Tag: #mystery


Chatting with Bruce Robert Coffin about his John Byron series

  TRACEE: Bruce, thanks for joining us on Miss Demeanors today, particularly since I know you are deep into edits for your next book. I promise we’ll get to that later. First, the question that has been on my mind since we first met. As a homicide detective, your professional life was deeply rooted in murder. What made you decide to write about a closely related setting? BRUCE: I’m not sure this was a conscious decision on my part. I hadn’t written fiction for nearly thirty years when the writing bug bit again. One day I sat down and started banging away on my iPad and a crime novel began to spill out. It really was that simple. I guess John Byron was trying to get out into the world. TRACEE: Did you first conceive of your protagonist, or did the series evolve from a particular issue you wanted to confront? BRUCE: John was really my way of projecting many of the qualities, both good and bad, that I observed in the men and women I worked alongside throughout my career. I wanted my protagonist to be representative of what it is like to be a homicide detective while trying to hold together a personal life outside the job. As for the series, I had hoped to insert as much reality as I could into a murder/mystery series while still taking the reader on a thrill ride. TRACEE: Did you have a ‘line in the sand’ in your mind when you began writing the John Byron mysteries? Meaning subject matter either in the lives of the officers, or in terms of the crimes you would portray that you wouldn’t touch? BRUCE: Not really. I think my rule at the beginning was if I was comfortable writing it then the readers would be accepting of the subject matter. But as writers we tend to develop and reach for more. I think the longer a series runs the more risks in subject matter we are willing to take. My goal continues to be to write this series honestly without becoming preachy. I guess my only steadfast rule has been to avoid writing about actual cases. I figure if I wanted to do that I’d be writing true crime. And after nearly three decades on the job, I’ve had enough true crime. TRACEE: You’re known for using your know-how in creating characters, dialogue and the scenarios in your books. It seems to me that ‘civilians’ have a fixed view of some professions. When you write about police situations do you write with an eye and ear toward presenting reality of policing within a story or do you consciously or unconsciously adapt the reality of police work for a broader audience? BRUCE: I think we all tend to stereotype professions based on what we see representing them. My goal is to try and allow the reader a look behind the veil of policing. Police officers and detectives are real people. They work crazy hours and are expected to solve all of societies ills while remaining impartial and incorruptible. I want to show the struggles each character faces on a daily basis, and the feelings that they are forced to suppress, or confront. While I strive to give the reader a realistic portrayal of the stresses, horrors, and occasionally the humor of the job, I try and avoid writing scenes that are overly graphic. I’d rather set a situation up for the reader and let them imagine the rest. My goal is to pen novels that put the reader in the middle of the action, and keep them there. Striking the right balance for the broadest possible audience is always the hardest part. TRACEE: Before I ask about John Byron’s next case, I have to mention that you are also a very talented artist. I have a host of questions about this, but since we’re here today to talk about your books I’ll stick to how do you choose your subject matter? BRUCE: As for subject matter: My subject matter generally evolves from an idea. Having attended hundreds of death scenes I have a vast collection of memories from which to draw detail and feeling. Thinking about those scenes in combination with the “what if” ideas all authors use allows me to go almost anywhere with a story. In Among the Shadows the overarching theme of the story was Byron’s own past combined with a murder that might not be what it seems. I like the idea that both the reader and the protagonist might misdirect themselves by jumping to conclusions. In Beneath the Depths I wanted to explore the homicide investigator’s struggle when dealing with a victim who they despised. That idea that no life is worth less than another is sometimes a difficult thing for people to wrap their heads around. The thing detectives are forced to keep in mind when investigating the murder of a despicable person is that there is the possibility of somebody worse out there. The killer. TRACEE: Finally, and perhaps most importantly, what’s next for John Byron? BRUCE: I am currently finishing up revisions on Byron #3, tentatively titled Beyond the Truth. Without giving too much away, I can tell you that this case will test John like no other. His ongoing relationship with Diane Joyner will be tested, as will his faith. TRACEE: Thanks so much Bruce. Fans can link to more about you and the books below!   Bio:Bruce Robert Coffin is the bestselling author of the Detective Byron Mysteries and former detective sergeant with more than twenty-seven years in law enforcement. At the time of his retirement, from the Portland, Maine police department, he supervised all homicide and violent crime investigations for Maine’s largest city. Following the terror attacks of September 11th, Bruce spent four years working counter-terrorism with the FBI, earning the Director’s Award, the highest honor a non-agent can receive.

Among the Shadows and Beneath the Depths, the first two novels in the Detective John Byron mystery series, have been well-received by fans and critics alike.

New York Times Bestselling Author Gayle Lynds called Among the Shadows “A first rate novel. Suspenseful and highly entertaining.”

Award-winning author Hank Phillippi Ryan had this to say about Beneath the Depths “Terrific! Fast-talking, smart, and cinematic, this entertaining page-turner is so knowingly authentic only a genuine cop turned storyteller could have written it.” His short fiction appears in several anthologies, including The Best American Mystery Stories 2016. Bruce is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. He is a regular blog contributor to the Maine Crime Writers and Murder Books blogs.

He lives and writes in Maine.  You can learn more about Bruce at: brucerobertcoffin.comTwitter: @coffin_bruceFacebook: @brucerobertcoffinLinkedIn: Bruce Robert Coffin   

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The Artist and the Entrepreneur

I love themes. I’m the kind of person who plays bachata in the background if I’m hosting a dinner party with Central American cuisine (my sister-in-law is from Belize and got me hooked on bachata) and chanson for French. The reason I bring this up is because it’s launch week for Tracee’s second Agnes Lüthi Mystery A Well-Timed Murder.  Perfect timing for a week devoted to what’s really involved in getting your book out there into the world. With my own pub date set for this August, I’m learning quickly that it’s not just about the edits.  Spoiler alert: being an author requires a lot more than writing. It’s easy to think of writers as artists, but writing is also about producing something and getting that something to the people who will want it. In other words, a writer lives both in the world of the artist and the world of the entrepreneur. Exhibit A is Tracee’s elegant Tour Postcard below. After the writing and rewriting, the back-and-forth with an editor, then a copy editor, then a production editor, finally there’s a book. …but that’s just the beginning. That’s when the entrepreneur joins the artist. That’s when you do book readings, post videos, be interviewed, attend conferences, write guest blogs, send out newsletters, find a publicist. OR NOT. What I’m discovering as I stumble into this world is that there are as many options for what an author can do as there are opinions about what an author should do. My fellow Miss Demeanors will share their thoughts on the topic this Friday. In the meantime, if you’re in Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Virginia or Texas, I know someone who’ll be signing her latest book about a Swiss-American police officer who is on leave in Lausanne, Switzerland, recovering from injuries she sustained in her last case, when an old colleague invites her to the world’s premier watch and jewelry trade show at the grand Messe Basel Exhibition Hall. Little does Agnes know, another friend of hers, Julien Vallotton, is at the same trade show—and he’s looking for Agnes. Julien Vallotton was friends with Guy Chavanon, a master of one of Switzerland’s oldest arts: watchmaking. Chavanon died a week ago, and his daughter doesn’t believe his death was accidental. Shortly before he died, Chavanon boasted that he’d discovered a new technique that would revolutionize the watchmaking industry, and she believes he may have been killed for it. Reluctantly, Agnes agrees to investigate his death. But the world of Swiss watchmaking is guarded and secretive, and before she realizes it, Agnes may be walking straight into the path of a killer.       

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The Right #: A Bookstagram Guide

Forget Facebook. The book community is on Instagram and you can find them if you follow the right tags.  The first one to use and search for is #bookstagram. The reader community uses the hashtag to mark anything book related on the site and it’s been used more than 15 million times on the site. It’s basically the goto search term to find photos of books that folks are reading and tons of reviews. It’s not the only one, though. When posting about my books I often use the tags #thrillerbooks, #suspensebooks, and #suspensethriller, too. I’ve also seen plenty of folks use #mysterythrillerbooks and #mysterybooks. The latter hashtag has the mosts posts associated with it, so it’s a good catch all for the mystery/thriller community that gets significant search traffic.  Another useful hashtag, if you have a pet and a book to market, is #readingbuddy. People love their pets. They love their books. They combine them on instagram to adorable and wonderful marketing effect. Thanks to petbookclub for this post!  Another great hashtag is #bookfetish. Use this one for all posts involving love of books or when you buy a book. And, if your book is on one of the lists, always mark it #bestseller.  Tomorrow, I’ll mention some of my favorite bookstagrammers! 

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