Friday 14 October 2011

Dancing With Myself: DAN ANDERSON interviews DAN ANDERSON

It's been such a wonderful week at Sea Minor. 

The release of my novella, SMOKE, was one of those nervy times when I had to hold my breath to find out what people thought.  Thanks to Fiona Johnson and Thomas Pluck, writers and readers of excellence, I can now rest easy, confident in the knowledge that I got things right.  No end of bad reviews will be able to take these two crackers from me - they mean a hell of a lot; thanks to both.

Thanks also to Trestle for having the confidence in my longer work. 

Now I'm itching for my novel to come out, but that's just going to have to wait a while longer.

Back here with feet on the ground, here's Dan Anderson who's dancing by himself.

Dan: Have a seat and tell us what’s been happening in your literary world? You can stay in your underwear and keep the opened can of beer.

Dan. Things have been going well. I’ve received a lot of positive news in the past several weeks. I’ve recently signed a three-book deal with Tell-Tale Publishing Group LLC. They will publish my next humorous mystery, the Eye of the Tiger in early 2112. They will also republish my first two mysteries--Bad Vibrations will be titled Killing Me Softly With Your Love and Death Cruise will be titled Black Magic Woman-- since they are anxious to have all my mysteries under their banner. I am to be a featured mystery writer for one of their new imprints.

I also received good news from another source. A Hollywood Entertainment Company came across my first two novels, Bad Vibrations and Death Cruise, and is interested in turning them into films. I have signed an Options Agreement permitting motion picture production of these novels. Here's hoping the options are exercised and my mysteries find their way to the silver screen.

Dan: Tell us a little about yourself and how you got interested in mysteries.

My complete bio can be found on my author’s page on my publisher’s website. For those of you with ADDs like me, I’m a retired VP from Prudential Financial Services and a retired Financial Representative from Nationwide Financial Services. I have a B.A. in History and an M.B.A. I am an Army veteran having served with the Americal Infantry Division in Vietnam. I have been married for 35 years and have a son in college and a dog that jumps on my desk and pees on my manuscripts.

I’ve loved mysteries ever since I was old enough to go to the library and tall enough to reach the check-out desk. Like 90% of mystery authors, I developed my interest from reading the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series. I collect mysteries and have a couple thousand of them in my library, some ranging as far back as the 1890’s. I took early retirement and writing seemed like a natural vocation to pursue. Where else can you sit around the pool in your underwear, banging on your laptop and drinking frosty pitchers of margaritas? Plus, I live outside of Las Vegas which is a mother lode of ideas about the prurient side of human nature and behavior. I try to get down on the Strip several times a month to interview the demimondaines—for research, of course.

Dan: Can you give us a quick glimpse of each book.

I’ll give you the press releases since they’re already written and I’m basically lazy.

With the publication of Bad Vibrations, a humorous mystery, award-winning author, Dan Anderson, takes us on an unforgettable romp through the noir underbelly of Southern California in the pursuit of a serial killer who murders his female victims in a most unusual manner.

Chauncey McFadden, a portly, wisecracking private detective with limited homicide experience, is hardly prepared for the danger and intrigue into which he is drawn when he is lured from his world of mundane investigations to find the perpetrator of a series of grisly murders. Realizing that he may be in over his head, Chauncey watches the body count climb as he pursues one lead after another with discouraging results.

The pursuit of the killer leads through a cast of zany characters that includes a quirky police lieutenant who puts Chauncey down at every opportunity, a crime syndicate boss who forces Chauncey to work for him, a secret government intelligence agency that operates outside of normal boundaries, and an international consortium of Palestinian and yakuza terrorists. Will the beleaguered Chauncey survive an attack on his own life and bring the killer to justice, or will he become another fatality at the hands of the ruthless serial killer?

Dan Anderson combines his two favorite subjects, mysteries and humor, to bring a new voice to the genre and show how much fun reading can be in the hands of an irreverent craftsman.

In Death Cruise, Chauncey McFadden, a Los Angeles PI, receives a frantic phone call from the president of a Miami-based cruise line. Two employees have been killed in port, and Chauncey is hired to solve the crime and prevent further atrocities. He boards the next cruise for a two-week jaunt in the Caribbean, and brings his girlfriend along as a female operative. The portly, wisecracking Chauncey has limited homicide experience but naively accepts this job thinking it will be little more than a free vacation.

Death Cruise is a riveting, fast-paced story that includes a drug-smuggling cartel with voodoo roots, an aging silver screen legend who is not what he appears to be, a corporate takeover artist thwarted in his recent attempt to seize control of the cruise line, and an international assassin for hire.

Along the way a drug-smuggling operation that brought cocaine into Miami from Caribbean islands is uncovered—the last shipment having vanished onboard before delivery—which has prompted a vendetta upon those deemed responsible.

From Jamaica, Curacao, Venezuela, Barbados, Martinique, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Dominican Republic, Chauncey barely escapes three attempts on his own life and muddles through a maze of murder to solve not only his original homicide assignment but a host of other crimes as well.

Death Cruise is a serious, literate mystery written in a humorous vein. It soars in originality and entertainment value, and has been cited for being more than a great mystery—great fiction as well.

Dan: Chauncey is quite the unique character. Is he based upon anyone you know or have known?

He’s my doppelganger. I tried to avoid having a protagonist who is the stereotypical tough guy who has a moral code just short of apostolic canonization, has the looks that allow him to bed every female even remotely connected to the case, and flexes biceps the size of frozen turkeys. My character is physically unimposing, but manages to overcome the many challenges he confronts to achieve personal and professional redemption. An ex-English teacher, he has an enriched vocabulary for a gumshoe and is constantly in a state of financial deprivation. He has a strong value system, but not obsessively so.

Dan: Is it difficult for you to come up with the quite compelling premises of your central plotlines?

Not at all. I never know the plotline when I begin a novel. I have some basic story lines in mind, but the novel and character development unfolds as the writing progresses. The PC and word software have made it so easy to go back and add red herrings, expand minor characters into major ones, and add parallel and intersecting plotlines. It is also great having an online dictionary and thesaurus to expedite research which is so basic and fundamental to mysteries. I like to read poetry because it provides metaphors and similes which can be adapted and modified to improve the richness and vitality of your dialog and description. I like to have several plots working at the same time, although they don't necessarily have to reach a denouement simultaneously at the end of the novel.

Dan: What do you think is responsible for this surge of interest in your books?

They may have been influenced by all the positive reviews received by Bad Vibrations and Death Cruise, such as the one below from Thomas Sullivan, literary giant and Pulitzer-nominated author, who said:

"If you've ever mourned the decline of classic PI intrigues with their whip-sharp wit and atmospheric galleries of people and places, here is Dan Anderson resurrecting that Golden Age with a superb tour de force from sex to hi-tech mystery. No flinching on this one, but the marriage of the sordid with elegant prose is delightfully effective. Read and enjoy!"

There are many five-star reviews on my books on Amazon and Barnes&Noble. To use Death Cruise as an example, reviews mentioned by readers as having an impact include:

The Infinite Writer magazine which selected Death Cruise as its Book of the Month selection.

"Every now and again a writer comes on the scene with a voice and style that is uniquely his. Author Dan Anderson is, happily, one of these. In his new book, Death Cruise, second in the Chauncey McFadden series, it is obvious why Dan is considered one of the most fascinating and entertaining voices in the mystery field today.

“The opening line grabs the reader's attention and urges him to turn page after page. There is never a let-down. Anderson's descriptions and imagery fire the imagination and set the reader right in the middle of the action. He is a master at combining edge of the seat mystery with hilarious asides that temper the graphic descriptions.”

The Midwest Book Review says:

"PI McFadden doesn't present as your typical private eye. He looks more like a chunky college professor than Humphrey Bogart. But his brainpower is on par with Nero Wolff without the name recognition.

Dan Anderson's characters form the cornerstone of his writing. The bad guys are SO bad. Unsavory characters plague even the ship's staff. Anderson's plot operates on many levels simultaneously. In the midst of all this "badness", Anderson manages to take his readers on an entertaining cruise. Attention to details of the ship's routine adds icing to the cake.

Death Cruise is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Anderson has a great sense of humor, as well as a flair for the macabre. He is an excellent writer with a thorough understanding of the vagaries of our fellow human being. A great read!"

The following excerpt is from The Mystery Addict.

"I just read the ebook version of Death Cruise, and let me get right to the point. Mr. Anderson is the best mystery writer in the country right now. His plots are fantastic, his characters are so vividly drawn that they jump right off the page, and the writing exceeds anything else you'll find in the genre . . .

In Death Cruise, the CEO of a Miami-based cruise line calls Chauncey to investigate the murder of a couple of cruise line employees in port, and prevent further promised murders at the hands of a mysterious caller named Zunimba. Chauncey barely gets aboard when the bodies begin to pile up on the ship and on Caribbean islands. Anderson's descriptions of Chauncey's fellow passengers are priceless and will have you in stitches. He is either an experienced cruise passenger, or else has done his research well. You will learn more about cruising reading this book than by actually taking a cruise. I won't give anything else away. You'll have to read Death Cruise for yourself. I run across very few books that entertain me so thoroughly. My only complaint is that Mr. Anderson can't turn out a book every month. I am a fan for life and recommend Death Cruise without reservation."

The following excerpt is from Apex Reviews.

"Death Cruise is a thoroughly entertaining crime thriller. Through a skillful combination of intersecting plotline and unsavory - though highly irresistible - characters, author Dan Anderson presents the reader with a deliciously intriguing case of whodunit set on the high seas. With the bulk of the story carried on his stout, portly shoulders, Chauncey serves as quite the compelling protagonist, one who may appear more like a league bowler than an ace detective - but whose intelligence and crime-solving prowess cannot be denied. Deftly suspenseful - and surprisingly humorous - Death Cruise is a standout mystery read. Highly recommended."

Dan: Other than the great reviews, what other kinds of feedback have you received?

My two books have won a number of literary awards. The critical response has been overwhelming. For example, Bad Vibrations has been awarded:

• The Independent Publishers IPPY Book Award - Silver Medal, Best Regional Fiction

• The Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Award - First Place, Published Mystery

• Books & Authors - Murder Mystery Book of the Year

• Florida Lighthouse Book Award

• Houston Writers Guild Commendation

Death Cruise was just published but has already received:

• The Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Award - First Place, Unpublished Mystery

• The Royal Dragonfly Book Award- Mystery, 2nd Place

Dan: How can readers contact you for further information or with questions?

I would love to hear from readers. My email address is . My Facebook page is  and my LinkedIn page is . My author’s page on the Tell-Tale Publishers, LLC website is  and my new website page is .

Dan: Any final thoughts you’d like to share and what are your publishing aspirations?

Final thoughts . . . hmm. Mysteries are a great fictional genre. Mystery authors have a duty and obligation to follow strict rules regarding fairness to readers. They need to do their research carefully or they will lose credibility with their fan base which is the kiss of death in this business. Each chapter should be an exciting and well-crafted continuation of the development of plot and characters. Mid-novel sag must be avoided at all costs. Authors should always remember that their works are in intense competition with other forms of entertainment media, and their novels should provide the biggest bank for their readers' bucks.

I would like to turn out a mystery every six months. I was planning on doing one a year, but insistent fans keep hounding me to accelerate my schedule so I will accede to their demands if at all possible. My goal is to have each mystery be qualitatively better than its predecessors since some mystery authors tend to continue writing long past their period of creativity and contributions to the genre. I want people to be able to read each mystery and have a "Honey, listen to this" moment. I would like them to reread scenes because they were moved by the originality and uniqueness of expression. I hope the Options Agreements come to fruition and my fans have the opportunity to see Chauncey and his coterie up on the silver screen.

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