Bestselling author Tom Carter is a longtime Nashville who lives with his wife, Janie, a few miles from Nashville’s legendary Music Row.
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Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Nashville:
Music & Murder. To begin with, can you give us a brief
summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to
A: The book is scheduled for release on February 7, 2017. It’s
a murder mystery set in Nashville, Tennessee, the home of recorded
country music. In part, I wrote the book due to the popularity
of country music, as 107 million Americans now listen to that
genre of music once daily, according to the Country Music
Q: What do you think makes a good mystery book? Could you
narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even
possible to narrow it down?
A: Try to make each page magnetic.
Q: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover
it as you worked on the book?
A: I discovered it as I worked on the book.
Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how
you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or
sketches prior to the writing.
A: My protagonist is an insecure and neurotic celebrity whose
popularity is dwindling. I’ve met many such folks in Nashville,
Tennessee, my home.
Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or
villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?
A: I won’t identify the antagonist. That would spoil the
Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel?
A: I did not reveal the villain’s identity. But, on many
occasions, I almost did.
Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes
like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in
your writing to bring the setting to life?
A: The setting is “Music Row,” that part of Nashville, Tennessee
where the production of country music lies inside recording
studios, celebrities’ offices, and music publishing houses. I
used to live on Music Row among its people. I still visit that
neighborhood and its people regularly.
Q: Did you know the themes(s) of your novel from the start or it
this something you discovered after completing the first draft?
Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?
A: I did not know the theme of my novel until I’d written most of
- This theme is not recurrent in my previous books. Those
books were mostly non-fiction.
Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can
destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?
A: I don’t know where the craft ends or art begins. To me,
masterful crafting IS an art. Editing didn’t destroy my creative
thrust. I allowed only copy editing, nothing else.
Q: What three things, in your opinion, make a successful
A: A vivid imagination, daily writing, and promotion.
Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having
to do homework for the rest of your life. Thoughts?
A: I agree with that statement as long as the writer writes. If
he retires from writing, he’ll hopefully return to spare time and
what to do with it. I’ve been writing professionally for 47
years. I still write daily.
Q: Are there any resources, books, workshops or sites about craft
that you’ve found helpful during your writing career?
A: I earned a five-year, Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. I
learned more about writing in one week while working at a daily
newspaper and by reading other newspapers and novels. I found
that workshops or sites are largely inhabited by failed or
inferior writers who want to sponge from other failed souls. To
me, those venues are friendly but inefficient.