Monday, October 10, 2011

Wayne Zurl, author of A NEW PROSPECT and other books in the Sam Jenkins mystery series.

Interview with Wayne Zurl, author of A NEW PROSPECT and other books in the Sam Jenkins mystery series.

Where were you born and where do you call home?
In the age of the dinosaur I was born in Brooklyn, New York. Actually, most people called it the age of baby boomers. A few years after my arrival, the family moved to Long Island where I grew up and worked for forty-six years, interrupted only by a pesky thing called the Vietnam War.

After separating from active duty with the Army, I remained in the reserves and muddled around looking for a career in the civilian world. In 1972 was appointed to the Suffolk County (New York) Police Department where I spent twenty years—thirteen of them as a section commander supervising investigators.

 When I retired, my wife Barbara and I and our only child, an aging Scottish terrier, left the land of the Big Apple for the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee. Today we’re still in the same house we built in 1992.

What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 30 or less words, what would you say?
A NEW PROSPECT.   A middle-aged cop comes out of retirement and proves to himself and his new employers that he can still investigate a murder and fight political corruption.

If you gave some of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?
Sam Jenkins, the retired New York detective who took on the job of police chief in Prospect, Tennessee would say, “Yeah, I’ve still got it.”
Prospect’s mayor, Ronnie Shields, might say, “Lord have mercy, did I make the right choice?”
Bettye Lambert, Sam’s administrative officer would think, “They’ve finally hired a real cop to be chief.”

Do you have plans for a new book?   Is this book part of a series?
I’ve always planned for A NEW PROSPECT to be the lead off book in a series. As I was trying to sell it to a publisher, I wrote several novelettes in the Sam Jenkins series for a company who produces audio books and simultaneously publishes them as eBooks. So far she’s bought ten of those. My second full-length novel, A LEPRECHAUN’S LAMENT, is in second edits now. The cover art is finished and the promotional video is in the works. The publisher plans to release that book in print early in 2012. The eBooks will come later.
And I’m almost finished with my final edits of a third novel, HEROES & LOVERS. I’ll be ready to send it to the publisher whenever he’s ready for a look.

What or who inspired you to write?  And how long have you been writing?

Would you like to giveaway a copy of your book on this blog?
Sure. Pick a number of books you’d like to give away and I’ll send PDF eBooks to your winners along with a personal note.

How did you come up with the title and cover design?

Have you based any of your characters on someone you know, or real events in your own life?
Most of what I write is based on things I know from my years with the police. Some stories are composites of more than one incident. All were either my cases, things I supervised, or what I knew a lot about.
I like to cast people I knew as the characters I write about. It helps me write dialogue when I can envision someone speaking in their own style. That way I can give each character a unique voice.

What books have most influenced your writing most and why?

Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?
I would have loved to meet Robert B. Parker before he passed away.

Do you prefer eBooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
I don’t own an eBook reader yet. Perhaps someday. I prefer hardcover, but paper is okay, too. I’m old-fashioned when it comes to books.

Where do you prefer to buy your books?
I love used book sales. Most often we visit those sponsored by public libraries. That way our money supports the local library and we get some great deals. Other than that, when I’m forced to pay retail, I shop on line.

Are you a self published (Indie) Author?
I was offered a contract by a small independent press to traditionally publish A NEW PROSPECT in print and eBook.

Have you ever read a book more than once?

Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?

What book are you currently reading and in what format (eBook/paperback/hardcover)?
I just finished Robert B. Parker’s final Spenser novel, SIXKILL. I picked up a hardcover edition. Excellent book with all the elements the Spenser series was known for. I’ll miss the two or three new things Parker released each year.

What book do you know that you will never read?
Probably MEIN KAMPF.

Are there any new Authors that have grasped your interest and why?
She’s not exactly new, but a friend recommended Julia Spencer-Fleming. I liked her first novel because it was set in upstate New York where we often used to vacation. I also like the relationship between the protagonist, a female Episcopal priest, and the local police chief. It reminds me of the relationship between Sam Jenkins and his friend, TV reporter Rachel Williamson.

Is there anything you would change in your last book and why?

Who designed the cover of your book?
The publisher of A NEW PROSPECT employs an artist he uses for cover work.

Do you have a book trailer?
A Woman I know from the on-line writer’s workshop I belong to offered to produce my video trailer. I have it on YouTube at:

What are your thoughts on book trailers?
People who know much more about electronic media advertising than me say they’re essential. They’ve been used successfully for feature films for years. I’ve seen some amateur productions made for books that are really quite good.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

What is the best advice that you have ever been given when it comes to writing?
“Never give up. Often, tenacity trumps talent.” So when you’ve got both, it’s a good thing.

Do you write under a pen name?
Who would pick Wayne Zurl if they had a choice? No, I wanted everyone to know it was me writing.

Do you ever write in your PJ’s?
I don’t do anything but sleep in my PJ’s.

What are your pet peeves?

Cats or dogs?
Dogs. Our last dog, Bitsey, was with us for seventeen years. She was a great soul. I gave her a part in A NEW PROSPECT and she’ll appear again in LEPRECHAUN’S LAMENT. Sometimes she goes to work with Sam. You can do stuff like that when you’re the boss of a very small police department.

White wine or red?
Depends on what we’re eating. If we’re just sipping—who knows? Depends on the mood. I like anything dry.

Coffee or tea?
Always Coffee with breakfast. Tea with Asian food. Either one when otherwise appropriate.

Favorite food?
Anything Mediterranean—Italian, Greek, Lebanese. Of course, I also like Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Cajun, Mexican…Hell, I just love good food. And that brings us back to the wine question.

Vanilla or chocolate ice cream?
Vanilla, when I can’t find butter pecan, mint chocolate chip, or cappuccino.

What do you normally eat for breakfast?
We try to vary it and keep from getting into the bran flakes rut.

What are 4 things you never leave home without?
Car keys, reading glasses, pocket knife, and a roll of duct tape. I forget my wallet occasionally.

Laptop or desktop for writing?
Pen and pad, and then off to the desktop PC.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
I like to start off early in the morning sitting in a wingback chair in the living room.

If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you?
 Mel Brooks, Mario Batali, and Cheryl Ladd. I could laugh, eat well, and be friendly with someone.

One of your favorite quotes –
I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinion I have no respect. Edward Gibbon.

List 3 of your all time favorite books?
TIN ROOF BLOWDOWN, James lee Burke
GOLD COAST, Nelson DeMille

List 3 of your all time favorite movies?
Last of the Mohicans (1992 version)
Apocalypse Now
Radio Days

An actor you have a crush on -

What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?
I watch NCIS faithfully. Love the interaction of the regulars.

Where can your readers stalk you?
They can try the streets of Knoxville, Tennessee. Failing that these spots will work:

My website: (I don’t run a typical blog, but do occasionally make diary entries)
My Goodreads author page:

Is your book in Print, eBook or both?

About the author:
Wayne Zurl worked for twenty years as a police officer in New York before retiring to the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander superivsing investigators. Prior to his police career, Zurl served in the US Army during the Vietnam war and continued on in the Reserves. Before all that, he worked in the fledgling business of computers--when they were seven feet tall. Somewhat disenchanted with the IBM/data processing business, Zurl decided computers were nothing but a passing fad--something that would never replace humans, and he scrapped reentry into that world after returning from his stint with the Army overseas, and collected unemployment insurance until he was offered the only job somewhat compatable with his military background. In 2006 he began writing police stories. His premier novel, A NEW PROSPECT

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me, it has been fun, and allowing us a glimpse into your writing word.  I hope you share this interview with your friends so we can all get to know you a little better.  Patti

Thank you, Patti, for the opportunity of speaking with your fans.

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