Sunday, 9 February 2014

Author Interview: James M. Copeland

Detective FRANK HAWTHORN receives a call from W.J. FISHER. He said that his son Milford Fisher had disappeared. He found his boat near the Memphis, Tennessee branch of the Fisher Granary Corp covered in blood. Later that day the boat disappears as well. Hawthorn is told that young Fisher discovered someone was stealing millions from the company and now he is missing. Everyone believes him dead except Hawthorn who has a premonition that maybe...he's still alive. Detective Hawthorn works his magic to solve the crime. After several incidents and mishaps, he discovers the truth and finds the guilty individuals. There is an important twist in the story and Frank Hawthorn uncovers a plot that will keep you on your toes.

Hello James and Welcome to Booky Ramblings.

What inspired you to write your first book?
I had a desire to write from early on. The possibility came along when the only responsibility I had was my work. I had free time on my hands and wanted something to do so I purchased my first computer with the full intent of writing a book.

Do you have a specific writing style?
It has developed into one. I have a background of many years of situation that contribute to almost any story I write. Take for instance, the time one of my sales people had a problem with a customer being very amorous. She didn’t encourage it, and her policeman husband disapproved. The policeman visited the wayward customer and voiced his care for his wife, along with just a bit of a swagger in his policeman’s uniform. It worked the sales person kept her customer and the policeman husband was alright with the situation. This segment did appear somewhere in one of my books, I will not say where.

How did you come up with the title?
‘Frank Hawthorn is…Blindsided’ was reached after many long months of changes. Looking at the novel itself leaves you at a standstill as to what to title the novel. It was changed from the town where the occurrence took place, to the name of the granary, to the title of the lake near where it occurred to several others until finally the fact that Detective Frank Hawthorn had fallen in love with the victim’s sister…needless to say she made him fall and then ran away to her death.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Most assuredly! Two messages in fact, the first one is the fact that a gumshoe turned private does have the stick-to-it-tiv-ness (probably not a real word) to find a client regardless of the number of people who are trying to murder or hide him. The second message is the fact that the same man can be so human that he falls for a pretty girl.

Are your novels based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I would have to say that most of it comes from my imagination. However, the events are a perfect place to draw from to be inclusive with the imagination.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Michael Connelly! His detective named Harry Bosch gave me the idea of a real life detective who could be himself and yet be effective at investigating. His stories are fabulous.

What book are you reading now?
I have read all of the Connelly books that I could get my hands on except for the last one he wrote. I read everyday and if you will look on my web site you will see behind my picture at the top that I have hundreds of books. (Web site:www.jamesmcopelandbooks.com) I am reading ‘The Girl who kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larson.’ I have read the other two and they are great. The characterization is very well done.

What are your current projects?
If… my publisher will go along with it (KGBooks of Alabama) (Miss Tracy Kauffman) I intend presenting her with the opportunity of publishing the rest of the series which are ‘The Missing Link, with Detective Frank Hawthorn’ as well as ‘The Cusec Caper with Detective Frank Hawthorn.’ Both stories are a follow-up of characters from the original Blindsided. The Missing Link has to do with the manager of the Fisher Granary where the victim of the novel Blindsided was the President. ‘The Cusec Caper is about Frank Hawthorn’s next door neighbor.

Do you see your writing as a career or something you do in your spare time?
Oh, this is…a career! I have found writing and speaking to groups about writing as being the very culmination of my entire career and I have had a very full like already. I feel like my responsibility to the world has just begun. It is very hard to get recognized in the writing world today. There are millions of us wana-be’s out there. I have evidence that my writing is a story telling process and I have stories that will last me a lifetime. I may miss a word sometimes, but the story is there. I have worked for 8 to 10 hours per day improving my craft. Blindsided was edited over 27 times and the title changed 7 times. I just wanted to get it right. I live on the LewisSmith Lake in Winston County of Alabama on a point where I have an 180* view of the convergences of three creeks and in the deepest part of the lake. The fishing is number two in the state. I have a boat house and two boats. Both went down completely for lack of use. I am just too busy writing, such as right now.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Yes! Every time I have pulled up one of my novels to check on I have changed it somewhat. The story line is never changed, however, the best word is selected each time I pick it up and re-read it. My process is to set it aside after I finish it the first time. Wait for a few days or months, even years as with Blindsided (It was finished in 2006 the first time.) then, take it up and correct the words I see that I think is wrong. Even after all those corrections the editors at KG Books found ways to change what was written. To show you how dedicated I am to writing being a career I purchased a new RV motor home to go on the road for book signings and lectures. I very much enjoy going to lectures being done by someone else, but I have done several of them myself. There is great satisfaction in being able to convey something you believe in to someone who wants to learn.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I found myself writing poetry at a very early age. My Aunt encouraged me to apply one of my pieces to a poetry contest. I got honorable mention with that piece and went on to get published in four different books as a one piece item. I put together some small group of books for family but never attempted the publication of them. My beginning really started in earnest in 2006 when I sold my business in Branson,Missouri and moved back to Alabama which is my home state.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here is the  trailer produced by my publisher KG Books of Alabama.


Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
If you are asking if my writing is challenging to the reader my answer is: yes, because some of the writers today find it unnecessary to fill in the normal things of life such as eating and sleeping. Since these two things take up at least two thirds of our time is seems a waste not to incorporate them into our novels. The challenge comes when a reader finds out that Detective Frank Hawthorn is not bullet proof. He eats and sleeps, and has feelings just like the clerk at the corner drug store. Things that happened to him in youth are reflected in his actions everyday. How he treats his former side kick at the police academy in Memphis,Tennessee, how he views his Man Friday at his house in New Jersey and how he treats woman in general. He knows that he would get fat if he allowed himself to eat the way he would enjoy all the time, but it doesn’t stop him from enjoying a good cheese burger. My writing tends to include the details of all the things that happen to my characters, just like this interview. It’s way too long, but if you wanted to know, now you know!

Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to join us today.

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