If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw

Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

An Interview with J. E. Seymour by E. B. Davis

Kevin Markinson, J. E. Seymour’s main character, started out as a good guy—a Marine in Vietnam. Unfortunately, his one talent as a military sniper—the best—translated into civilian life as a hit man. There’s still a good man inside, who rages war against the murderer. He struggles to maintain his honor and self-image. Although he tries to help his wife and kids financially when he can, their disrespect for him shows. He feels their love for him dissipating and wants to give up his profession. But he can’t see himself attending PTO meetings and cutting the grass every Saturday. War, violence, and death he can handle. Normal life activities—that would freak him out.

In Seymour’s latest release, Frostbite, Markinson is kidnapped from a hospital where he donated bone marrow for a prison nurse’s sick brother. The kidnappers want him to “off” a witness before she testifies against a mobster. Markinson had no intention of taking another job. He was going to finish his prison sentence, but as usual, Markinson’s intentions often have little to do with reality.

Please welcome J. E. Seymour back to WWK.                                                                           E. B. Davis

Did you read Chris Kyle’s American Sniper autobiography and research military snipers and their subsequent lives?

I haven't actually read that book, nor seen the movie. My research was on Vietnam era snipers, so the books I read dealt with that. One of my favorites was “Dear Mom: A Sniper's Vietnam” by Joseph T Ward.

Your portrait of Kevin Markinson spans three books and many short stories. What fascinates you about snipers?

Not so much about snipers, but the Vietnam vet aspect has always fascinated me. I had older cousins who fought in Vietnam, and knew many young men who came home different than they were when they left. It's a touchstone for my generation, and something I always wanted to write about. I made Kevin a sniper because he was a loner anyway, and it fit well with his backstory. The disadvantage at this point is that our Vietnam veterans are aging. I set the books when I wrote them, this one in 1999, but in the newer ones, set closer to the present time, Kevin is getting old.

Similar to old-time privateers who became pirates, Markinson developed his talent for the military with honor. How did his civilian profession begin?

Well... I wrote a short story about that. It's in my collection of Kevin Markinson stories “Blackbird and other stories,” available as an ebook. The short story is called “Coming Home” and it was first published in the ezine A Twist of Noir in 2009. Kevin had done some work for Charles Marconi and his father before heading off to Vietnam, but this story is set just after he returns, when he is trying to go straight, and how he gets off track.

Was he an alcoholic, or did his war between good and bad drive him to drink?

Kevin is an alcoholic, and started drinking when his father handed him a beer on his sixteenth birthday. He is currently what he would call a “dry drunk,” meaning he hasn't had a drink in a long time. His father was an alcoholic, and Kevin learned to use alcohol to self-medicate.

His wife, Cindy, and he still love one another, but she draws the line at anything that could harm her children. He agrees, which is another of their bonds. Being a nurse, does Cindy have insight into Markinson’s physiology and psychology?

I think one of the reasons she was attracted to him was her desire to fix him. She thought she could make it all better. She always has a book on her nightstand pertaining to Vietnam or veterans or PTSD. Pretty sure I mentioned that in Lead Poisoning.

Markinson instinctively does the right thing, sometimes putting himself in jeopardy. When he comes upon a woman being dragged into a car by two thugs, he rescues her. But the sound of gunfire brings the cops. He can’t outrun his good instincts, doesn’t want to, but isn’t that goodness is also self-destructive?

Absolutely. He does have issues. He is self-destructive, almost suicidal at times, but he really can't resist an opportunity to do the right thing.

One of Markinson’s observations made me laugh because he sounded like a geezer. Since the book is set in 1999, Markinson isn’t quite old enough to be a geezer. He acknowledges the demand for his “services” was dwindling because no one cared about getting a professional, who charged a lot to kill—someone who wouldn’t harm innocent people in the proximity of the target or take precautions so as not to get arrested—because most of the for-hire killings now involved gangs who not only flaunted the law, but who also don’t care about collateral damage. Have our bad guys changed in the last fifty years?

I know the Italians used to pride themselves on never involving civilians. On the other hand, Whitey Bulger in Boston was indiscriminate in his killing, often taking out bystanders or even killing the wrong person. Kevin has standards, and he doesn't like people who don't. He wouldn't have been a fan of Whitey.

You used an effective technique in writing your book. At certain points, two characters, Markinson and the victim, replay memories of events, which defined their lives. Not only did it refresh the memories of readers, who read previous books, but it also provided insight into the emotional and mental states of your characters. Was this a new technique? Why did you decide to show these episodes from their lives?

I like to use flashbacks for character development. I know people say it takes you out of the story, but to me the characters are the story. I want people to know the characters and understand why they do what they do. Plot is secondary, and truthfully, I often struggle with plot. I love flashbacks. It's like time travel.

Fred, the homeless man, and his dog, Ringo, provide shelter (a tent) and companionship to Markinson. Why does Markinson identify with Fred?

He thinks it at one point - “There but for the grace of God...” He knows how close he is, even now, to being a homeless drunk. How lucky he really has been. Seriously, never mind being homeless, he ought to be dead, and he knows it. Fred is a veteran, he's been in and out of jail, he's an alcoholic. They are the same.

Federal Agent Sally Bernard’s job is to apprehend Markinson. While Markinson often finds luck, or at least uses situations to his best advantage, Sally is unlucky and frustrated. In Frostbite, what foils her in apprehending her nemesis?

The weather! Whenever you're having trouble with your plot, throw in some weather. Seriously, poor Sally. She never gets a break, and Kevin always catches the breaks. There might be a bit of Deus ex machina going on there. Although in Stress Fractures, it was the other way around, poor Kevin couldn't catch a break. I did get input from Law Enforcement officers who suggested that she might find herself frustrated, and I played that up. Hopefully the scenes are realistic. My LEO friends totally sympathize with what happens to Sally.

Your book is set in New York and New Hampshire. Are you a New Englander? Are you sick of the winter yet?

I live on the seacoast of New Hampshire. I've lived my entire life in New England, mostly in New Hampshire. I'm convinced the only way we can continue to live here is that we simply forget how horrible it is in the winter. Cindy says that to Kevin at one point. It's like childbirth. If we all remembered what it was really like we'd never have more than one child. When July comes and it's 85 and sunny we forget all about our frozen toes. Every year I think about moving south, and then I think about how hot it would be down there in the summer...  


Warren Bull said...

Thanks for sharing on WWK. What a dilemma your protagonist has. I definitely need to read this one.

Linda Thorne said...

Well, this lead character is not cardboard. Complicated, deep, with a lot of good/bad tearing at him. Interesting stories here. What I read now seldom mentions Vietnam, but oh, how I remember those times.

Margaret Turkevich said...

I'm a member of the Vietnam generation. I had friends who served and who were never the same afterwards. I'm interested in your use of flashbacks and the more general field of military PTSD symptoms and civilian life, and look forward to reading your book.

E. B. Davis said...

Kevin Markinson is a wonderfully complex character from the start. But now that he is aging and his wife and kids have taken a path away from him, his strife is worse. I'm hoping for a happy ending when J. E. takes this series to its end because I believe in Markinson's goodness.

KM Rockwood said...

What a complex set of characters you've developed! Sounds like you have a great series going here.

Kait said...

What an intriguing interview. Kevin sounds like a lot of Viet Nam vets, still fighting the war on an internal front. Granted Kevin takes it a step farther in that he is still "practicing" his trade. It will be very interesting to see what happens as he continues to age. Kudos to Seymour for letting him age and not trying to stick him in the land of eternal youth.

J.E. Seymour said...

Thank you for all your kind comments!