When you finish reading through the interview, be sure and leave a comment or drop one of us an email at the addresses at the end of the interview and we will send you instructions for getting your free eBook from Mike’s catalog. If you haven’t picked one out yet, take a peek over there at this link and be sure and let us know your selection. Okay, enjoy.
Mike Faricy , America's hottest new mystery writer hails from Minnesota and lives in Dublin, Ireland part of the year.Mike is currently working on his seventh cross-genre thriller, creating yet another suspenseful crime caper populated by unforgettable and often wacky characters working their way through twisting action-packed plots. he also plays the Bag Pipes, so ask him about that, maybe he’s on YouTube.………
I downloaded Mike’s Russian Roulette about a month ago and was so impressed I contacted him and got to chatting. I thought it would be fun to write a book review and tell all my friends and regular readers about it. It was such a fun novel, but also very well written, very well formatted, and the plot, the characters, the subject was all just so good. So, I did the review. And, we got chatting some more, me asking about where he came up with ideas, and who formatted, edited his books etc…well, one thing lead to another and we thought, we should just do an interview. Mike said, that sounds fun, and he had all these boxes of eBooks stacked up all over the house….okay, that parts a lie, he keeps them in a garage. But anyhow, I had to sit down and think up questions that readers – and myself –might want to know. And here is what we came up with. And neither of us was drinking…much, when we did this!
The next Dev Haskell book, Mr. Softee, is at the editors as we speak, it will be available in June. Dev continues to learn, and relearn, some basic life lessons. You sort of want to sit down with the guy over a drink and ask, “at what point did this ever seem like a good idea?” But of course you’d have to pay for the drinks, and he probably wouldn’t listen anyway. It will be a stand alone book so you don’t have to read the Dev Haskell series in order.
I have toyed with that, Rob, but I always end up with a lot of local ‘isms’ creeping in that just don’t feel right. I worked on an Irish Garda (cop) coming over to the states but I got bogged down in trivial things, then worked on the reverse, an American going over and got stuck the same way. Everything from language to location description seem to get wound a little too tight.
I’ve found that writing dialogue with any sort of accent or impairment can quickly become ponderous for the reader. Then there’s the whole slang thing. In Ireland if you want to really give someone the finger, you give them ‘two fingers’. What? As an American I immediately think ‘Why stop at two? Give them all four.’ Yeah, you can probably see my wife rolling her eyes right now. It’s still a thought in the back of my mind that continues to percolate but nothing shaking for the immediate future.
Well, I’ve always been able to be economical with the truth. Then, some of my earliest memories are my folks reading to me, at three or four I was big on George the Pig, and Mike Mullins Steam Shovel, a love of books was always encouraged. Story telling was in my family, so reading and then creating my own tales seems to be natural. Plus, I’ve always seemed to have this knack to get into really screwy situations and someone is always asking me to tell about the time that…
It wouldn’t be just one. I love Michael Connelly’s sense of a story. Elmore Leonard’s stories all have that wonderful aspect of a ‘normal’ individual thrown into some situation, usually based on bad decisions. That really appeals, bad decisions make for interesting stories. Robert B. Parker is great on dialog. When you read his Jesse Stone novels, who else but Tom Selleck could play the part? I inhaled Parker’s Spencer novels. Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride, Ed McBain, Carl Hiaasen, then out in left field, Stephen Ambrose. He wrote Band of Brothers along with a number of other historical works, just great reads. Patrick O’Brian, he wrote the Jack Aubrey, Master and Commander series. A reviewer referred to me as the Minnesota version of Carl Hiaasen, that was high praise. I love to read, a great night for me is putting the coffee on at about 10:00 then staying up until 3:00 to finish a good book.
I’ve asked you before whether you write and work from a formal outline and you said, “just one in your head”, yet your stories are so well put together, very tightly crafted, the plots are flawless, the characters are very well developed, the twists and turns are in all the right places and the flow of the story never misses a beat or seems to bog down, or even slow down. How do you accomplish this without a formal outline?
First of all as I’m writing I tell myself over and over again that next time I’m going to have a formal outline. Of course that never works. You know, I just sit down and start tapping keys on the computer, things and characters sort of just come to life. I really get into the tale. It’s not uncommon for my wife to ask is there something wrong? I start telling her about this guy tunneling into a bank vault or a woman wandering around in the woods wearing a baby doll negligee. Like I always say, she’s extremely patient,… my wife, not the woman in the negligee.
You’ve told me that a lot of the characters that appear in your books are people you really know or are composites of people you know. Also a lot of the premise is drawn from real life events. I just have to know, where do you do your research? Is it news papers, Mad Magazine? The National Enquirer?
I could never be accused of doing anything studious like research. Over the years I have known or run into a lot of folks who just make you shake your head. Guys climbing out of bedroom windows, pole dancers with a Masters degree, some folks in law enforcement, pals in the army, schemers, scammers, I seem to attract them. Plus my wife has a way of attracting goofballs, where ever we go. I mean for God’s sake, she married me.
We were in a city once and there was a little bar around the corner from our hotel. We stopped in for a night cap at maybe 10:30. It was a small place, ‘L’ shaped, with maybe six people in there. We sat in a booth in back and I spot a bunch of wooden pegs on the wall with maybe a dozen different women’s thongs hanging from the pegs. My wife decides it would be funny if I take her picture sitting in front of this, okay. I’m getting ready to take the shot and the owner, this guy about 6’4” comes storming around the corner, yelling at us. She jumps up and he sits down in the chair and slaps his knee, he just wanted to be in the picture. We laugh, he sends over drinks.
About five minutes later he brings a woman back, they sit in a booth four feet behind us, chatting. I look over a few minutes later and my first thought is, wasn’t that woman wearing clothes a moment ago? I said to my wife, “that guy is taking pictures of a woman with all her clothes off”. Of course turning around my wife responds, “Why do you always… oh my god!” then proceeds to down her drink in one giant swallow.
He continues to photograph this woman, she has her hands over her head, then holds two full handfuls out in presentation, after about a dozen more shots he gets up and walks away. She takes her time casually getting dressed, stops as she walks past and says in heavy accented English, “Thank you, very, very much.” The guy sends over another round of drinks. God, I mean what do you do? We drank the drinks. Then we returned the next three nights for a nightcap. For the record, he asked but no, he did not photograph my wife.
In Merlot, the Ditschler brothers, Mendel, Lucerne and Elvis, how could they possibly be anything but the way they are? I know guys like that, they wouldn’t think twice about slipping a Sig Sauer into their belt before taking the dog for a walk on a sunny day. And then of course they’ll always wonder why the cops are picking on them?
In Chow for Now, Dickie’s ex-wife, Rae Nell, is based on a woman I know. She comes up with scheme after scheme, none of which ever work. Imported honey from South America, antiques, oriental rugs, lingerie parties, home made wine tastings, I could go on and on. And yes her tattoo is the real deal.
Can you tell us a little about your writing process and environment? I’ve talked with other authors who have a certain place they write; at a desk with photos arranged just so, cup of tea at hand, cat on the desk. What’s your creative ‘space’ and process like? Pen and paper, word processor, quiet room with Vivaldi on the Victorola, etc…?
Nothing romantic like soft music. I’m very business like. I start tapping keys at my desk, take maybe a twenty minute lunch break, then back to work. I don’t answer the phone, don’t run errands. When I’m in Dublin my social contacts are all through my wife so once she leaves for work no one interrupts me and I have essentially the same process over there. I try to get at least ten pages written daily, sometimes its eight sometimes twelve. The following morning I edit those pages, then get another ten. Things develop along the way, twists and turns in the plot, characters, I’m constantly mulling stuff over in my mind, distracted. Like I said, my wife is very patient.
Your protagonists tend to be quirky, smart assed guys. Any resemblance to their creator?
Probably. I mean with life you have to laugh or you’d cry, right? I’ve always had sort of a self deprecating sense of humor. I was going into a pub once with my kids, all in their early twenties, it was the policy everyone gets carded, I get it. So there I am, to prove I’m twenty-one, I’m handing my drivers license to some bouncer kid I could have fathered. He thanks me, hands it back, says, “Excuse me sir, did you realize you license is expired?” Which sends my geniuses into convulsions, the old man has been tooling around town on an expired license for close to 90 days. By the way, the little rats stuck me with the tab…… again.
A lot of the scenes or situations I write really did happen, maybe not to me but I know the players. In Slow, Slow, Quick, Quick I have a woman from the Sheriff’s department ending up in bed with someone on the second date. One of my editors suggested a person in law enforcement just wouldn’t do that. I asked some St. Paul cop pals. They made me change it to the first date and threatened to cite me for a broken tail light if I didn’t.
I wrote a scene about a guy who hires an escort, he drinks way too much before her arrival. As soon as she arrives she drugs him, leaves scratches on his back and a bite mark on his thigh. On the way out the door she steals all his cash, about $300. No services ever exchanged. Three nights later, this knucklehead figures he must have had a great time and he hires her again. With the same result, only this time instead of $300 she steals about $500 and a flat screen TV as well. Everyone who read that said it was just too far fetched. Actually, it really happened, it was the only scene in the book that wasn’t fiction. Except in real life the woman stole a VCR instead of a flat screen. I knew the guy, later arrested for a body in the trunk of his car, by the way. And, I sort of knew the woman,… not professionally I hasten to add.
All of your books are eBooks, did you ever try the “traditional” publishing route and how was that?
I did try the traditional route. As a matter of fact I groveled for years at the doors of the publishing industry to get them to recognize my genius. They weren’t interested. I lead the league in rejection letters. I’ve got hundreds, literally, from all the big name publishing houses and agents and quite a few of the lesser known as well. Everyone who is anyone in the publishing industry has sent me multiple rejections. I got a rejection from a pretty big New York publisher, it was my query letter, returned unopened. The envelope was stamped crookedly across the front in this sort of reddish purple ink, ‘RETURN TO SENDER’. On the back of the unopened envelope was a hand written note that read, ‘this does not fit our needs at this time.’
Even I got the message at that point. The publishing industry has changed drastically with the advent of the eBook and continues to do so. I just don’t think a large portion of the people in the business have caught on, yet. That said, if I got a call from an agent or publisher I would love to talk to them, but I’d have to say even two years ago I would have had stars in my eyes, that’s not the case now. But, I’d still love to talk.
Your books are some of the best eBooks in terms of formatting, very professionally edited, this goes back to the “outline” question, who does your editing and cover designs? They are very good.
Thank you, in reverse order, the covers, and my website as well, are done by friends. They have an online catalog, theIrishrose.com. More importantly they have the computer programs, an advanced version of photo shop and skill set to do my covers, not to mention some pretty good ideas that save me from my random thoughts.
Last time you and I chatted about the cover for Russian Roulette I mentioned that’s my son’s back at the bar, his girlfriend’s hands hold the gun to his head. My pal shot the photo, had the cover done almost before I got home. We just work very well, because I listen to him, mostly.
For the actual editing I have twenty to thirty pairs of eyes read through my manuscript before it goes to my editor. I probably accept 85% of the suggestions made. When writing I get so close to the forest I just can’t see the trees. Plus, the little inconsistencies, this guy was on foot, where did the car suddenly come from? The woman was a long haired brunette, when did she get short hair? As you can imagine, everyone goes over it, its edited, I rework it, its reedited, eventually I approve it, and then once it’s uploaded and available, there, staring back in bold face type, dead center on page one, I’ve done something clever like misspell my name or email address.
One other thing, having a number of people read a manuscript reinforces some general tone. I had a woman tell me she liked my books but all the women in it seemed to be strippers or women jumping in and out of bed. I toned that aspect down and another woman wrote on the manuscript ‘I’ve just read 130 pages and this is all the sex I get? I’m not at all satisfied!’ I went back to women jumping in and out of bed, but if you read my work the women are always smarter than the men, just like real life.
Did the wife walk in again? Is that why you said that? Do you read a lot of fiction? If so, who are your favorite authors and genres?
I read a lot of fiction, most of it under the broad umbrella of crime, thriller, suspense. I have a tendency to inhale a particular author. I read all of their work, I really look forward to getting the next book, which is great with eBooks because I can do it anytime day or night or any place. That said, I still love to shop bookstores, love to talk to book sellers. As far as authors, certainly the names I mentioned earlier, plus William Kent Kruger, John Sanford, Randy Wayne White, John Locke, John Grisham, Ken Bruen, Cormac McCarthy, Vince Flynn.
If you were to give one piece of advice to someone aspiring to be a successful author in today’s market, what would it be?
Get to work. I love to write so it is really a labor of love. But there is a lot of labor in there. I’ve sometimes gone 100 maybe 150 pages and decide this just isn’t working, then deleted the whole bit.
The other thing is you have to be willing to accept criticism. I can tell myself great job, well done, go for it, all of that positive reinforcement. I really depend on feedback that says this just doesn’t work for me. Why do I care about this secondary character? That sort of thing.
A lawyer pal read a manuscript then met me for lunch with three pages, single spaced, of things he didn’t like or that he felt needed attention. He was worried it might affect our friendship so he bought lunch. I loved it, that was exactly the sort of thing I needed, not the lunch, but the critique. I probably adjusted 95% of the things he mentioned, everything from phraseology to a criminal sentencing guideline.
Can you tell us what you are working on now, and when we might be able to read it?
The next Devlin Haskell book, Mr. Softee, is at the editors, that will be available in June. I’m working on a series of short stories featuring a friend of Dev’s, Tony ‘Dog’ Colli. Then maybe another Dev Haskell in August. I’ve got someone I don’t know yet rattling around inside my head trying to get out so that will be happening as well.
Well, keep me up to date, the new Character sounds fun! Any last tid-bit you’d like to share with the readers?
Yeah, Thanks for making it this far in the interview as I ramble on, and on, and on. Please feel free to send me any comments at Mikefaricyauthor@gmail.com I do answer all emails. Also, I’ve really enjoyed this, Rob, and again thanks for the great review for Russian Roulette. How would it be if we offered a free download of Russian Roulette, or any other title for that matter, to all your readers? For those who haven’t read any of my books hopefully they’ll find it a great introduction and for those who have read some of my work, hopefully they won’t feel punished. Again, many, many thanks and all the best, happy reading and I hope you’ll invite me back.
Man, am I glad you said that! I’ve been luring them here all week with the promise of a free eBook from your catalog! You’re a life saver, man. I’ll give them the details below. I’d personally like to thank you, first for the great read. Russian Roulette was just a fun, fun read. very well done. Secondly, thanks for consenting to this first ever interview here on The Dirty Lowdown. Hope we can do it again real soon, and I look forward to reading Mister Softee.
Okay, boys and girls, Here’s all you need to do to get your pick of Mikes catalog. If you haven’t been there yet, go to his web site here and choose one title that you’d like to read. Either leave a comment under this post with an Open ID log in or your Google ID or other ID that will give us your email address. We’d really like to hear your comments, so feel free to do both but don’t leave you email address in the body of your comment.Your email address will of course be kept private. You can also send an email to me at The.Dirty.Lowdown@gmail.com or Mike at Mikefaricyauthor@gmail.com and make sure you let us know what format; Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, PDF or whatever your eReader or eReader app is. Between us we’ll make sure you get your book by a) sending it directly to you via email or b) we may have to email you a coupon to download it directly, for free, from Smashwords. If you have any problem opening the book on your device or app, drop me an email and I’ll walk you through it. Free tech support too! I hope to have everything mailed out to everyone by Monday night, but give me some time and if there are delays I’ll post the reason here at The Dirty Lowdown. If you don’t receive it real soon, drop me or Mike an email and we’ll fix you right up. Thanks a lot for tuning in, and be sure to get more of Mike’s books after this free sample! Again, Mike, thanks a lot and I’ll talk to you soon. Oh, and please follow this blog by either signing up for email updates, or follow on Facebook by clicking on the Networked Blogs badge up near the top and to the left. You can follow me on Twitter for updates as well, that ID is theDirtyLowdown. Enjoy your read.