Christian Takes 5 with Barbara Jean

Hi there, guys and dolls! Hope your May flowers are in full bloom. Can you believe it’s the last Monday of the month? Me neither, but happily what it means to yours truly is that I get to share with you another one of my great Cozy Cat Press author friends, Christian Belz. His Ken Knoll series is one of my faves, so it’s a treat to have a chinwag with its charming storyteller. So settle on in for your own happy hour and get to know Christian and his work for yourself.

1. So tell me a little about your series and main characters.

In the murder mystery THE ACCUSED ARCHITECT, a mid-level architect, Ken Knoll, in a medium size firm is suddenly drawn to solving two murders which occur on his project site. The setting is Metro Detroit, where I have been a practicing architect for 31 years. The interesting and always unpredictable world of architecture provides a backdrop to the adventures of Ken, affectionately known as Cannoli, and his eccentric intern, Edison. A well meaning sidekick, Edison is not always in sync with the people aroundindex him.

In THE CIVIC CENTER CORPSE, Ken Knoll’s world is again turned upside when the sign atop his new auditorium building–bearing the donor’s name–plunges from the building, killing the donor. Ken’s boss prods him to prove the firm was not at fault in this “accident,” while the donor’s wife is certain her husband was murdered and begs Ken to find the person responsible. In a puzzling case, Ken is thrown off balance when two women enter his life, a Hollywood actress who first appears at the site of the sign’s unfortunate plunge; and his college nemesis, now an investigative reporter. The latter becomes a thorn in Ken’s side as they race toward the discovery of the murderer.

2. What is your writing process like?  Do you thrive on routine or work spontaneously as the whim takes you?

It’s definitely more spontaneous. I hate writing on the blank page, and use the index card method of writing down key elements, fragments of dialog, description, etc. I keep the cards with me and add thoughts at odd moments. I repeatedly shuffle through the cards, rearranging and tweaking until a scene or chapter comes together. At that point I can easily transpose the points from the cards onto the page, adding words where they belong. Before I know it, I have a draft done!

3. What exciting moment or moments that made you realize that you were really an “author?”

About thirteen years before Cozy Cat Press accepted my first book, I went through the process of querying 32 publishers. I was able to get the full manuscript in front of two of them. One rejected the work with a form letter, the other editor sent me a very nice, detailed letter citing page numbers and characters. When I realized she had read my entire novel, I felt satisfied and I felt like an author, though at that point I had never been published.

4. What do you do to spark up your creativity when you feel the well of inspiration is running dry?

Reading. I read a lot in the genre, and also a wide spectrum of fiction and non-fiction. I always have three or four books going at the same time. I’m inspired by other authors.

5.  Who are some of your favorite authors and how do you feel they have influenced your desire to write?

Sue Grafton is a favorite. I love her style and Kinsey Millhone is a wonder to watch in action. She’s relatable. A few years ago I discovered BRIGHT LIGHTS BIG CITY by Jay McInerney. I was drawn in by the second person present tense style. Mesmerized by it. I’ve written three short stories in the style, as a result, with the same characters in a sort of love story. I’m now turning it into the novel, and of course interjecting a serial killer.

Hmm intriguing, Christian. Can’t wait to read it! And dear friends, be sure to check out his Ken Knoll Mysteries on Kindle (his latest being THE CIVIC CENTER CORPSE) and check out his great blog, website and Goodreads page by clicking through to the word links. Thanks for sharing your time with us.

Toodles,

Barbara Jean

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About Barbara Jean Coast

Barbara Jean Coast is the pen name of authors Andrea Taylor and Heather Shkuratoff. She is currently hard at work telling the cozy tales of the fictional town of Santa Lucia, loosely based on Santa Barbara in the late 50's, early 60's, known as The Poppy Cove Mysteries.
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