettes. I wanted to be sure I wasn’t missing out by not reading in the mainstream. I enjoyed King’s stories, but I’m not missing out. I’ve found some absolute gems in Big Al’s list. I love the variety I find there, and many of the authors are first-timers.
NanoStrike was my debut novel, and I know how difficult it can be to find people to read and review a novel by a new writer. Reviews are an indie author’s lifeblood. I’m grateful for every one of the 150+ that NanoStrike has received, so I guess I feel I’m taking one for the indie team by reading indie books.
Do you write an outline before every book you write?
Nope. Nada. Nothing. I start with an incident. In NanoStrike, it was a gas attack on a London subway train. In Love Poison, it was a woman locked in a bathroom stall trying to overcome an anxiety attack. My next novel starts with a stray rocket striking a trailer in a US Army camp in Southern Iraq. My opening chapter asks a lot of questions. The story becomes the answer.
While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?
I guess there’s a piece of me or someone I know in every character I create. They have to be based in knowledge, and I have to empathize with them (even the bad guys), otherwise they won’t seem real. Incidentally, both NanoStrike and Love Poison feature a very nasty bad-guy (different guy, but equally nasty). After she finished reading NanoStrike, my wife looked at me in a strange way and asked, “Who the hell are you?”
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I’ve spent a lot of time knocking my head against hard objects trying to understand Donald Maass, and Dwight V. Swain, and many other writing experts when they insisted that I make it more difficult for my characters. Create tension. Create conflict.
I did. Yes, I did. But as I was throwing wrenches at the poor people populating my tale, concurrently, I was providing the tools to help them overcome the obstacles. Well, I’ve finally figured out that’s not the point those writing sages were making. If you’ve worked out the solution, the actions that place the characters in peril will seem flat, and their brilliant escape will be meh! But if you write your character into a cul-de-sac with eighty-foot walls, set in a valley, and then fracture the water main at the top of the hill during a freak power outage, you’ll have to invent a compelling plot to get them outta there.
So now, I try not to worry about my imaginary peeps. I just let them get into deep trouble. Once they’re well and truly stuck, then I l wander around the house bumping into doors and muttering to myself until I work out how to rescue them.
You see, if I don’t know how they’re going to overcome the dire situation I’m writing them into then neither will the reader. But if I know the solution ahead of time, I’d have to mislead my reader, tell them lies as I placed the character in jeopardy. And readers can see through lies.
Books by Pete Barber
Books by Joe B. Parr
The Detective Jake Hunter Series
Books by Mike Markel
Detectives Seagate and Miner Mystery
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