Monday, October 26, 2015

Interview with mystery author D.H. Montgomery

Mystery author D.H. Montgomery has the hot seat today to talk about the first novel in his new Private PSI Detective Mystery series, Karma Dead Ahead.
Welcome, D.H. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I came to fiction writing in a very unusual manner. The story is stranger than many incidents found in fiction books. D.H. Montgomery is a pen name, based on my more famous second cousin, who wrote Anne of the Green Gables. My background was initially in math and science and I was previously a professor in an engineering college. I had written a number of non-fiction books, but no fiction whatsoever, not even a short story, prior to Karma Dead Ahead. In the spring of 2014, a number of real-life paranormal events were taking place around me, including poltergeist activity in my home. One day, the entire plot of what would become a 250-page book popped into his mind in minutes. Not every little detail of course, but I imagined the overall plot and the characters involved in the book. It took five weeks to write everything down, which was as fast as I could type. After “Karma Dead Ahead” was finished, late one night a ghost appeared next to my computer. He had not appeared previously and has not appeared since. 

Please tell us about your current release.
Karma Dead Ahead is a nicely paced detective mystery story with appealing well-drawn characters and a plot that always keeps you guessing as it alternates between humor and suspense.

Two graduate students in a university paranormal research lab become accidental detectives as they go searching for a woman who fails to return from her Caribbean vacation. They get help from a group of psychics known as the “Gang of Four” and a hi-tech witchcraft practitioner. The psychics reveal that a karmic debt from two hundred years ago has put the woman on a path to danger. After some brilliant deductions and twists and turns, the two detectives come face to face with a deranged killer and his intended latest victim. Just as karma set off the chain of events in the beginning, it also determines the dramatic outcome.

Karma Dead Ahead is not just another Detective Mystery/Suspense novel. There are a number of incidents that take place that humorously satirize the corruption and dysfunction of modern institutions — the media, celebrity worship, the scientific establishment, business and elite protection from law enforcement — giving the novel depth and comic relief from the more suspenseful main plot.

What inspired you to write this book?
I had no plans to write Karma Dead Ahead or any other fiction work, until the entire story occurred to me one day in June 2014. I figured I had the entire plot with many of the details of the story, I should write it down.

Excerpt from Karma Dead Ahead:
Chapter Four: The two detectives, Sagacity Jeunesse and Chance Mankowski, are meeting with a group of psychics known as the “Gang of Four” to try to find out why a missing woman, Amanda Posner, hasn’t returned from her Caribbean vacation. The psychics don’t always get along with each other.

Sagacity began the meeting by thanking them all for coming and saying she had a number of objects in plastic bags for their readings, some pictures, and a map. She filled in the sparse details of what she knew about Amanda’s disappearance trying to stay on that fine line between providing the information they needed to know, but not telling them too much. This would allow her to potentially check on their accuracy.

Sagacity simply said, “A woman, Amanda Posner, took a trip to the Caribbean island of Capo Barbuda and has failed to return. She appears to have been in contact with a man named Rodrigo Barnett prior to going to the island. I have pictures of both of them for you, a map of Capo Barbuda, and some of Amanda’s personal items, both metal and cloth. We are trying to find out why she hasn’t returned and where she might be.”

Sagacity then passed around the pictures of Amanda and Rodrigo and copies of the map of the island, suggesting they get some initial impressions before selecting the objects they felt were best for them. She waited a few minutes, and then she asked if everyone was ready. After they all said yes, she picked up the baggies with the objects that Amanda had left and described the contents. She then told the psychics to choose the ones they wanted. Then, looking at Sativa, she said, “I have the special item that you requested,” and she handed him the bag with the panties in them. This immediately got Glastonbury’s attention and a sharp look of disapproval.

“I see Mr. Sativa is indulging his usual twisted tastes for his psychic analysis,” she said in her loud crisp voice dripping with censure.

“I don’t recall anyone asking the opinion of the fat English cow about this matter. She only wishes she could be as productive as I am,” he shot back, glaring at her.

“Productive! ... Productive! ... I’m the one that does the work of two psychics.”  Glastonbury retorted.

“You should be. After all, you’re the size of two psychics.” Sativa replied sarcastically.

“I’ll have you know, that I don’t have to come here to be insulted by YOU,” Glastonbury stated indignantly.

“I don’t doubt that, I’m sure you have many opportunities elsewhere,” Sativa retorted.

Just then, Del Rio was heard to say in her chirpy voice, “I thought Indians worshipped the cow.”

Kuliganaya immediately replied, “Perhaps that’s only if they are domestic darlink. Foreign cows may not count.” To emphasize her point, she flicked an imaginary cigarette in the long cigarette holder she always carried around, even though she had given up smoking years ago.

After that, general mayhem and shouting completely took over the room. Chance was watching in amazement, thinking to himself, “I wonder if I should be taking notes on any of this.”

Sagacity decided to take back control and shouted, “STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT!” in the loudest voice she could. The room quieted immediately.

She continued, “OK, now let’s just put personal matters aside and concentrate on the problem at hand. There could be serious issues that require immediate attention and we need to determine that tonight, so please try to cooperate. Now, will everyone please take the objects they want and let’s get on with it.” Sagacity then passed the items around the circle and announced, “We will start with Sanjiva and then go to Lena, Elsa and finally to Chi Chi. Sanjiva, please begin as soon as you are ready.”

Sanjiva used only the pictures and Amanda’s panties for his analysis. He held the panties in his hands and seemed to go into a trance for a few minutes. Then he began to speak, slowly at first with seemingly random tidbits that referred to previous existences, but soon he began to focus on one specific past lifetime that he deemed to be the relevant one….

What exciting story are you working on next?
In addition to two non-fiction books, I am two-thirds of the way through the second novel in the Private PSI Detective Mystery Series. In the first novel, the two detectives, Sagacity Jeunesse and Chance Mankowski went to a Caribbean Island to track down a missing woman and a maniacal killer. In the second one, they go to Paris and have a completely different set of adventures. There is even a touch of spy thriller in the new book.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’m not sure I consider myself a writer. Writing is one of many things I do.

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?
I write books episodically. I used to be a blogger. I am a speaker and own a small business. Writing isn’t something you find time to do, it’s something you make time to do.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I always have a period when I write every spare moment for several days when working on a book. For Karma Dead Ahead, that is how the entire book was written. For non-fiction, this happens for only part of the book.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I remember in kindergarten they asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up and I said a teacher. Many years later, I was a professor for several years.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Check out the reviews for Karma Dead Ahead. They have been better than anything in my wildest imagination. Some of the reviews are a page long, indicating people really got involved with the book, they didn’t just merely read it.


Thanks for being here today, D.H. Happy writing!

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