Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A New Prospect by Wayne Zurl - Interview, Book Review & Giveaway: Nurture Tour Stop


Sam Jenkins never thought about being a fish out of water during the twenty years he spent solving crimes in New York. But things change, and after retiring to Tennessee, he gets that feeling. Jenkins becomes a cop again and is thrown headlong into a murder investigation and a steaming kettle of fish, down-home style. The victim, Cecil Lovejoy, couldn't have deserved it more. His death was the inexorable result of years misspent and appears to be no great loss, except the prime suspect is Sam's personal friend. Jenkins' abilities are attacked when Lovejoy's influential widow urges politicians to reassign the case to state investigators. Feeling like "a pork chop at a bar mitzvah" in his new workplace, Sam suspects something isn't kosher when the family tries to force him out of the picture. In true Jenkins style, Sam turns common police practice on its ear to insure an innocent man doesn't fall prey to an imperfect system and the guilty party receives appropriate justice. A NEW PROSPECT takes the reader through a New South resolutely clinging to its past and traditional way of keeping family business strictly within the family.

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MY REVIEW

Read my full 5 star review on Night Owl Reviews

Here's the first paragraph

Written in a humorous, witty, conversational style; this book was an absolute pleasure to read. I love a character that is not afraid to take on the bullies of the world, who knows when to cajole a response and when to demand results. Sam Jenkins is loyal, tenacious and unimpressed with the trappings of wealth and power. His is an honest conscience backed by experience, made stronger by his own personal high ethical code.




GIVEAWAY

Enter HERE and comment for a chance to win either a print or digital copy of A New Prospect.  Only entries with "ship to" addresses in the US or Canada are eligible for the print copy. The digital giveaway is open globally. Qualified winners will be chosen using Random.com. This giveaway ends on the last day of the tour, December 16th 11:59PM CST.



INTERVIEW

Where do you dream of traveling to and why?

My wife and I were just talking about our next trip. Because friends from England and family from back in New York have stayed with us during our Smoky mountain foliage season, we’ll be staying at home this fall.

Spending all this afternoon preparing the best Swiss steak recipe on the planet gave me inspiration for a spring trip. Not to Switzerland or any place famous for beef, but another place where we can spend a day doing all the usual touristy things and then retreat to a cabin or condo with a full kitchen with a bag full of groceries and a couple bottles of appropriate wine to make a memorable dinner. My idea: A drive up through New England and along the “down-east” coast of Maine and then take a ferry to Nova Scotia.

The last time in Maine, we rented a rather Spartan cabin on an acre of land overlooking Penobscot Bay, probably worth all of several million dollars. Loons woke us up each morning and seals floated past the shore where we sat in the evenings. I’m looking forward to the next visit.

Tell us about your current release.

A NEW PROSPECT, published after several novelettes from the series were produced as audio books and eBooks, goes back to the beginning when Sam Jenkins became the chief at Prospect PD.  During his first weekend on duty, Sam investigates the murder of a wealthy real estate developer.

The ex-New York detective thinks finding a killer in the small Appalachian community can’t be too difficult—until the influential widow and her powerful father urge local politicians to push Jenkins out of the picture and reassign the case to state investigators.

Sam turns over primary responsibility, but continues his own investigation and finds himself thrown headlong into a case of Internet pornography, sexual coercion, and political corruption. This is where readers can meet Sam, his wife Kate, and all the regulars from Prospect.

Here’s a full summary from the book jacket:

Sam Jenkins never thought about being a fish out of water during the twenty years he spent solving crimes in New York. But things change, and after retiring to Tennessee, he gets that feeling. Jenkins becomes a cop again and is thrown headlong into a murder investigation and a steaming kettle of fish, down-home style.

The victim, Cecil Lovejoy, couldn’t have deserved it more. His death was the inexorable result of years misspent and appears to be no great loss, except the prime suspect is Sam’s personal friend.

Feeling like “a pork chop at a bar mitzvah” in his new workplace, Sam suspects something isn’t kosher when the family tries to force him out of the picture.

In true Jenkins style, Sam turns common police practice on its ear to insure an innocent man doesn’t fall prey to an imperfect system and the guilty party receives appropriate justice.

A NEW PROSPECT takes the reader through a New South resolutely clinging to its past and traditional way of keeping family business strictly within the family. 

Tell us about your next release.

I’ve got several things happening in the near future. I’ve just sold two novelettes (numbers 9 and 10 in the Sam Jenkins series—THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAIN BANK JOB and FATE OF A FLOOZY) that are going to be produced as audio books and simultaneously published as eBooks. These projects are moving along nicely.

My second full-length novel, A LEPRECHAUN’S LAMENT has just passed the second round edits with flying colors and is being formatted as I’m writing this. The cover art and promotional video are both finished and I’m chomping on the bit to start sending them around the Internet prior to publication. The target release date is early 2012, so I have to wait patiently until those with more marketing savvy than I say the time is right.

I just signed contracts to create two hard copy anthologies from ten novelettes. SMOKY MOUNTAIN MYSTERIES will be slated for 2012 and MORE SMOKY MOUNTAIN MYSTERIES for 2013.

And I’m almost finished with my final edits for another Sam Jenkins novel, HEROES & LOVERS, and will be able to send it to the publisher when he’s ready.

What was your first sale as an author?

Prior to my adventures in commercial fiction, I wrote magazine articles on Colonial American history. The first piece accepted by a national magazine was about the siege of Fort Loudoun, an 18th century British garrison in what is now east Tennessee, during the Anglo-Cherokee War of 1760-61. The publisher paid me $245.00. I was thrilled.

During the years I was attempting to sell A NEW PROSPECT to a traditional publisher, I got lucky and sold a novelette Called A LABOR DAY MURDER to Mind Wings Audio to be produced as one of those audio/eBooks I mentioned before. That was the first actual “contractual” piece I had. The most recent royalty check for that book and the others accepted by that publisher arrived last week.

Does your significant other read your stuff?

My wife is my first echelon proofreader. After I rough out a story or book, do a quick edit for content, and then transpose everything to a Word document, she reads it once to absorb the gist of the story and then does a line edit. She might end up reading the piece twice more before I hand her a professionally edited and published copy.

I think all that repetition is above and beyond the call of duty. Robert Bo. Parker dedicated every book he wrote to his wife. I plan on doing the same.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?

I feel naive admitting this to myself and anyone reading my thoughts. When I began my journey toward publication, I thought all you needed was a good manuscript and any agent would be eager to start peddling your book to the big New York houses. Now, after spending four years getting my first full-length novel published, I truly believe the tidbit of philosophy handed to me by a successful author: “You don’t have to be good, you have to be marketable.”

Over the last few years, I’ve seen many talented writers rejected by the mainstream industry because their books didn’t fit the current mould dictated by a marketable fad. I’ve learned to NEVER give up. I believe what another veteran author told me, “Sometimes tenacity trumps talent.”

How do you describe your writing style?

I won’t say I’m a literary chameleon, but I’ll admit to being easily influenced by writers I really like and what, from experience, I know to be reality in my chosen genre.

From Robert B. Parker, I’ve learned to try and tell my story in the fewest possible words. I admire his “economy of words” style.

Reading Raymond Chandler has taught me the style of the hard-boiled or noir voice he incorporated in the Philip Marlowe books and stories. I think I’ve made my Sam Jenkins mysteries just this side of hard-boiled.

And after twenty years as a cop, I’ve given myself the obligation of providing readers with lots of authentic realism which I hope shows through favorably. If knowing how the penal law or court system really works or how many technicalities are part of a real criminal investigation and essential for a reader to get the “true feel” of a police procedural, I want them to experience things with me they don’t in other books or films.

Do you hear from your readers? What kinds of questions do they ask?

I do hear from readers—more than I ever envisioned. Most often in short emails, but also when they post reviews. The preponderance of questions is like: “Did that really happen to you?” or “Do all cops do it that way?”—procedural things, mostly.

Some of the general statements are: “I never realized an investigation could be so complicated.” Or: “You provide so much more detail about what goes on at a crime scene than other writers.”

My favorite thing is when they say my books and stories are humorous. I always saw that as an important part of the job. My protagonist, Sam Jenkins, is sarcastically humorous. A lot of cops were, myself included. It came out naturally—just part of the job.

What do you think makes a good story?

I’m more inclined to enjoy a character/dialogue driven story than something with a complex or convoluted plot. I’d rather read (and write) a book with a simple yet realistic plot with a few plausible twists and give a reader a full cast of quirky, memorable characters. I want you to either love or hate the people I create. No one ever remembers a bland character.

What was the scariest moment of your life?

Most people think I’d tell them about something that happened in the Army or police department. But actually, I was terrified one morning when I looked in the mirror and noticed how my hair was thinning out.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A cowboy, soldier or policeman. The Vietnam War took care of the first one. When I came home, the New York State Employment Service told me I had no marketable civilian skills. So, I became a cop. It was the closest thing to the military I could find. I’m still thinking about the cowboy thing.

Did you play any sports?

I was pretty good at baseball.

When's the last time you played that musical instrument?

I played a trumpet for 6 months in the 6th grade.

New York or LA? Why?

Definitely NY. I can’t get lost.

What makes you happy?

Tranquility and peace of mind.

Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

Edward Gibbon said: “I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinion I have no respect.”

Do you have a Website or Blog?

http://www.waynezurlbooks.net 

Reviews, endorsements, other information:http://waynezurlbooks.net.messages.html


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LAST STOPS ON TOUR
December 15th – Coral R. @ Alchemy of Scrawl
December 16th – Bobbie @ NURTURE Virtual BOOK Tourz™ Blog
 Tour Schedule

Wayne Zurl

Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators. Eight (8) of his Sam Jenkins mysteries have been produced as audio books and simultaneously published as eBooks. His first full-length novel, A NEW PROSPECT, was named best mystery at the 2011 Indie Book Awards by the Independent Publishing Professional’s Group.

Wayne is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. Zurl left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara.



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Disclaimer: This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.   In some cases, I receive free books in return for a review. My reviews always express my own personal opinion. I am not obligated to write a glowing or even favorable review.  I have not received any monetary compensation in return for my honest review. Promotional banners and information was provided through Nurture Your Book Virtual Tours. I am an authorized Tour Host. 

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4 comments:

Jaidis said...

Wonderful interview! Thank you for sharing!

Glenn Starkey said...

I enjoyed the truthfulness of Mr. Zurl's interview. As a former law enforcement officer myself, I know he has the experiences to provide realism to his writings which is critical to a novel. I'm adding him to my "must read" list for 2012!

Pensacola Helene said...

Enjoyed reading about Wayne. We interact with other authors all the time, but never really get to know them. It was such a candid glimpse into his life and his writing pursuits. I would like to read "A New Prospect" in the near future. I wish him Godspeed in his endeavors.
Sincerely,
Pensacola Helene

Sally said...

I cannot wait to read this book! It sounds amazing. As a reader, I appreciate all the effort your wife puts into line editing! This interview was very interesting. It is nice to be able to put a face and background to an author. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of your book!
tscmshupe [at] pemtel [dot] net