Monday, July 29, 2019

Interview with suspense/thriller author R. Scott Wallis

Author R. Scott Wallis joins me today to chat about his new suspense/thriller, The Maine Nemesis.

During his virtual book tour, R. Scott will be awarding a $50 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!

R. Scott Wallis is endlessly inspired by his surroundings and adventures. And he thrives on new chapters and creating unique projects to keep himself out of trouble. Scott started his working life as an advance person and assistant to a sitting United States Vice President. Later, he served as the creative director for a leading Washington think tank. That led to working directly for one of the richest men on Earth, conceiving and executing exclusive events for his billionaire friends. Tired of working for the man, Scott became a top-rated pop-culture podcaster and celebrity interviewer, while also dabbling in both the worlds of clothing manufacturing (creating his own baby clothes brand that was sold in over 300 stores nationwide) and retail sales, with his own well-received men's clothing store.

Always willing to lend a hand or donate what he can, he's an enthusiastic philanthropist, championing causes such as childhood bullying, animal adoption, and feeding the less fortunate. A wide-eyed world traveler, Scott has been to four continents, mostly by sea. While he loves exploring Europe and the Caribbean islands, it's the vast United States that he likes best. He's been to Alaska four times, Hawaii twice, and can't wait to explore the eight states he hasn't been to yet. Technically a Connecticut Yankee, Scott grew up in historic Williamsburg, Virginia, and lived for 25 years in the Washington, D.C. area, before recently discovering that the American West is where he is most at home. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Please share a little bit about your current release.
The Maine Nemesis is the first book in my new Skyler Moore Thriller series. It follows the adventures of public relations hotshot Skyler Moore and her best friend—celebrity chef Brenda Braxton—during a summer vacation in their hometown of Wabanaki, on the southern coast of Maine. And as is the norm on Skyler’s travels, mayhem ensues. Women are dropping dead in the sleepy town where nothing ever happens, and it’s up to Skyler and friends to save the town they love so much.

What inspired you to write this book?
It started with my love for Maine. All my aunts and uncles live there, and I spent a great deal of time on the southern coast, and in the central lake region, during my childhood. Maine summers are quite magical, complete with picturesque old houses, endless lobster rolls, and chilly summer evenings. I just knew from the get-go that Skyler had to be from my favorite state and begin her journey there.

And although they are middle-age women in my novels, in the Prologue, we get a glimpse of their fictional town of Wabanaki, and how my two heroines first met as children:

Excerpt from Prologue of The Maine Nemesis:
During one typically mild Maine summer, slightly more than a few decades ago, while the United States of America was celebrating the anniversary of its independence from England, fifth-grader Skyler Elizabeth Moore was celebrating her freedom from being the only little girl on her street. While she got along fine with most of the kids in her class, she’d not yet made a best friend—besides her beloved Raggedy Ann doll—so when Brenda Braxton, along with her brother and aunt, moved into the white clapboard house diagonally across the street, Skyler made it her mission to show the new girl around their tiny New England town in order to win her friendship.
There were only a handful of houses on the street and most of them were only used in the summer, making for a very sleepy, almost ghost town-like existence for a pre-teen girl during the school year. Skyler would stare into the houses’ dark windows as she walked to school, trying to catch a glimpse of something moving inside. A forgotten cat. A caretaker. Even a ghost. She believed in them and was certain that big old empty houses were where they lived.
When the biting winter winds that came off the ocean turned soothingly cool and the town sprung back to life after Memorial Day, Skyler would get her hopes up that a new family—with kids her age—would magically appear on the block. Specifically, a girl. So, when she finally spotted one that early July day, she wasted no time.
The moving truck was still in front of the house on the corner, and even though her mother told her to wait until the family settled in, Skyler marched herself to the open door and stepped into the front hall. She scooted to the left to avoid getting hit by a couch that two large men lifted through the doorway and then she followed them into the living room.
There she was. A girl her own age, sitting on a moving box, eating a banana.
“My mom would be very proud,” she said when she noticed Skyler. “She was always pushing fruit on me.”
“I love bananas,” Skyler lied as she moved closer. “I’m Skyler. I live across the street.”
“I’m Brenda. And I guess I live here now.”
“Welcome to Wabanaki.”
“Such a weird name for a town.”
“It’s named after an Indian tribe. American Indian, not India Indian.”
“I’ll never be able to spell it.”
“I’m good at spelling. It’s easy. W.A.B.A.N.A.K.I. Wabanaki. Almost like banana with all the A’s after the letters.”
“I guess. Did you just let yourself in?”
“I did. Is that okay with your mother?”
“I’m sure she doesn’t care. I’m glad you came in.”
“Me, too.” Skyler couldn’t stop smiling. “Me, too.”
Skyler noticed that Brenda was a little on the heavy side with a roll of fat around her middle that peeked out between her shirt and shorts, but it didn’t faze her. Brenda had a hearty, infectious laugh and positive attitude despite what Skyler would come to understand was an arduous childhood. Her homework could have been eaten by the dog, or the vacation she was looking forward to could have been cancelled at the last minute, and she’d always manage to find the silver lining. Brenda’s attitude would balance well with Skyler’s sometimes dark outlook on life.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I released the second book in the series, The New Mexico Scoundrel, this past May, and I just sent the third, The Nevada Saboteur, to my editor. It comes out on September 27. I have plans for three more Skyler books in 2020, that will take my new friends to Alaska, California, and Virginia. I also have a thriller called, Scout’s Honor: Lifeline, coming out on August 23. (Yes, I’m exhausted, but excited!)

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
From the very beginning. As soon as I started to learn to read and write, I started making up my own stories. My mother has always said that I thought in cartoons; I guess I had a pretty active imagination. I’ve always loved making things up and putting those creations together with the people and places I have come to know in my real life. I’ve traveled extensively, and I’ve met many interesting characters along the way. They all make it into my stories on way or another.

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?
Writing and podcasting are my full-time jobs. I like to write first thing in the morning, so I get up with the sun—and the dogs—and sit at my desk and write from about 6:00am until about 10:00am every single day. I save emails and marketing my books—that’s an independent writers second full-time job, mind you—for the afternoon. I never touch my computer or my phone in the evenings, unless I get a thought or idea for one of my stories, then I’ll make a quick note so that I don’t forget it. I produce the pop culture podcast, The Swish Edition, on the weekends. I love to talk about as much as I love to write, and my silly little show has reached the top 2% of comedy podcasts on iTunes. Now I just wish I could get to the top 2% of Amazon with my books!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know if it’s a quirk or not, but my absolute favorite thing to write is dialogue. Perhaps I was supposed to be a screenwriter? In any event, I tend to let my characters tell the story with their speech. I don’t do a lot of describing how people look, either. I’d rather let the reader decide, in their own head, what someone looks like. For example, I have ideas about which Hollywood actors and actresses should play my characters in the eventual movies (wishful thinking, huh?), but I would never, ever tell anyone who they are. I wouldn’t want to ruin someone else’s idea of who Skyler, Brenda, at al, are.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Rich. I think I thought that was a job. I used to love television shows like “Dallas” and “Dynasty” and just knew that I had to have gobs of money, too, to be happy. Of course, it helps, but I quickly realized that loving what you do and who you are, are much more important. That, and private jets. Private jets will always make you happy.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I’m just over-the-moon that people are excited to read my books. It tickles me to no end. When you put hundreds and hundreds of hours into something that you created from scratch, and then people discover it, and like it, well, that’s just the icing on the cake. I mean, two different books clubs are reading and discussing MY books this summer. I never thought something like that would happen to little ol’ me. It’s a dream come true. Now all I need is that darned private jet!


Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

James Robert said...

Thank you so much for taking time to bring to our attention another great read. I appreciate it and thank you also for the giveaway.

Bea LaRocca said...

Congratulations on your new release and on the book tour. I want to thank you for sharing the book info and your author interview. I enjoy meeting new-to-me authors and learning about them and their work.

R. Scott Wallis said...

Good morning, everyone! I'm thrilled to be here today--thank you, Lisa, for this opportunity. Actually, I'd like to be anywhere but at home in Las Vegas, Nevada A/C went out and it's going to be 108ยบ today. Yikes. But, I'll survive. I'll just dream of happy summers in Maine to keep me cool. LOL

Rita Wray said...

I liked the excerpt, thank you.

Edgar Gerik said...

Great interview

Victoria Alexander said...

This sounds fantastic, thanks for sharing!

Gwendolyn Jordan said...

I like the cover

Cali W. said...

Thanks for the giveaway; I like the excerpt. :)

Dale Wilken said...

The excerpt sounds really great.