Monday, August 20, 2012

Frank Scully, Vacation Man




AUTHOR:  Frank Scully
BOOK TITLE:  Vacation Man
PUBLISHER: MuseItUp Publishing

Please tell us about yourself?
I can remember a time before TV when radio provided entertainment, and there were news shorts prior to movies. My parents told me of times before cars were common and getting around required real horsepower. Family history was passed down from parents and grandparents in oral stories around the dinner table and in the evenings.  I grew up to be a soldier in Vietnam, a lawyer, a businessman, and a corporate manager. Through it all I have witnessed so many changes to the world, and now I am a part of another. From print books to eBooks. I have loved books from a very early age. They got me through a bout with Rheumatic fever that had me confined to bed for six weeks one summer when I was only ten-years-old, and since then, they have been an important part of my life. Books that educated me, books that entertained me, and many that did both. I am particularly happy now that I can carry around an entire library in a very small device. I am not, as some are, a believer that print books are somehow better than eBooks. Whether paper and print or electronic device is the delivery medium, it is the story or the knowledge that is being conveyed that is the most important.

When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing in college. I had an English professor who told me I had some talent and encouraged me to write. Unfortunately, I was not able to pursue fiction writing for a long time. My writing for a number of years was confined to professional work as a lawyer or businessman. I had the bug though, and my wife finally got tired of me saying I could write as good a book as some of the authors I was reading and bought me a dedicated word processor about 20 years ago. I sat down and started writing. Of course, my first attempts were not worthy of publication, and it took some time and a lot of polish before I had something I wanted to try and get published. Getting it published took a lot longer.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?  (Has anyone ever realized it?)
There are events in my books that are based on real life experiences, but the story and the people populating them are fictional and not related in any way to any one particular person in my own life.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I guess if I had to choose it would be the author who created my favorite character, Archie Goodwin. Rex Stout wrote the Nero Wolfe series which we saw through Archie’s eyes. All of my heroes have a bit of Archie in them.

What book are you reading now? What do you like, or not, about it?
I am reading one of James Lee Burke’s novels, In the Moon of Red Ponies. I have always liked Burke’s novels. I don’t always like his characters, but he has a way of keeping the reader interested and is a master getting a reader into a scene.

What are your current projects?
I have a couple projects I am currently working on. One is a short story I hope to finish soon and put up on my website for free. It is a “missing person” mystery with a few twists and turns and I hope a surprising ending.  The other is my seventh book in my Decade Mystery series. This one is again set in very current time. The main character in this one is unique in that he is one of the Vietnamese boat people. As a young boy he survived escaping Vietnam but lost his mother and grandmother in the process and was adopted by a family in the United States. He is of mixed race, his father was an American soldier, so growing up in Vietnam as “Bui dui” was difficult. Sprinkled through the book will be vignettes of his childhood. In his current life, he is a lawyer now working for Mike Johnson, who my readers will recognize from two earlier novels. He has an assignment that will take him on a wild adventure across Asia, Europe, and the US trying to stay ahead of killers who are also hunting the same man he is after.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I do very clearly recall the moment I thought that it would be fun to write stories. I had an assignment to do an original story for my freshman English class in college. Initially I groaned at the idea, but when I sat down to write a story almost burst out of me. I turned it in and received an A+ and great feedback from the professor on several other stories I wrote over the course of the class. I found out my daydreaming could be useful.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding the time to do it is the most challenging. I can’t write in short five minute spurts. I need to be able to dedicate at least a couple hours to it in order to produce anything of value. I need to get into the mindset I need first and I do that by reviewing what I wrote in the previous session and doing some editing as I do that. Once I get the story playing in my head then I can start writing again. It is like a movie running in my head, and my job is to record it so others will be able to see it, too.

Do you ever have problems with writers block?  If so how do you get through it?
My primary problem is in getting the time I need to do my writing. I cannot get started if I know I only have a few minutes to work. I need to have at least an hour or more time set aside to really get into it. I usually start by reviewing what I wrote in my last session and do some editing. That gets my mind back into the story and starts my imagination going like a movie projector. The story then takes off, and I have to write fast to keep up with it.

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?
I have a full time career working as a Contracts Manager for a large aerospace company. My writing has to be on my own time in the evenings and weekends.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I can’t say that I have a single favorite author. There are so many good current mystery authors such as Michael Connelly, James Lee Burke, John Sandford and too many others to name including many who never make it to the best seller lists. Each has their own way of writing - their voice -that imbues the story with their own view on life in general. I enjoy the diversity and learn from them all.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
The only advice I can give to other writers is to accept that they are really writing for themselves first. Getting published isn’t as difficult now as it used to be before eBooks and self-publishing changed the industry. However, finding an audience is no small task and requires far more effort than anything else. It is a full time job in itself.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
MuseItUp Publishing. I was very fortunate to get on with them in the very beginning. I heard through the grapevine that Lea Schizas was going to start a publishing house and sent off a note to congratulate her and also to warn her that I would be sending along a query. She responded and invited my query which I sent in and soon after was rewarded with an acceptance.  I am very happy to be with MuseItUp. Lea, and her crew are exceptionally professional, and I expect MuseItUp to be very successful.

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Tagline:

Jack Decker thought life sucked when he went broke, but that was before bombs and bullets started coming his way.

Blurb:

The prairie and sand hill country of north central Nebraska is a land of stark beauty and few people. Jack and Carrie Decker and their two children find themselves stuck by circumstances and a lack of money in this land far away from anywhere they were going or had been.

Jack had once been a senior corporate executive and a business owner before bad decisions and bad breaks left him with nearly nothing.  After their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, he and his family are stranded in unfamiliar surroundings.  The family is welcomed into the small community, where Jack and Carrie find jobs, friends, and some peace of mind after years of stress and worry.  However, the bucolic peace doesn’t last. Bullets start flying, and a bomb almost kills them as they find themselves at the center of a battle involving books at the school library and on a collision course with a vicious gang of robbers.  Jack and Carrie, with the help of a mysterious old man and his cat, summon courage and conviction they didn’t know they had, and dig until they find the clues that lead them to the man at the center of it all. 

Excerpt:

Carrie watched through the bedroom window as Jack drove off. There was no point in going back to bed. She wouldn’t be able to rest. She dressed, went downstairs, and paced the floors.
Time went by, one long second after another, bringing ever-worsening nightmares to life in her mind. After only fifteen agonizingly long minutes, she could stand it no longer. Throwing on her coat, she headed out after him.
As soon as she got onto the road, she regretted it. Even in the pickup, which she had taken in hopes that it would do better in the snow, it was difficult staying on the road for even the short ride to town.
Once in the shelter of the town, it was better. She thought of turning around, but it was only a short distance up Water Street to the school, so she drove on.
Jack’s police car was parked by the side of the road, drifts already forming around the tires. There were lights on inside the school, easing her mind. Lights meant everything was all right. Jack was right. It was just a false alarm.
This is Christmas morning. It is inconceivable anyone would be out in this storm on a Christmas morning to attack the library.
She waited in the pickup, expecting him to come out at any time. It shouldn’t take too long for him to finish up. The wind howled in the subzero weather. The wind chill was down to forty-five degrees below zero according to the radio newsman. Carrie believed him.
Jack was going to be angry with her for coming after him. Not too much, but certainly a little bit. It didn’t matter. She had to know. Had somebody been after her library?
Even with the motor on and the heater turned up all the way, it was still uncomfortable in the old drafty truck. She told herself that was why she was going into the school, not because she’s worried about what was keeping Jack so long.
She grabbed the flashlight out of the glove box and headed up the sidewalk to the front door. The wind blasted her in the face, so she kept her head down, tucked into her collar, and followed the beam of light to the door.
As she got closer, she looked up and saw Jack through the glass door. He was walking toward the door carrying two large pails.
What are those, and why is he carrying them around?
As she watched, she saw something so absurd she couldn’t believe it at first. A huge man dressed in black with something on his face came hurtling after Jack. Before she could even scream into the wind, the man attacked Jack with something, lifting him off his feet and throwing him over the man’s back and onto the floor.
He’s choking Jack!  He’s killing Jack!
Carrie was so stunned she was momentarily paralyzed. Then, like a tigress, she leapt to the door and pulled it open, racing the few feet to the man on Jack’s back, and swung the flashlight with all her might, hitting him on the head.
She saw the man let go and rock off Jack’s back. Getting ready to swing again and deliver another blow, she felt a sudden tremendous pain as something hit her and saw the floor rush up to meet her head just before darkness enveloped her.

2 comments:

  1. Hey, I remember wisecracking Archie from the Nero Wolfe series!

    Nice interview!

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's eerie how much we have in common, Frank. Best of success with your career. Your book sounds wonderful. I'm happy to put it on my to-read list.

    ReplyDelete