Wednesday, September 24, 2014

New interview with mystery author Rex Burns

Multipublished and Edgar-award winning mystery novelist Rex Burns is back in the house. Today he's sharing about his second-in-a-new-series novel, Crude Carrier.

You can find his first interview on Reviews and Interviews about the first novel in this new series, Body Slam, here

Rex Burns' nineteen books are primarily in the mystery genre. The longest series features homicide detective Gabe Wager. Set in Colorado, the stories are used to depict Denver and environs at specific times using the "police procedural" format. Other titles include the non-fiction Success in America: The Yeoman Dream and the Industrial Revolution and a historical anthology of the mystery story (with Mary Rose Sullivan): Crime Classics. Crude Carrier is the second in a father-daughter private eye series.

Welcome back to Reviews and Interviews, Rex.
Thank you, Lisa.

Please tell us about your newest release.
Crude Carrier involves the case of an unexplained death at sea. It alternates narrators between James Raiford and his daughter, Julie Campbell. She flies to London to dig into the background of the shipping company that hired the missing sailor, while her father goes aboard the ship from which the sailor was lost. Both soon find themselves in very rough waters.

What inspired you to write this book?
I liked the research into sea transport and into the dangerous, and often ill-rewarded, life of members of the international merchant marine. Having sailed aboard several large vessels, both combat and commercial, I wanted to re-create the feel and atmosphere of shipboard life. And I, like so many writers, find London to be a city of fascination for its many faces: historical, architectural, and human.

What's the next project?
Currently, I'm working on a story set in Australia.

What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book?
The biggest challenge with every book I work on is to complete a first draft. Once that's done, the fun of rewriting begins.

If your novels require research - please talk about the process. Do you do the research first, and then write, while you're writing, after the novel is complete and you need to fill in the gaps?
All of the above--initial research can reveal whether or not there is material of enough depth for the kind of story one wants to tell, and whether or not the facts can be shaped into an artistic form. During the writing, specific incidents of plot are tested against the possibilities of the setting and the action. It's also where questions arise that were not foreseen in the initial research and which require resolution. Once the first draft is complete, one goes through for the gaps and literary inconsistencies and the means to fix them.

What's your writing space like?
I have an office into which I disappear. Sometimes--all too seldom--the muse joins me.

What authors do you enjoy reading within or without of your genre?
So many! Like most readers, I find pleasure in a good story told well, and I find it in established masterpieces as well as recently published writers. The latest pleasures include T. Jefferson Parker for his stories of Southern California and the memories they stir, R. T. Lawton's solid short stories and the sheer fun of good costume drama, and Roz Barber's The Marlow Papers for the psychological effects and nuances of feeling that are born from reading a 500-plus page story told in blank verse.

Anything additional you wish to share with the readers?
If you really enjoy a book, please let the author know. That's a currency rarer than coin.

Thank you for coming back to Reviews and Interviews and entertaining my readers today!

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