Mark Love and I have Detroit in common and after reading a blog post it seems we both had fun with typewriters at some point. I can still remember my high school days when that was the first piece of technology I saw and I’ve jumped on the band wagon since in some way. If you take the time to follow the link to his blog you will see his post, “Still a Dinosaur”, which is quite interesting. The answers to the Ten plus One Questions will also bring more insight into Mark so please enjoy.
Question 1: What inspired you to write Why 319?
I’ve always been intrigued with mysteries and wanted to do one about a complex police investigation. The idea of a killer taunting the cops was appealing. I’m a native of the Detroit area. When I worked as a reporter, I had a crime beat for a while and would visit police stations in different suburban cities. I know that the suburbs don’t often work together unless it’s part of a joint task force, so nobody would immediately pick up on the idea of a serial killer. These weren’t random killings but orchestrated crimes. Once the idea took shape, I couldn’t walk away from it. I knew I was on to something good.
Question 2: Is there any significance to the name/names of your main characters?
Jefferson Chene is the protagonist of the story and it’s told from his point of view. Chene was abandoned at birth and his name comes from the intersection near downtown Detroit where he was found. Questions about his own heritage are always close to the surface. This also impacts his personal relationships. ‘Pappy’ Cantrell was the nickname of an old timer I knew as a kid. He acted like a laid back country boy, but he was very sharp.
Question 3: During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your own memories?
Yes, some of the locations that I use in the story are places I’ve been. Certain nightspots like the Tokken Lounge and the Magic Bag Café are authentic Detroit venues. I always try to include real locations in my work, so the readers may relate with them.
Question 4: What were some of your favorite books growing up?
I was hooked on the Travis McGee series by John D. MacDonald and always enjoyed the crime novels of Elmore Leonard. I think he created the genre.
Question 5: Do you hear from fans of the book, and if you do what do they say?
Yes, I have heard from some. Several have said this is my best book to date and there were enough twists and surprises that kept them guessing right to the end. One told me she got shivers reading the beginning. Later she cut short a visit with an old friend because she was close to the end of the book and couldn’t wait to finish it. That’s high praise to me.
Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book?
It’s the achievement of a goal to be able to hold a copy of your own book in your hands. This is something I’ve spent a great deal of time and energy on, creating the characters, crafting a story that could hold your interest and putting it all together. It may not be as fantastic as holding one of your children for the first time, but it’s pretty close. And that ain’t all bad.
Question 7: Do you continue to write?
Absolutely. I’m working on a sequel now that utilizes many of the same primary characters from “Why 319?” and introduces some new detectives. Chene is just too good to say good-bye to. He’s got a lot more stories to tell.
Question 8: What is the message you want people to take away from the book?
Come escape with me into a good story. Get caught up in the crime and corruption and the dark secrets that inhabit so many lives. Follow Chene and his team as they try and figure out who is behind these murders and stop the killer before they strike again.
Question 9: If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?
As a detective, Chene is good at his job. But he struggles with personal relationships, so I can see him having difficulty trying to find a balance. He’s persistent. Someday, he just might achieve it.
Question 10: Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?
The book is dedicated to my wife, Kim, who has always supported my efforts at writing and life in general. I also acknowledge my son Travis and authors Meredith Ellsworth and Cory York. All three read earlier drafts of the book and provided me with great feedback.
The + 1 Question: If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?
I’d go with California. That would give me a chance to meet a new audience and maybe connect with someone from Hollywood who would look at the story and say: ‘this would make a great movie!’ Of course, it would give me the chance to tour wine country too!