Today I have for you an interview with J. David Core, writer of the Lupa Schwartz mystery series.
Core’s latest mystery novel (actually three novellas in one volume) comes out on August 6th. It’s entitled “Fair Play.” You can find out more about J. David Core at the writer’s blog here: http://lupamysteries.blogspot.com/
1. So what made you want to write?
My father was an avid reader and a would-be writer. People still talk about what a good story teller he and my grandfather were. I also have a brother and sister who are excellent story tellers. Unlike my relatives, I don’t have the personality to blurt out an entertaining story, but I do have the patience and the tenacity to craft one. So since there were always books around the house and since I wanted to entertain with a good yarn the way my family did, I started writing.
2. I see you write mysteries. What about this genre appeals to you?
I used to write sci-fi. The thing I like about sci-fi and the thing I also like about mysteries is that the stories often have clever twists; like finding out that Soylent Green is people or that the ape planet is really Earth after a catastrophic war relegated humans to second-class animal status. But mysteries are more grounded in reality and in that way are more restrictive. Something about those kinds of limits makes the writing of a well-designed plot more satisfying. For the same reason I prefer writing rhyming, metered poetry to free form; and I like parody over satire.
3. I think we’re all influenced by popular media these days–movies, books, and music. What of these has influenced you the most, and why?
Definitely movies. When I have spare time, I love watching movies. I also like reading books, but since I can watch five or six movies in the time it takes me to read a book, there are a lot more movies in my pool of influencing media than there are novels. Also, when I find that a movie is being made from a book I liked, I usually watch the movie which then winds up informing my memory of the story more than the reading experience did. Sadly, my fond recollections of Tom Robbins book “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” was negatively impacted by that gawdawful Uma Thurman movie version.
4. Tell me about your latest book.
“Fair Play” is the third installment in the Lupa Schwartz Mysteries. It consists of three novellas. The first two are traditional whodunnits in the Sherlock Holmes/Nero Wolfe mold, and they feature the PI and his household that I introduced in the first two Lupa Schwartz novels. The third is a noir revenge story set in the same universe, but all of the characters (except for one or two) are new. The first story is a classic locked-door-mystery about a contestant on a reality game show who is murdered on the set in front of the cameras with a roomful of fellow contestants who are all suspects. The second story has the PI and his narrator — his Watson — going undercover in a convenience store to determine who poisoned the manager and they uncover a counterfeiting ring in the process. The last story follows a bounty hunter who is bringing a skip home and on the journey tells about a previous bail jumper who may or may not be planning a murder.
5. Who is your favorite writer, and why?
My favorite mystery writer is Raymond Chandler. He didn’t invent the hard boiled PI, but he perfected it. His use of language, the way he set a scene, he was genius. His similes are incomparable. Marlowe had a real personality, with real thoughts and flaws. I also love Douglas Adams, Rex Stout, and Mark Twain. My favorite contemporary writer is probably Dan Brown.
6. I understand you also write for charity. Tell me more about that and how it work.
I like to participate in charity anthologies. Full disclosure, it helps with discoverability. People find me among the crowd in the anthology, and hopefully it funnels them to my other work. But even if that doesn’t happen, it’s rewarding to be involved in the collections anyway. I am involved in two community service groups in my hometown. I like the giving back. As for how it works, the projects were handled by other people. All I did was submit a story here and there. The editors compile the books, and put them up for sale, and arrange to direct the proceeds to the charities. That’s the heavy lifting.
7. What are you working on next?
I just finished the first draft of a graphic novel to be called “The Return of the Dragon.” It’s an updated retelling of the King Arthur legend with vampires. It’s in beta at the moment, and will probably be a few months in coming. Then I have the fourth Lupa Schwartz book which is already written but has not gone through beta.
8. Any advice for other writers out there?
I have a blog where I review indie books (where you can also come join my mailing list — by the way,) and I have a page dedicated to advice for how to write a review request. If there’s one piece of advice from that list I would stress it’s this — never apologize. So many authors begin their review requests saying something like, “I’m sorry if this isn’t what you’re looking for, but…” Do not do that. Sell the book. Sell yourself. You’ve written an epic that will change the world. Own it.