Rick Murcer - Edge-of-Your-Seat Thrillers Laced with Humor
Rick lives in Michigan with his wife and two furballs, Beaux and Braxton. He has two great kids and 5 amazing grandbabies. He began writing at 55 and became a New York Times best-selling author. Who knew? Rick studied at Michigan State and finished his degree in Environmental Science. He also studied abnormal pysch at John Wesly College. He claims both degrees helped him on his writing journey. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his book, Caribbean Moon.
Please give us a short introduction to what Caribbean Moon is about.
Caribbean Moon is about a gifted, but workaholic, detective from small-town Lansing Michigan who desperately needs a vacation, according to his wife at least.
One of his fellow officers is getting married in San Juan and then the wedding party is taking a 7-day cruise to the Southern Caribbean. A perfect setup for Manny Williams to take a breather.
Except, it doesn't quite work out that way. When the bodies start showing up, Manny, and his friends, have no choice but to kick in what they do to help, never suspecting what they would discover once on the ship.
Readers loved the setting and the characters so I was well pleased, obviously.
What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything in particular that made you want to tackle this?
We cruise a lot so the idea of a serial killer ending up on a cruise ship was interesting to me because I hadn't read such a book.
Plus, I thought it would be fun to mix the beautiful and exotic with the dark side of killers like this one.
Tell us more about Manny Williams. What makes him tick?
I was so tired of every cop in this genre being a womanizer or an alcoholic, etc. Manny isn't perfect and works too much, but he's a good guy.
He's hot, can sing, has an unequaled ability to profile, and he loves his wife and daughter far more than anything else. KInd of a hot boy scout.
Have you always wanted to be an author? What has your writing journey been like?
Good question. No, not really. I played baseball in college and didn't even like writing two-page papers, despite reading a ton. My wife was writing her first novel and I challenged her to pick up the pace. She then challenged me to write one. It wasn't pretty to start with, but we're here now. :)
Interesting cover. Please tell us more about it.
We (my wife, Carrie, and I) love the Caribbean and the beaches, and of course, the moon is special there, for many reasons. But we also have seen some aberrant behavior under that moon, so the idea was to mix them both, plus, who doesn't like moonlit beaches?
Why did you pick San Juan, Puerto Rico as the backdrop for your story?
We think San Juan and Puerto Rico in general are underrated as destinations. We spent some time there and thought it would be a good backdrop. The old saying about writing what you know applies here. We know San Juan a bit.
Why murder mystery? What drew you to the genre?
I'm actually one who reads a lot of horror. King and Koontz are favorites.
But I love the challenge of figuring out whodunits and the twist and turns of a well-written police procedural. Like Patterson's older work. Plus I'm a bit of a science geek and enjoy the forensic arena a great deal. So, I suppose there's a little of all of that in the books, but Caribbean Moon was the first to go that direction.
What was your greatest challenge when writing Caribbean Moon?
Oddly, not the writing. I'm a storyteller and that's a must if you are going to have some success writing novels. I was a rookie, however, so editing was a challenge, even with a wife who is a lifelong proofreader/editor so that helped. Some of the first reviews were brutal, but I learned that the great reviews far overtook the not-so-friendly ones. But you have to keep the mistakes at a minimum. And, get an editor! :)
How much research did this book require from you?
Tons. I'm one for not wanting technical mistakes to ever be an issue. I had a friend at Carnival Cruise Lines who spilled her guts on the inner workings of a cruise, the good and the less savory, for instance. I researched guns, procedures, forensic advancements, and criminal databases etc.
And, as I said, we cruise a lot, we know the islands and their layouts.
To date, we've not had a known issue with our accuracy.
Did you plot out the entire story before you started writing, or did some of it just "happen" along the way?
Yeah, I'm not one of those folks that can use an outline. I begin the story with a few thoughts and my characters defined, then let it evolve. I don't know where that beginning will lead, and how it ends, for the most part. I get to read it as it comes to life. My favorite part of this journey. But, folks have to do it their way, just as long as they write.
You also included some humor in the story. Why did you take this approach?
I believe you have to laugh at yourself some and not take life so seriously at every turn. We're all going to have hardships and trouble. Keep it in perspective and remember there's more after we leave this planet.
Humor, even in the worst of times, it seems, can rise up and help folks cope with what's going on. Sophie Lee does that in Caribbean Moon. Laughing is good for the soul, so laugh.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
Another good question. I'm an older writer. I started at 55 and had to squeeze in life and writing. But once Caribbean Moon met with some success, I changed to a normal routine. I got up, had coffee, read emails, then went to my office, with Max, my now-deceased writing dog, and began writing every morning at around 8:30.
The goal was a thousand words a day. Sometimes more, sometimes a bit less, but I stayed pretty much on track.
That's changed over the last few years, I spend more time doing other things that give me joy. I love substitute teaching and I coach baseball and still play softball.
But the original goal was to write 20-25 books, so I'm back at the routine, at least three days a week, and enjoying it. Advice to writers here. Pick a time, even if it's one day or night a week, and stick to it. It works.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I love hearing what readers think and I'm willing to share what I've learned along the way, We need to give back, all of us. You just never know what a kind word or a bit of instruction and advice can do for someone. We're in this life thing together. I want to personify that if I can.
Thanks for having me!
mall-town detective/workaholic, Manny Williams is thrilled with the prospect of finally taking the long-awaited vacation he had promised his wife, Louise. The couple’s exotic getaway begins in sunny San Juan, Puerto Rico, followed with an incredible week-long Southern Caribbean cruise on the glamorous Ocean Duchess. It's perfect, until the first dead body shows itself.