Multi-genre author Susan Whitfield uses gruesome weapons, strong women, quirky characters and humor in her novels. Her published mysteries include Genesis Beach, Just North of Luck,Hell Swamp, & Sin Creek. Killer Recipes cookbook is also available. Her first women's fiction, Slightly Cracked, released in October in digital and print. She interviews authors from every genre on her blog. For more information, go to www.susanwhitfieldonline.com
Monday, October 15, 2012
Richard Brawer's Keiretus
Richard Brawer writes mystery, suspense and
historical fiction novels. When not writing, he spends his time sailing,
growing roses and studying history.He
has two married daughters and lives in New Jersey with his wife.
Welcome to the blog, Richard.
your environment affected your writing?
My first three novels written between 1994
and 2001 and now incorporated in one volume titled “Murder at the Jersey Shore”
are set at the North Jersey Coast between Sandy Hook and Asbury Park.The stories are based on events that were
reported in the local newspaper.
For example Secrets Can be Deadly is based on a
story about a father who refused to take his child
home from the hospital because the newborn was diagnosed with a brain
impairment. I asked myself, “What if the baby was misdiagnosed?”
Diamonds are for Stealing, developed from a story about a
robbery at a jewelry store where the owner pulled a gun and accidentally killed
his wife while firing at the robber.I
asked myself, “Accident or planned murder?”
Murder on the Links, the third book in this series
came from stories about stock market fraud and the mobsters that perpetrated
publisher of these books has gone out of business and I have reacquired the
rights.I put the three books together
into one volume titled “Murder at the Jersey Shore” and placed it on Kindle for
fourth mystery, Murder Goes Round and
Round is also based on a Jersey Shore town that had fallen into decay.With the demise of the town, the owner of a
hand carved antique carousel worth a million dollars put the carousel up for
auction.The newspaper stores reported
that many in town were upset that it was being sold.My imagination again took over and I used the
carousel as the motive for murder.
Do you travel to do research or
for inspiration?Can you share some
special places with us?
I only traveled once for
inspiration.Originally that travel was
not for researching a novel. I was born in Paterson, NJ, the center of
America’s silk industry in the early twentieth century. My family moved to the Jersey shore when I was
When I read an article in the
paper about an historian giving a lecture on the silk industry and a tour of
Paterson’s historic silk district I was curious and went to the event.As I listened a plot about a divided family formed
in my mind.I took a lot of notes, but
not enough to truly understand the era.So I did research by going back to Paterson and reading old newspaper
stories.I picked out the events I
wanted to use in my story and created Silk
Silk Legacy was the
only time I traveled for research.My
last two books, Beyond Guilty,
published in 2010, and my current book, Keiretsu,
coming out the end of November , 2012 were researched on line.
Give a short synopsis of your most recently published book.
Keiretus is set in
Japan and the United States.The plot
again arose out of many newspaper articles about China’s growing military
While the United States is focused on diffusing Iran’s and
North Korea’s nuclear weapons’ programs, the ultra-nationalist CEOs of Japan’s
eight largest Keiretsus (conglomerates) form a cabal to use some of the
shuttered nuclear power plants to secretly enrich uranium to bomb grade and develop
nuclear weapons as a deterrent to China and a clandestine PAC (political action
committee) within the U.S. to donate heavily to congressmen and senators to
thwart the expected U.S. cease and desist demands.
Since I knew very little about
Japan I had to do extensive research.The setting in the Japanese part of the book was the easiest to find as
all I had to do was access travel websites about Tokyo.And of course there were many stories about
the tsunami that ravished Japan.However, researching specific Japanese customs as well as how the people
relate to each other so I could develop proper chracters was much more
For example the story takes place
mostly in the summer.I read about O-chugen, midsummer gift-giving, an
extremely important period in Japan.I
read that how the gifts are wrapped expresses sincere thoughtfulness on the
part of the giver.
Gifts are wrapped in special handmade white paper
resembling dried abalone and the cord around the gift is made from starched,
tightly wound rice paper that is painted or otherwise colored with Mylar or
thin strands of silk called mizuhki.
The mizuhiki was
developed in the Edo period by samurai and became more and more elaborate as
one samurai tried to out-do another in his gift giving. Today gift givers have
the muzuhki fashioned into animals
such as cranes, frogs, fish, dragons and turtles.
Also, gifts as well as business cards must be presented
with two hands.
A simple detail such as this adds authenticity to your
story.The point I am making is that
with the internet you can get that authenticity without the traveling I had to
do when I wrote Silk Legacy.
Do your characters take on a
life of their own?If so, which is your
course before you start to write you have to know who your charters will
be―their looks, quirks, and their experiences in life that affect their personalities.Without characters you have no book.
unlike some writers who outline their characters and their novels in great
detail before they begin writing, I do not.Of course I know the ending and write toward it, but I only think two or
three chapters ahead when I write, and those chapter ideas are usually clips
such as the scene where I “plan” to place the character.
As I write
the story, new situations arise that move the character in a direction I hadn’t
thought about.The character’s reaction
to those situations certainly gives the character a new “life”.
example, one of my favorite characters is Sarah Bressler the protagonist’s wife
in Silk Legacy.This originally started out as a male
oriented story.However, as the story
developed her character took on a much more important role as she battled her
domineering husband.As a result Sarah
became an equal character in the story.Some say they liked her as the lead character.
Here is the book jacket of Silk Legacy set between 1904 and 1913:In early twentieth century Paterson,
New Jersey, dashing twenty-nine year old Abraham Bressler charms naïve nineteen
year old Sarah Singer into marriage by making her believe he feels the same way
she does about the new calling of a modern woman.He then turns around and gives her little
more respect than he would a servant, demanding she stay home to care for “his”
house and “his” children.
Feeling betrayed Sarah defies him and joins women's groups,
actively participating in rallies for woman suffrage, child welfare and
reproductive freedom.For a while she
succeeds in treading delicately between the demands of her husband and her
desire to be an independent woman.Her
balancing act falters when a strike shuts down Paterson’s 300 silk mills.With many friends working in the mills, Sarah
is forced to choose sides in the battle between her Capitalist husband and his
Socialist brother, a union leader who happens to be her best friend’s husband.
What do you think is
the greatest lesson you’ve learned about writing so far?What advice can you give new writers?
Create characters in CONFLICT with each other or with
themselves.Wondering how the characters
resolve their conflicts keeps the reader turning the pages.
You see the conflicts in Silk
Legacy.In my Murder at the Jersey Shore trilogy with detective David Nance one
reviewer wrote, “What really grabbed me, though, was
watching the hero deal with his issues, eventually with a measure of success,
while his girl friend dealt with ...him ...and her issues involving him.”
In Beyond Guilty
the character is in conflict with herself.She is responsible for her
sister’s death and tries to overcome her quilt.
In my latest novel, Keiretsu, I
have created many conflicts. Father vs Son
Husbands vs Wives; Mother-in-law
vs Daughter-in-law; Brother vs Sister; Cousin vs Cousin
We all know how important promoting our work has become.How do you get the word out both off and
I try to get reviews from mass
market newspaper reviewers, but that is extremely difficult for an author
published by an independent publisher.I
have been reviewed in my local paper, but I truly feel you have to be a
best-selling author or know someone to get a review in a major newspaper, although
I keep trying.
Since Keiretus is so unique I have sent advance review copies to a few
major reviewers with a letter explaining how current the plot is, that the book
is not self published and I enclose the independent publisher’s bio, but I’ll
still be surprised if one of them does review it.
continue to promote my books through interviews on blogs such as yours.Also, there are many interactive sites on the
internet where you can join the discussions.Like all advertising, repetition is the key.Keep your name in front of readers by
participating in those discussions.Sooner or later people will say, let me try one of his books.
Are your books available in
print and ebook formats?Where can folks
learn more about your books and events?
list is available only on Kindle or any e-reader that can access Amazon books.
Murder at the Jersey Shore trilogy is $2.99 for the three
book series; Murder Goes Round and Round
is 99 cents, and Silk Legacy is
Beyond Guilty is available wherever books are
sold in print and ebook format.
Keiretsu coming out the end of November, 2012
will also be available wherever books are sold in print and ebook format.
are interested in the print versions of Beyond
Guilty and Keiretsu, you can
order them on line from sites like Amazon.com.However, as with most books published by independent publishers,
bookstores will not stock these books, but they can order them for you.
book jackets, excerpts, reviews and more about Richard at: www.silklegacy.com