Mystery MagazinePhotos by Gary Elam              


Q: What made you choose to write in the mystery/suspense genre?
A: The three Dees. Every plot that came to mind had to do with something diabolical, something dark, something dead.

Q: Where do you get your ideas?
A: From real life. Of course I must tone it down to suspend the reader's
disbelief. Who would swallow a story about a famous icon who dons a wetsuit, commits a grisly double murder, flees to his home nearby where he takes a quick dip in the swimming pool (still wearing the wetsuit) before changing clothes and catching a plane? Ridiculous and far too melodramatic, don't you think?

Q: Are you affected by what you write?
A: I visualize menace in every corner. I'm not the person someone would want for company if they were alone and frightened. I scare myself.

Q: Can you give an example:
A: True story. A few years back someone gave me a bunch of helium balloons. The balloons roamed the house, upstairs and down, seeming to follow me--to seek me out. If I passed too close, they gave me a static shock. I got rid of them the night I awoke at 2 a.m. to find them in my bedroom, over my bed, eerily bobbing above my head, the metallic skin of their sinister faces rubbing together...whispering...plotting...

Q: How much research do you do for your novels?
A: Whatever is needed. About five years ago I had to know what effect acid had on living tissue. First I dropped acid on the skin of a piece of raw chicken. When nothing happened, I warmed the chicken to body temperature. When that failed to produce the desired results, I put the acid on the back of my own hand. What? Oh that...well, yes, but it's hardly noticable anymore.

Q: Have any of your novels been made into movies?
A: Optioned, yes, but not produced. Not yet, anyway. The closest a novel of mine came to being embraced by greatness was when my nephew Greg, a cameraman on a shoot for Steven Spielberg, thrust his own personally autographed copy of my novel, NIGHT STALKER, at Mr. Spielberg as he was leaving the studio and asked him to please consider it for production. Greg, fearing the worst, discreetly followed Spielberg and his entourage down to the lobby to the awaiting limo, checking each and every trash receptacle as he went.

Q: Is there a conclusion to that story?
A: I'm happy to say the novel was read, then returned. I had the distinct honor of being rejected by one of the best.