Wednesday, 24 May 2017 04:05

 

MariBrown oceanofstorms2
Mystery Scene continues its ongoing series with authors discussing their works. This time, Christopher Mari and Jeremy K. Brown discuss their novel
Ocean of Storms.

Set in the near future, Ocean of Storms begins when political tensions between the United States and China are at an all-time high. Then a catastrophic explosion on the moon cleaves a vast gash in the lunar surface. As a result, the Earth’s electrical infrastructure is obliterated. This forces the feuding nations to cooperate on a high-risk mission.

Now a diverse, highly skilled ensemble of astronauts—and a pair of maverick archaeologists plucked from the Peruvian jungle—will work together.

An epic adventure, Ocean of Storms spans space and time.

 

Christopher Mari and Jeremy K. Brown discuss tension and point of view:

When we were writing our sci-fi thriller, Ocean of Storms, one of the biggest issues we faced was how to amp up the tension while at the same time releasing clues through the novel as to the nature of the mystery our protagonists face. The solution we came up with was to use multiple points of view (POVs) in which each character was to have a piece of the puzzle.

It’s a tricky thing to write multiple points of view, made harder still by the fact that two authors were writing one novel. That said, it was also a gift to have a co-author, since each of us served double duty as the other’s editor to make sure we were writing a coherent story with coherent characters in a single narrative voice.

mari christopherIn order to insure that we didn’t trip up—either by giving too much away or by forgetting to give key pieces of information at just the right moments—we had to create a sort of “novel bible,” in which we had outlined all of the characters’ personalities and traits, as well as their backgrounds and their motivations.

This same novel bible also had a fairly detailed outline of the plot, so that we knew when certain things would happen and what aspects of the mystery would be revealed in which chapters.

We also did considerable research and took copious notes on true-life aspects of our story: NASA history, the physics behind putting astronauts on the moon, archeological facts, political background on US-China relations—even references to other sci-fi adventures we loved and wanted to echo.

In the end, the novel that ultimately resulted from these notes was not the book that we had outlined: characters changed, motivations shifted, action was tightened, plot details were switched up or deleted entirely. Nothing surprising there; that’s the nature of writing. But what we never changed was what had been there at the beginning, that this was going to be a story told from many points of view as a way to increase the tension throughout the novel and to heighten the mystery.

And the way we did that was by always knowing exactly who knew what at whatever point, and exactly what their motivations were for either giving a piece of information or withholding it.
    
brown jerryTo us, the only way to tell this story was in such a manner, in which everyone, working together and by each adding a puzzle piece to the game, would be able to solve the mystery. Not to get too philosophical, but writing a thriller with a mystery at its core seems to us not that very different from living everyday life.

All of us all know something, and maybe then only partially, and only by sharing information and by working together can we solve the truly tough problems.

About the authors:
Christopher Mari was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and was educated at Fordham University. He has edited books on a wide variety of topics, including three on space exploration. His next novel, The Beachhead, will be published by 47North in 2017. He lives with his family in Queens, New York.

Jeremy K. Brown has written several biographies for young readers, including books on Stevie Wonder and Ursula K. Le Guin. He has also contributed articles to numerous magazines and newspapers. Brown published his first novel, Calling Off Christmas, in 2011 and is currently at work on another novel. He lives in New York with his wife and sons.

Photos: Top, Christopher Mari; photo by Ana Maria Estela
Bottom, Jeremy K. Brown; photo courtesy Jeremey K.Brown

Saturday, 20 May 2017 04:05

johnsoncraig westernstar
During the weekend of July 7–9, the small town of Buffalo, Wyoming, is the place to be.

That’s the weekend when Buffalo—about 4,600 residents or so—more than triples its population as more than 14,000 people come for Longmire Days, which celebrates the bestselling Walt Longmire novels written by Craig Johnson.

The sixth annual Longmire Days festival is chock-full of events such as a parade, a poker school, book and film discussions, trap shooting, baseball games, and horseback rides, among other events.

Johnson will be there, of course.

A majority of the cast usually attends as well. Among the cast expected to attend this year are Robert Taylor (Walt Longmire), A. Martinez (Jacob Nighthorse), Adam Bartley (The Ferg), Bailey Chase (Branch Connally), Louanne Stephens (Ruby), John Bishop (Bob Barnes), and Zahn McClarnon (Officer Mathias), among others.

Longmire Days has become a terrific way to honor Johnson’s novels, which realistically portray the new West and how crime is investigated. The festival continues to grow. Two years ago, about 9,000 were expected; now it is more than 14,000.

If you plan to go, make reservations soon.

Longmire fans have more to look forward to this year. Johnson’s next Walt Longmire novel will be The Western Star, on sale September 5. In addition, Johnson just signed a new three-book contract with Viking. Currently, more than 1.7 million copies of the Longmire series have been sold.

The sixth—and final season—of the TV series Longmire will air this fall on Netflix. The tentative airing date is September 15, though that could change.

Walt Longmire will have only one more season on TV, but the novels will continue.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017 10:05



The 2017 Anthony Award nominations, honoring work published in 2016, have been announced.

The winners will be announced following the Sunday brunch to be held October 15 during Bouchercon, which will be in Toronto from October 12–15, 2017.

Bouchercon (pronounced Bough' cher con), the World Mystery Convention, is an annual convention where readers, writers, fans, publishers, editors, agents, booksellers, and other lovers of crime fiction gather for a four-day weekend of education, entertainment, and fun! It is the world's premier mystery event, bringing together all parts of the mystery and crime fiction community.

For details, visit the Bouchercon website.

Mystery Scene congratulates all the nominees.
 

ANTHONY AWARD NOMINATIONS for 2017

Best Novel

You Will Know Me – Megan Abbott (Little, Brown)
Where It Hurts – Reed Farrel Coleman (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Red Right Hand – Chris Holm (Mulholland)
Wilde Lake – Laura Lippman (William Morrow)
A Great Reckoning – Louise Penny (Minotaur)

Best First Novel
Dodgers – Bill Beverly (Crown)
IQ – Joe Ide (Mulholland)
Decanting a Murder – Nadine Nettmann (Midnight Ink)
Design for Dying – Renee Patrick (Forge)
The Drifter – Nicholas Petrie (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

Best Paperback Original

Shot in Detroit – Patricia Abbott (Polis)

Leadfoot – Eric Beetner (280 Steps)

Salem’s Cipher – Jess Lourey (Midnight Ink)
Rain Dogs – Adrian McKinty (Seventh Street)
How to Kill Friends and Implicate People – Jay Stringer (Thomas & Mercer)
Heart of Stone – James W. Ziskin (Seventh Street)

Best Short Story
“Oxford Girl” – Megan Abbott, Mississippi Noir (Akashic)
“Autumn at the Automat” – Lawrence Block, In Sunlight or in Shadow (Pegasus)
“Gary’s Got A Boner” – Johnny Shaw, Waiting to Be Forgotten (Gutter)
“Parallel Play” – Art Taylor, Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warning (Wildside)
“Queen of the Dogs” – Holly West, 44 Caliber Funk: Tales of Crime, Soul and Payback (Moonstone)

Best Critical Nonfiction Work
Alfred Hitchcock: A Brief Life – Peter Ackroyd (Nan A. Talese)
Letters From a Serial Killer – Kristi Belcamino & Stephanie Kahalekulu (CreateSpace)
Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life – Ruth Franklin (Liveright)
Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker – David J. Skal (Liveright)
The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer – Kate Summerscale (Bloomsbury/Penguin)

Best Children’s/YA Novel
Snowed – Maria Alexander (Raw Dog Screaming)
The Girl I Used to Be – April Henry (Henry Holt)
Tag, You’re Dead – J.C. Lane (Poisoned Pen)
My Sister Rosa – Justine Larbalestier (Soho Teen)
The Fixes – Owen Matthews (HarperTeen)

Best Anthology
Unloaded: Crime Writers Writing Without Guns – Eric Beetner, ed. (Down & Out)
In Sunlight or in Shadow – Lawrence Block, ed. (Pegasus)
Cannibals: Stories From the Edge of the Pine Barrens – Jen Conley (Down & Out)
Blood on the Bayou: Bouchercon Anthology 2016 – Greg Herren, ed. (Down & Out)
Waiting To Be Forgotten: Stories of Crime and Heartbreak, Inspired by the Replacements – Jay Stringer, ed. (Gutter)

Best Novella (8,000-40,000 words)
Cleaning Up Finn – Sarah M. Chen (CreateSpace)
No Happy Endings – Angel Luis Colón (Down & Out)
Crosswise – S.W. Lauden (Down & Out)
Beware the Shill – John Shepphird (Down & Out)
The Last Blue Glass – B.K. Stevens, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, April 2016 (Dell)