In my first blog post for 2014, I invited readers to let me know what topped their reading list for the New Year, so I could post them. I also invited writers to share a bit of what they are working on for the coming year. I was thrilled when someone actually took me up on my offer. I was contacted by Mike Worley~Author of the Angela Masters Detective Novel Series, and found him willing to share his past works and the writing project he is working on now. I was equally tickled to find out that he lives close to me, in the neighboring state of Kentucky.
When Mike and I began corresponding, he let me in on a little secret that absolutely floored me…He has never done a guest blog! I must say, I was not only shocked, but also jealous. He has been able to focus much of his time to the craft of writing, using his blog to more or less chronicle his writing journey.
So with that little secret out of the bag, I can honestly say, I am honored to be his ‘Debut Guest Blog Stop.’ I’ve assured Mike, though my site is very small, I have the best, most vocal and engaging followers on the web. I hope you all will make this a great experience for him.
It’s my pleasure to introduce you to…
Mike Worley~ Author of the Angela Masters Detective Novel Series…
*It’s great to have you on my blog Mike. I’m so glad you took me up on my offer. So, introduce us to Mike Worley, and tell us how you got started with your writing.
I was in law enforcement for 34 years, moving from officer to chief of police. During my career, I commanded criminal investigations and internal affairs, which have given me some of the insights for the stories I write.
Many of my fellow novelists say something like “I always wanted to be a (fiction) writer” or “I’ve been writing stories since I was in grade-school.”
But for me, fiction writing was never something I imagined myself doing. In high school, I wrote a few (bad) poems and had penned a couple of equally bad short stories. Most of my writing life was spent in the world of non-fiction, specifically police investigative reports. Over the years I also sold a dozen or so magazine and journal articles, but again, these were descriptions of real-world situations.
Then, in the early 1980′s, my partner and I were assigned to assist another agency on a murder/kidnapping case. Our role in the case was rather small, but we followed the progress after it left our jurisdiction, and the outcome was not what an investigator hopes it would be. Perhaps because the case involved two young girls, my sense of injustice was piqued and I started to write a story. It was based on the case, but would be different from the start. And, it would have a very different outcome. In fact, the epilogue was the first thing I wrote.
However, after about eight chapters, the story — the redefined story — was settled in my mind and I no longer felt a drive to write it. From the beginning, I never had any intention of publishing what I had written. The unfinished manuscript languished on my computer — actually two or three computers as I moved files during upgrades.
*What made you decide to complete the manuscript?
Over the years, my son, who had read the initial draft, often pestered me to finish the manuscript. I brushed off his entreaties as I occupied my time with other matters. Then, in 2012, an old friend, retired Boston Police Deputy Superintendent Margot Hill, published a fictional work called Esplanade. She had published the book for Kindle, something unavailable when I wrote my initial story draft, even if I had considered publication.
I too, was retired at that time and I decided that perhaps the time was right to see if I could craft a complete fictional work. I edited the initial manuscript and fleshed out the story as it had unfolded in my mind. The epilogue remained unchanged from my first draft. Within four months, I had my first book, which I titled RETRIBUTION. After I researched the changes in indie publishing, I was spurred to finish the book and publish it as an ebook. Reader demand later pushed me to go through CreateSpace for the ‘dead-tree’ version.
*So, tell us about your latest book, and/or your favorite(s) in the series?
GHOST is the fourth book in the Angela Masters Detective Novel series. Each of the stories takes elements of three or more actual events and weaves them into a fictional account that’s plausible. GHOST is the story of a woman found murdered in her apartment. The detective’s quest to find the killer is hampered by conflicting evidence and theories. Part of the story involves criminal profiling.
The first book, RETRIBUTION, remains my favorite because it was born from a tragic case that I was involved in. ENTITLEMENT, the third book in the series, is also a favorite because of the complexities the detective must manage.
Happily, the reviews for my books have been positive. That was a factor in my decision to do what I initially never intended, to write more than one book.
*What do you feel are the special challenges in writing a series?
The greatest challenge is staying true to the characters’ lives. In the case of this series, the books are not written in a linear sequence, i.e. book five actually occurs before books two and four. So keeping events in order requires some planning. It helps that I have developed complete biographies for my main characters.
*Have you ever written characters that you truly despise? Do they stay with you?
They say it wouldn’t be a good crime mystery if there weren’t a couple of really detestable characters. I have those, but I also have ‘bad guys’ who are not inherently evil, but are a product of their reaction to adversity. My most despicable characters are composites of people I’ve actually known, with a little extra ‘baddie’ twist or two thrown in. The characters themselves don’t stay with me, because I know they are fictional. I do remember the real-life bad people I’ve encountered.
*What do you think some of the greatest misconceptions to be about indie authors?
Of course, there’s the perception that anything indie is ‘bad writing.’ Conversely, there is a perception that anything published by one of the major houses is ‘good writing.’ Both statements have elements of truth and both have elements of absolute falsity. But I think people are coming around to the idea that the quality of a writer’s work is not solely a function of the type of publisher.
*You said you wrote the epilogue of your first novel, first. Do you always know the ending of a book before you write it?
I know the basics of the ending, but RETRIBUTION was the only book where I actually wrote the epilogue first. That was because I had a specific idea of how the story would turn out, and then built the action with that end in mind.
In my current work in progress, FIRE STORM, I’m about 2/3 finished with the draft. I have also written the ending scene, but the actual scenario didn’t come to me until the book was about half way written.
*Some writers, like me, edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished, to edit. What do you do?
I definitely edit as I go. For most of my life, I’ve written factual reports and narratives. In those, you have to be accurate on the first submission. There are no ‘re-writes.’ That said, I use a beta panel of editors for critique and comment before I submit my fiction work, but the story is basically in place when I finish my first draft.
*What, if any, advice do you have for first-time authors?
Learn from the styles of others, but write what is important to you and in a way that works for you. If your readers don’t like your style, then you might need to modify it, but try what is natural to you, first. The style of RETRIBUTION, my first book, violates many of the ‘proven’ characteristics of a mystery novel. Yet it is still my best selling work. Last month, it saw its greatest monthly sales ever and it’s been out for 18 months.
Mike…It’s been a pleasure getting to know you and your work. Your books and your style of writing are compelling, and I’m anxious to start reading them. I truly appreciate your willingness to make your debut ‘guest blog appearance’ on my site. See…I told you it wouldn’t be painful. I sincerely hope you’ll comeback when you finish your current WIP.
I hope all of you will leave Mike a comment or stop by and say ‘hello,’ welcoming him to the world of guest blogging. You can find out more about Mike and his books by clicking on the links below…
Write from the heart…with passion!
Mike Worley Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Mike-Worley/e/B00946DZ9E *Retribution, Entitlement, Fire Storm, Ghost, Grand Jeté. Each story is stand-alone so the reading order really doesn’t matter.