Author Q&A About YESTERDAY CALLING
QUESTION: Where does the novel take place? Do you base your locations on your personal experiences, like living in Wyoming?
As with many of the Sam Dawson Mysteries, the setting is southeast Wyoming. Yesterday Calling incorporates Cheyenne and Laramie, as well as Berthoud and Boulder along Colorado’s front range.
QUESTION: Do you consider Sam a hero or antihero? Why did you write him that way?
Sam is the classic antihero, a flawed individual who makes mistakes that most people can relate to. Too often protagonists assume larger than life personalities that are unbelievable. Sam Dawson’s character is portrayed in a manner that allows the reader to feel sympathetic toward him, thus creating an emotional bond.
QUESTION: How do you create the red herrings that keep your readers guessing?
As a mystery writer, I constantly ask “what if?”. Most red herrings (I call them rabbit trails) are rejected. The ones that persist are winnowed down to those that are believable and enhance the plot while eliciting surprise from the reader. My goal is to have the reader slap their forehead and say “Why didn’t I think of that?”
QUESTION: How do the bonds between parent and child play a role in Yesterday Calling? Between Sydney and Sam? Between Nick and his father and mother?
Familial bonds are inherently strong and lead to altruistic acts that are almost inexplicable. I believe my readers can relate to the genotypical bonds between a parent and their child and thereby relate to the main characters in this novel.
QUESTION: Your previous Sam Dawson novels have included historical references, mysteries and controversies, and this novel includes espionage. Where do you get your ideas? Was there espionage in Colorado?
Not all mysteries are based on popular history or controversies. Some can be endogenous arising from the personal experiences of an individual. When weapons used for nuclear warfare are produced and/or researched, there is espionage.
QUESTION: Where did you get your ideas for writing this book?
Yesterday Calling is a novel and thereby a work of fiction. Ideas are the easiest part of the writing process. They exist everywhere. Writers are usually good observers who pay attention to things that other people ignore. The key is to develop an idea that resonates with the reader. In this book, I ask the same questions every reader has asked themselves: “What if I had taken the road less traveled? What if I had made other choices? Will I be held accountable for the mistakes I’ve made? Fictionalize the answers to these questions and develop them into a story. Most ideas never result in a full-length story, but they often emerge as plot twists.
QUESTION: What would you like the reader to take away from this book?
As with all the Sam Dawson Mysteries, Sam explores the infinite complexities of human relationships and that people often torture themselves by not being truthful with the ones they love. The reader, like Sam, has secrets, some of which are based on mistakes. Those mistakes have consequences. The reader may wish to consider the cost/benefit ratio of revealing those omissions.