Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Interpreter: Author Interview: Wayne Zurl

Shah Sight
Wayne Zurl, Welcome on our live talk show, and thanks for accepting to be our guest today. Wayne, you have so many titles in your name, can I ask you which one of the titles you like the most, and why, which one is dong well in terms of sales, and which one your readers love the most, and why, if you could briefly tell our audience something about them, it would be great?

Wayne Zurl Hello Shah, and thanks for giving me the opportunity to chat with your fans.

Wayne Zurl I guess the book that kicks off the whole series, A NEW PROSPECT has to be my favorite. It sets the scene, brovides backstory for the main characters and was what I really wanted to say. however, because all authors progress in their ability and style, some of the more recent noveletttes are pretty good, because thei've taken on the noir & almost hard-boiled style I like.

Wayne Zurl The audio books have gotten a good following and have some several thousand. But many people who bought the audio versions balked at eBooks and asked for these stories in print. I found a publisher who is going to produce two books containing 5 novelettes each. They come out later this month.

Shah Sight Wayne thanks, tell us please in which genre most of your books are, and also tell us why do you write in the genre you are writing, and if you intend to write in any other genre in the future?

Wayne Zurl Everything so far has been a police mystery or more properly a police procedural. They are all set in the fictional small east Tennessee city of Prospect. Sam Jenkins is the main character. He's a retired New York detective who found a job as chief at Prospect PD. I spent 20 years in NY law enforcement and now live in Tennessee. So, I'm writing about what I know. Most of the stories I fictionalize are cases I worked on, supervised or just knew a lot about. I plan to keep up with these Smoky Mountain mysteries as long as the ideas still keep flowing, but I've got an old interest in doing a western, too.

Shah Sight Wayne, describe Sam to us a little bit more, how does he look like, tell us how intelligent he is, anything interesting about Sam would be much appreciated to hear, please, why did you choose Sam as the main character?

Katherine McCaughan You have the perfect background for these. I'll have to check them out.

Wayne Zurl A NEW PROSPECT begins in 2006 after Sam retired. He's 60 years old. This is not your traditional hero of an action series, but Sam Has lots to fall back on. He spent most of his police career as a detective or det. supervisor. He's a Vietnam War veteran and career Army Reserve officer. In some of the books I describe him as 6 foot tall and he still weighs 180. He's the hero,soo of course he's good looking. I chose to use a guy like Sam because He and I have lots in common. That makes it easy for me to write his dialogue. In a given situation, if I would say something, it's a good bet so would Sam.

Wayne Zurl Thanks, Katherine. coincidentally, Sam's wife, who appears in every book and most of the stories is also a Katherine.

Katherine McCaughan In that case, I will definitely have to get the book.

Wayne Zurl Most readers like Kate. When Sam is at a loss for an idea with a case, She often gives him the inspiration needed to find that all important clue.

Shah Sight Thanks Katherine McCaughan for taking part in this interview, we are going to interview her tomorrow. Wayne can you please describe one of your scenes in your own words, we will have to ask you to read a few lines from your book later, it is fascinating to get a scene from you as an author who has written many detective books?

Wayne Zurl Let's take the newest novel, A Leprechaun's Lament. After a long investigation trying toi deternine the true Identity of character Murray McGuire who has no past, Murray is found dead in a creek-bed, killed assassination style. Sam has to involve the CIA, FBI and Irish Garda (national police) to find the man's true identity and then give him the reasonable cause to believe who the killer is. That killer is confronted by Sam and his Sergeant, Bettye Lambert. Then to make things a little more sticky, the killer takes a hostage. Any more information and you won't need to read the book.

Shah Sight Thanks, Wayne, that is fascinating, we really enjoyed reading it. Wayne is choosing a name for your characters very important to you, why did you name Sam as Sam and Kate as Kate, do they mean anything to you in any way in your own life, do you know them in real life as well, for instance, in my book the main character is in the name of my nephew?

Wayne Zurl Sam is named after my maternal gransdfather, with whom I lived as a boy. Old Sam was anything but a cop. Going back to the Prohibition days, he was a bootlegger and after that a truck driver. my wife barbara chose kate's name. The other characters go through a "sophisticated" selection process. I believe names are unique to regions in the US. So, I take phone books from the Smoky Mountains region and look for unforgettable names. I make one column for given names and one for family names. Then I mix and match by sound and fit them to the personality of a character. Junior Huskey is a big, young police officer who Sam takes under his wing. A really bad guy in an upcomming novel is Telford Bone. Another bad guy Sam meets in A LEPRECHAUN'S LAMENT is Dewey Cupps. Most of the characters are based on real people, but of course I have to change the names. Using someone who I knew makes writing dialogue easier. I can still "hear" these people and that helps me give every character a unique voice. The names help the reader remember the people.

Shah Sight That sounds great, now time to read a few lines from your book, why do we ask this is to know how our guests write, one thing, and the other thing is to also enjoy reading a few lines of our guests' art works, so please give us a few lines from your book?

Wayne Zurl Hang in there. I'll get you the opener from LEPRECHAUN.

Wayne Zurl I think about the little guy often. Murray Mcguire looked like a leprechaun. He played darts like a pub champion and drank stout like a socer star. If you worked for the city of Prospect and found problems with a piece of office equipment, Murray would work tirelessly to remedy your troubles. But after I interviewed him for thirty minutes, I could have cheerfully strangled the little bastard. Thanks to Murray, I'll always look over my shoulder with a modicum of tredidation. I have dreams about a beautiful redhead I could do without. And I remember an incident best forgotten every time I see a turkey buzzard. For days, I thought of Murray as the man who didn't exist.

Shah Sight Wayne, we have a couple more questions for this interview, what books do you like to read, and tell us if you follow any other author's path in writing your own books, which other detective writer's works you like reading?

Wayne Zurl I read everything Robert B. Parker wrote. I like his less then serious approach to detective or police mysteries. I've tried to adapt his minimalist style of writing. I too try to tell my story in the fewest possible words and still make a reader "see" the drama...or comedy. That's an important part of real police work. Additionally I love James Lee Burke for the way he can describe people and places. Poetic much of the time. Bernard cornwell writes great historical novels and can do an action scene better thaqn most. After reading one of his battles, I usually need a martini. That "other guy" from Long Island who writes mysteries and thrillers , Nelson Demille, is pretty good, too. And one of the classic mystery writers from whom I learned how to get that hard-boiled cadence is Raymond Chandler. I also read John Sandford, Robert Crais, Michael Connelly, Phillip Craig and a few others faithfully.

Shah Sight Wayne we have a question for you from Katherine McCaughan, 'How long does it take you to write a book? You are so prolific, it amazes me.' Please answer Katherine's question.

Wayne Zurl When I get an idea, I know if it will translate into a novel or shorter novelette right away. The later, I can knock out in two weeks. I might read and revise it a few more times, but most of the work is finished in 12 to 14 days. A full length novel could take me 2 months or so to rough out, but now with all the post-publication marketing and promotions I'm doing, it takes longer. For a couple years, I workshopped everything at an on-line writer's workshop. But recently I decided to take a solo flight and I've done okay on my own. So that helps with the time involved. All this is predicated on things going my way and not hitting a stumbling block like coming up with a good idea how to embellish those real incidents to make the story more readable.

Shah Sight Thanks Wayne, it was a pleasure to have you with us today, hope to see you soon our show again. If you want to buy Wayne's books visit: http://shahsightshop.blogspot.de/2012/04/murder-in-wish-book-house-new-prospect.html

ShahSight Literary Book Shop: Murder in a Wish-Book House ,A New Prospect Wayne Zurlshahsightshop.blogspot.com

Katherine McCaughan You are a natural writer. The piece you read to us was so well written and yet so concise. My hat is off to you!

Shah Sight And aslohttp://shahsightshop.blogspot.de/2012/04/reenacting-murder-serpents-scoundrels.html

ShahSight Literary Book Shop: Reenacting a Murder, Serpents & Scoundrels Wayne Zurlshahsightshop.blogspot.com

Wayne Zurl Shah, Thanks for inviting me here. And thanks, Katherine and everyone who stopped by. Please visit me athttp://waynezurlbooks.net/ to learn more about Sam Jenkins. Cheers, everyone.

Wayne Zurl Bookswww.waynezurlbooks.net
Sam Jenkins brings his unique style of law enforcement to the citizens of East Tennessee in Wayne Zurl's novels and stories.



  1. Great interview, Shah. Wayne is certainly an interesting person to speak with. His knowledge and experience as an author is something we can all learn from. Wonderful job, both of you.

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