Greg Messel has spent most of his adult life interested in writing, including a career in the newspaper business. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist and has contributed articles to various magazines. Greg lives in Edmonds, Washington on Puget Sound with his wife Jean DeFond.
Greg has written ten novels. His latest is "San Francisco Nights" which is the seventh in a series of mysteries set in 1959 San Francisco. "Shadows In The Fog," "Fog City Strangler," "San Francisco Secrets," "Deadly Plunge" are sequels to the first book in the series "Last of the Seals." His other three novels are "Sunbreaks," "Expiation" and "The Illusion of Certainty." For a more detailed summary of Greg's novels go to www.gregmessel.com
Greg is currently working on his eleventh novel "Dreams That Never Were" which is not part of the mystery series.
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The wife of a wealthy San Francisco shipping magnate leads a secret life but someone is threatening to expose her. Private eye Sam Slater and his wife and partner, Amelia, meet a mysterious woman in
Sam is willing to take the case but Amelia warns that this woman is nothing but trouble. What does the woman really want? She’s been watching Sam for months and has a scheme to pull him into her world.
Find out in the latest Sam Slater Mystery “San Francisco Nights” set in the fall of 1959. It’s the seventh book in the series but is a heart pounding stand alone whodunit.
Watch the book trailer at YouTube.
We welcome you to My Bookish Pleasures! Can you tell us how you got started writing fiction?
I spent many years in the newspaper business as a reporter and columnist. I decided to try my hand at fiction in 2008. I didn’t know if I could do it but I began to write, a story evolved and I was on my way. I’ve learned so much since those early efforts. Now I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?
As I just described, in the beginning I was flying by the seat of my pants. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Since then I have refined my process—I actually believe I've improved my writing approach with each book. Now I think a lot about the basic plot line, then I make an outline. I’m not restricted by the outline but it’s a road map of where you're going with the story. I think particularly when writing a mystery it helps to specifically detail when will happen and when. “When” is a key element in a mystery. It’s important to lay out a strategy for revealing the twists, turns and secrets of the mystery. You don’t want to reveal too much or tell your secrets too soon. I love to keep the reader guessing as long as possible.
Can you tell us about your most recent release?
The title is “San Francisco Nights.” A rich woman has a secret world that she fiercely guards. However, someone has discovered her private world and now she’s receiving anonymous notes quoting Bible verses which are growing more ominous with each passing day. Sam and Amelia Slater encounter the mysterious woman in the large red hat, while riding on a train. The woman pleads for them to help her. She’s sure someone is following her and plans to kill her. Meanwhile, a ruthless ex-con, who blames Sam and Amelia for putting him in prison, escapes and vows revenge.
How did you get the idea for the book?
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and spent a lot of time in the city as a child in the 1950s. I remember my aunts and uncles and parents living in San Francisco in the 1950s. I think it’s a fascinating time and place. I remember going to baseball games at Seals Stadium with my dad and I went to Playland By The Beach with my cousins. Both places and several others in my memory are gone. I remember the adults in my family smoking endlessly, drinking cocktails and dancing to Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett records. I decided to create a private eye who inhabited that world and my ideas have constantly evolved over the last several years. I value compliments I’ve received from people who lived in San Francisco during that time who say I nailed it.
Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?
It’s the Sam Slater Mystery and I like Sam a lot but I think Amelia is my favorite character. She’s sexy and romantic but she can be very tough and fearless. Sam and Amelia’s cop friend Vince Marino often says of Amelia, “Sammy, that’s one tough little Irish girl you’ve got there.” She is. It’s not easy to be a ambitious woman in the 1950s. A woman's choices were basically to be a housewife or a typist in an office. Amelia became a stewardess with TWA and got to see the world. It came at a cost. The stewardesses in the 1950s were in the forefront of beginning the journey to achieve equal rights for women. Stewardesses had to endure lot of boorish and chauvinistic behavior from passengers, in addition to corporate discrimination from the airlines. As a private eye, Amelia is very crafty and fearless, which has often landed her in trouble.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?
Dialogue is always a challenge. I’m pleased with the dialogue in my book but I think you need to work very hard to make it right. Don’t over explain things, don’t be redundant and make it realistic. That’s very easy to say and tough to do.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m working on a political thriller “Dreams That Never Were.” It’s about a young idealistic newspaperman who is wounded when Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated in 1968 and he's caught up in the aftermath in ways he never imagined. I’m also beginning the next Sam Slater Mystery “Gaslight Ghosts.” I am attempting to write a good ghost story about strange goings-on at an old Victorian house in 1959 San Francisco.
What advice would you offer to new or aspiring fiction authors?
I heard some great advice from a novelist at a writing conference. He said most writers are nice people and wouldn’t think of doing some of the things described in their books. However, you need to let go. He put it this way—pull up a big dump truck full of “poop” (but he didn’t say poop) and dump it on your lead character and let them work their way out of it. Don’t hold back. Let your imagination run wild.
Greg Messel is giving away three of his books!!
Terms & Conditions:
- By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
- Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
- This giveaway ends midnight September 29.
- Winner will be contacted via email on September 30.
- Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!
ENTER TO WIN!
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