APEX Literary Interview – Death Cruise


Thanks for joining us for this interview, Dan. We’re looking forward to sharing more about your book with our readers.

What was the primary inspiration for this highly intriguing crime thriller?

l have loved mysteries ever since I became old enough to go to the library and check out The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. I currently have a collection of 2,000 mysteries, many first editions and others signed by the author. I have some that date back to the 1890’s. I like literate, humorous mysteries with engaging plots, amusing dialog, and characters so vividly drawn that they jump right off the page. I could find very few mysteries that met my criteria, so I decided to write them myself. My goal is not only to write great mysteries, but great fiction as well. I want my novels to soar in originality and entertainment value.

What’s the significance of the book’s title?

Several years ago, my wife and I went on a two-week cruise of the Caribbean that visited 8 islands during its itenarary. There were so many activities on board, and so much beauty and fascinating diverse cultures on the islands (Spanish, French, English, Dutch), that I was immediately intrigued by the opportunity to write not only a compelling mystery, but embellish it extensively with local island flavor and characters. Research conducted during this voyage provided me with a ton of material that proved invaluable in making my description of cruise life and events authentic and compelling. Since many of the murders happened on board or in ports of call, Death Cruise seemed like an appropriate title.

Was it difficult for you to come up with the quite compelling premise of the central plotline?

Not at all, I never know the plotline when I begin a novel. I have some basic story lines in mind, but the novel develops as I write it and develop the characters. The PC and word software have made it so easy to go back and add red herrings, expand minor characters into major ones, and add parallel and intersecting plotlines. It is great having an online dictionary and thesaurus  to expedite research and improve the richness and vitality of your dialog and description. I like to have several plots working at the same time, although they don’t necessarily have to reach a denouement simultaneously at the end of the novel.

Chauncey is quite the unique character. Is he based on anyone you know or have known in real life?

I tried to avoid having a protagonist who is the stereotypical tough guy who can drink all night, bed any woman he chooses, has a moral code just short of apostolic canonization, and flexes biceps the size of frozen turkeys. I have gotten bored and tired of these retreads. My character is physically unimposing, but manages to stumble along and in the end and solve the many challenges he confronts in order to achieve personal and professional redemption. He is a Nero Wolff in deductive power, but constantly in a state of financial deprivation. He has a strong value system, but isn’t obcessive about it. In other words, he is like most of us. He has a good understanding of the vagaries of human character and the human condition which allows him sort the wheat from the chaff.

What kinds of responses have you gotten to the book thus far?

The critical response has been overwhelming. Bad Vibrations has won a multitude of literary awards including:

The Independent Publishers IPPY Book Award – Silver Medal, Best Regional Fiction

The Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Award – First Place, Published Mystery

Books & Authors – Murder Mystery Book of the Year

Death Cruise was just published but has received the Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Award – First Place, Unpublished Mystery as well as rave reviews.

In addition, both books recently came to the attention of a Hollywood producer who wishes to pursue having them made into motion pictures. I have signed Option Agreements with the producer for filming of both books.

The reviews on Amazon and Barnes & Noble from readers and critics have been outstanding and are available for reference. My  Facebook Page is also a good source for reader feedback.

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