Arrangement for Revenge
by Norm Karin
Book Genre: Mystery/Amateur Sleuth
Today, we had an opportunity to talk to Norm Karin. Norm has written the book, Arrangement for Revenge.
Let me tell you that I love the cover. That is so important for a book. Yours makes me want to pick it up immediately. That is such an important part of the industry a lot of authors miss. It wasn't until I started writing and blogging that I really caught just how big a deal it is.
We are also excited to hear about the book itself. But first, tell us a little about your journey to become an author?
First, let me thank you for the opportunity to contribute to Jerry's Circumlocution. I retired after a 35-year career as a biomedical researcher and science educator.
Thirty-five years? That means you were doing biomedical research back in the 80's. I bet that was a great time to be in that career. Did you ever write inside your job?
I enjoyed writing scientific book chapters and journal articles (and endless grant applications), but I dreamed for years of writing a mystery novel. In particular, I wanted to write a story that incorporated some humor. I’d gotten a taste of creative writing years ago when I was a guitarist in an acoustic duo/trio that performed original satirical songs.
How long was your group together? What kind of songs did you all sing and write?
Over the nearly ten years this group performed, I wrote more than twenty songs that describe such topics as: a husband’s despair as he accompanies his wife while she shops for clothes (“The Man by the Fitting Room Door”); the reluctance of men to ask for directions (“Directions”); and “Bad Hair Blues.”
That is great. Did you draw your inspiration for your book in the same topics? Or did you pull ideas more from your career?
My career led me to live in a number of places in this country and in Germany, and I incorporate bits of these experiences when I write. I’ve been fortunate to meet a great many creative people in my life, including some with wonderful senses of humor. Most of the characters in my book are colored by the traits of people who have made an impact on my life.
What are your hobbies and do they ever play into your writing?
I have many hobbies, and they definitely influence my writing! I find it really helps to “write what you know.” As I mentioned above, I am a guitarist (you can find me on YouTube) and have focused primarily on jazz and “fingerstyle” playing for the past twenty years or so. Therefore, I decided to make Ed Ramsey, the main character in my mystery, a jazz guitarist and music professor at a small college in Texas. I spent most of my scientific career in academic settings, so it was natural for me to write about this character as a college faculty member. I got hooked on sourdough bread baking a number of years ago, and Ed shares this hobby as well. My wife, Charlotte, and I are avid birdwatchers, and Ed’s new love in the book is a professor who studies bird ecology. Charlotte and I have lived in a suburb of Buffalo, NY, since 2012, but we learned to scuba dive in the early 90s when we lived in Houston. My next book will be out soon and involves Ed becoming entangled in a murder during a scuba diving trip.
What advice would you give someone who wants to be a writer?
I’ll make two suggestions. First, make notes! Great ideas can pop up at any time of the day or night. When I’m home, I always have a Word document available for me to scribble thoughts that occur to me. I also use a memo recorder app on my cell phone, which is very handy when I’m traveling. My second suggestion is to constantly back up all electronic versions of your writing! External drives, USB drives, Google Drive, it doesn’t matter. This not only guards against losses due to a computer crash, but also helps protect against problems if inadvertent changes are made to a document. I back up to a USB drive every time I finish writing, even if only for a lunch break.
Both of those are great suggestions. What is your favorite part about writing?
I didn’t anticipate how much I would enjoy creating characters for my books. They truly are like imaginary friends! Once I established their personalities, it is almost as if they write their own dialog for me.
Alright, please tell us about your current release.
In Arrangement for Revenge, Ed Ramsey, a jazz guitarist and music professor at a small college, has his life turned upside down when his department chairman is found with his throat slashed. Ed becomes embroiled in the murder when Allison Clark, the victim’s oboe student, discovers the body and rushes into Ed’s studio for help. To complicate things further, Ed’s friend and faculty colleague becomes the prime suspect in the killing.
Questions abound as the local sheriff tries to sift through the puzzling clues. What is the motive for the crime? Is the enigmatic Miss Clark somehow involved? Why does a student’s suicide four years earlier seem to hold a key to identifying the murderer? While trying to help the sheriff solve the mystery, Ed finds his own life in danger!
Sounds like it will contain elements of your entire journey both as a researcher and your humor and music experience. Is there somewhere our readers can get a taste for the book?
Your readers can see a free sample of the book by clicking on the Purchase Link, above, and selecting Kindle (Amazon).
What exciting story are you working on next?
I am in the final editing stages of another Ed Ramsey Mystery entitled Bad Breath. In this story, Ed; his girlfriend, Tracey; and his son, Frosty, embark on a weekend scuba diving trip in the Gulf of Mexico, only to have it marred by tragedy: a diver goes missing and later is found dead on the sea bottom. However, what first appears to be a fatal accident turns out to be a case of murder, and Ed reluctantly finds himself entangled in the investigation.
The murderer must be among the small group of passengers and crew on board the dive vessel, but the police can find no motive for the killing, which greatly complicates their ability to identify potential suspects. Ed, Tracey, and Frosty try to assist the authorities, which leads them into some harrowing experiences before the case is solved.
Ironically, this was the plot I had planned as my first book. I truly don’t remember how the plotline for Arrangement for Revenge originated. It just fell out of my head!
I hear that sometimes, especially amongst panthers. Some authors plot and outline and others just start writing. I love reading authors who do both as long as the yarn is well told. Who are your favorite authors?
I read many genres, but I love classic mysteries. I’ve read all the Sherlock Holmes stories multiple times, and I really enjoy works by authors from the golden age of mystery writing: Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, Ellery Queen, Erle Stanley Gardner. I also am a fan of the irreverent but highly entertaining mysteries by the Texas country musician, Kinky Friedman.
All excellent choices. I thank you again for joining us. Tell our readers one more time, where can someone go to purchase your book?
They can find it here.
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