J D Webb is a guest today at The Mustard Seed. We're glad to have him visit with us and we hope you stick around for a bit to chat with us. Let's find out more about J D.

J. D. (Dave) Webb resides in Illinois with his wife (43 years in Dec 2010 and counting) and their toy poodle, Ginger, losing all family votes 2 to 1. Dave served in the Security Service of the Air Force as a Chinese linguist and weather analyst in Viet Nam and the Philippines prior to spending 25 years in corporate management. A company purge promoted him to cobbler and he owned a shoe repair and sales shop for 11 years. But being a full time author, always a dream, became a reality in 2002. Dave has garnered several awards. A short story called The Key to Christmas placed third in the 2006 La Belle Lettre literary contest. His first novel Shepherd’s Pie won a publisher’s Golden Wings Award for excellence in writing. His second novel Moon Over Chicago was a top ten finisher in the 2008 Preditors and Editors Poll in the mystery category and was a finalist in the prestigious 2008 Eppie awards by the Electronic Publishing Internet Connection. He is also the Owner and Moderator of the Publishing and Promoting Yahoo group with just under 1000 international members. 

You can find J D and his work online in the following venues: 

Short stories are available through: 
Stuck in Valhalla (www.sniplits.com )
Revenge Anthology II (www.lldreamspell,.com - coming soon)

Facebook: Find J D Webb on Facebook
Blog: (Twice a month) Make Mine Mystery Blog
J D's Website

At Wings Press   Wings Press
Shepherd’s Pie      Moon Over Chicago    Her Name Is Mommy 

At L & L Dreamspell    J D at L & L Dreamspell

Before we chat, can you share about your book, Smudge?

All paralegal Trish Morgan wants to do is grab a few bucks at her ATM one night. She finds blood on the screen and then hears a moan. Should she investigate or not? Fighting her apprehension, she ventures into the alley next to the bank and discovers a dying woman. While Trish’s attention is diverted frantically calling 911 for help, the injured woman slips a DVD into Trish’s purse. The DVD is a video of a hit of a Chicago mobster, which identifies the hit man.

The assassin stalks Trish somehow seeming to know her every move. He calls her at work, demanding the return of the disk and warning her not to notify the police. Too late, the police are already involved. Trish is torn about what to do.

Best friend Heather, a wanna-be PI, tries to help. Then Trish learns her abusive husband, Jim, is involved in shady dealings. She decides to separate and file for divorce, moving to a local bed and breakfast to begin a new life. How deeply is her husband involved? How will he react to her leaving?  

Jim’s silent partner decides to resolve his problem. Trish again must rely on her inner strength and wisdom to escape a life-threatening nightmare.  

Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in life?

I think I’ve always been a writer but since I’m published I think I can claim the title of author. That’s how I look at the difference in those two categories. We’re all writers of some sort, blogs, emails, letters to the editor or just letters to a friend or family. When I was younger I wrote short stories and had moderate success at publishing them but I wasn’t dedicated to writing as I am now. So I don’t believe it was a dream, merely a folder in the back of my head titled “possible idea for a novel.”

What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?

My latest is Smudge. The tagline is – a small-town paralegal wipes a smudge off her ATM screen one night, and it’s blood. Then she hears a moan. She probably shouldn’t go into the alley next to her bank, but she does. That began with asking some what-if questions as I often do. I’d just left a meeting at night, and across the street I saw a woman at her ATM. She was alone so I guessed it had to be an emergency, and the area is not a high-crime area. But I got to thinking what if she discovered something odd and terrifying? From there my brain engaged and off I ran.

Definitely sounds like an intriguing book. Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

I suppose there’s a bit of someone I know in my characters. Some quirk they have. For my villains I try to find a picture of how I envision they look. One of my characters Ferlin Husky Lewis is patterned after an FBI most wanted fugitive – a Russian mafia guy. I actually printed his picture and taped it to my computer when I wrote his part. Scared my wife half to death.

What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books?

I love to do research. The internet is an amazing source to find obscure and unusual things. In my book Moon Over Chicago my hero Fulton Moon a cobbler and amateur detective tries to help a customer free herself from an abusive husband. Her spouse is a 6 foot 8 inch, bald-headed florist. Since he is, well different, I wanted an unusual hobby for him. So I gave him an ostrich farm west of Chicago. I have to admit I spent way too much time researching ostrich farms and their operations.   

I enjoy researching for my books too. So thankful for the easy access of the Internet and how it is a big help in researching. How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story? Is the process the same for every book you write? How long does it take you to write a book?

I’m a pantser, that is, someone who does not outline but charges ahead developing the story as I go. It takes a year to write and revise a novel. My books begin with a story idea such as the one for Smudge. Then I work on the first chapter which always involves some type of action relating to the story. That chapter will trigger more what-if questions and invariably some additional character will show up. At that point I have a vague idea of how the book will end. And so far in each of my books that vague idea never comes to pass. My endings always differ from the original thought.   

Are you working on any new book projects?

Actually I have three in various stages of development. My main focus is on a book titled Gulf Terror. The premise is what if (there I go with what –ifs) the explosion of the Gulf oilrig was an act of terrorism and one of the two suicide bombers survived and is now loose in Louisiana? My protagonists are two Homeland Security agents who track this person down. I’m about 25% done with it.

Love that idea! Who is your favorite contemporary author? Are you currently reading any contemporary novels?

Well I have too many favorites to list. I just love a good story. And in an effort to draw me out of my mystery genre, I joined a book club at my local library. Finished Left Neglected by Lisa Genova last week. A great book which follows her best seller Still Alice which I also loved. A talented writer. Our list included The Help, Unbroken, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. In all 48 books in four years and still counting. And I still read my mystery compatriot’s books as well.

J D, always a pleasure when you guest at The Mustard Seed. Thanks for stopping by today and chatting. 

9/20/2011 06:34:51

Thanks for letting me spout off today, Joanne.

9/20/2011 06:51:19

I love the way you take an ordinary action like going to an ATM and blow that up into an entire plot!

I never knew you could speak Chinese. That's why these guest posts are so great!

Morgan Mandel

Jacqueline Seewald
9/20/2011 07:37:51

Your novels sound like exciting reading.
Like Morgan, I found the interview very interesting.

Jacqueline Seewald
THE TRUTH SLEUTH--check it out at your local library

9/20/2011 09:09:06

Thanks, Morgan and Jacqueline.

Joanne Troppello
9/20/2011 10:50:55

You're welcome, J.D.
Thanks for guesting!

9/21/2011 03:24:09

J.D., great interview with Joanne Troppello. I, too, love research and can spend way too many hours with it.

9/21/2011 05:48:00

Hi J.D., very enjoyable interview. I can identify with what you say about research and I expecially enjoyed your part about how you go about writing a novel (a "pantser"). Thanks.


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