Last Stop Slumberland follows an average guy trying to get by who gets mixed up in a horrific crime and murder thanks to his deceased sister’s cryptic message. What was your inspiration for the mystery that must be unraveled?
One of the inspirations for the mystery was the old true detective magazines and a true-life serial killer in the 1950s who posed as a photographer for these periodicals to lure young models. At the time, Hollywood desperately tried to stay relevant as television took a huge bite into the movie business. I wanted to paint this picture of the golden era of Hollywood sinking into obscurity while a darker element of the town rose to the surface. My main character works at a movie studio among movie stars, as I did for several years, while his sister lived among addicts and criminals on the dangerous fringe of the city.
Did you create an outline for the characters in the story before you started writing, or did the characters’ personalities grow organically as you were writing?
I don’t really create outlines. So, my characters grow organically. I try to make them as colorful as possible. I get a concept in my head and hear the voice of a damaged but likable character, then jump in and see where it takes me. On the main character’s journey, I try to make the characters as colorful and interesting as possible. This leads to a lot of backtracking and revising, which consumes a lot of time. But it’s the way I like to work.
How do you balance story development with shocking plot twists? Or can they be the same thing?
I do my best to make them the same thing. I think the twist in the story should propel the action, revealing something we weren’t aware of, which either explains the events or raises their stakes.
What is the next book you are working on, and when will it be available?
My next novel is entitled; You Gotta Die Sometime. Set in the 1930s, during the great depression, a mild-mannered salesman goes to Los Angeles one weekend to receive an award from his employers. But things go sideways when someone breaks into his hotel room and tries to kill him. When his assailant dies in the attack, our man goes on the run, knowing that his dark past may have finally caught up with him. TBR April 2023
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