It all starts with a car crash that kills a friend of Laguna Beach real estate appraiser, Alex Wright. He is unwilling to accept that it was an accident. The action develops as Alex, along with his surfing buddy, Newport Beach Police Captain Zack Potrero, search for the compelling motivation and reasonable opportunity among a list of possible suspects…. Meanwhile, Alex’s romance with 4-time World Champion surfer, Rachel Fix heats up; in this, the fifth story in the ALEX WRIGHT MYSTERY/ADVENTURE SERIES… an exciting and fun read!
Today I’m catching up again with William Mansfield, who is back talking with me while on his current promotional tour for his book ‘An Unethical Murder’. William it’s a pleasure to catch up with you again today to talk about ‘An Unethical Murder’. How did your ideas for this book germinate?
A friend of mine and a real fan of the story series, is an appraisal ethics instructor. I promised I would give her a major role in a future story. This was the starting point for the story.
I hope that she was pleased with her fictional portrayal. So, in this novel, which character was your favourite to write?
I think, after Alex, I would have to say Heather has been my favorite. Her role was minimal at first, but it keeps growing with each new story.
Is there any character in your book that you would like to go on a date with or take out for a beer?
We do all that and more with each story! I like all my surf team and business associates. I’d spend time with any of them.
Do you ever dream about your characters?
All the time.
As mentioned earlier, this is the fifth book in the Alex Wright series. At this stage in the series, do you find that you still need to do research?
Always. Thank the techy gods for the Internet. I’ve learned to keep multiple screens open on my computer as I write. When the words are flowing, I will add a series of *** where I need to find a word or place. Otherwise, I will flip to another screen and do the research in real time.
How about real life experiences, did you draw on any of those when you were writing this book?
Yes, although the murder was pure fiction. The real estate market changes as well as the changes in license law were accurate to the time depicted in the story.
What did you find the most rewarding thing about writing this book in particular?
I enjoyed including people / characters that I recognize from my own real estate career – of course, names have been changed and characters are an amalgam of the real people. Locations are fun as well, and describing elements of life as it is lived in SoCal – freeway traffic is something we all understand!
Very much so. So, how long did it take for you to write this book?
Probably about six months. Once I have a basic outline, the story begins to take over the writing. The characters drive the action. Once I’m comfortable with a draft of the story, I hand it over to a group of readers who each have a knack for something be it facts or grammar or how to move a story along. Eventually we agree on a result and turn it over to my publisher who also does the cover art.
And so our audience can be assured of future adventures can you let us know what are you working on next?
The next in the series is called: “The Key to the Ranch”. This is a cold case murder. It requires more interviews and research into the past. There is less of the pressure to solve a crime quickly – before the killer strikes again.
Now something that we haven’t gone into a lot of depth in our discussions before has been the writing to publishing and promotional processes. We’ll start at the beginning, do you have any specific writing techniques, like do you aim for a set number of words a day or do you write in a specific location?
I wish I could say that my life affords me such a luxury as time and place. Unfortunately my writing often has spurts and stops. However, once the story is moving forward, I try to dedicate sufficient time every day to record the thoughts that I have been subconsciously thinking about.
And once you have solidified your story, how do you go about the editing process?
As described earlier, I prefer to produce a first draft quickly and read and reread until I feel I have sufficiently fleshed out the story – in mystery stories, readers want to know that the clues were there. The eventual conclusion should have a logical series of steps leading to the final solution.
You have seem some success with self-publishing. Do you have any tips on this for other authors?
We probably all wish we could sit in a lovely space somewhere and write our novel. Then turn it over to our publisher, take a breath, and start the next story. As self-published authors we must spend a considerable amount of time promoting the book, and even here, we lack the support group that authors who publish through well known companies can depend on. So, while there are services available to guide one along, the time and expense are the responsibility of the author.
I have to agree with that. The promotion of a novel is important, but is often overlooked with the majority of the effort going to writing process itsself. The covers of all of your books have a very individual style about them. Do you use a specific service, or did you design it yourself?
My son, Jason, who is also my publisher.
For many people their first review is an important milestone, how did you feel when you got your first book review?
I don’t recall. If there is something constructive in the criticism I attempt to make it better in the next story. Otherwise, I just accept that people will feel the need to say what they will and it has no real impact on my life and work.
Overall, how do you feel about the future of reading, writing and publishing?
Ever since Gutenberg invented the printing press, we have seen a continuing growth both in writing and reading. I imagine all the new means of exposing the public to a story will only exponentially add to this number.
Now since we’ve had you around here a few times now I thought I would add some random quick fire questions to keep you on your toes. We can’t let you get complacent answering these questions.
If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create?
Dog and cat. Dat would have the loyalty and unconditional love of the dog along with the independence and sense of self-worth of a cat.
Can you stand on your hands unassisted?
If you could steal one thing without consequence what would it be?
A Vermeer painting -any one of them. There is something magical about them.
Can you curl your tongue?
Which are cooler? Dinosaurs or Dragons?
Dinosaurs, fer shur. Dragons are whatever man has made them (usually frightening). Dinosaurs had to actually live their life – way cool.
What’s the most unusual name you’ve ever come across?
Probably Eastern European, maybe Polish. Certainly impossible to pronounce! The only college class I dropped was philosophy. I couldn’t deal with the Greek names.
Is there a question that you haven’t been asked that you’d like to be, or anything that didn’t come up?
Who might portray Alex Wright on film… I imagine it would have to be someone younger than Mathew McConaughy or Brad Pitt is today. But someone that casting directors would refer to as a similar type. He should have their presence and vulnerability.
Good answer. And I’m also going to steal that question for future interviews because I liked it so much. William, thank you again for your time and I hope we get an opportunity to catch up soon.
Want to find out more about William? Contact him at the following locations:William Mansfield