Archive for July 5th, 2013

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We’re thrilled to have Greg Messel here with us today at The Dark Phantom!  Greg is the author of the mystery/historical romance, San Francisco Secrets.

Greg Messel 8Would you call yourself a born writer?

I would. I’ve been writing since I was a small child. My first attempt to write a book was when I was about eight or nine years old. When I was a small child, I wrote a small neighborhood newspaper. I made enough copies then put them in a small bag on my bicycle and delivered it to neighbors and relatives who lived close by. I supported my self in high school and college being a stringer for the local daily newspaper. That’s pretty much born to write. Writing has always been what I have enjoyed the most.

What was your inspiration for San Francisco Secrets?

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and was a child in the 1950s. I remember the world I saw my parents live their lives in. I think San Francisco is a magical place and was very interesting in the 1950s. That decade was a very interesting time for both good and bad. It’s been great fun to immerse myself in that world. San Francisco Secrets is the continuing story of private eye Sam Slater and his girlfriend, stewardess Amelia Ryan. The recurring theme in this book is that everyone has secrets. There are serious consequences to having secrets revealed.

Greg Messel 5What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

I’m continually fascinated about how people meet and fall in love. It is amazing to me that anyone ever gets through all of the obstacles and becomes a couple. I think there’s a theme through all of my books, including the mysteries, how love brings a healing into individual’s lives.    I have loved writing the mysteries and the suspenseful stories.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

Probably six to eight months counting working with designers and editors. Producing the manuscript usually takes me about six months of writing and polishing.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I guess you could say I’m disciplined. I usually take the summer off. For instance, I will spend my energies marketing and supporting the release of San Francisco Secrets this summer. But this fall I will get serious about finishing my new novel Fog City Strangler–which will be the fourth book in the mystery series.  I’ve written about 200 pages or so. There is much left to do to finish it. Meanwhile, I’ll spend the sunny summer days thinking about Fog City Strangler. Then as the rainy, gray weather returns to Seattle in the fall, it’s a great time for writing. Once I get back into my writing routine, I will write for several hours each afternoon.  I like to listen to music while I’m writing and once I get into the story, the plot and the characters I don’t like to stop.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

I want to be accurate in my depiction of the world of the 1950s. For instance, I had some bank robbers stash money in plastic bags. My editor helped me out by spotting that plastic bags were not invented until 1961. So I had the robber stash the cash in paper bags. I work very hard to make my dialogue realistic and fitting for the times. I think it’s pretty good but of course there are always people who disagree.

What do you love most about being an author?

I love the actual writing. I heard J.K. Rowling describe her favorite time as being when the characters live only in your head. I agree with that. At that stage I can retreat to my own private little world with my characters and it’s just me and them. There comes a time when you then release them into the public domain and everyone can express their opinion about your private world that you’ve created. It’s is a wonderful process to do that. Of course, there is nothing better than after your book becomes public to have readers tell you how much they enjoy your book. That’s the ultimate payment.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish?

What was the process like and are you happy with your decision? I’ve self published my books. That puts the burden on me to market my books and work hard to get noticed.  However, I’m very comfortable with that decision. I have several friends who are writers and have attempted to go the traditional route. It’s been very frustrating and takes a long time. It is getting harder–not easier–to breach the moat at the traditional publishing house.  Conversely, there are so many avenues for self publishing now. When I first began writing books, the focus was to get it placed in bookstores. Now the focus is all the social media and the blog world. I find this new world really exciting and I’m glad to be part of it.

Where can we find you on the web?

www.gregmessel.com is my blog and my web site is http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/greg-messel.html.

San Francisco SecretsAbout San Francisco Secrets:

Noted novelist and newspaper editor Edgar Watson Howe once said. “A man who can keep a secret may be wise but he is not half as wise as a man with no secrets to keep”

As the spring of 1958 arrives in San Francisco, it seems that baseball player turned private eye, Sam Slater and his fiancée, TWA stewardess Amelia Ryan, are surrounded by people who have secrets.

A prominent doctor, John O’Dell is being blackmailed by someone who has discovered a dark secret from his past.  When the private investigator trying to catch the blackmailer is murdered, Dr. O’Dell hires Sam Slater to try to pick up the pieces. Someone is playing for keeps and will do anything to protect their own secrets.

Meanwhile, Amelia begins her new job as an international stewardess which takes her on adventures to New York City, London, Paris and Rome. In hot pursuit is a womanizing older pilot who has his sights set on Amelia.

Their lives get even more complicated when a mysterious woman from Sam’s past returns.

Sam and Amelia’s relationship will be tested as they work together to solve the mystery on the foggy streets of San Francisco.

Purchase your copy of San Francisco Secrets:


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