Hello Everyone! Please help me welcome my friend, Joe Perrone Jr., author of the Matt Davis Mystery Series. Joe, I’m delighted you’re here with us today! I do believe folks are going to enjoy learning more about you…and your work! 🙂
Joe, can you tell us what inspired you to write Broken Promises: A Matt Davis Mystery?
Actually, the story is quite interesting. I have been fly fishing in the area of Roscoe, NY, the setting for the book, for over 40 years. In fact, I was a professional fly-fishing guide for 10 of them. During that time, I was always curious about what appeared to be a deserted house that sat on a knoll above the road that ran along the river. In 2012, when I was a guest speaker at the Two-Headed Trout dinner, I was introduced to Mary Dette, a legendary local flytyer. I inquired whether she knew anything about that house, and she replied, “I should, I was born in it.” So, armed with that information, I began creating a story that would revolve around an old hotel, the imaginary Armetis Hotel, which was that old house (in my mind). I modeled the character of Maggie McFarland after Mary.
What other writing have you done? Anything else published?
I have authored four Matt Davis mysteries to date. They are As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day, Twice Bitten, and Broken Promises. Opening Day was awarded an Indie B.R.A.G. medallion in 2012. My other novel is Escaping Innocence: A Story of Awakening, which is a poignant account of coming-of-age in the tumultuous 60s. I’ve also published two nonfiction books: Gone Fishin’ with Kids (How to Take Your Kid Fishing and Still be Friends) and A “Real” Man’s Guide to Divorce (First, you bend over and…). I’ve also had numerous short stories published in various fly-fishing magazines. I recently published an E-book “boxed set” of three Matt Davis mysteries called Meet Matt Davis.
Do you see yourself in any of your characters or do any of them have traits you wish you had?
Funny you should ask. Matt Davis’s character is based a good deal on my own perceived characteristics, although I was never in law enforcement. He probably has a bit more patience than I do, and I envy him for that. His relationship with his wife, Val, is based largely on my own relationship with my wife. In Escaping Innocence, the central character, David Justin, is totally based upon me and my experiences, with some names and places changed slightly. Probably 90% of the occurrences in that book really happened. Readers will have to decide for themselves which are real and which are fictitious.
Do you plot your novels beforehand or do your stories unfold gradually as you write?
It’s a combination of the two. I usually come up with the germ of a plot, start writing, and the story kind of meanders wherever it wants to go, depending upon the characters I create. When I wrote As the Twig is Bent, I sat down at my computer with nothing more on my mind than the famous line “It was a dark and stormy night.” What followed was a dark thriller involving a serial killer. At one point, not long after its release, “Twig” reached the #24 best seller position in the Kindle book store among police procedurals, and eventually became the basis for the Matt Davis Mystery Series.
Who are your favorite authors and what do you love about them?
I love Truman Capote, primarily for his attention to detail. In Cold Blood, in my opinion, remains the finest example to date of the true crime genre. I am very fond of William Goldman, who authored such great books as Boys and Girls Together, Marathon Man, The Temple of Gold, and many others. He created some of the most memorable characters, and even today I will occasionally re-read his books. One of my favorites is and always was Mark Twain, and it was his Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn that probably engendered my love of dialogue. Other authors I’ve enjoyed are William G. Tapply, Lawrence Sanders, and Harlan Coben for their storytelling. I especially loved Tapply (he passed away a few years ago) because his protagonist was often a fisherman, the same as my Matt Davis character, who uses fly fishing as a release from the pressures of the job.
What genres do you read mostly and what are you reading now?
I absolutely love mysteries, but ever since I began writing mysteries, I have refrained from reading them for fear that I might co-opt someone else’s work. So, I enjoy biographies (most recently, I read Helping Hands, the story of Dr. Ben Carson), and non-fiction books of all kinds. Right now, I am reading East African Oddysey: Love and Adventure in the Africa of the 1960s by Emilee Hines. It’s a memoir of the author’s time spent as a teacher in East Africa, and it’s quite good.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
It’s not easy. I suffer from ADHD and have always had trouble focusing. Since I began taking Ritalin about 12 years ago, I have gotten better at it. But I am also a very emotional person, prone to mild depression. I find it very difficult to write when I am in that state. I also find that there’s not much point (for me, at least) to have to “try” to write. So, to answer your question more accurately, when I find myself having difficulty writing, I tend to take a little “walkabout” until the flame begins to burn again. If it doesn’t happen after a reasonable period of time, I make myself sit down at my computer and not get up until I have written at least a page. Usually, one page will follow another, and I’m off to the races. Occasionally, however, the one page is all I get done. Just as in other forms of art, the process is usually one of inspiration. What works for one artist doesn’t always work for another. I muddle through the best I can.
Where can people purchase your books?
All of my books, with the exception of the kids book, are available in print and Kindle editions on Amazon.com and from various E-book distributors such as iTunes, Smashwords, Kobo, etc. Currently, I also have four books available in audio book format through Audible.com, Amazon.com, and iTunes. They are As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day, Escaping Innocence, and A “Real” Man’s Guide to Divorce. Twice Bitten and Broken Promises are currently in production and should be available by late spring. Autographed copies are available from my website.
Choose a male and a female character from your book and tell us which actor/actress you’d wish to play them in a film adaptation.
Oh, wow, that’s a tough one. To play Nancy Cooper, Matt’s secretary, I’d choose Olympia Dukakis (she won an oscar for Moonstruck), and I’d love to have Jeff Bridges play Matt.
Tell us about your website/blog. What will readers find there?
My website is a combination billboard for my books and publishing business (Escarpment Press) and a blog. I don’t blog regularly on my website, only when something moves me. Occasionally, I will post a piece of poetry or an essay related to writing, or even a photograph and an accompanying story of an event in my personal life. Recently, I began blogging about once a week through WordPress.com. My blog is Joetheauthor.wordpress.com (very original).
What is the best and the worst part of the writing process for you? What do you enjoy or dislike the most about it?
Unlike some authors, who are driven to write, write, write, I write when the spirit (or an idea for a story) moves me. Once I begin writing, however, and have created my central characters, I absolutely love finding out where they want to take me. I love writing dialogue, which I read aloud and tweak until I feel it is perfect. The hardest part is plotting and making absolutely sure that my timeline and facts are aligned. Fortunately, I have my wife, Becky, to fact check and scrutinize every word for any possible errors. She is my muse, and without her I doubt I’d write successfully.
Connect with Joe:
Joe’s website: http://www.joeperronejr.com
Joe’s books on Amazon:
Links to audiobooks:
Danica Cornell is the author of the forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series, soon to be published by Cool Geek Books.
To learn more about Danica’s work, her love of dogs, and her support of UNICEF, please visit her website at www.danicacornell.com.
Danica Cornell is a proud member of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.