Saturday, 25 October 2014

Southern Born Books Christmas Tour: Review + #Giveaway

Nobody does Christmas like Miranda Hamilton, and now that she finally has her chance to chair Magnolia Bay's tree lighting and the cotillion, which benefits her late mother’s breast cancer foundation, this Christmas is shaping up to be the best ever. That is until her childhood nemesis Logan Mauldin buys his way on her committee and starts making plans of his own.

Logan Mauldin loves to get under Miranda's very sexy skin, and it's only fair. She's been getting under his since long before their first kiss at 13. Logan’s the last man interested in co-chairing a Christmas committee or participating in a sexy bachelor auction, but since that night he interrupted Miranda on a date and cornered her under the mistletoe, he can't stop thinking about her. Or vying for her attention and bugging the hell out of her.

Christmas cheer isn’t the only thing that heats up between the Miranda and Logan, but, thanks to a lie that is as much her fault as it is his, he loses the woman he’s loved since forever. Logan will need a Christmas miracle for Miranda to forgive him. A grand gesture to melt her heart and win her back just in time for Christmas.


This book is the perfect holiday read and was pure Christmas perfection. The opening scene was so inviting, beautifully descriptive, and I could almost smell the delicious aroma of sugar cookies. I could have stayed in that moment forever.

Though, if I had, I would have missed all the sexual tension and smoking hot chemistry that ignited every time Miranda and Logan were near each other. I liked that they shared a past, one that seemed to be filled with passion along with heartache and disappointment, and I had every hope that things would work out for them. 

This book could have very easily been predictable, but it wasn't. It was romantic and fun. I loved the many different events put in place to raise the holiday cheer. The ideas were exciting and quite unique - Christmas pirates?! - never heard of that before, and it only added to the warmth of this story.

This a a definite must read if your are looking to lift your holiday spirits. 

Kim Boykin Bio:
Kim Boykin is a women's fiction author with a sassy Southern streak. She is the author of The Wisdom of Hair, Steal Me, Cowboy, and Palmetto Moon (Summer 2014.) While her heart is always in South Carolina, she lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, 3 dogs, and 126 rose bushes.


At 35-years-old, Cole Stanton is burned out. His high-paced, uber-successful career has left him yearning to start over. He finds Indigo Island, buys a restaurant and settles into an uncomplicated life. But Christmas is a mess. He has over-committed the small restaurant’s resources again, and is over his head. He finds himself longing for everything he has left behind, until a chance encounter with gorgeous Lily offers a spark of salvation to his business and, perhaps his life.

Beautiful pastry chef Lily Edmonds is thirty years old and heartbroken. It’s just before Christmas and she’s just been dumped by via telephone by her fiancee. Her best friend Avery Putnam invites her to Indigo Island, hoping to add joy back into Lily’s life. A chance encounter with the sexy owner of a local restaurant makes Lily feel an attraction she thought she’d never feel again, and offers her a business challenge to keep her mind focused on something other than her broken heart.

Cole Stanton and Lily Edmonds are both starting over. Will the joy of the holiday season bring them together or will the troubles with Christmas push them apart?

Kaira Rouda Bio:
Kaira Rouda is an award-winning and bestselling author of both fiction and nonfiction. Her books include: Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs; Here, Home, Hope; All the Difference; In the Mirror; and the short story, A Mother's Day.  She lives in Southern California with her husband and four children and is at work on her next novel. Connect with her on Twitter, @KairaRouda, and on Facebook at Kaira Rouda Books. And of course, on Pinterest! For more about Kaira and her books, please visit her website


After a mission goes terribly wrong, ending in the death of a teammate, Navy Seal, Drew Lanham, is forced to take a leave from active-duty. Retreating to his godmother’s beach house in coastal Magnolia Bay, Drew plans to spend the three weeks R&R licking his wounds and catching some rays while the nightmares from his failed op fade. The last thing he wants to do is mingle with the locals. What he doesn’t count on is an early morning encounter with a goddess rising from the sea. His interest is piqued and his body put on alert when he finds out that same woman may or may not be after his godmother’s money.

Marine biologist, Jenna Huntley, has been searching her whole life for a place to call home and Magnolia Bay is that place. Unfortunately, she’s underutilizing her education giving tours at the town’s turtle rescue center. With the help of an octogenarian patroness, she maps out a proposal to develop a turtle hatchery on-site. Everything is going as planned until the older woman’s godson arrives. Suddenly, nothing is as it seems and Jenna’s future is hanging in the balance, with a sexy warrior pulling all the strings. Her natural tendency is to help the damaged hero, but she’s sworn off letting military men in her life ever again.

Will Drew and Jenna be able to put their pasts behind them and learn to trust their hearts long enough to enjoy their Holiday at Magnolia Bay?


This book had me at Navy Seal. There is just something so darn sexy about a man in uniform, and although Drew didn't show up in his finest until the very end, he was so mouth-watering it didn't make a difference what he was wearing.

Drooling aside, this book had a lot of heart. With Drew fighting his demons and Jenna on a mission to save her turtles, whilst fighting her own demons, these two were a perfect pair. Their chemistry was undeniable and it was obvious that things were heating up between them. Even when they both pretended there was nothing more going on than two people having fun, healing Drew in the process, they were in much deeper.

This story was a little predictable but there were a few surprises I hadn't seen coming. All in all this was a fun read with a bit of seriousness added in to the mix. It was a great holiday romance that will be sure to get anyone in the holiday mood.

Tracy Solheim Bio:
Tracy Solheim is the international bestselling author of the Out of Bound Series for Penguin.  Her books feature members of the fictitious Baltimore Blaze football team and the women who love them.  In a previous life, Tracy wrote best sellers for Congress and was a freelance journalist for regional and national magazines.  She’s a military brat who now makes her home in Johns Creek, Georgia, with her husband, their two children, a pesky Labrador retriever puppy and a horse named after her first novel. Her fifth book for Berkley, Back To Before, will be released in January.  She also has a digital holiday novella for Tule Publishing's Southern Born Books coming October 20. See what she’s up to at Or on facebook at Tracy Solheim Books and Twitter at TracyKSolheim.


Cookbook author Marley Chambers can’t think of a more festive way to spend Christmas than at a friend’s holiday wedding in her hometown of Magnolia Bay. If only her soon-to-be ex-husband, all-star pitcher, Beckett “Beck” Chambers wasn’t bringing his new girlfriend—and if only he wasn’t still the sexiest man to ever walk out onto the mound…
Beck never wanted the chaotic life of a sport star—especially not at the cost of his marriage to the only woman he’s ever truly loved. But his career is a runaway train—and he’s afraid it’s too late to hit the brakes.
But when a mix-up leaves Beck and Marley stranded together for Christmas Eve on the barrier island where Beck proposed years before, old memories burn bright—and sparks fly hotter than a bonfire on the beach.
Could the magic of the season bring the gift of a second chance, just in time for Christmas?


Enjoyable and exciting, I truly enjoyed this great holiday romance. Filled with hope, this book embodied so much of what Christmas is. A time for family, friendship, love, and in this case the re-kindling of a marriage so close to the end.

I particularly loved Gina. From the get go she was feisty and fun, a perfect friend who saw behind all the BS. I wasn't all surprised by her little scheme to help Marley find happiness again and I kinda loved her for it.

A great holiday read, because who doesn't need a little bit of Christmas magic and romance?

Erika Marks Bio:
Erika Marks is a women's fiction writer and the author of LITTLE GALE GUMBO, THE MERMAID COLLECTOR, THE GUEST HOUSE and IT COMES IN WAVES (July, 2014). On the long and winding road to becoming published, she worked many different jobs, including carpenter, cake decorator, art director, and illustrator. But if pressed, she might say it was her brief tenure with a match-making service in Los Angeles after college that set her on the path to writing love stories (not that there isn't romance in frosting or power tools!) A native New Englander, she now makes her home in Charlotte, NC, with her husband, a native New Orleanian who has taught her to make a wicked gumbo, and their two little mermaids. For more on Erika’s books, visit her website at


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Friday, 24 October 2014

Cover Reveal: Sawyer House Vol. 1 by Kailin Gow

Sawyer House Vol. 1 by Kailin Gow

Sawyer House releases on December 8, 2014
Add it to Goodreads:
It was a fluke that sexy tattooed, pierced everywhere Tate McGregor would be the new peer counselor at Sawyer House, the volunteer crisis call center.
Can he get over his feelings for his billionaire brother Collins McGregor's girl Sam Sullivan or will he try to win her over?
With a past spent in jail, was Tate McGregor really reformed enough to help others like himself as Sam believed he would?
Every call is different; everyone he comes across as a counselor changes his life in some way or another. Just like in Saving You Saving Me, the ones being saved are the ones who least expected it.
New Adult Contemporary for Age 18 and up.
Website     Facebook      Twitter
Kailin Gow's life is sometimes more fascinating and stranger than fiction, which is being chronicled in a feature film based on a treatment optioned and in development for a release date of 2018. ( - The Colorful Worlds of Kailin Gow 2018). Her true life experiences as a world traveler where she has traveled to over 25 countries, logging hundreds of thousands of miles, absorbing the cultures and collecting stories relating to places and the romance of the land, and incidents in her personal life, has inspired her to write and publish over 170 books with over 30 series.
She is noted as an indie pioneer, as one of the first to publish in 2001. Breaking stereotypes, her books has crossed traditional and indie lines, gaining recognition in schools and libraries, as well as the indie community. Her action adventure young adult fantasy series, The Frost Series, an ALA YALSA Reader's Choice Nominated book series - had been optioned by an international film company and is currently in development as a game and a film at Five of her fantasy/action adventure series have been optioned to be made into worldwide games.
Kailin Gow has been known in The World Journal, an international newspaper, to be a phenomenon. She was profiled on the homepage of as an Author Success Story who overcame personal obstacles to become a bestselling author, appeared as one of Amazon's top authors for the Kindle Fire launch release, and is one of the earliest indie authors who have sold over a million books. She writes for Fast Company as a publishing expert, had appeared on a major network Television News as a bestselling author who writes fiction and non-fiction with a social conscious, and has made speeches and appearances across the U.S. and on top 15 national radio regarding self-esteem and issues relating to women.
Kailin Gow was an invited speaker and signing author at Book Expo America (BEA)2014.
Having experienced bullying firsthand and slander as a woman, Kailin Gow is an active advocate against bullying in the workplace and in schools. She has written Shy Girls Social Club Handbook Against Bullying and has helped launch Stories for Amanda where all proceeds go towards the Amanda Todd Foundation against bullying. She has written several books with the theme of abuse towards women and children, especially the steamy international bestselling The Protégé Series, which launched a book club initiative in battered women's shelters and won The Indie Excellence Awards at NIEA for Erotica in 2014.
She holds a Masters Degree in Communications Management from The University of Southern California, and degrees in Drama and Social Ecology.
She resides in the American West with her husband and daughter, but had lived for a decade in Texas, and briefly in England. Besides being a full-time author, she volunteers for many organizations, is active in church helping build homes for the homeless and visit orphanages. A voracious reader, when she is not writing, she loves reading an entire series in one sitting! She spends way too much time on Facebook than she is supposed to at, but loves meeting new people from all walks of life.
She has over 30 Series, written under Kailin Gow, and more under her middle grade, women's fiction, and mystery pen names:
***For 16 and up***
  • The Frost Series - COMPLETED. Bitter Frost Series Consists of 8 full-length novels.
  • The Wolf Fey Series - COMPLETED. Consists of 2 full-length novels and one novella.
  • Fairy Rose Chronicles - age 13 and up.
  • The PULSE Series - Next Book - Blood Ring (PULSE #9), releasing due to readers' demand to continue the series. Consists of 9 full-length novels and one novella.
  • FADE Series - COMPLETED. ALL Full-length novels.
  • DESIRE Series - All Full-length novels. Last Book, FRENZY - 2015.
  • Fire Wars Series - All Full-length novels.
  • Alchemists Academy - All Full-length novels.
  • Wordwick Games - All Full-length novels.
  • Wicked Woods Series - COMPLETED. Consists of 5 full-length novels.
  • Steampunk Scarlett - All Full-length novels.
  • The Phantom Diaries - All Full-length novels. Last Book, DARK VICTORY - 2015.
  • Stoker Sisters - All Full-length novels. Last Book, SISTER OF THE STRIGOIS - 2015.
  • Beyond Crystal River - 2015 NEW SERIES.
  • SHADES - 2015 NEW SERIES. This is a high concept psychological thriller.
***For 18 and up (New Adult/Coming of Age)***
  • Loving Summer - All full-length novels.
  • The Donovan Brothers - All full-length novels.
  • Saving You Saving Me (You & Me Trilogy)- COMPLETED. Consists of 3 Full-length novels.
  • Never Knights - COMPLETED. Consists of 3 Full-length novels.
  • Rock Hard Love Hard - 1st book, Rock Hard Love Hard is now Available.
  • Sawyer House Chronicles (Spin-off of You & Me Trilogy) - Coming in 2015
    Canvas - Coming in 2015
***For 18 and up (Adult/Steamy Romance)***
  • The Protege - COMPLETED. 3 Full-length novels.
  • Master Chefs - COMPLETED. Consists of 3 Full-length novels.
  • The Blue Room (Spin-off of Never Knights Trilogy) - Romantic Suspense.
  • Barely Legal (Spin-off of The Protégé) - Romantic Suspense.
  • The Oyster House - Artistic Romantic Thriller set in Hong Kong and England. - Coming in 2015.


For information on the series, new series and new book releases, contests, appearances, KG-Convergences, and more, sign up at

Blog Tour: Review + Author Q & A: Swann's Lake of Despair by Charles Salzberg #CharlesSalzberg


Hardcover, $29.95
ISBN: 978-1-4328-2936-0
284 pages
Five Star Gale/Cengage
Oct. 22, 2014


When rare photos, a scandalous diary and a beautiful woman all go missing at once, the stage is set for Henry Swann’s most challenging act of detection. In “Swann’s Lake of Despair,” the wise and world-weary skip tracer tries to avoid a dance with death.


It starts with an offer to become partners from his slovenly and unreliable frenemy, Goldblatt. In a new agency, the disbarred lawyer-turned-“facilitator” would provide the leads and muscle, while Swann would do all the fancy footwork.


But while Swann’s bank account gives him no choice but leap in, their first cases make him fear he’s taking the fall. A lost diary by a free-loving ‘20s Jazz Age flapper is worth enough to someone that Swann takes a beat down on an abandoned boardwalk. Pilfered photos of Marilyn Monroe propel him deep into the past of an alcoholic shutterbug, his wife and girlfriend. In the midst of this Swann must fly from New York to Florida to Texas to help a lovelorn writer locked in a tormented pas de deux with his elusive lover.


The cases all converge and collide in a finale that lifts the curtain on crucial, deadly facts of life for everyone – including Swann himself.


Funny and philosophical, savvy and suspenseful, Swann’s Lake of Despair raises the bar on a unique mystery series, one starring a sleuth who chases those lost in order to find himself.
There was so much to love about this book. From its witty, charismatic protagonist to the mystery and suspense that drove this novel from start to finish.
This is the first time I've had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Swann, and I must say I was immediately drawn to him. He had a strong personality, was charming, and a smartass when he needed to be. I enjoyed his interactions with the many different characters who popped up during his investigations, but his time with Goldblatt really put a smile on my face. He had a way of totally ridiculing his friend and partner but in a way that was quite endearing.
This was a great mystery read with exciting twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat. Never once predictable, Salzberg held me captive with his crisp writing and plotting. I enjoyed every minute spent playing detective alongside Henry Swann.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                         
Marissa Curnutte



 “Smart, satisfying, even profound, this is exactly what every mystery reader is looking for: A terrific story, full of wit and originality, and a master class in voice. Charles Salzberg is a true talent, and his Henry Swann is a classic--complex, hilarious, and completely charming.”
Hank Phillippi Ryan, Mary Higgins Clark award winner: THE OTHER WOMAN, Agatha winner: THE WRONG GIRL



Award-winning novelist Charles Salzberg releases ‘Swann’s Lake of Despair’ Oct. 22


NEW YORK CITY – Where mystery lurks, detective Henry Swann is not far behind.


The offbeat private investigator is back in “Swann’s Lake of Despair,” award-winning author Charles Salzberg’s newest installment in his successful mystery series. This time, Swann is charged with solving three challenging cases when rare photos of bombshell Marilyn Monroe, a scandalous diary and a beautiful woman all disappear. Salzberg’s latest book comes out Oct. 22, 2014.


The story takes off with an offer for Swann to team up with his careless, unreliable frenemy Goldblatt. The disbarred lawyer-turned-“facilitator” would provide the leads and muscle, while Swann would do all the fancy footwork. A missing diary penned by a free-loving jazz flapper is worth enough to someone that Swann takes a beat down on an abandoned boardwalk. Pilfered photos propel him deep into the past of an alcoholic photographer, his wife; and he’s hired to search for a lonely writer’s runaway girlfriend. The cases converge and collide in a finale that lifts the curtain on crucial, deadly facts of life for everyone – including Swann himself.


With “Swann’s Lake of Despair,” Salzberg continues a tradition of weaving a web of intrigue and cerebral crimes that fans have come to crave.


“Swann’s got the smarts and hard-boiled cynicism of Sam Spade, but he’s also got a wicked sense of humor that keeps things cool even when the action gets hot,” says Brian Kilmeade, author and co-host of “Fox & Friends.”


Salzberg is a New York-based novelist, journalist and acclaimed writing instructor. He is the author of “Devil in the Hole,” chosen as one of the Best True Crime Novels of the Year by Suspense Magazine, and the Henry Swann detective series featuring “Swann’s Last Song,” which was nominated for a Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel; “Swann Dives In;” and the upcoming “Swann’s Lake of Despair.”

 Check out all the stops in the tour on the JKSCommunications Virtual Tour Page 

Praise for Charles Salzberg’s Writing


“Devil in the Hole”

“Salzberg masterfully weaves together dozens of voices, including the killer’s, in an effort to find out why a man would murder his entire family and then disappear. ‘Devil in the Hole’ is a haunting meditation on the thin, wavering line between sense and senselessness.”

– Kaylie Jones, author of “Lies My Mother Never Told Me: A Memoir” and “Speak Now”


“The Devil isn’t in the details, but in a tiny Connecticut town. Charles Salzberg’s ‘Devil in the Hole’ is a fine piece of crime writing and a hell of a fun read.”

Reed Farrel Coleman, three-time Shamus Award-winning author of “Gun Church”



“Swann Dives In”

“I always love it when I come across a new private detective to admire and worship, someone who is brave where I'm weak, someone who gets his hands dirty while I keep mine clean. Henry Swann is such a detective and he tells a great story. For fans of hard-boiled mysteries or just plain old good fiction, I'm sure you'll love ‘Swann Dives In.’”

– Jonathan Ames, author of “Wake Up, Sir!” and creator of “Bored to Death”


“If you like your P.I.s sexy, well-read and wise-cracking, Henry Swann is your man. Swann dives into a case with a prickly millionaire, a missing heiress and some rare manuscripts in this literate and literary novel.”

– Rosemary Harris, Anthony & Agatha-nominated author of “Pushing Up Daisies”


“Henry Swann is the great tradition of American mystery heroes: world-weary, philosophical, tough, and competent. This novel is totally entertaining.”

– Laurence Klavan, Edgar Award-winning author of “The Cutting Room” and “The Shooting Script”


“‘Swann Dives In” takes you in all kinds of unexpected directions, not only giving the reader a fresh view of the crime novel but a fresh view of the nature of crime itself.”

– Lauren Weisberger, author of “The Devil Wears Prada”



“Swann’s Last Song”

“‘Swann’s Last Song’ is wonderful and original and has the feel of Hitchcock. Henry Swann is a delightfully appealing guy, and at times, laugh-out loud funny. The story is action packed while being remarkably charming. I can’t wait to read what case Swann is on next. I couldn't put it down the way I can't put down the ‘No. 1 Ladies Detective Society.’”

– Patty Dann, author of “Mermaids” and “The Goldfish Went On Vacation”


“Swann's got the smarts and hard-boiled cynicism of Sam Spade, but he's also got a wicked sense of humor that keeps things cool even when the action gets hot.”

– Brian Kilmeade, co-host of “Fox & Friends” (Fox TV), author of “The Games Do Count” and “How They Played the Game”


“Salzberg's a hell of a writer. He delivers thrills, insight and plenty of laughs. Swann is a very cool take on the classic PI.”

– Andrew Klavan, author of “True Crime,” “Dynamite Road,”“Damnation Street” and “Don’t Say a Word”


“You can’t help but be intrigued by a skip tracer who quotes poetry. ‘Swann’s Last Song’ sucks you in from page one, offering up taut prose, crisp dialogue and wry observations on the grittier layers of city life. Bravo to Charles Salzberg, who’s crafted a plot that moves as fast as a stolen car.”

– Sally Koslow, author of “Little Pink Slips”


“A veritable travelogue of suspense, ‘Swann's Last Song’ grabs hold of the reader and doesn't let go. Salzberg's anti-hero Henry Swann is a soulful, investigator and one of the most paradoxically endearing characters I've come across. I hope this isn't Swann's last song.”

– Joy Behar, co-host of “The View” and author of “Joy Shtick”


“In ‘Swann’s Last Song,’ Salzberg has devilishly toyed with the usual conventions of the detective novel and produced a mind-bending, literary joyride across two continents to find not only the identity of a murderer but of the victim.”

– Robert Hicks, author of “The Widow of the South”


“Funny, edgy, and surprisingly tender, ‘Swann's Last Song’ takes us on a voyage through a world that many of us are affected by, but few know as well as Charles Salzberg and his fast-talking narrator, skip tracer Henry Swann. We can all understand what it means to have something – or somebody – disappear from our lives, but it takes a colorful narrator like Swann to show us what it means to reclaim them.”

– Roy Hoffman, author of “Chicken Dreaming Corn”


Charles Salzberg is a New York-based novelist, journalist and acclaimed writing instructor.


His latest novel, “Swann’s Lake of Despair,” is the newest installment in the Henry Swann detective series, which also includes the Shamus Award-nominated book “Swann’s Last Song” and “Swann Dives in.” His novel, “Devil in the Hole,” is a work of literary crime fiction based on the notorious John List murders.


A celebrated and popular creative writing teacher, he has been a visiting professor at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and has taught writing at Sarah Lawrence College, Hunter College, the Writer’s Voice, and the New York Writers Workshop, where he is a founding member. He was chosen as one of New York’s Great Teachers by New York Magazine. He is a consulting editor at the webzine and co-host, with Jonathan Kravetz, of the reading series, Trumpet Fiction, at KGB in New York City.


Salzberg was the International Guest of Honor at the Crime and Justice Festival in Melbourne, Australia, in November 2013.  He has participated in New York Public Library/Mystery Writer of America Writer panels, a panel at Bouchercon 2013 in Albany, and has appeared twice at Men of Mystery, in Irvine, Calif.


Salzberg has written several celebrity profiles as well as roughly 100 magazine articles on an array of subjects ranging from sports to finance to health to entertainment to fashion. His freelance work has appeared in Esquire, New York Magazine, GQ, Elle, Redbook, Ladies Home Journal, The New York Times Arts and Leisure section, The New York Times Book Review and the Los Angeles Times Book Review.


He is also the author of “From Set Shot to Slam Dunk, An Oral History of the NBA;” “On A Clear Day They Could See Seventh Place: Baseball’s 10 Worst Teams of the Century;” and co-author of “My Zany Life and Times, by Soupy Sales,” “Catch Them Being Good” and “The Mad Fisherman.”

Q&A with Charles Salzberg


Henry Swann isn’t your typical gumshoe detective. For people who aren’t familiar with the series, how would you describe him?

            First of all, he’s not really a detective; at least he doesn’t see himself that way.  An English major in college, was trained, if that’s the word for it, as a journalist and somehow wound up working as a skip tracer, which is someone who finds people who’ve skipped out on their bills or their spouses, or are missing.  He was married and has a son, but his wife was killed in a freak accident and he gave up his son to his in-laws who live somewhere in Middle America.  He exists on the margins of society, trying desperately to make a living and find some kind of meaning to his life.  What he’s good at is finding people and amassing information, like any good journalist, and from this he is often able to solve mysteries.  But he doesn’t carry a weapon, he avoids physical confrontations as much as possible, he’s erudite, cynical, sarcastic, iconoclastic and says he will do almost anything for money.



“Swann’s Lake of Despair” is like three mysteries wrapped into one novel. Was this a challenging story to write?

            Yes, it was a way to challenge myself.  In each of these books I need to do that in order to make them interesting to write.  Generally speaking, for instance, I’m not interested in murder or in the traditional kind of detective novel where there’s a dead body or bodies, the hero or heroine collects all the clues, rounds up all the suspects, and then points the finger at the guilty party.  How many murders can we possibly have and how many interesting stories can we weave around murder?  Besides, there are so many other far more interesting crimes that occur every day, and some of them aren’t even strictly against the law.  In Swann’s Lake of Despair one of the crimes has to do with a broken heart, another a possible lost diary that might shed light on a decades old death, and the third has to do with the world of photojournalism.  I like to write about what interests me or what could interest me, and so with each of the Swann books I’d like to set him in an unfamiliar world that both of us can examine.  But having three stories going at once is difficult and at the same time also fun, because when I would get bored or stuck with one, I could move on to the other and by the time I felt that way with that one I was energized for another.



What do you like about Henry Swann’s style of detective work?

            It’s cerebral and instinctual.  He thinks about things before he acts and he’s free to move about whenever he needs to.  He’s also on his own, which means he doesn’t have to answer to anyone, even his ostensible “partner,” Goldblatt.  He’s certainly not Sherlock Holmes; he uses common sense more than a keen sense of deduction, and he’s not Mike Hammer, using brute force. To me, he’s more Everyman, you or me if we were to find ourselves in a world of investigating crime.  We’d stumble around for a while but if we were smart enough, eventually we’d get the hang of it.


The first chapter of “Swann’s Lake of Despair” appeared in a slightly different form as a short story in Akashic’s Long Island Noir. How did the plot transform as you took it from short story to novel?

            I was asked to write a short story for Long Island Noir by the editor, my friend, Kaylie Jones.  It had to be quick, and so the easiest thing for me to do was to use Henry Swann as a character.  I had to pick a location on Long Island, so I chose Long Beach, where I go several times a summer to the beach.  Then I had to come up with a plot.  After I finished, I kind of liked what I’d written and thought that the story I’d started, which was based on a true Long Beach case, might work in an extended version and so I altered it slightly and made it the first chapter of Swann’s Lake of Despair.  In truth, it just kind of provided the impetus for another Swann book, like giving someone a little push down a hill.


Are any of the characters in “Swann’s Lake of Despair” based on real people?

Julia Scully is a friend and was in my writing class for a while. She really was a photography editor, really did date Eddie, and everything I wrote about him (and her) is true. I got the stories from her and her permission to use them. So, that plot-line is based on truth.

Also based on truth is the Starr Faithfull plotline. Of course, I just took those things and ran with them – fictionalizing everything else about that. But, once again, I’ve used the names of real people in the book (with permission, of course), so that Ross Klavan, who’s a good friend of mine, is real, as is Mark Goldblatt, and even Tony LaHood – he’s someone I’ve actually never met but he’s a friend of a friend. I saw his name on Facebook, was amazed by it, contacted him, asked if I could use it in my next book, and he said, of course. That’s kind of the way these things sometimes work.


How did your illustrious career in journalism prepare you for writing novels?

            I wouldn’t exactly call it illustrious, more workman-like.  I made a living at it because I was willing to write anything and everything for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers.  The truth is, I never wanted to be a journalist.  I used to look down on it because I thought who couldn’t just go watch something or research something and then write about it.  The real art is making stuff up.  Of course, the first time I had to write an article disabused me of that.  But journalism impacted my fiction writing in very useful ways.  First, I learned how to write to word counts, which made me learn to make every word count. Second, I learned the art of research.  Third, I learned how to listen, which in turn helped me create more realistic dialog, at least I hope it’s realistic. 

            But I can’t say that journalism or anything else for that matter really prepares you for writing novels.  The only real preparation you have is actually writing them, and I was doing that since the age of 12, when I wrote, or at least started to write my first one: a roman a clef about sleep-away camp.


Without giving too much away, what can we expect in the fourth installment in the Swann series, “Swann’s Way Out?”

            It’s hard for me to answer that because I’m the kind of writer who doesn’t write from an outline, nor do I have any idea where I’m going until I get there.  But since I’m almost halfway through it, I can tell you that so far there are two main plotlines.  One has to do with an embezzled million dollars that winds up being invested in a Hollywood film, which means Swann is swept into the world of movies. The other has to do with the New York City art world.  And if you ask me to divulge any more than that, it’s not that I won’t; it’s that I can’t. I’m just pleased that I was able to come up with another title with the word Swann in it.

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