Today we speak to Mike Bove.

Mike BoveQ) Tell us something about yourself.

I have had two long careers, 12 years as a teacher and coach in Vermont, and 20 years with the postal service in Massachusetts and Arizona.  I was always active in many sports and being retired I now get to play golf at least three days a week. I was involved with school and community theater in college and during my teaching days, as an actor and director. I  adapted a Russian folk tale for the stage and produced and directed it.  As an avid reader, I attacked the Mystery shelves at our library when retirement gave me the opportunity. My wife, Jane and I travel frequently to places we love, New Orleans, New Jersey , and Vermont to visit family including our five grandchildren.

Q) Tell us about your latest book. Why do you think the readers will like it?

I’ll talk about my Work In Progress, Stinger Maguire, since my first book, Willowtree is now two years old. The unexpected success of Willowtree gave me the impetus to write another and begin a series. The setting is a fictitious town in Arizona, Willowtree. The protagonist is senior sleuth, Bruce DelReno, a retired postman and avid golfer. Much of the action takes place on or near the golf course. In Willowtree Bruce helped solve three related murders which happened over a thirty year span.

In Stinger Maguire, Bruce and cohorts will solve the murder of Maguire, a pro golfer who had returned home for an exhibition and was found dead in the High School by DelReno, who is the golf coach. After his death it is discovered that Maguire was a gay athlete, the reason for the estrangement between he and his father, and his former girl friend.

Fans of Willowtree will get to see their favorite  characters, and new ones, as the small town is again home to a terrible murder. Stinger Maguire is not a ‘thriller’ novel.  There is no gory description of violence.  The story is told in the first-person by Bruce with his dry sense of humor.

Q) How did you come up with the title of the book?

In order to give  the victim a uniqueness as a pro golfer, I gave him a certain prowess and named him after it.  A ’stinger’  is a type of long and low golf shot. Maguire perfected this shot at a young age and was dubbed ‘Stinger’ by his father.  I try, but am not yet proficient. Though Stinger Maguire is found dead on page one, the book is about him and how his life has affected and influenced others.

Q) What kind of research did you do for your book?

I write my story so it unfolds in chronologic order. Bruce tells the story while going on with his day to day activities, so I have to be sure the times  or days he mentions coincide with a real calendar,  for example, holidays and real events on the PGA Tour.

Though my town is fictitious, its location is in a real part of Northern Arizona. I research to be sure places,  persons, and events that I mention are geographically and historically correct.  Since this book contains references and discussions about gay athletes and generally being gay, I have read much on the subject. I have long had gay friends and family members and this experience is of great value.

Q) Which of the Characters in your book are your favourites and why?

My favorites? The funny ones. I had to put them in both books. Squeek in Willowtree has mental and medical problems, but I still think he’s funny. Ben Samuel, Bruce’s Apache friend, brings the most humor, but is also quietly perceptive. I like Genny, Bruce’s adoring wife, because she ‘gets’ him.

Q) How did you formulate this character? Is it based on someone you know?

Ben Samuel is loosely based on an Indian friend, not Apache, but sarcastic, unpredictable, perceptive, loyal, generous, and often annoying. I recently wrote this blog post about this, if you want more:

Q) Every Author has a distinct writing style. How would you describe your style and how do you think you came to form it?

I guess I write like I talk, without too many words. (I blogged about this, too.) I like to get to the point and not repeat things unnecessarily.  Many authors have given advice about being succinct, but I have read many famous authors who I’d say are not.  I enjoy reading more when the writing is direct, for the same reason I think the loud background music in a TV drama is unnecessary and annoying. My style is simple and I have not tried to write like anyone. It has been called ‘conversational’ many times.

Q) How long have you been working on this book and what inspired you to write it?

I started Stinger Maguire over a year ago. I get asked everyday when it will be published. And I know, I have to get back to writing more aggressively.  I write notes and ideas, do research, and edit almost daily. Alas, I am still only a bit over halfway done.  I’m a part time writer and want this book to be the best I can make it.  I do not need to meet a deadline or a word-count goal.  I enjoy my golf, cooking, travel and other things. They all interfere with writing.  I will be elated when it is done, but I’m in no hurry as I enjoy the process and do not depend on royalties for groceries.

The inspiration for Stinger Maguire comes from many facets of my life. It is fiction based on what is important to me: friends, family, our activities, conversations, and companionship-our lives is my life.  I have no friends or family who are murderers.

Q) When did you start writing and when did you realize you want to become an Author?

I remember the first book report I wrote in grade school, Bradford on Mount Washington by Bradford Washburn. This guy climbed a mountain and wrote about it. I thought that was cool. His name wasn’t Shakespeare or Chaucer, but he wrote a book and I understood it. While teaching and coaching I did a lot of research and thought that could be the basis for a book to help youngsters understand the principles I was trying to teach. I wanted to write a book for youth about theater or track and field. Time and life passed quickly.  Being retired gave me the time to read more and I read continuously, mostly mysteries. One day I began writing, not knowing where it would go or what it would be.  With perseverance, encouragement, and much learning, my work became Willowtree.

Q) Who are some of the Authors you like and how do you think their work inspired you?

There are many authors that I greatly admire in many genres.  Their books are the ones that make me smile, laugh, or cry while reading, and keep and treasure afterward.  If you borrow a Vonnegut from my collection, you will bring it back, or I’ll go after it.  I also save Shakespeare, Barbara Kingsolver, Joseph Wambaugh, and others.  My favorite mystery writers who have provided inspiration mainly because of their style, construction, characters and dialogue are George V. Higgins, Stuart Woods, Wambaugh, Ross MacDonald, Elmore Leonard, and William G. Tappley.  I love their clever dialogue, and I hope I can someday write something remotely similar.

Q) What do you think is the most difficult part about writing and publishing a novel?

As an Indie author and self-publisher, the hardest part is writing the manuscript, that takes the most time. As I stated before I like to do some editing as I go. The final editing is tedious, so that is hard. The actual publishing part is easy.  I enjoy all parts of the process including formatting and cover design. I test several formats and covers, play with them a lot, before making final decisions.  I am blessed that I have some computer and artistic abilities, so I am able to do a lot on my own.

Q) What is some advice you will like to give to people trying to write and get their stories published?

Keep writing. Edit again. Add and subtract. Read and read more in many genres. Be familiar with Google and Roget and Webster.  Check out some of the great ideas and help from other authors online. Meet some in the flesh if you have the opportunity. Read what authors write about writing. Then write more. Observe people and places. Take notes. Then, write more.

Q) Tell us something about what you are working on or about some of your future projects.

My focus now is on Stinger Maguire. Then book three of the series, or a book about bananas since I like bananas.

Q) From amongst all the novels ever published if you had to write any one, which one would it be and why?

Tough decision. Slaughterhouse Five. No secret Kurt Vonnegut is my favorite writer. This book deserves all of the acclaim it has received. It is a poignant narrative that contains all of the elements that I enjoy in a novel. It is historically accurate, contains interesting narrative, dialogue, and characters. The construction is masterful. The language is not flowery, but will make one re-read, laugh and at other times cry. It is perhaps the most quoted novel of our time.

Q) If you had to convince someone to read your book in 5 lines what would they be?

-It’s fun, folks have told me.

-It is partly about golf, but many readers liked it even though they don’t know golf.

-It has lots of local color, and of course, you like small town Arizona.

-Bruce DelReno is the guy next door. The one you like.

-It has murder, golf tips, beautiful women, food recipes, short sentences, an old Apache crony, a dead lawyer, and not many bad guys.


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