What Makes Artists Tick

Author Interview
M. Lee Musgrave Author Interview

Brushed Off follows a group of artists and detectives that try to find out who is killing artists before they strike one of their own. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

All of the wonderful books by Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, Walter Mosely, Michael Connelly and many other great authors of murder mysteries. Plus my desire to provide readers with a expose of the contemporary art community; allow them to discover how it functions; reveal how gallery directors earn their commissions; bare why collectors are passionate about art; and most important, I wanted to help readers to realize what makes artists tick and how they survive while disclosing that the art world is not filled with just drug eccentric, sex crazed, weirdos.

How did the mystery develop for this story? Did you plan it before writing or did it develop organically?

I am definitely an organic writer. I do not plan anything before I begin writing. All I knew was I wanted to start with an artist working in his studio. Once I visualized him there I had him walk outside and look around … it turned out he was on the beach and it was after midnight. The story grew from there. Each day I write, I begin by reading, out loud, the pages I wrote the day before and that makes the next few pages just erupt out of me.

What was the hardest part about writing a mystery story; where you constantly have to give just enough to keep the mystery alive until the big reveal?

I seem to have an intuitive sense about the flow of a story, when to make it seamless, when to be dynamic. The most challenging aspect for me is to limit how much art talk I subject the reader to. This is the main reason why I selected to have the main character earn his living as a videographer for PBS. In that position, he translates the art jargon into everyday English. Part of the mystery for the reader is to determine how that process reveals clues as to who the killer is.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The sequel to Brushed Off is tentatively title Off Kilter and it is almost finished. It includes all the same main characters plus a vivacious young woman and several new meanies. It starts where Brushed Off ends and comes to just as the pandemic starts to spread. I would love to see the sequel out before the end of the year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

Artist James Terra and his married lover Nicole find themselves in a tangled web while searching for the killer of LA’s hottest artists. Homicide Detective Cisco Rivas asks James for help with LA’s zany art community. The case quickly turns into a quagmire of intrigue and vicious jealousy amongst the dazzling talent and wealth of schizophrenic Los Angeles. James wants Nicole to leave her husband.
When another artist is murdered, she joins the hunt for the killer. A leading art collector is attacked. Cisco is pressured by influential city movers and shakers. Young emerging socialite Camille is up to her neck in strife so James and Nicole make a deal to protect her. Cisco discovers a smuggled exotic drug used by all the suspects including a stealthy porn star. James keeps everyone from knowing his health is precarious. The killer and an secret accomplice targets James, Nicole and Camille.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on February 27, 2022, in Book Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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