The Next Big Thing — Blog Hop

I know the anticipation has been building and you’re about to burst to learn more about The Next Big Thing. Here it is: A Blog Hop is a way to help readers find new authors through social media, and, hopefully, help the authors sell more books.

I was tagged to be part of the Blog Hop team by Amy Shojai, author of the dog-centric thriller LOST AND FOUND, which NY Times bestselling author James Rollins called, “Riveting, heart-wrenching, brilliant, the debut of a stunning new talent.” You can learn more about Amy and her debut novel here. And I’ll tag five more authors at the end of this post who will write their own Blog Hop next Wednesday.

Now it’s time for me to answer 10 — count them — 10 questions about BRING DOWN THE FURIES.

1. What is the title of your book?

This one is hardly a surprise. BRING DOWN THE FURIES is the title of my newly released Quint Mitchell Mystery. My third in the series is tentatively titled HURRICANE ISLAND, and will take Quint to Cedar Key on the west coast of Florida. The third installment is only in outline form at this point, but I hope to start on it soon after I ring in the New Year.

2. Where did the idea for the book come from?

MATANZAS BAY was set in St. Augustine, Florida, but I wanted to find another setting that would mix a bit of history with major conflicts, and possibly a tie to archaeology as I’d done with the first Quint Mitchell Mystery. After doing some online research I discovered the Topper site, an ongoing archaeological project outside Allendale, SC where archaeologists had found artifacts dating back 16,000 years. The lead researcher claimed some of the artifacts might date back at least 50,000 years, which would mean humans inhabited North America long before the last Ice Age. Bells began ringing in my head when I read about the Topper site, and I asked myself what if a Creationist minister feuded with the archaeologist and it boiled over into a tension-packed media circus. Researching Allendale, I learned that General Sherman’s troops had burned down the original town on their way to Columbia. This historical morsel triggered more ideas and I decided fire should play a major role in the story. That led to the idea of a serial arsonist at work in Allendale.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

While classified as a hard-boiled mystery, FURIES has elements of the suspense thriller as well.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in the movie version of BRING DOWN THE FURIES?

 Most authors dream of having one of their books made into a movie. Of course, most screenwriters have the same dreams of selling one of their screenplays. But since we’ve been asked to imagine (and if novelists can’t imagine they’re in the wrong line of work) let me pick a few who seem to fit my image for Quint Mitchell. A few actors came quickly to mind including Kyle Chandler and Mark Ruffalo. I also can picture Matthew Fox of Lost fame in the role of my sometime charming and quick-witted protagonist. Who wouldn’t want any of these fine actors to star in a movie of their book?


Sheriff Wilburn Peeks plays a major part in FURIES as the tough-talking adversary who gives Quint a hard time for much of the story. Of course, I’d love to see Tommy Lee Jones play the crusty sheriff after seeing his remarkable portrayal of Thaddeus Stephens in “Lincoln.” I can also envision Ed Harris in the role and maybe Bruce Greenwood, even though he’s not quite old enough, but might be by the time the film was made in ten years.

One more role I’d try to fill would be Nurse Allene Skinner-Jarrett. Allene plays Quint’s love interest, or perhaps lust interest would be more accurate. She’s a bit of a tease, but exudes sensuality and knows how to push Quint’s buttons. I can picture Charlize Theron or Jennifer Garner slipping into (and out of) her medical scrubs to treat Quint, but I doubt they’d take a secondary role so I searched the IMDB database to find a few faces that worked for me, and yes, this is purely a visceral reaction and not related to acting talent. One of the first who popped out was Lauren Cohan (left) who plays Maggie Greene in “The Walking Dead.” Another was Danielle Fishel (right) who has a fairly long filmography, very few of which I’d heard of, but I can see her in the role of Nurse Skinner-Jarrett.




5. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

A serial arsonist threatens a small South Carolina Town and PI Quint Mitchell is caught in the backdraft.

6. Is your book self-published or traditionally published?

I prefer to call it independently published.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first draft took about 8 months, and I worked on it another three months revising and rewriting the manuscript before turning it over to my editor.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

This is a tough one. I don’t like to compare myself to other writers since each is unique. I’ll leave that to others, and was flattered when one reader said the book reminded her of John Sandford’s Virgil Flowers stories. Quint Mitchell is a stand-up guy who tries to do the right thing. He’s not an unstoppable force like Lee Child’s Jack Reacher. And while he has some baggage, it doesn’t overpower him. He can and does crack wise to lighten a tense situation.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

This was mostly answered in question #2, but as the author of a series I’m always looking for the next big idea, a premise with what Steve Berry calls the “ooh factor.” And while FURIES is set in a small South Carolina town, the clash of faith and science combined with the pervasive 24/7 media culture we live in provides the story with universal themes.

10. What else about your book might pique a reader’s interest?

Readers of mysteries expect more than crime and punishment. They want to learn something new while living vicariously through a protagonist they care about. FURIES is imbued with a sense of history, and Civil War buffs will enjoy reading about how the residents of Allendale have long memories when it comes to General William Tecumseh Sherman. They’ll also learn what makes a serial arsonist tick, and about the archaeological survey being conducted on the banks of the Savannah River. But mostly, readers will enjoy the book as an entertaining read. As Marilou George wrote for The Kindle Book Review, “This mix of civil war history and suspense will keep you fully engaged and is jammed full or twists and turns that lend to the tension of the story. The writing flows and builds to a fever pitch as the story takes on a life of its own.”


Now I’m passing the baton on to five outstanding authors who will post their Next Best Thing Blog Hop on Wednesday, December 19. Their goal is to each assemble their own team of five writers and answer the same ten questions. Be sure to bookmark their sites and read their Blog Hop posts next week. Here are the five members of my team:

  • Chuck Barrett is a retired air traffic controller and the author of three thrillers featuring Jake Pendleton, a former NTSB investigator. You can read his Blog Hop post right here.
  • Sharon Cobb is a professional screenwriter and author of a hilarious spoof of Hollywood at its most zany.
  • I met Charles Cornell at the FWA’s Royal Palm Literary Awards banquet after he had won for the Best Thriller of 2012.
  • My friend J. W. “Jim” Thompson has not only published five thrillers, but he’s on the Board of the Florida Writers Association and  chair of the RPLA’s.
  • Ron Whittington keeps his businessman and sometime espionage agent protagonist hopping in his two thrillers. But Ron seldom sits still himself.

Check them out next week, and keep reading!