MysteryAuthors.com is proud to have bestselling mystery author JEFF SHERRATT with us for an interview today. Thank you for joining us.
M.A.: Tell us a little about your featured mystery, THE BRIMSTONE MURDERS.
J.S.: THE BRIMSTONE MURDERS is my latest novel in the Jimmy O’Brien mystery series. My books are set in the early 1970s. Jimmy O’Brien, the protagonist, is a fledgling criminal defense lawyer with an office located in Southern California. He’s always short on cash and clients rarely walk through his door. The only cases he’s able to get are those assigned by the courts, cases where Jimmy would have to pull off a miracle to win. He’s ordered by the judge to interview the accused, and at the arraignment bring in a guilty plea. He’ll pick up a fast fifty bucks for his trouble. Of Course, it doesn’t always work out that way.
M.A.: Can you share with us (without giving anything away, of course!) a personal favorite moment or line in your book?
J.S.: Jimmy in his past life had been known to tip a few, but had cleaned up his act when he became a lawyer. Now, when out on the town with his friend and mentor, Sol Silverman, he often has to explain why he’s not drinking. From the book:
Now when Sol and I are out somewhere having fun and there is a lot of drinking going on, someone invariably asks why I'm not imbibing. And when that happens, Sol always says, "Jimmy quit. He wasn't a drunk or anything. It's just that when he went out for a cool one, he'd be gone for days at a time. He'd pass out, and maybe wake up in Mexico…at a dogfight." Sol would laugh, then continue, "…in the ring on all fours, snarling at a pit bull."
"I rarely won," I always added.
M.A.: Why mysteries? What makes them so compelling for you to write?
J.S.: Throughout the years, I read all of Raymond Chandler’s novels several times and thought how great it would be to write a mystery novel myself one day. After selling my business I wrote one, then wrote another one. But when the publishing bug hit and I decided to get serious about writing I took an extension course at UCLA, wrote THE BRIMSTONE MURDERS, and with this novel I hired a writing couch, Mike Sirota. The MS was picked up almost immediately by the first publisher who saw it.
M.A.: What about other work? Do you write in any genres other than mystery?
J.S.: Other than a few articles here and there, I stick to mysteries.
M.A.: What was your funniest writing-related moment?
J.S.: Like most authors, I often laugh out loud while sitting at the computer pounding out humorous passages. The first time it happened, my wife, Judy, stuck her head in door and saw me all alone laughing like a nut. She wondered if I’d flipped out or something. Soon she started to laugh along with me. She stopped when she read the material I’d just typed out. “What’s so funny about this?” she asked.
M.A.: So, what's your current writing project? Is it a mystery, too?
J.S.: I have a new book coming out in late January, 2009 called GUILTY OR ELSE. As I said, I only write mysteries and I’m presently working on another untitled Jimmy O’Brien novel scheduled to be released in 2010.
M.A.: Other than MysteryAuthors.com, do you have any websites where readers can find out more about you and your work?
J.S.: Of course. www.jeffsherratt.com
Thanks again for agreeing to take a Minute for Mystery by joining us here today.