In 2002, about a year and a half after I was finished writing it. It was called FOR WHOM THE MINIVAN ROLLS, but I don't think of it as a novel--I think of it as a screenplay gone horribly wrong. I was convinced I couldn't write something as long as a novel, and had been writing screenplays for years. But this one idea wouldn't cooperate as a script--it wanted to be told in first person narration--so I started writing chapters as an exercise to figure out the screenplay, and six novels later, I haven't written a screenplay in seven years.
How many books have you written?
Books? Altogether? I've ghost written six, I think. I have six mystery novels and two non-fiction books published. I'm writing the first in a new series for 2010, and I have one manuscript I finished that was never published. Yet.
Tell us about your life as an author.
As opposed to what, my life as an astronaut? I don't have a set schedule or anything. I write in between newspaper assignments and grading papers. Whenever I get the chance. Right now, I'm hoping to get in my 1000 words today, but it's not looking good.
What has been your most exciting publishing moment?
Everybody says it's when the first manuscript was accepted. For me, it was twofold: The first time I held a book I had written in my hand, and then, when Larry Gelbart sent a blurb that said my book was "witty." Gelbart is my writing idol--I'm still grinning about it, and it was eight years ago.
Jeff, tell us about your writing schedule.
I have to write so I can get paid. My schedule says the new book will be finished by July 1. Who am I to argue?
Do you have an agent and did you have mentor?
I have an agent now, the lovely and brilliant Christina Hogrebe at the Jane Rotrosen Agency. Christina sold the Double Feature series and the new series (which has yet to be named). For the first three books, I had no agent, because I had never considered the possibility of being a novelist. And I never had a book-writing mentor, because I didn't intend to become an author. Since then, some wonderful authors have helped me along the way, and I'm not supposed to mention them. They say.
Explain to the novice writer who wants to be a mystery author the top three things they should never do in order to become a published author
Places to vacation:
When I'm not writing mysteries (I don't "pen" anything), I'm writing something else to pay the rent, procrastinating from writing mysteries, promoting my books or watching the Yankees. Or at least that's what my wife says.
Do you have something to say to your readers?
Where can we find your website?
On the Internet. Oh, okay, it's at http://jeffcohenbooks.com/ and I hope everyone takes a look. I'm told it's very entertaining.
Okay Jeff, here it is and if I've left anything out please add it.
Just that the new book is A NIGHT AT THE OPERATION, and since I'd like to keep writing about Elliot and his band of merry men and women, I'd appreciate it if everyone would go out and buy one. And thanks for inviting me here; it's been great fun.