Everyone, please welcome Glenn Mitchell! Today we chat about researching drug testing, TV shows, drinking with fictional people, and so much more. Also, there is an excellent giveaway so don’t miss that at the end of the post!
If you could be an extra on a cop or thriller movie or TV show, what would it be?
I’d like to be on the ‘The Killing’ as a lethargic, plain-clothes cop who’s eating fast food at the murder scene. You’ll always see me there in the background eating a hot dog or burger every time there’s a new murder. Maybe on the last episode, Linden finally loses her patience. She passes me at the cop station while I’m eating, grabs the taco out of my hand and throws it at a wall.
Are minions/sidekicks just throwaway devices in a tale? Can they become more? Do they need to become more?
A minion may have a moral awakening, or emerge as a far more evil character than their boss. A sidekick might take a bullet for their hero, or they may turn around and put a bullet in the hero. Being a mystery writer, it’s all part of the extensive palate. Our job is to intrigue, challenge and surprise readers. What could be a better device than a character that has misled us all along?
Reality in my fiction: how important is it? Lengthy travel, cussing, and bathroom breaks happen in real life. How do you address these mundane occurrences in your writings?
Any necessary detail must be included and uncensored. I love the mythology of horror more than the gore, but sometimes I have to imagine a murder scene. The description is going to be detailed because it’s important. Some characters will swear, other characters in the story may find that appalling. People will have sex if it’s an integral part of plot development. Characters will embrace weakness while others will be righteous. I don’t know what my characters will be like until they emerge, but once they’re tangible, I stick by them and they’re never watered down. Every time you censor your vision, you take one step away from art and move closer to craft.
What has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?
When I was working on building sites, there was one particular job in the basement of a disused cinema, prepping it for renovation. It was one of the oldest buildings in the city, and full of dangerous materials. We had to dress in protective suits for twelve hours a day. We couldn’t have ventilation because the fibers might reach the street and poison passers by. So we were in this huge dungeon on tall ladders, surrounded by a levitating cloud of poisonous dust, with powerful lamps and that lifted the Sydney summer heat by ten degrees. I saw guys go to the van during breaks and rip their suits off in a panic, then drink three litres of water in a couple of minutes. No one spoke during those breaks. It was like a mission. The only thing we talked about was finishing the job. I didn’t understand how to focus until I was faced with that daily nightmare. Now I can have a drill whirring in my left ear and a screaming baby in my right, and I’ll just keep tapping away, locked into tunnelvision.
What nonfiction works have you found useful in building your characters & plots?
My non-fiction reading is limited to research, so I tend to spend a lot of time punching searches into Google that will probably put me on the lists of every government agency in existence. I’m researching forensics, firearms, police procedure, drug testing. I’m reading press releases by officials and doing image searches of cops. I should probably make sure the door is locked right now. But seriously, it’s addictive and interesting each time you write a new book. It used to be a chore but it’s now one of my favourite processes.
Who are your non-writer influences?
I think writers have very pure imaginations, especially when it comes to the macro, but the influence of other mediums helps us draw detail and colour the scene. Film is the obvious influence on my work. You can see 40s Hollywood Noir in there plus Lynch, Kubrick and the Coen brothers. It certainly doesn’t hurt having written a few TV series, so I’ve been blessed to learn from some skilled artisans in the television industry. At the moment, I’m inspired by the next wave of directors. Indie film—especially horror—is on the rise. As for music, I’ve listened to a lot of soundtracks while writing, but as far as storytelling goes, Tom Waits, Scott Walker and Lucinda Williams are the most influential. The other key ingredient is personal experience. Best thing a writer can do is get off his or her butt and bust out of the comfort zone. It’s definitely a great advantage to write using personal experience.
If I’m not writing, I’m not happy. That’s the bottom line. But luckily the promo duties come with a few perks. Meeting people who are passionate about books makes it bearable. Personally, I only know a few writers, and several passionate readers. My friends have always been more focused on music and film. So finding these reading communities online is very inspiring. We spend a few months creating a self-imposed solitary confinement in order to write the novel. We have to keep up the faith and pamper our own egos, continually convincing ourselves that the work is good. When you publish and find fans of your work, especially among the community of reviewers, it’s almost as though you can switch that ego machine off and relax a bit. The work shouldn’t require validation but it certainly makes you breathe a sigh of relief when a critic of note enjoys the book.
If you could sit down and have tea (or a beer) with 5 fictional characters, who would you invite to the table?
It’s going to be a strange get-together. I need a couple of good talkers so I’ll invite Odysseus, although I think people may tire of him after a few hours (yes mate, you already mentioned killing the giants) and Kolchak: The Night Stalker (the original 70s version) because he’ll have an endless procession of cool stories about supernatural beings. K from Kafka’s ‘The Trial’ will be there because he’s my favourite character in literature, and Alice from the Resident Evil franchise. They both really need a break anyway. I’ll invite Gaff from Blade Runner and he’ll teach me his Cityspeak language. We’ll be able to tell jokes about the other guests without them knowing. The other advantage is while you’re cleaning up after the party, you’re sure to find a few cool examples of origami. I’m inviting a sixth person who is technically not a guest. Nikita (French version) will be my bodyguard just in case a nemesis turns up uninvited.
A doomed killer’s cryptic warning, an ancient Japanese book on the occult, a family of Italian witches, a mannequin that can’t be destroyed, the murderous spirit of a dead child…
Detective Ben Ricci is not a believer. Everything must have a logical explanation, including the brutal murder of Fabrizio Lecanto. All he needs is a broken alibi or compelling motive. Instead he has unreliable testimonies, all telling the same dubious ghost story.
It’s bad timing for Ricci. He’s under investigation, struggling to save his marriage and shamefully obsessed with a key witness. To find the killer, he’ll need to control his many compulsions. Unfortunately self-control has never been Ben’s strong suit.
As the killer’s evil intent becomes clear, one cop’s stubborn cynicism will challenge the demented zeal of believers, shedding unwanted light on a society’s darkest secrets.
Glenn H. Mitchell turns to crime, creating a wickedly twisted mystery that will haunt readers long after the final page.
Nowhere is the name we’ve given to that tempting and frightening uncharted space beyond the planets we mine and the wars we wage. Nobody has jurisdiction in it. Nobody is safe in it. Nowhere is a haven for criminals but even the most defiant won’t venture far into the void. Nowhere is a destination for the spiritual. Some say it’s the closest you’ll come to God. Others say, ‘careful what you wish for’. One thing we all agree on. There’s something out there. Nowhere is the place we’ll meet them, whoever or whatever they are. First contact. We laugh about the changing probability of it. We’re amazed it hasn’t happened already, and as we laugh we keep a nervous eye on the black periphery. It makes the hairs on our necks dance. Yet we continue to walk this thin line between bravery and stupidity, between excitement and fear, between us and them. It would be stupid not to fear them.
Places to Stalk Glenn Mitchell
Glenn Mitchell has generously offered up 3 softcovers and 10 ebook copies of his book Nine-Tenths of the Law! To enter, do the Rafflecopter thing below or answer the following in the comments: 1) What has been your most difficult job? 2) How do I contact you if you win? Open International! Giveaway ends September 6, 2015, midnight.