R. Michael Phillips Returns
Not once, but twice R. Michael Phillips visited ePen, and the happy dance was not something to be shared on Facebook. If you haven’t read through the first visit, take a look here. For today’s visit, I baked scones, brewed organic tea (his favorite flavor), bought a new outfit, and even vacuumed. Settle in and read on:
I’ve read your Ernie Bisquets books and love that you have a new series out. Tell us why fans of EB will love this new Auburn Notch release.
I have to admit, Ernie and the cast of characters in the London-based series are my favorites, but I’ve been itching to do a comparable series based in the US. I spent many years in New England, so I’m quite familiar with the area and the people. I think anyone who enjoys the EB series will also enjoy the new Auburn Notch mysteries because I’ve peppered in a few memorable characters for the readers to get acquainted with and follow from book to book. This series is a little darker, but in a suspenseful way. I’ve kept the same attention to detail in setting, along with the same page-turning pace as the other series.
You have a strong female lead in this book. What secrets or techniques did you use to keep her strong and real?
Promise Flynn is a combination of a few tough female professionals I’ve known through the years. They all seem to have one thing in common—a will to overcome adversity and see a project through to the end. To keep Promise real, she had to have a tough outer shell—hardened by her position as a Metro Detective—with a soft, vulnerable inside—a product of her personal encounter with a serial killer. That encounter left her confidence shattered. At first she tries to outrun her past, but it quickly catches up to her in her new position as sheriff of a small New England town. Promise realizes in order to do her job she has no choice but to confront her demons—not easy for someone who was once left for dead. With pure determination and extreme risk to her own safety, she charges right into the fight. This first book has a lot to do with Promise regaining her confidence, something a lot of us deal with in our own lives.
Help yourself to one of these snacks on the tray. We have donuts, scones, hummus and pita, and oatmeal cookies. Which is your favorite?
RMP: Oatmeal cookies, hands down. They’re one of my favorite food groups.
I remember you visiting a coffee friend of mine not too long ago. You sure left an impression on her. Do you enjoy a beverage while you create? Coffee? Something fancier? Or is tea your thing and what flavor?
RMP: I’m so flattered to be remembered. A fresh cup of medium roast coffee gets my creative juices flowing. Add a hot bowl of Cream of Wheat and it gets my writing day started right. After lunch it’s a cup of Earl Grey tea. If I can scrounge up a cranberry scone, I’m set for the afternoon.
You have such an intriguing artistic background. How do you incorporate your artistic talent into this rich setting you have created for us?
RMP: I know some critics will say not to embellish the setting, but I really believe painting the scene allows the reader a deeper connection with the story. I get that urge from being a classically trained artist. When I’m writing a scene, I can see the deep blue hues of the shadows in a dark alley, the crimson flecks of light reflecting off the early morning dew in a meadow, the knurled violet limbs of a dead tree in the cold of winter reaching out to pull a passerby into a monotone den of despair. See what I mean, I can’t help myself. It would be so much easier to say, ‘she caught her coat on a holly branch on her way to work,’ but where’s the fun in that?
As a playwright, I have many influences in my writing. I’m sure you have favorite book authors, but who is your favorite playwright and why?
RMP: A very interesting question. There are some great playwrights, such as Cormack McCarthy, Arthur Miller, Agatha Christie, Daphne du Maurier, but I would have to say a favorite would be George Bernard Shaw. His body of work is incredible and had such an impact on the development of theater as we know it today.
What are three things, not exactly typical things, on your writing desk this very minute. (P.S. Sadly, there was not a photo of me on his desk.)
RMP: Another interesting question. I have an original 1940’s Superman flashlight and a small windup Scooby-do Mystery Machine Van sitting next to my desk lamp. On a Victorian single-hat hook on the wall in front of my desk I have a turn-of-the-century top hat—I’ll deny this in public, but when I get stuck on a plot line in the Bisquets series, I’ll put the hat on, lean back in my chair, and talk my way through it. Works every time.
(I had to pause for a moment imagining the top hat.) Will we see more of Sheriff Flynn in the next release, and what can you tease us with?
RMP: I’m very happy to say I’m putting the finishing touches on Surface Waves, second book in the Auburn Notch Mysteries. Sheriff Promise Flynn and her deputy will return, and this book will introduce Alice Norbury—longtime resident of Auburn Notch—and Dr. Sam Chase, a discredited USGS seismologist.
(Here’s a sneak peek at Book 2)
Alice Norbury was a retired Boston law clerk, returning to Auburn Notch after the unfortunate death of her husband, Wilson. This small summer resort town, tucked into the woods surrounding Auburn Lake, boasted a record of only three criminal deaths since it was founded in 1747. All that went to hell in a hand basket when Alice’s old friend Dr. Sam Chase, a discredited USGS seismologist, arrived. It isn’t long before his demons from the past catch up to him, announcing their arrival with two murders in the same week. As spring shakes off the last remnants of winter, Alice finds herself between a sheriff determined to indict Sam for the murders and a homegrown terrorist determined to silence Sam before he exposes his plan. Live Free or Die suddenly takes on a whole new meaning in this peaceful New Hampshire town.
For you Ernie Bisquets fans: I’ve started book four in the series, The Vicar Of Whetstone. Ernie returns to solve the murder (with the help of an old friend) of a vicar, who was quietly reflecting in the back of a church during a funeral before realizing the funeral was his own—much to the surprise of the rest of the parish and the person who killed him.
(P.S. His Ernie Bisquets books are fabulous. I’ve read and reviewed them here.)
Thank you so much for visiting The Editing Pen. Please come back whenever you’d like for a guest post or just to tell us about your newest book. Here take the rest of these scones. (I won’t share more of my rambling as I sort of went on and on as he headed to the door.)
RMP: I’m always delighted to stop by and chat. Thanks so much for having me here.
After he left, I swept up the crumbs, put away all the tea things, and sat for a moment in pure heaven. Such a sweet man. Do you think he’ll return for his next book release? What was his favorite scone? I should probably get a new haircut…
Between Good and Evil
(Auburn Notch Mystery)
Crime – Mystery
Sunbury Press, Inc. (January 24, 2016)
Hardcover: 224 pages
Paperback: 222 pages
E-Book ASIN: B01B12YPTC
Years after the Willis Asylum closed, the secrets of its past lingered in its decaying halls as a reminder to the good people of Auburn Notch—when Evil closes a door, he also opens a window. Sheriff Promise Flynn was new to the town, and she was about to find out some windows should never be opened.
Promise Flynn is an overly impulsive Metro Detective whose disregard for procedure finally resulted in her being shot and left for dead during an investigation. To repair her bruised ego and splintered confidence she abandons the callous dark alleys of Chicago to patrol the quiet, birch-lined streets of Auburn Notch—a favorite vacation spot of her youth. For two years everything was idyllic, until the body of a young girl found in the abandoned asylum outside of town awakens the insecurities she thought her new life would insulate her from.
As the new Sheriff she begins her investigation refusing to accept the similarities between the young woman’s death and her own case, oblivious to being unexpectedly recognized and penciled in at the top of a clever murderer’s To-Do list. Her internal struggle intensifies when a discredited crime reporter from the past suspiciously arrives in town to resurrect his threadbare reputation, along with an FBI agent chasing down a lead in a cold case. Both men quickly become entangled in Flynn’s investigation and her attempts to finally put her past to rest.
Flynn reluctantly accepts the murder of the young girl might be the work of the two men responsible for her hasty departure from Chicago, but Agent MacGregor insists the evidence points to a man he’s been chasing. As the rising current of her past threatens to pull her under, Flynn finds herself unprepared for option three.
R. Michael Phillips Author Links
A Fifer’s Blog- http://rmichael-fifer.blogspot.com
March 21 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
March 22 – Author Annette Drake – INTERVIEW
March 23 – Readsalot – GUEST POST
March 23 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 24 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
March 24 – Community Bookstop – SPOTLIGHT
March 25 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW
March 25 – Nadaness In Motion – GUEST POST
March 26 – The Editing Pen – INTERVIEW
March 27 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 28 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 29 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 30 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW, GUEST POST
March 31 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
April 1 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT