Friend of the blog (and a pretty dandy PI writer his own self) Jochem vanderSteen tagged me to participate in the current writers’—meme? Chain letter? I’m a little reluctant to use the official title (“The Next Great Thing”), but I am grateful to Jochem for thinking of me.
So, here you go:
What is the working title of your next book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
This is the first thing I’ve ever tried to write based on no more than a title. I was looking for story ideas to re-start a PI series I had set in Chicago. When I heard Dixie Square Mall—where the famous chase scene in The Blues Brothers was filmed—was finally to be demolished, I had the idea of a preacher buying the shell and rebuilding it as a religious-themed mall. Hence the name.
What genre does your book fall under?
Crime fiction, primarily a police procedural.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Timothy Olyphant would do well as Ben Dougherty, the lead cop. Easy-going on the surface, dry sense of humor, not as country as Raylan Givens.
I have to credit The Beloved Spouse for the others. George Dzundza (Law and Order, The Deer Hunter, Crimson Tide) would be great as either police chief Stush Napierkowski or Detective Willie Grabek.
Kevin Spacey would be great as retired spook / former PI / casino head of security Daniel Rollison. Of course, Kevin Spacey is always great
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A televangelist opens a religious-themed mall as a counterweight to a small town’s casino and finds small towns are more dangerous and complicated than he thinks.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
There is no contract at this time. If I don’t get one, I’ll self-publish.
How long did it take you to write a first draft of the manuscript?
I’m about halfway through, so I estimate three to four months.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I consciously try to avoid such comparisons, even with myself. I
steal borrow from a lot of people.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
It was originally intended to be a character study for a PI series I was working on. I got halfway through that first draft and realized the story was better suited for a fictional small town I also have involved in a series.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Small-town crime is, I believe, an underappreciated venue, except in cozies. This book is definitely not a cozy. There are layers of things going on, and life around the citizens—especially the cops—is changing faster than anyone is comfortable with.