My first publishing credit came as a complete surprise when an article that I wrote for a powerboat racing club newsletter found its way onto the desk of the president of The American Power Boat Association and he submitted it to Propeller Magazine. My first novel The Unreal McCoy was self published and surprisingly successful. I was able to follow up with Turn Left at September published by Behler Publications, a small mainstream publisher in California. Both titles have been converted to electronic format and are now available through Amazon’s Kindle. The next book The First Domino is now also available on Kindle as well as Nook. My Short story, Calvin was a finalist in a contest sponsored by Futures Magazine. I am a co-founder of the Huron Area Writer’s Group in Huron County Michigan and I write a bi-monthly column and review mysteries for www.myshelf.com
The First Domino is available on Kindle format at Amazon.com and in Nook format at Barnesandnoble.com
The Unreal McCoy is available in Kindle format at Amazon.com
Turn Left at September is available in Kindle format at Amazon.com and in paperback wherever books are sold.
Where can readers find you online?
Find Dennis on Facebook
The Unreal McCoy
The Unreal McCoy Blog
I think that I always dreamed of being a writer. The goals changed over the years but the desire to be heard has been there as long as I can remember
What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?
Some family history has recently come to light. We’ve begun to uncover a few amazing facts about an uncle who went missing-in-action during the Second World War. These revelations started me thinking about the thousands of our boys who never returned. It was the inspiration for The First Domino.
Sounds like a great source of inspiration. Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
A little of both. During my lifetime I’ve run across a few characters that are just too interesting to be allowed to fade away. But then sometimes I need a certain type and I have to invent them. The real ones are easier to develop though.
Agree with characters that are just too interesting to be allowed to fade away. What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books?
A good portion of The First Domino takes place in Florence, Italy and I’ve never been there. I bought a tourist guide of the city, a tourist map, contacted their tourist bureau. I even picked up a few restaurant menus. I downloaded countless photos of the city as well as the brochure for the American Military Cemetery.
Part of my last book took place in England and I had to some similar research. Where do you go to do your research?
The internet is really handy for research because plenty of little known facts about people and places permeate its massive database. But I still like to visit an area that I’m writing about whenever possible. There are some impressions that you just can’t get unless you visit in person.
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?
My inspirations are usually really small; sometimes no more than a single sentence or a newspaper obituary. I have a handful of established characters that have distinct personalities so I know how they’ll react. The only thing I have to do is create situations and then throw my characters in. They’ll find their own way. If I could stay at it, it probably would take me about six months or less to have a working copy of a manuscript. But distractions generally stretch that time frame out to about nine months.
Are you currently working on any new book projects?
Actually I have two new projects in the works. The first is about the rumored four hundred million dollars in Confederate gold that was lost on the bottom of northern Lake Michigan during the civil war. The other is about a psychopath who has found a way to breed Bull Sharks in Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay.
Very intriguing ideas. Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write a book? Do you have any advice for them regarding promoting that book once published?
For beginning writers? Don’t be afraid and don’t give up. Enter any writing contest that catches your fancy. You may find it helpful to take some creative writing classes. Once your book is published… network. Begin with the writer’s community and do whatever you can to earn their support. Make as many public appearances as you can. I began by sending out letters to over a hundred bookstores. It resulted in only three appearances but that’s where it begins. Now I’ve gathered a moderate but loyal following and the opportunities are quite regular. With my latest book The First Domino making its debut in electronic format, things are different. Internet presence is much more important and it’s an area that I’m just learning. I’m excited about the future.
What’s your writing schedule like? When do you find time to write?
Since December of 2003 I’ve been a full time writer. You’d think with writing being my primary focus that I’d have some sort of regular schedule. But that’s not the case with me. I like to write early in the morning and then late in the afternoon. I tell myself that the middle of the day is for “thinking.” My biggest distractions are the sugar sand beach out in front and the Harley in the garage. I write a little more regularly on rainy days and during the winter months.
Not so sure about the Harley, but the beach could very easily distract me too. What’s the most challenging aspect of writing for you? ~ POV issues; using too much passive voice and not enough active voice; trouble creating active and engaging dialogue; using too many similar words in starting sentences; or something else?
The biggest difficulty for me is the fact that, although my stories are pure fiction, I want to send a meaningful message of morality and personal responsibility. I specifically want my characters to have a strong social conscience yet remain apolitical. I can’t stand books with a political agenda. I guess that I’m just trying to send a subliminal message supporting strong moral character.
As far as technique goes, I find it particularly satisfying when I can find a new and
profound way of stating an ordinary situation. I tend to agonize over this point.
Joe Pellerito thought he could murder his way into the mob. The son of a high powered Mafia lawyer and negotiator, he assumed that he’d be welcomed into the Family. When Joe’s father died of cancer he waited anxiously for the invitation to join the ranks. But the call never came. Feeling shunned, Joe devised a plan to show his dedication and fearlessness. From a list of Detroit cops who have been problems for the syndicate Joe chose three candidates and pulled off a string of three brutal murders in less than two hours on a bright spring morning.
The philosophy of the mob has moved into the new millennium and has all but abandoned confrontations with law enforcement. Joe’s actions threaten to undo the progress that took two decades to build. The problem of Joe Pellerito must be addressed.
With a price on his head, Joe is forced to flee and tries to hide in Italy where he attempts to gain a whole new identity.
The diligence of Detroit Police detectives Otis Springfield and Albert McCoy helps them sniff out Joe’s trail but the mob has its resources as well and soon the race is on to see who can get their hands on Joe first.
Sounds very intriguing. Adding it to my TBR list.
Dennis, thank you for stopping by to guest today. I enjoyed chatting with you and getting to know more about you and your books.
If you'd like to enter for a chance to win an ebook copy of Dennis' book, The First Domino, please comment on this blog post. Hope you all can stay and chat for a bit.