As promised yesterday, fellow mystery author Mario Acevedo is visiting my blog today, with answers to my interview questions. To read his bio and see his photo, please page down to yesterday's post. Also, Mario is running a contest for a free electronic copy of his latest release, Good Money Gone, the cover art for which appears above. Mario will select the winner tomorrow evening from among those who leave a comment today or tomorrow and will announce the name in a comment on this post.
Good Money Gone takes place in the country of Panama, a tropical paradise with an anything-goes attitude. Bring your wish list. It’s a place to start. Or to start over. Where the best of intentions are dazzled by the glitter of easy money. Steven McKay chases the quick bucks in offshore finance, playing fast and loose with his scruples until he discovers he’s merely one cog in a vast Ponzi scheme. Even as his paranoid boss puts the screws to everyone inside the conspiracy, McKay races to save his clients--and his skin--before the rotten machine grinds to a halt under the weight of sleaze, greed, and criminal investigations. He realizes too late that his dream for wealth and fortune was nothing but Good Money Gone.
Sounds like a thrilling read to me! Below are Mario's answers to my interview questions.
1. Who or what inspired you to start writing and when did you start?
When I was in the sixth grade, I started writing a science-fiction epic story that got too big for my English assignment. That story kept evolving in my head for years, and I found myself always working on a what-if scenario. After college I thought I was going to write non-fiction but I was too much of a liar to pen anything but fiction.
2. What tools and process do you use to “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?
I find someone who reminds me of a character. I stalk that person and murder them. Then I go to the cemetery at midnight and hold a séance over their grave. Then I simply dictate what the dead tell me and use that to better know my characters. Some of them are understandably very bitter with me.
3. How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
I’ve been at this long enough to recognize the value of an outline. I do that because my Muse is very lazy.
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?
Plot keeps the story moving forward but we read because we care about the characters. It’s a balance.
5. What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?
This is a tough business. There’s a lot of luck and fickleness involved. We all know of big books that make us go "Huh?" over what the fuss is all about. And we also know many authors who aren’t getting anywhere near the recognition they deserve. What keeps me going are these voices in my head that won’t shut up, and that I’m a relentless optimist.
6. What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?
I write from 8AM-Noon most days. The afternoons and evenings are for the extra stuff like this interview. Nights are for drinking.
7. What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?
Be delusional in your abilities as a writer.
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.
My guilty pleasure is watching HG TV whenever I have access to cable.
9. What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
Presently I have an ebook available, Good Money Gone, that I co-authored with Richard Kilborn who worked as an inside man in a huge Ponzi scheme. It’s a fictionalized account of his misadventures and is a story I’m very excited about. The plot is ultimately one of treachery and redemption. And there’s a failed romance in there as well. I’m hard at work finishing the next book in my Felix Gomez detective-vampire series. The story is Rescue From Planet Pleasure and aims to tie up many of the big loose ends from the previous books. I’ve also got some short stories that I’d like to bundle as a collection.
10. Is there anything else you would like to tell my blog readers?
My books contain the answers to all your problems. Check me out at my website, my Facebook page, or the Good Money Gone website.
Thanks, Mario! Now, who has a comment or question for Mario Acevedo? Good luck in the contest!