Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Today's Colorado Mystery Author Guest: Mike Befeler
As promised yesterday, fellow Colorado mystery author Mike Befeler is visiting my blog today. To read his bio and see his photo, please page down to yesterday's post.
Above is the cover photo for his most recent book, Senior Moments Are Murder, which was published in August. In the book, cantankerous octogenarian Paul Jacobson must solve a series of murders while struggling with the problems of his short-term memory loss. Paul learns about the homeless community, graffiti artists, disreputable art dealers and the beach scene in Venice Beach, California, and must dance a geezer two-step to stay out of the clutches of the police and the bad guys.
Below are Mike's answers to my interview questions. Please leave a comment for Mike, and if you have a question of your own for him, ask it!
1. Who or what inspired you to start writing and when did you start?
I came to fiction writing late in life, at the age of 56. I thought over things I had really enjoyed doing over my lifetime and made the decision that I wanted to retire into fiction writing.
2. What tools and process do you use to “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?
I have kept logs of characteristics but for me a lot of it evolves as I write a character. I enjoy writing humor so a character’s sense of humor starts popping out as I write. The main character in my published mystery series, Paul Jacobson, is a punster, so ideas for puns appear as he speaks with other characters.
3. How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
I start with a basic outline and see where things go from there. I’m always surprised at how a plot evolves as I get into the story. I often don’t know who the murderer is until I get over half way through the rough draft.
4. In the age-old question of character versus plot, which one do you think is most important in a murder mystery and which one do you emphasize in your writing? Why?
Readers today enjoy the puzzle aspect of a mystery but overwhelmingly state that want to read about interesting characters. I think it’s important to have a solid plot, but characters are what drive the story.
5. What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?
Writing is full of rejection. I sold my first short story on my 112th submission. Perseverance is a must, and I keep going because I enjoy telling a story and writing about quirky characters.
6. What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?
I’m a morning person and write every morning, every day of the week that I’m not doing an event or traveling. I typically write from seven to eleven, take a break for exercising in the middle of the day, and then do email, social networking and administrative tasks in the afternoon.
7. What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?
Two things: get started and keep going.
8. Now here’s a zinger. Tell us something about yourself that you have not revealed in another interview yet. Something as simple as your favorite TV show or food will do.
I’m a cookie-aholic. I get by fine if there are no cookies around, but if there is a plate of cookies in front of me, I’ll eat them until they’re gone (particularly chocolate chip).
9. What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
The fourth book in my Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery series is under contract with my publisher and will be released in December, 2012. It takes place on an Alaskan cruise ship and is titled, Cruising in Your Eighties Is Murder. I’m currently completing a spy novel titled, Spies Like Them, that I call a Skip Generational Story of International Intrigue because the main characters are two retired spies and their two teenage grandchildren.
10. Is there anything else you would like to tell my blog readers?
My Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery series includes three published books: Retirement Homes Are Murder, Living With Your Kids Is Murder and Senior Moments Are Murder. I encourage your blog readers to visit my website and my blog, and I welcome the opportunity to do conference call meetings with book clubs (contact me at email@example.com).
Thanks, Mike! Now, who has a comment or question for him?