Q. Where do you get your information and ideas for writing?
I research professional essays, papers and journals which provide important information
about specific topics. For example, while writing The Girl in the Orange Maillot, I read papers on the psychological and emotional effects of false accusations of sexual misconduct on innocent individuals.
My mysteries are based on actual crimes which I fictionalize to varying degrees. My first book
What the Barber Knew is loosely based on the Brinks Robbery in 1950. I used FBI files to obtain
Q. What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your books?
That fictional characters have a mind of their own when it comes to their personal needs and
wants. They can be as demanding and stubborn as any actual person.
Q. What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?
If by 'first' you're referring to a chronolgical definition, it's the idea, closely followed by the
plot outline. Of first importance to me are the characters. If a writer creates an amazing plot
peopled with characters as thin as playing cards, it won't interest or inspire readers.
Q. How important was professional editing to your books' development?
Professional editing was of the utmost importance to the development and redevelopment
of my books. I've been fortunate to have the professional guidance of excellent developmental
and line editors who have the required objectivity and expertise to report "plotholes" and
just plain mistakes. Their advice and help are crucial during the revision time.
Q. If you were to write a spin-off about a side character, which would you pick?
Two characters immediately come to mind: Anna Lopez in Pack of Scoundrels, and Nicole
Palmer in The Girl in the Orange Maillot. Both Anna and Nicole are bright, courageous and
interesting women. Bruce MacDonald in The Girl in the Orange Maillot and George Dale in
Dead to Rights would also be good possibilities.
Q. If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?
Amor Towles, author of A Gentleman in Moscow, and The Lincoln Highway. To me, Towles has no peer
when it comes to creating believable, intriguing and "I'd love to meet them" characters. This
particulary apples to his portrayal of young children, Nina in A Gentleman in Moscow, and
Billy in The Lincoln Highway. They rank right up there with Scout and Jem Finch in To Kill A
Q. Whom do you trust for objective and constructive criticism of your work?
First and foremost my wife Karen Dumont. I depend on Kerry Stapley, my editor who knows my writing strengths and
weaknesses, and my honest (brutally, sometimes) and observant Beta readers: James Bennett,
Tom Burton, Susan Joanis, Barbara Jones, Carolyn and Greg Pizzuto, and Jean Roach.
Q. What is your kryptonite as a writer?
The sinister editor who sits on top of my computer screen, shaking his head in disapproval of my every
word and sentence during my initial draft of a manuscript. To mollify him I work to make every word
every sentence, every scene perfect. That insidious desire to make a first draft perfect is
kryptonite to me.
Q. How do you celebrate when you finish your book?
I don't celebrate until all the revisions have been written and approved by my editor, the cover has been selected and approved my me, and the book has been published. Then it's appropriate to open the
Q. If you are planning another book in your David Elliott series, would you be willing to give us
a hint about it?
I'm at the early stages of the next book whose working title is "Who Am I?" As my readers know,
Judy Elliott was born in Denver, Colorado, and one day later adopted by Arthur and Rosalie
Elliott by a closed adoption. Judy and Anna Lopez travel to Denver to attempt to find her birth
parents. David Elliott will play a minor part in this book. Of course there is danger to Judy ad Anna, and a murder or two along the way. Will the two women be able to penetrate the legal restrictions to learn the
truth of her natural parents?