Britbear’s Book Reviews would like to welcome fellow Black Rose author Mark Love and his novel, Why 319? to today’s author spotlight.
Summary from Goodreads:
There’s a serial killer loose in Metro Detroit, but nobody knows it. Three female victims have been discovered in motel rooms in different suburban cities that surround Motown. These deaths have not captured the media’s attention. The only connection is that each body is found in room 319 and the killer leaves the taunting message “Why 319?” on the bathroom mirror, written with the victim’s lipstick. The nude bodies have been cleaned and neatly arranged. All personal items are gone.
Now an elite squad of detectives has entered the scene. It’s up to them to take over the investigations from the police force and solve the riddle. The detectives know that time is not on their side. If the public learns there is a serial killer at large, will panic set in? Will they be able to figure it out before the killer strikes again?
Thanks for joining me today, Mark. What was your inspiration for your last novel?
I’ve always wanted to do a story about a serial killer and the investigation. It was during a brainstorming session with my son, Travis, who also likes to write, when the idea started to take shape. There were many revisions over the time it took to come up with a story that I was satisfied with. That’s where Why 319? came from.
It’s really cool that you and your son brainstorm like that.
What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?
My favorite segment was when I wrote from the killer’s point of view. Since the majority of the story is told from the protagonist, Jefferson Chene’s, perspective, it was a challenge to make that transition. But I’ve had some great feedback on it. One reader said those sections gave her shivers. I’ll take that compliment anytime.
It’s always fun to think outside the box like that and pen something so far removed from our own perspectives. How about some of that outside the box thinking now? What would your protagonist think about you? Would he or she want to hang out with you, the author, his creator?
I’m sure Chene has more than a few questions he’d like to get answers to. Chene was an orphan, abandoned at birth and raised in a Catholic orphanage. His name comes from the intersection near downtown Detroit where he was found. So the chance to kick back and learn more about his background would definitely drive him.
Do your characters try to create ever more convoluted plots for you? Or do you have to coax them out of your characters?
(Laughs) Oh, they definitely like to make the plots more twisted and challenging! I don’t work with an outline. I have a basic story idea in mind and maybe one or two key characters. I put them in motion and then just run alongside and see what they do. Some of the turns they suggest lead to major plot changes. But I think the result is a much better story.
My writing process is similar, so I know what you mean. Looking forward, What are your current projects?
I’m working on a sequel for Chene. The main characters from Why 319? are clamoring for more attention. I’m also trying to work on a prequel for the Jamie Richmond romance-mystery series (Devious, Vanishing Act and Fleeing Beauty).
What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?
I think Michael Connolly’s Harry Bosch novels are similar to Why 319? Like Bosch, Chene has his internal demons but is driven to solve the mystery. To him, every victim matters regardless of their status in life.
While we’re on the topic of other books, which writers inspire you and why?
As a kid I was hooked on the novels of John D. MacDonald, who wrote the Travis McGee series. McGee wasn’t your standard hero. He only worked when he needed the money or when it involved someone he was close to. Once the case was done, McGee went into an early retirement mode, enjoying life. MacDonald could coax the reader into the story quickly and throw enough curves at you that you never knew what was coming. Other writers who remind me of him include Elmore Leonard, James W. Hall, Greg Iles, John Sandford and James Rollins. I take inspiration from them to keep writing, keep polishing the story.
Still on the topic of books by other authors, what is your favourite book and why?
Stephen King’s The Stand. I started reading this epic one evening after work and became so engrossed in the story that I didn’t blink until about three o’clock in the morning. I managed to get a couple of hours of sleep before going to work. Later during the day, I was waiting in line at a fast food restaurant when someone behind me sneezed three times. That was the warning sign in the book that someone had the disease that was wiping out humanity. Then next thing I knew, I was in my car with a death grip on the steering wheel. Since I started writing, it’s been a goal to capture someone’s imagination as well as he grabbed mine.
One of my favourites, too.
Why do you write?
I’ve always enjoyed telling stories. Being able to entertain the readers by writing an engaging story, creating characters and conflicts they can identify with or relate to is not easy, but it’s something I’m driven to do. It’s important to me. I think everyone has talents. Mine is to write a good story, to take you along for an adventure.
Where do those ideas come from?
(Laughs) Inspiration comes from everywhere and nowhere. I’ve gotten ideas for a story from conversations I’ve overheard, from watching people interact in a restaurant, from hiking on a trail or riding a motorcycle down a country road.
What about building your author platform? What’s your view on social media for marketing?
I’m behind the curve on social media and definitely need to catch up. So many people are on it, whether it’s Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest and more, that it’s a great way to reach a larger audience. I just need to find the time to get busy with it.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Check out new authors. There are many talented people out there, working with smaller publishing houses who have written great stories.
Truer words were never said, Mark. Thanks for investing your time to do this interview. One last question: where can readers discover more about you and your work?