“E.Z. Kelly is the next, great kickass heroine.” – EmKay Connor, award-winning author
Have you always written crime/suspense novels? What attracted you to the genre?
I’ve written a little of everything, including humor, science fiction, romance, you name it, back in my salad days when I was green in judgement and short of cash. Nothing was worthy of publication. I simply enjoyed it as a good mental exercise. While living in Vermont I began writing articles for a monthly outdoor magazine there and ended up being offered the position of editor. I learned a lot doing that, and having taught English helped enormously when it came to proofreading and editing.
SAY THE WORD, my second published novel, was in fact my first, and my first strong effort at a mystery/suspense. I wrote it when working as a physician assistant, and a lot of the novel is based on personal experience. I got a kick out of writing it, mixing humor, romance, mayhem and suspense, and that hooked me on the genre. I’ve tried to use the same mix in my subsequent novels.
When did you discover you wanted to be an author? Do you have a writing routine?
I can’t pinpoint any exact moment in time when I discovered that I wanted to be an author. I guess I’ve always dabbled in it in a mock-serious way. Having read a wide range of authors as and English Literature major, I often sat down and tried to imitate different writers’ styles. It was a good exercise, but I had no doubt that my efforts were an easily-spotted forgery. I think the big thing that helped me back was the need to support a wife and family. I couldn’t picture myself starving in a garret somewhere in an effort to be the next James Joyce or Ernest Hemingway.
To answer your question, looking back, I think I’ve always wanted to be an author but “life,” better known as reality, kept getting in the way. Now I’m retired and it’s full speed ahead!
I do have a writing routine now. I write every chance I get. I try for four or more hours a day, and I always push back when I still have more to say. It makes getting back to it so much easier.
How do you come across your ideas and characters?
EZ Kelly, the heroine/lead character in my EZ Kelly series, came about when I read Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels. Jack Reacher is a tough ex-army military policeman who wanders the country and runs into challenging situations he solves using his many attributes. I thought, why not a female character who does similar things, using her skill sets to win the day? EZ Kelly sprang from that. My other ideas and characters are plucked from my head when needed. I should add that I do a lot “writing” while lying awake at night. I fill the time asking “what ifs” and I remember my good thoughts the next day.
Your protagonist, EZ Kelly, is a woman. I’ve read several novels with female leads who were written by men and found myself disappointed in how they were represented in their thinking and characterization. You do such a great job in how you portray EZ. What made you choose her over a male protagonist?
That’s a good question. When I considered launching EZ Kelly on the world, I thought long and hard about it. As you say, I’m a man and women are an entirely different kettle of fish. When I made the decision to give her a try, I made damned sure that I looked through her eyes at her world and felt the way a woman would. I appreciate your saying that she seems real.
You have quite a diverse background. How has your own backstory helped shape your writing and/or your characters?
I think any time a writer can use personal experience to reinforce a story, make it more believable, that it adds its own substance to it and thus makes it more believable to the reader. I’m sure I draw a lot from my own reservoir of personal experience, sometimes consciously, often subconsciously.
What tips would you offer aspiring writers?
A biggie is, write when there are no distraction (or as few as possible). There’s nothing like a simple interruption to break your train of thought.
And remember: The more you write, the better your get at it. It’s like any other activity. Baseball, football, swimming, tennis, you name it. The more you practice, the better you get at it.
E.Z. Kelly is intent on becoming a travel agent, but trouble finds her wherever she goes. It’s good that self-defense was a high priority among the lessons taught to her by her Special Forces father.
Expecting a boring night shift at the hotel where she works, E.Z. is surprised when night after night the place is targeted by thieves. Taking the thieves down one by one is a simple task for her.
Unafraid of the threats, she continues to work at the hotel and cooperates with the Miami Police’s investigation to discover the reason why the hotel is being hit. As they dig further into the case, she discovers that terrorists have a plan to detonate nuclear devices in three large U.S. cities simultaneously. Will E.Z. be able to take the terror cell down before she gets herself killed?