Today’s special guest is author Hawk MacKinney. He’s chatting with me about his new mystery/suspense novel, Hidden Chamber of Death.
During his virtual book tour, Hawk will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!
Internationally acclaimed author and public speaker, Hawk MacKinney began writing mysteries for his school newspapers. Following graduation, he served in the US Navy for over 20 years. While serving as a Navy Commander, he also had a career as a full-time faculty member at several major state medical facilities. He earned two postgraduate degrees with studies in languages and history. He has taught postgraduate courses in both the United States and Jerusalem, Israel.
In addition to professional articles and texts on fetal and adult anatomy, Hawk has authored several novels that have received national and international recognition. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel, was nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award. This was followed by the Craige Ingram Mystery Series. In a change of direction, October of 2012 saw the release of Hawk’s first science fiction novel, The Bleikovat Event, in The Cairns of Sainctuarie series. Volume II in The Cairns of Sainctuarie series, The Missing Planets, was released in 2014 with Volume III in the works.
Hawk’s latest project focuses on The Moccasin Hollow Mystery Series. Book 1 in the series, Hidden Chamber of Death, was just released, and Book 2 in the series, Westobou Gold, will be released in the fall.
What comes first: the plot or the characters?
Depends on how/when an idea strikes me. Title-plot-setting-character(s)…I carry a notepad with me night or day. Never know when resolution to a plot or an idea will hit.
What genre do you write and why?
The Moccasin Hollow Mystery Series
The Cairns of Sainctuarie Series - sci-fi
A reader identifies with the tale and the characters…sci-fi, thrillers, and the special lure of romance, which motivates the whole churn of it. Genre doesn’t exist. It’s a gimmick established in ancient Greek literature…so ancient it’s modern and meaningless. Genres are for bookstores & websites. In reality, each book combines all of these elements.
Please tell us a little bit about Hidden Chamber of Death.
Hidden Chamber of Death is a compelling tale of intrigue, murder, deception and suspense that leads retired Navy SEAL/part-time private investigator Craige Ingram in search of the connection between seemingly random murders and a banking conspiracy. Working with the local homicide investigator, who just happens to be a former Navy buddy, Craige Ingram's attempts to protect a lonely widow and solve the case before another person dies are only thwarted by a psychotic killer whose motivation is based on pure depraved pleasure. In this first book of the MOCCASIN HOLLOW MYSTERY SERIES, the instincts and skills Ingram and his buddy acquired as Navy SEALS are tested to their limits.
Excerpt from Hidden Chamber of Death:
The battered, green side door with its peeling, leprosy paint framed one small window with smudged shattered wire-glass. The door cracked just enough for a pair of bright blue eyes to peek out at him.
A voice said, “That you, Mister Craige?” The grey head was hardly visible.
“Yes,” Craige said. “Sallie Mae, that you?” Got no answer, and she didn’t come out.
The door left ajar; rusty hinges squeaked as Craige pushed against it and stepped into a vacuous, black void, the air heavy with a peculiar, stale warmth. He was more than queasy. It had the makings of a perfect ambush layout. Talk about the perfect setup. If Zeb hadn’t OKed the time and place, he would’ve been out of there. Except for jumbled, grimy clutter and vague outlines in a trashed yawning interior, he could make out no details. As his eyes adjusted, Craige found himself facing two frail figures who’d been standing there the whole time.
With a fragile movement Sallie Mae said, “Right here. A’gatha Ruth here’s not too pleased about Zeb tellin’ you where to find us.”
“Don’t like this a darn tootin’,” Agatha said. “Nobody’s bizness.” She was testy. “Plenty robbin ‘n ‘killin’ to be took care of ‘stead of cops pokin’ in folk’s private matters. Botherin’ folks what druthers be left alone.”
“I don’t work for the police,” Craige said.
Agatha continued, “Fiddle-de-dee, who you think you’re foolin’? Tain’t a mite of difference twixt you and MacGerald ‘cept he calls it what it be—cop.” She had wizened, bottomless eyes. “Claimin’ we make corn squeezin’s.” Her ire rose. “Don’t try puttin’ no lyin’ to me. I know what the likes of you is after. Them bunch of scallywags wants you to help take away Sallie Mae’s croup potions.” Wiped her mouth with her hand. “That’s what, you’re after Sallie’s makin’s.” She didn’t care for him one bit.
“We been run out from lots’a places,” Sallie Mae said. “Lord knows, these old bones don’t take up much room, and these empty buildings ain’t no use fer nothin’ much.”
Craige interrupted, “Zeb told me you saw the killing in the bank’s garage.”
“Both of us seen it,” Agatha said. “What you want to know for anyhow? We ain’t talkin’ to no cops. Might as well git that out on the table right now. They throw us in jail, say we the ones what did it till we tell where our still wuz.”
“You see who did it?” Craige asked.
“‘Course we seen the man who done it,” Sallie Mae said. “Didn’t see no face, saw his big black car, the kind what rich folks drive.” She shook her head. “Lordy mercy, that poor woman didn’t have no chance.”
Agatha nodded, “Skeer a body plumb to death. Gives me chill blains jus’ thinkin’ on it. Like some animal, like he wadn’t mad. Jes took o’nry mean pleasure beating her.”
Craige asked, “You know it was a man?”
“Jesus my all!” Agatha Ruth spit snuff juice into a paper stuffed big peach can. “You ain’t much good at detecting if you cain’t tell whether a body be man or woman. Maybe you need readin’ glasses. Gettin’ a mite blurry myself, but I don’t have to see a body close-up to tell it was a man, and sure didn’t want that one close-up no how. Tell by the way he hit. He was hefty enough he didn’t have to put much swing to it. Kept whackin’n’whackin’, blood everywhere. Even after she mostly quit moving, he kept hittin’n’hittin’, her legs just’a jerkin’.”
Craige made a mental note to check with Fred if any clothing, gloves, anything showed DNA different from any of the victims.
“Awful!” Sallie Mae shivered. “We hunkered down so he wouldn’t see us.” The filtered light framed Sallie Mae’s dignified, wrinkled face, ancient beyond years with a proud reserve.
Agatha said, “Even after the police got there, we never told them what we seen.”
As a kid sitting on the back stoops with Grannie, counting lightnin’ bugs, lis’nin’ to her create bogdacious (bodacious) tales of haints and stars and worlds…it was endless.
Do you listen to music when you write and if so, what kind of music?
The great classics, Chopin, Beethoven, Sibelius, Smetana’s Má vlast, the great Russian composers, from the romantic period/The Beach Boys/ABBA. If it distracts…my man-cave is silenced.
What is your next project?
The Cairnes of Sainctuarie Series sci-fi…Vol 3
The Moccasin Hollow Mystery Series…Book 3
What helps overcome writer’s block?
Give the manuscript a rest. Give your brain/fantasy/imagination a rest. Put the working draft away. Work on something else AND let the ‘bother’ sit on the shelf WITH a notepad forever handy. Stuff your mind/imagination/characters & plot with another work you’re puzzling together…let the bother become dust-ware. You’ll go back with a fresh view of it.
Your books are set in many places. Have you ever been there?
Set in South Carolina and Georgia, Colorado, other states of the lower 48, Scotland, England, Israel…vacationed/lived in most all. Most of the settings still exist…& most of those living thereabouts know nothing of the secrets lurking so close.
Thanks for being here today, Hawk!