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Thursday, 26 May 2011


From where do you get inspiration and what inspired you to write THE DECADE MYSTERY SERIES?

Two things really intrigue me - History and Mystery.  The history doesn’t have to be ancient, it can be just yesterday or last year.  The mystery, of course, has to be full of dire consequences and danger.

 When I started writing, I had so many ideas for stories floating around in my head I had to somehow sort them out and decide which I would work on first.  It turned out to be a mystery set in 1957 in the Midwest.  The second was set in 1995 in California.  The third was in 2004 in Europe.  And then out of a snowstorm and idea came to me, and I wrote Resurrection Garden set in 1904 in North Dakota.  I began to see a pattern here.  Murder mysteries set in different decades and locations. And thus was born my Decade Mystery Series.

Resurrection Garden is not a western, nor is it a Victorian mystery. The North Dakota prairie was almost the last frontier for homesteading. Immigrants were arriving daily looking for their chance at the American Dream. Land of their own to farm, to prosper and raise a family. It was hard, rough work in a harsh environment and many failed, even died, in the effort.  Communities were new, yet people relied on one another and on the law.
In writing Resurrection Garden, I wove into the story many snippets I culled from my research.  Stories straight out the newspaper of the time became part of the backdrop to the mystery and to life as depicted in the novel.  Since my own grandparents were settlers in North Dakota in the 1880’s, I also had personal history to draw on for background.

Who controls the story – you or your characters?
My characters control the story. I begin with an idea around which I want to create a story.  From that my characters begin to take shape.  Before I start writing I develop my main characters complete with back story and then put them in motion.  From there they take off and control the story.  Once I am writing it is like a movie is playing in my head or I am actually watching the real scenes take place and my job is to get it down on paper.  The characters often go in directions I did not consciously plan but I can see that it is the right thing for them to do to remain true to the character and the story.  I have learned to get out of the way of my characters once I turn them loose in the story.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading the books?
I want my readers to come away satisfied.  I am asking them to take some time from their life to read my book and I want them to enjoy the story and the characters, to learn something, and to feel that the time was well spent.  And also, of course, I want the reader to look forward to the next book.

What do you like best and least about writing?
The best part of writing is the discovery, the aha moments that happen when writing and you find your characters truly taking on life and taking over the story.  It’s not just the good characters either.  So much can be learned from the antagonists in their actions, motivations and complexities.  It can be fun spending a few hours writing scenes exploring the characters as they move through the story.  I may start out a story with a general idea of what the ending should be only to find that the characters and the story take a different direction and the ending is what they dictate, not me.

The least favorite part of writing is the constant re-writing and editing.  Like a garden, a story need constant attention to pull out the weeds in order to let the flowers grow and blossom.

What is the best writing advice you have ever received?
The best advice I ever got was simply this – persevere.  Don’t give up, keep writing and polishing your writing.  Write because it is what you have to do, not because you want to make a lot of money.  Some very good writers will never make it through the maze to get published but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be writing.

What can we look forward to from you in the near future?
As I said my next book, Dead Man’s Gambit, is out in June.  Following that in a few months is Empty Time.  Two more in the Decade Mystery Series will follow in 2012.  I hope everyone will enjoy them all.
How do you like to spend your free time?

I like to read - mysteries of course, travel, garden, play poker and keep up with current events.  There never is enough “free” time for all that I would like to do.  Maybe someday, after I have retired from my regular professional career.
Finally, which flower would best describe you and why?

If I had to pick a flower that would describe me it would probably be the North American wild prairie rose.  I’m not showy, I’m hardy and need my freedom in order to grow.

More books in the Decade Mystery Series will be released in the next few months.
All Frank's books are available from the publisher at


1 comment:

  1. Love the sound of that flower. I'm completely different, brash, bright and showy - a sunflower! LOL

    Great interview both of you!

    I came here via the blog hop - Here is my answer to this week's blog hop question! Please check it out! :D