My guest today has made a career from a single mystery series. He must be doing something right. His Carson Reno Mystery series consists of 18 books and still going strong. He was awarded the 2016 Indie Author Crime Master “Best Thriller/Suspense/Murder Mystery Author” for book 18, Lack of Candor. Let’s find out how he’s done it. Please help me welcome mystery author Gerald W. Darnell.
Kaye: Can you tell me about your author’s journey? How did you get where you are today as a writer?
Gerald: I began writing in college, but nothing serious. After college I published a couple of articles for outdoor magazines and then joined the working world. I retired after 30 years in the computer industry and wrote my first non-fiction book (which I had been working on for about 15 of those years). It is mostly a bio about my life Don’t Wake Me Until It’s Time to Go. My Carson Reno series started after that – and 18 books later…here we are.
Kaye: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Gerald: Anything outdoors. I have a boat, and when I’m not riding I’ll be fishing.
Kaye: You describe what you write as “Fiction for Fun”. Can you clarify for my readers just what you mean by that?
Gerald: Sure. I use real places with semi-real characters (reflections of my friends or people I know) and tell a story that didn’t happen – but could have.
Kaye: In your Carson Reno Mystery series each book is a stand-alone mystery, yet you claim they have character continuity across novels. How do you accomplish that?
Gerald: While the core characters might grow (as my writing grows) they change very little from book to book. And each new book has enough new characters to keep any reader’s attention.
Kaye: Your latest book, Lack of Candor, received the 2016 Indie Author Crime Master award for best author in thriller/mystery/suspense category. Can you tell me a little about that book?
Gerald: It is set in 1962 with most of the story taking place in and around Memphis, Tennessee. A Sergeant with the Memphis Police Department is found dead only hours before his scheduled testimony before a grand jury. Was it suicide or was it murder? What was he going to testify about? A handwritten note left by the Sergeant and addressed to the District Attorney disappears. What was in the note? Was it a suicide note with information regarding his pending testimony or something else? A woman claiming to have information related to his planned testimony comes forward and seeks protection.
Carson is hired to look into the matter and provide protection to the mysterious woman, but protection from whom? The situation gets out of hand quickly, and Carson finds himself in trouble with most everybody involved. A dark cloud hangs over the truth, as he tries to determine the ‘good-guys’ from the ‘bad-guys’ from the ‘bad good – guys’.
This old fashion crime story takes Carson Reno and his crew on a complicated adventure, where it seems that no one is looking for a solution.
Kaye: What is the biggest challenge in writing mystery for you? Why?
Gerald: My time period (early 60’s) has its own challenge. Limited transportation, no cell phones, no CSI type of stuff to solve these crimes. Old black and white solutions to whatever Carson is involved in.
Kaye: What is the best part of writing mystery for you? Why?
Gerald: I’ll answer that by referring to what I tell other writers or wanna’be writers. Don’t write to get rich, but to enrich others.
Kaye: What time of day do you like to do your writing? Why?
Gerald: No particular time, but I prefer the evenings with a little ‘libation’ for inspiration.
Kaye: How do you decide on your titles? Where does this come in the writing process?
Gerald: Titles are always first and I have NO idea where they come from. My friends constantly ask the same question – wish I had a catchy answer.
Kaye: Of all of your books, which one is your personal favorite? Why?
Gerald: I have two and they are my most popular and best sellers – ‘Dead End’ and ‘Murder and More’. I like the stories and I guess my readers do too.
Kaye: Many of the events in your stories are inspired by real life events. What was the strangest or most unusual inspiration you’ve ever had for a story?
Gerald: ‘Dead End’ involves a chase scene in a rural Arkansas area where I spent many years when I was younger. The snow, the dirt roads, the mud, the outdoor part of me enjoys that.
Kaye: There are 18 Carson Reno books, one book in your Jack Sloan series: Concrete Jungle, in addition to your autobiographical book, Don’t Wake Me Until It’s Time To Go. So, is Carson Reno on the way out and Jack Sloan on the way in? Or is there more Carson in the future?
Gerald: More Carson and maybe a little more Jack. A work in progress.
Kaye: What are you working on now? What is next for Gerald W. Darnell?
Gerald: ‘The Disappearance of Robin Murat’ and it will be out before the end of this year (I hope). No spoilers, but a big part of the story takes place in New Orleans – one of my favorite cities. A great place for mystery and ‘bad-guys’.
I want to thank Gerald for chatting with me today and sharing his experiences and advice. You can learn more about Gerald Darnell and his books at the links below.
Goodreads Author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4521276.Gerald_W_Darnell
Lulu.com Spotlight: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/geralddarnell
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