Bruce Robert Coffin is a retired police detective sergeant and bestselling author of the Detective Byron Mysteries. He lives and writes in Maine and now has started a joint venture he’s here to talk about. Thanks for joining us on Miss Demeanors, Bruce.
Marni Graff: You’ve recently started writing a new series with Lynn Dee Walker, The Turner and Mosley Files, how did that joint venture come about?
Bruce Coffin: It was just one of those things that come out of left field. I was busy writing a standalone thriller, while still mourning the news that HarperCollins had decided not to continue the Byron series, when I got a call from my agent, Paula Munier, inviting me to lunch. I figured we were simply due for a face-to-face meeting. \
Turns out Paula had been approached by Severn River Publishing about the possibility of having me coauthor a brand-new series with one of their authors. I knew next to nothing about the publisher, but the author, LynDee Walker, I did know from spending time with her at several writer’s conferences. I have to admit I was intrigued by the idea, albeit a bit apprehensive about coauthoring. Truth is, it’s scary enough wandering around in that gray matter I depend upon to write my own novels without sharing the space with another author.
Long story short, after many long telephonic, face-to-face, and Zoom conversations—and multiple contracts—LynDee and I literally signed on and The Turner and Mosley Files were born.
MG: Can you explain how you accomplished this writing as a team–what was it like to write with another writer whose process must be different from yours?
BC: Writing with LynDee has been an absolute treat. While there is nothing easy about the novel writing process, as I’m sure you can attest, in our case two heads definitely are better than one. We all know how long it can take to find answers to pesky storyline or plotting problems, but when that process is shared the answer is often no further away than a text or a phone call. A second creative brain can be invaluable in overcoming what might have been weeks or months of struggling.
As for the way we divide up the writing, LynDee has taken on the lion’s share of the plotting for each of the novels, while I take on the first draft. From there it’s a back and forth of rewriting and editing until the publisher and, more importantly, LynDee and I are happy with the final product. I know I can speak for LynDee when I say that we’ve had a ball writing this series. If our fans have even half as much fun reading the novels as we had writing them, they’ll be in for a real treat.
MG: What did you learn from writing in tandem?
BC: The process of coauthoring is all about creativity and trust. Check your ego at the door, kids. As writers we know that there are an infinite number of ways to successfully pen a novel. Coauthoring simply requires each of you to open your mind to those other possibilities. Together we’ve learned who the characters are—adding our own ideas to the mix, tweaked plot direction, even tossed out scenes completely if they didn’t work. The Turner and Mosley Files has truly been a joint venture that could only have come from our combined imaginations.
MG: How many novels will there be in The Turner and Mosley Files series?
BC: We have signed on for four books. The General’s Gold (April 16, 2024), The Cardinal’s Curse (June 11, 2024), The Pirate’s Secret (September 2024), and a fourth to be named later.
MG: You retired as a police detective sergeant following almost three decades in policing and your Detective Byron series draws heavily on that experience. How did that figure into this new series, if at all?
BC: Believe it or not, it did. Harrison, one of the main characters in The Turner and Mosley Files, is a retired homicide detective in addition to being Avery Turner’s right hand. Having been a long-time partner with Avery’s deceased mom, Harrison is more of an uncle figure. He’s more than capable, a bit of a curmudgeon, protective of Avery, and has the best lines in each of the novels. He has been a lot of fun to write. If Harry’s warped view of the world can’t get you laughing, nothing will.
MG: Detective Byron has his own demons he’s working on. Does that kind of backstory show up in the characters of this new series?
BC: Yes and no. How’s that for ambiguity? While LynDee and I have each written some pretty dark procedural novels, we’ve made a conscious effort to keep these stories fast paced and fun. The main ingredients are action/adventure, historical treasure, mystery, and thrill-seeking. Think Indiana Jones.
MG: Any plans to bring back Byron at a later date?
BC: Stay tuned…
MG: You’re a stalwart traveler and hit all the major writing conferences you can, plus individual library and bookstore events. How do you find time to write?
BC: Ha! I have a secret weapon. My wife Karen. Now retired, she is aces at keeping me focused and organized. She has become a great firewall too. Honestly, I get more requests than I could ever manage and I’m really bad at saying no. Using her impressive business background, Karen has taken on the role of screening and responding to those requests, negotiating and scheduling my appearances, and managing my social media accounts, freeing me up to focus on my writing.
The real trick is to make some forward progress each and every day, even if it’s only a page or two of actual writing. If I’m not writing, then I’m actively plotting, finishing up some other writing commitment, or reading.
MG: Sounds like we all need a Karen! Do you have a book you’ve read this summer and would like to recommend to our readers?
BC: I can do better than that. How about five recommendations? Helpless by Annette Dashofy, Hide by Tracy Clark, Devil Within by James L’Etoile, Reckoning by Baron Birtcher, and Sleepless City by Reed Farrel Coleman. You won’t be disappointed in any of them. I guarantee it!
Thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest author at Miss Demeanors!
MG: Thanks for joining us, Bruce, and we’ll be looking for the new series~