Today’s guest is Steve Shrott. He’s talking about his humorous mystery, Audition for Death, and entertaining us in other ways.
Steve Shrott's mystery short stories have been published in numerous print magazines and e-zines. His work has appeared in ten anthologies––two from Sisters-in-Crime (The Whole She-Bang, and Fishnets). He was also a winner in The Joe Konrath Short Story Contest. His comedy material has been used by well-known performers of stage and screen (including Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller) and he has written a book on how to create humor.
As well, he teaches, “how to add humor to novels and short stories,” at various real world and cyber schools (such as Savvy Authors and The Romance Writers of America.) Some of his jokes are in the Smithsonian Institute. His current novel is a humorous mystery entitled, Audition for Death.
Welcome, Steve. Please tell us about your current release.
Audition for Death is a humorous mystery about Joshua Mclintock, an actor who’s obsessed with his career, even though most of the roles he’s played have been dead bodies. But Joshua’s attitude is unfailing positive and he’s sure his big break is just around the corner. That is, until one day, while working his part-time job as a telemarketer, he overhears a murder take place, and suddenly finds himself the prime suspect. Of course, any normal person accused of a crime he didn’t commit, would rush to the police and clear his name—which is just what everyone urges Joshua to do (including his ex-wife Randy who doesn’t appreciate him hiding out in her apartment) And Joshua would do just that—if it weren’t for the fact that an audition for a great new role beckons. He believes he can clear up the entire misunderstanding by tracking down the real killer—and not miss any auditions in the process. He soon discovers that this is not just about murder, and sinister forces are threatening to destroy Hollywood.
What inspired you to write this book?
Over the years, I’ve performed in various productions, and had contact with lots of actors. I’ve found them to be a wonderful and interesting group of people. A lot of real characters! I always thought a mystery involving the acting profession would be fun, so I wrote a short story about it for a magazine. When I decided to write a novel, I thought I’d just base it on this story, figuring it would be easy. Hey, it was all there on paper. That’s when I found out there’s a huge difference between an 8 page story and a 300 page book! Yikes!
What exciting story are you working on next?
I have another humorous novel I’m currently finishing up. It’s about a dentist with wacky patients, who is a part-time detective. I’m also working on a thriller, some short stories, and a screenplay. I like a lot of variety. It makes things more interesting.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I always considered myself a writer—even before I was one. I remember when I was a kid, there was this girl in my class who loved poetry. I liked her, so I said I write, even though the only things I’d written, were grocery lists for my mom. (Personally, I think they could have been turned in movies.) The girl asked to see some of my work so I ran home and wrote possibly the worst poem ever. I think I rhymed, ‘shoe’ with ‘moo.’ How footwear, and a cow got into a poem about love, I don’t know. Luckily the girl thought it was sweet. I’d like to say that we eventually got married and had four kids, but she left me for little Bobby Dixon who was really good with cut and paste.
That started my interest in writing things other than grocery lists.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Yes, I write full time. Generally, my butler wakes me in the a.m. and then my maid helps me on with my robe…sorry that’s someone else’s life. Mine is quite different, I usually wake up groggy, have twenty cups of coffee, wolf down some breakfast, then go to work. I write a lot of different things so when I get bored on one project I move to another, then, perhaps, onto a third. Later, I might come back to the first one again. I believe Isaac Asimov, the great sci-fi writer, did the same kind of thing. He said it was why he never had writer’s block. I think this system is good for that, as it helps your mind stay fresh. I usually work until about three or so. Sometimes longer, if things are really flowing.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have many writing quirks but one of them is that when I write mystery, I often will put on a Fedora.That’s the hat worn by the old-time detectives (I guess that means when I write sci-fi, I should wear tentacles.) The Fedora seems to get me into the mystery mood. And I honestly think that it makes me more creative.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a kid I wanted to be lots of things, a magician, ventriloquist, cartoonist, King. I never made it to King. (I do have a scepter and crown just in case.) But I have ended up doing most of the above careers and still work in some of those areas. I’m often asked if I wanted to be a dentist when I was a kid, since I’ve written several stories about the dental profession. Definitely not!!
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Of course number one, is to make sure you buy my book. I’m telling you, as a friend, that your life will not be complete without it. Other than that, for any writers out there, I’d like to say that you should never give up. In a lot of cases, the rewards come only after you’ve been at this a while. Good luck!!