Scott W. Cook - A Fun Mystery/Action Adventure
A full-time author who lives in Florida's Tampa Bay area, Scott W. Cook is and has always been a lover of good stories. When he's not hard at work composing new tales, Scott enjoys living the full Florida lifestyle - sailing, surfing, kayaking, fishing and if you can throw in a great waterside bar and grill and good tunes, you'll find a happy man! Scott is a voracious reader and truly loves losing himself in a good story. It's one of the reasons he first became a writer - the desire to bring an engaging, exciting, and entertaining tale to life. With his Florida-based private investigator series, his WWII submarine thriller series, and new Age of Sail naval adventures, Scott indulges his passions and allows his imagination to run wild... in the hope that immersing yourself in his books will put a smile on your face. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his book, Choices.
Please give us a short introduction to what Choices is about.
Well, aside from the Amazon book blurb, which gives plenty of plot summary info, let me also describe how Choices came to be.
I became interested in private detective fiction many years ago and decided I wanted to write one myself – back in 1998!
Essentially, this book is about a young police detective living in Orlando, FL named Scott Jarvis. He gets a case that somewhat brings up another from his past. One that was yanked out from under him before he could solve it. He goes to find a missing man only to stumble into a mafia smuggling ring down in the Florida Keys. Again, he’s pulled off the case and the missing man’s wife is murdered right afterward. This is something of a final straw and he chooses to become a private eye. He then is able to pick up the case again and bring it to its exciting fists and guns conclusion.
The book sat on the digital shelf for years until I discovered the self-publishing path on Amazon.
What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything that made you want to tackle this?
Authors like Raymond Chandler and his Philip Marlow as well as Robert B. Parker’s Spenser. I find the first-person journey of such characters fascinating and who doesn’t love a twisted mystery plot?
Why did you decide to involve a missing NASA engineer in the story?
Well, I was looking for an interesting character - and this missing engineer, Charles Conklin, pops up in later books as well.
Working for NASA opened up a unique path to what turned into an international espionage story. And aerospace is a large part of Florida's culture.
Tell us more about Jarvis. What makes him tick?
The character certainly grows a great deal throughout the series, but in this book, he's something of an idealist at heart. He has a hard time accepting injustice and the confines of police work begin to rub against his grain.
This book is as much a journey about finding oneself and learning to accept and work with one's dark side as it is a mystery romance. By the end, Jarvis is still Jarvis, but he's grown.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
LOL - I'm a fabulous cook, love to sail, and make the universe's most fantastic margarita from scratch :)
I'm also quite a good kisser... but don't let that get around!
This is the first book in the Scott Jarvis Private Investigator series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in this series tie in with this one?
Yes, it can, especially as it's the first.
All of them can, yet this world is one that continues and does tie into each book going forward. In each, I give you what brief background you need to know to enjoy them alone, but reading them in order is more comprehensive.
Interesting cover. Please tell us more about how it came about.
Like all my covers, I try to represent something from a scene in the book. Originally it was nighttime, but I had it brightened to be more visually appealing. This is a Florida-based action and adventure series wrapped in a mystery, so I tried to make all the covers in a way that showed some of the action within.
What was your greatest challenge when writing Choices?
Probably that it was my first real novel. I'm sure that if I started it new today, it would probably be a bit different, as we writers do learn and improve with age, time, and practice. In the same way that musicians do.
A challenge with all detective fiction, I think, is creating a story that's both believable and at the same time outlandish enough to be entertaining. Creating a superhero main character who is also human, with flaws and weaknesses like the rest of us.
What makes Jarvis and Niki such a great team?
Chemistry and they respect one another.
Why action/mystery? What drew you to the genre?
As mentioned above, I like detective stories. I also enjoy authors like Randy Wayne White of Doc Ford fame as well as other similar tropical authors.
I wanted a world that could appeal to everyone with intelligent and thoughtful mysteries to unravel as well as romance and a backdrop where exciting things can happen.
Florida affords that - from theme parks to forests, from beaches to the deep sea, and a diverse population.
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
Open up Word! I generally decide on the broad idea of what the plot will be and then write it by the stream of consciousness method.
I know vaguely where I want the book to end up, but the pages fil themselves in even as I write. When you understand how to tap into your imagination and let it do the work, it's amazing what comes out. I also think this makes for a good mystery plot that you don't figure out on page 5.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
If I'm honest about it, the actual writing is pretty dull to non-writers. You sit around in a T-shirt and your skivvies, sip coffee and let your fingers do the walking!
What's really cool though is what I said above - your unconscious mind actually does the work, and when you simply give it its marching orders, it's amazing what comes out.
Generally, my day is to get up at about 6 a.m. or so, put on the coffee and start writing. I try to get in at least one chapter a day, say 3-5,000 words. Then spell check and edit. I find that my creative juices flow best before noon.
I then go for a walk/run or workout and the afternoon is often spent researching or taking care of whatever chores life requires :)
What are you working on right now?
I'm nearing the end of The Immortal Dracula #3 - The Sword and the Spirit.