A Visit With Suzy Approved – and Ninjas!

Since it’s release week for BETRAYAL AT IGA, I’ve had the honor to talk with a number of bloggers, radio, and TV interviewers. I’ll try to share them all, for people who want to learn more about the Hiro Hattori novels, my writing process, and the books I read when I’m not writing!  First up, this great interview with Suzy Approved Book Reviews, in which I get to talk a little more about my TBR pile and my favorite cities in Japan! I took today’s ninja-related photo at the Iga Ninja Museum in Iga-Ueno, Japan, while researching Betrayal at Iga. This is only part of the large collection of shuriken

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Creating a Sleuth Your Readers Will Love

Sherlock Holmes. Jane Marple. Jack Reacher. Three famous names with something important in common … aside from the fact that each solves crimes in mystery or thriller novels. What is this common element? Readers love them. The key to writing successful mysteries and thrillers doesn’t lie in careful plotting, clever crimes, or sneaky suspects. The heart of these stories beats in the chest of the sleuth. Everyone enjoys a puzzle, and a tightly-woven plot is important, but readers return to a mystery (or thriller) series because they want to spend more time with a favorite hero(ine). Solving the puzzle is much

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Dead Before Dying: A Twitter-Spawned Tale

Today, please welcome my long-time friend and fellow mystery author Kerry Schafer – who also writes fantasy (if you haven’t read her fabulous Books of the Between, you should) and her debut women’s fiction novel CLOSER HOME (written as Kerry Anne King) releases in March.  Kerry is here to celebrate next week’s release of her new paranormal mystery DEAD BEFORE DYING (Diversion Books), which I read (and adored, and blurbed, and STRONGLY recommend to anyone who likes mystery novels with an edgy sense of humor). I asked Kerry to share the interesting story about the inspiration for DEAD BEFORE DYING–and happily, she agreed: Kerry Schafer writes

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Woman with a Blue Pencil: Making the Invisible Visible

 Today, I’d like to welcome fellow Seventh Street Books author Gordon McAlpine, for a guest post about his new release, Woman With a Blue Pencil (Seventh Street Books). Welcome, Gordon! Gordon McAlpine is the author of Hammett Unwritten and numerous other novels, as well as a middle-grade trilogy, The Misadventures of Edgar and Allan Poe. Additionally, he is coauthor of the nonfiction book The Way of Baseball, Finding Stillness at 95 MPH. He has taught creative writing and literature at U.C. Irvine, U.C.L.A., and Chapman University. He lives with his wife Julie in Southern California.  Woman with a Blue Pencil is published by Seventh Street

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An Interview With R. Franklin James

Please welcome my friend and fellow mystery author R. Franklin James, who writes The Hollis Morgan Mysteries (Camel Press) – a friend and fellow author who will be joining me — and many other authors — at this weekend’s Bouchercon Mystery Convention in Long Beach, California. What is your favorite aspect of writing mystery novels? Writing a scene nonstop because the words are pouring out and it’s real good writing. How do you inspire yourself to get past difficult moments in writing and editing? I give myself a goal of time in chair, or word count and no matter if it’s

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An Interview With Mystery Author K.B. Owen

Please help me welcome fellow mystery author K.B. Owen, author of UNSEEMLY PURSUITS (Concordia Wells Mysteries, #2), which just released this month. K.B. Owen taught college English for nearly two decades at universities in Connecticut and Washington, DC, and holds a doctorate in 19th century British literature. A mystery lover ever since she can remember, she drew upon her teaching experiences in creating her amateur sleuth, Professor Concordia Wells. Unlike the fictional Miss Wells, K.B. did not have to conduct lectures in a bustle and full skirts.  Thankfully.  No doubt, many folks are grateful for that little fact.  😀 A deadly secret

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Ninja Detectives: Fact from Fiction

When writing historical mystery novels, an author needs to straddle the line between fact and fiction. When the novel involves a ninja detective, that line can grow very thin indeed. By the 16th century, shinobi (ninja) clans held significant power in Japan. Assassins were feared and respected even by powerful samurai warlords, and the myth of the ninja already included “abilities” like the power to turn to smoke by force of will. In truth, shinobi were as human as anyone else–though highly trained in stealth and covert tactics as well as weapons skills. For those who want to know more,

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An Interview with Annamaria Alfieri

Today I’m honored to welcome Annamaria Alfieri, author of BLOOD TANGO (Minotaur Books, June 25, 2013), a fabulous new mystery that I loved and absolutely recommend! Annamaria Alfieri is the author of Blood Tango, which takes place in Buenos Aires in 1945 and imagines the murder of an Evita Perón lookalike.  Kirkus Reviews said of her Invisible Country, “Alfieri has written an anti-war mystery that compares with the notable novels of Charles Todd.” Deadly Pleasures Magazine called her City of Silver one of the best first novels of the year.  The Washington Post said, “As both history and mystery, City

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