Friday, May 14, 2010

An Interview with Carl Brookins

What type of books do you write and how many books have you written?

I've been writing something since I can remember.  I sold a 300 (approx) word story to a pulp mag about 60 years ago.  I have written for newspapers (reviews) magazines (fiction and articles) television stations (scripts and continuity) and since retiring from a local university, crime fiction full time.  When I'm not writing, I read, or I mow the grass, or...I blog, I write Internet opinion pieces, short stories and mostly novels in the Crime Fiction genre.  I'm trying to keep three series alive.

The first, with four published novels, is a sailing adventure series featuring a married couple who sail in interesting places in the world and encounter bodies, killers, corruption, smuggling and high seas.  The second is a detective series featuring a short guy with the same first and last name.  Sean Sean almost always wears red Keds, dates a woman almost a foot taller, and usually out-thinks the bad guys, although he's good with all sorts of weaponry.  There are two books in that series.  My third is a third-person series about a mid-level administrator at an unusual college in Minneapolis.  Only a single book has been published in this series, although I'm planning numerous others, based on my 25 years working as a counselor and faculty member at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul. That's seven novels in print, right?

If you were going to mentor another writer what advice would you give to the writer?

I have done and I do.  I also teach writing workshops with my colleagues on the Minnesota Crime Wave.  In short, my advice is; write well, polish, organize and persist.

Do you attend any writing conventions or writing workshops?

Yes indeed. Networking is vital for authors, especially retiring, shy, introverted authors.  The community is friendly, helpful and fun. I almost always attend Bouchercon, Mayhem in the Midlands, Love Is Murder and less frequently, Left Coast Crime.

What is the best writing advice given to you by another author?

maintain writing discipline and persist with patience.

Let's talk about your future book projects.
Sure.  Im always working on something since I review crime fiction on a number of Internet sites. I also have at least one novel in each of my series that's complete and looking for a publisher, or in pre-publication status 

What hobbies and other interest do you have and what is your favorite charity?

Writing and reviewing are my hobbies.  I also practice photography and conducting television interview with authors and other folks in the publishing business for our cable series. 
I guess I don't have a favorite charity.  My wife and I contribute to a long list of charitable causes with a variety of issues.

Now for the fun part of today's interview. What is your favorite meal, movie and list a couple of your favorite books.

Meal?  Prime rib and my wife's hamburger stroganoff, both with a big fresh salad and maybe a baked potato.  But I have many other "favorites" such as barbecued chicken and a shrimp dish I got at a Chicago neighborhood restaurant that's to die for.
I have two favorite movies, Orson Welles "Citizen Kane," and "Casablanca."
  As an active reviewer, I don't really have favorite books, but there are authors working today whom I admire, primarily for the consistently high quality of their output.  In no order, Val Mcdermid, Dennis Lehane, Peter May, Kent Krueger.

How much research goes into your books?

It varies, depending on the subject, the setting and the plot.  I'm always doing some kind of research by reading, watching TV and listening to the radio.  I visit our local library frequently.  I do research by watching and listening to people around me in public places.

Leave us with an author quote.

Stories and story telling are the lifeblood of humankind.  Being a teller of stories is both the most difficult and the most satisfying states of being.


  1. Carl,
    I loved your interview and I will be ordering your books. I am especially interested in reading the short guy mysteries.

  2. Hello Carl! Every time I get to know a bit more about you.

  3. Very interesting! And it's so nice to know there's somebody in the writing world who's older than I am. Unless you sold your 300-word story when you were five, of course.


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