Friday, December 6, 2013

Interview: Jim Musgrave

Greetings humans, half-breeds, and everything in between. A while back, I had the pleasure to interview a wonderful author named, Jim Musgrave. A good time was truly had by all and here’s how it went down.

Hi there Jim! It’s so awesome to have you here at the ECS Blog. Don’t worry about the darkness, your eyes will adjust.

So tell me, who is Jim Musgrave?

I am a retired college English professor living in San Diego with my wife, Ellen.  We have two Siamese cats and a son, Ari, living with us.  My wife is my editor and my son is my illustrator.  I write all kinds of fiction and non-fiction, and I’ve been doing it for over 20 years in one form or another.  I have been a finalist in a variety of fiction contests, including the Bram Stoker Awards for Horror.  I currently enjoy writing a steampunk mystery and fantasy series called the Detective Pat O’Malley series.

I’m glad to have a chance to speak with you. I don’t know much about steampunk, but I do find it quite fascinating. I can’t wait to see what you have to share today.

So whacha got for me today?

In Forevermore, a Medal of Honor winner living in Poe’s Cottage in the Bronx following the Civil War, reads a strange note hidden on the bedframe and decides to prove that his former employer before the war, Edgar Allan Poe, was murdered in Baltimore, 1849, and while solving this mystery, this new sleuth must confront the most dangerous serial killer in 1865 New York City, and the detective must also learn why he can’t be intimate with women.

Here’s a review from the Portland Book Review of my first mystery in the O’Malley series, Forevermore.

It sounds to me like this new sleuth has his hands full of work and social problems. I hope he’s able to come out on top…I must say I am very interested in this story already.

So who’s starring is this 2 dimensional script read of Forevermore?

Patrick O’Malley: Irish born detective and decorated Civil War vet who is living in his late friend Edgar Allan Poe’s Bronx cottage in 1860s New York.

Madame Rebecca Charming, a beautiful, Vassar educated daughter of a United States congressman. Charming owns a reputable brothel with high standards both in business and the working conditions.

You’ll recognize a few other names in the story, such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Fennimore Cooper, Jane (Haskins) The Grabber.

This is sounds like a lovely blend of real and fictionl characters. More and more I am intrigued by what's going on in this story.

Past, present, future, is there a rhyme or reason to your writing?

I write on a computer, and I use the Internet extensively to recreate the authentic setting and language use of 1860s New York City.  I listen to either Classical or Zen meditation music.  I am now working on a completely fantastic volume 4 in the series.  It’s called Steam City Pirates. Click here to read the first three chapters here.

Wow, you really do your homework don’t you? You are studying the settings and langue use of 1860s New York to be incorporated into your work; I’m impressed.

What author(s) has most influenced your writing? Why or how?

James Patterson has influenced my style because of his technique of writing short chapters. Here’s an article I wrote last Memorial Day on that topic.

I too like the way he writes. I tried to the short chapter thing, but it just doesn’t work for me consistently.

Whose brain are you just itching to scratch?

Jerome David Salinger.  I like his attitude about keeping your ego out of your writing.  The recent documentary “Salinger” about him is probably making him spin in his grave (although as a Vedantist, he has probably already been reborn on some cosmic plane or other).

Everyone has and opinion or an ideal set in their minds about J.D. Salinger, but I guess that’s what makes him so successful, in a way. People are always talking about him dead or alive…Wouldn’t it be cool to have that kind of legacy?

Who is so you and why?
from Goodreads
Lawrense Block Mysteries, 1

Believe it or not, when I was a practicing alcoholic, my fiction was compared to the late author Charles Bukowski (“Buk as in puke”).  I now relate to Detective Matthew Scudder in the Lawrence Block Mysteries.  I think my character Patrick O’Malley can be compared to Matt Scudder in a few ways.

So you used to be a practicing alcoholic. Well, I guess a congratulations is in order for dropping or reducing the practice…I’m unfamiliar with the series you’ve mentioned, but this seems like a good opportunity to learn more about them.

What’s your ideal reading spot for your next highly anticipated read?
from Goodreads

I am now reading Eric Schlosser’s excellent non-fiction expose, Command and Control.  If you thought junk food was scary, you should read this book!  The numbers of times we came within a hair’s length of nuking ourselves into the Stone Age are covered with a thriller’s intensity in this book.  I read it on my tablet under the covers with my lovely wife at my side. 

I’m a die-hard fiction lover, but I must admit that there is nothing scarier than reality. There are some works of non-fiction that make me wish they were fiction.

What was your favorite book or story, pre-teen years?

I really enjoyed reading Mark Twain as a kid. I was on the great show “Chatting with Sherri,” and you can hear me talk about these early influences (among other things).

I have found recently that people either love Twain or hate him, but I think this is a generational thing. I don’t think his work is taught in schools as much as it used to be so younger generations aren’t as familiar with him.

Now this is where the questions get a little kooky; are you ready?

Right on!

Alright then, here we go.

If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?

When Harry Met Sally.

I never fail to laugh at this movie no matter how many times I watch it.

That is a good movie; it never gets old. I find myself feeling like this for many movies…Oh the pain of being a movie buff. :/

What makes you geek out?

String theory physics as related by Steven Hawking.  I used it my most recent novel Steam City Pirates. I was actually on the Geek Seat radio show, so I talked about this very thing.

Thanks to The Big Bang Theory so many people have heard of String Theory, but that doesn’t mean that they have any clue what it’s really about or means. (See, that was a geek reference to what makes you geek out ;) .)

So what’s testing your patience right now?

I am into Chapter 8 of Steam City Pirates, and it’s blowing my mind.  I am eager to show the pirates in action, but I think the scifi fantasy world I have meticulously created will be the hit of the Pat O’Malley Series.

Congress is testing my patience right now.  In fact, I dedicated the following to them in my Halloween horror novel, Love Zombies of San Diego:

 To all the zombies in Congress who just don’t “get it.”  Our kids are real, and you just keep shuffling and groaning about “big government.”  Protect our kids with decent health care, education and food stamps.

Uhhg! Nothing against you- in fact like you, but like you, and it seems everyone else, I have my own issues with Congress and “Government” in general. I just get tired of hearing about it all the time. Maybe I should be like you and write something about it. :) Glad to hear that things are going so well with your series. Steam City Pirates sounds crazy, in a good way.

When the soundtrack of your life is playing in your head, what songs express your glee and what songs bring out your rage?

The Doors’ song “People are Strange(<= watch and listen) is the theme song of my literary novel, Freak Story:  1967-1969.   Again, I am an old person.

Hey, old or young, that’s a good song. I get that not everyone is into the Doors, but come on, that’s good stuff!

What’s the most fun experience you’ve ever had, to date?

The birth of my daughter, Tami Lynn, in 1968.

How very sweet; can’t argue with that.

Not that you can see into the future, but in your opinion, what does the future hold?

Well, we have 10 years until Global Warming takes over (tipping point of no return), and after reading Schlosser’s book, mutually assured destruction might happen any second, so I guess if I’m still breathing and enjoying a new day it will be good enough for me!

I hear ya. If we’re all still around in 10 years, I’ll be pretty content myself.

Is there a question you would like to ask me?
Q: Why do you enjoy asking questions of authors?

A: I have a little quote I started using a while back. “Authors are just as important to the world of entertainment as music groups and movie stars.” I truly believe that and do my small part to spread the word, but for me personally- I just like to see what other authors have to say. I like to learn from them and see what we do and don’t have it common.

Ok humans, half-breeds, and everything in between, that’s all for today. Be sure to follow this blog to see who will be visiting next time. For more from Jim Musgrave, check out these great links:

GoodReads: Jim Musgrave
Facebook: Jim Musgrave
LinkedIn: Jim Musgrave
Purchase links for Forevermore: Amazon

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Click below to share your reactions and more. Remember, I’ll be moving to the ToiBox full-time soon, so please, stop by to check it out. Until next time, Toi Thomas. #cursescanbebroken #thetoiboxofwords