Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Interview with mystery author Bentley Wells

Mystery author Bentley Wells joins me today to chat about his new novel, The Paradise Coven.

Bentley Wells is a pseudonym. Under the author’s legal name he has written short stories and poems for literary magazines, articles for academic journals, chapters for nonfiction books, entries for encyclopedias, and several nonfiction books.

Please tell us about your current release.
Homicide detectives Michael McConnell and Aaron Simmons of the Columbus (Ohio) Police Department investigate the brutal murders of two women. There are no witnesses and few clues, except for unfamiliar words the killer has printed in lipstick on each victim. The detectives learn the words have demonic connotations, making the detectives wonder if they are dealing with a serial killer or a demon from Hell. As McConnell and Simmons dig for the truth, they discover a decades-old third murder with the same MO. This victim had ties to “The Paradise Coven,” a mysterious club that may be responsible for all three murders. Unfortunately, the terrible secret the detectives unravel may have far-reaching consequences.

What inspired you to write this book?
The inspiration for this novel actually came from a short story that I had written years ago. I had completed the first draft of the short story, but I had not polished it. One day I found it and started reading. I realized that I liked following two detectives as they investigated crimes. Of course, the plot in the short story is not the same as the plot in The Paradise Coven. In fact, the detectives are different. For instance, in the short story the detectives are older and have different names. They are completely different from the detectives in the novel. On the other hand, the leading suspect in the short story is similar to the leading suspect in The Paradise Coven. Of course, readers learn more about this suspect in the novel.

Excerpt from The Paradise Coven:
            McConnell and Simmons walked toward their respective offices. They saw Captain Black through his office window. He was motioning to them. McConnell opened the door and followed Simmons inside.
            Captain Black stood. “Sit down,” he ordered.
            McConnell and Simmons glanced at each other, shrugged, and sat down.
            “What’s up, Captain?” McConnell asked.
            Captain Black crossed his arms and shook his head. “Guess who called about an hour ago?”
            “Who?” McConnell asked.
            “The DA.”
            “What about?” Simmons asked.
            Captain Black uncrossed his arms, moved to the front of his desk, and sat down on top of it. “It seems Thomas Marks’s attorney informed him that Marks saw you two this morning,” he replied. “She said that he saw you two when he left his apartment and again when he arrived at work.”
            “That’s true,” McConnell admitted. “We followed him.”
            “McConnell, leave him alone.”
            “McConnell, if you don’t leave him alone, his attorney will file a lawsuit against the department.”
            “How do you know?” Simmons asked.
            Captain Black sighed. “She told the DA.”
            “She’s bluffing, Captain,” McConnell said.
            Captain Black glared at McConnell. “We can’t take that chance, McConnell. Now, leave Thomas Marks alone. Do you understand?”
            McConnell lowered his head. “I understand.”
            Black stared at McConnell for a minute. “Get back to work.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have completed the first draft of a second mystery, but this novel doesn’t feature Michael McConnell and Aaron Simmons. Instead of Ohio, this mystery is set in Oklahoma. It concerns a man in his late twenties investigating the murder of his father, a prominent businessman and pillar of the community. In this mystery, I focus primarily on the characters first and the plot second.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I wrote something that was published. This was a short story that was published in a literary magazine. I was in college at the time.

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 don’t write full-time. If I’m writing fiction, I try to write two or three pages a week. If I’m writing nonfiction, I have to research the subject. I do this to make sure what I’m working on is current. Then I write. Sometimes, I’ll research a subject, then write, and then do more research, until the article or book is written. I also read a lot. Although I read mostly books of nonfiction, I will read a mystery from time to time. For instance, I just finished a novel by Linwood Barclay and another by Raymond Chandler.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I do a lot of research even when I write fiction. Whether this is a “quirk,” well, I don’t know. I just enjoy it.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
This is a good question. However, my interest in writing grew when I was in my teens. I enjoyed reading fiction at an early age. My interest in writing nonfiction grew when I was in college, especially when I was in graduate school.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I hope readers will enjoy The Paradise Coven, which is filled with twists and turns.

The book can be found through: Black Opal Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, Smashwords, KOBO, iTunes, and Scribd.

Thanks for being here today, Bentley!

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