IR– What inspired the idea for your book?
James– The inspiration for Dead Drop didn’t come from a single source. I worked in the California prison system for nearly thirty years. I met up with a few colorful characters—characters who have inspired some of my crime fiction work. There were thousands of men in prison with what we called “Immigration Holds,” which meant when they were done with the prison sentence for their state crimes, they would face deportation back to their home country.
Before they committed their crimes, most of them crossed the border in search of a new life, free from the crime, drugs, and corruption they faced back home. Many of the men I encountered turned to crime out of desperation, or were extorted by criminal organizations like the Mexican Mafia or the Cartels.
I took this background and put together a story where the influences behind the border violence and corruption don’t come from the usual sources.
Bouchercon is the annual gathering of the world’s mystery writers and serves as the high point of the year for many of us in the writing community. I was especially excited when the 2020 edition of Bouchercon was slated for Sacramento, California, a place I lived and worked for many years. Not to mention the […]
The muse is a fickle creature. A few authors I know claim their muse guides their creative energy, breaking through self-imposed writer’s blocks, and delivering them safely to the land of a finished pristine manuscript. To them, I proudly give back a big fat jealous raspberry. I don’t have that relationship with my muse. Sure […]
Mystery Writers of America is hosting a series of events featuring member authors during October. The Northern California Chapter, to which I proudly belong, is sponsoring an entire week with events in the San Francisco Bay area and Sacramento. Please join me and NorCal MWA members, Robin Burcell, Lillian Bell (Eileen Rendahl), Catriona McPherson, and […]
It’s that time again–the annual pilgrimage to the worldwide mystery convention known as Bouchercon. The moveable Mecca of the mystery writing scene sets up its tents in St. Petersburg, Florida this year and it’s always a big draw bringing writers and avid readers together. Last year’s convention in Toronto drew over 1,400 participants to […]
I’ve run across several blogs and articles talking about the music writers like to have playing in the background while they work. Some refuse to listen to anything with lyrics because it’s distracting, while others need to have a specific musical artist speaking for the characters in the novel under construction. Music in the background […]
Build it and they shall come… Private prisons have been a popular recurring theme in crime fiction and television drama. Most of the stories I’ve come across involve some smoky backroom deal between a corrupt judge and a private prison operator. Newly sentenced offenders, often kids, are portrayed as victims who wouldn’t have come to […]
It’s been a while since I posted about writing related stuff. Mostly, because I’ve been busy doing the words rather than writing about doing the words. I’ve hit that sweet spot in between manuscripts and I have a moment to come up out of the cult bunker take an inventory of what’s what. The past ten […]
Ah, it’s that glorious time of year–the flowers bloom, trees leaf out, and the hillsides are awash in fresh green grass. All of these chamber of commerce postcard moments brought out the doomsday prepper in me over the past few weeks. They saw fresh flowers–I saw pollen. Townsfolk posted Facebook photos of newly leafed trees–I […]
I’m a creature of habit. I get used to a routine and there is a certain comfort about the ritual and expectations of a well-planned day. All that goes out the window when a creature of another sort appears–#NotMyCat. This furry little bag of attitude has thrown my routine into the litter box. […]