Tuesday, November 22, 2011

DECEMBER BOOK LAUNCH EVENT: Author Interview ~ John W. Mefford

Mystery Writers Unite is THRILLED to be supporting the work of John W. Mefford, author of the newly released novel COMMITTED; first book in The Michael Doyle Chronicles.
John is a veteran of the corporate wars and former journalist. Although he began wiring his debut novel when he entered the work force twenty-five years ago, he didn’t begin to put words on paper until late 2009.
When John isn’t writing, he chases his three kids around, slaves away in his yard, reads, plays as many sports as time will allow, watches all genres of movies, and continues to make mental notes of people and society.
John lives in Frisco, Texas with his beautiful wife, three adorable kids, and a feisty fat cat.
--- Interview
MWU: Great to be interviewing you again! Being that we’ve talked before, I had to dig a little deeper to come up with great questions…lol. With that, here is the first one – if your wife was approached on the street and was asked what your writing quirk(s) is/are what would she say?
John W. Mefford: First, thanks for having me again, Becky. This kind of feels like a vacation homeJ When I’m in “the zone,” I have a tendency to speak part of the dialogue as I’m typing it…and sometimes I’m even “in character.” Depending on the scene, apparently, it can sound a bit outrageous, especially if it’s not taken in the context of the story. A couple of times early in my first draft I think I scared my wife…she thought I was really losing it.
MWU: If you could be a character in COMMITTED which one would you want to be and why?
John W. Mefford: I look at that question from a couple of different perspectives. If this was the land of make believe, I’d take on the role of Chuck, CEO at Omaha Gas. I’ve always been fascinated by the mindset and scruples of people who climb the ladder to the top rung. Manipulation is one trait that comes to mind. I probably couldn’t take that role any longer than a day. Then, I’d have to change to another character and take a shower.
Like most of us, however, I’d love to be the lead dog, Michael. Usually, good wins out over evil, but it’s not a straight shot. In addition to ending up as the hero, one of the interesting facets of Michael was watching him recognize and overcome a life-long issue. Roll all of that up and you have one pretty cool cat. Actually, midway through writing the book I figured out the actor I’d like to see play Michael when I sell the movie rights – Ben Affleck. I’d even let him direct, as well.
MWU: Did you outline or sketch COMMITTED before you began writing your first draft or did you just go with the flow of the pen?
John W. Mefford: I made a conscious decision before I typed my first word that the only thing I wanted to know was how many words in a MS Word document equated a book page. I knew if I tapped into the endless abyss of the internet before writing my first paragraph, all of my creativity and drive to start, let alone finish, would evaporate.
As I would with any new venture, I started at a high level and documented some rough plot ideas. Then, I created a pseudo-outline. As my thoughts got more granular, I gave myself full immunity from making changes, small or wholesale. Despite my business background that encouraged following a process, I didn’t want to completely box myself in. I think it worked.
MWU: What do you think readers will most enjoy about COMMITTED?
John W. Mefford: I knowingly created a contemporary plot, where nearly everyone could relate to being in a similar situation. Disgust, guilt, passion, desperation, and mere hopelessness are just a few emotions that will resonate with all readers. With such a present-day plot accentuated by so many other twists and turns, I think it’s a book most readers will connect with and finish very quickly. 
MWU: If your main character in COMMITTED could say something to you, what do you think he would say?
John W. Mefford: “You almost killed me! But in the long run I learned what – and who – was indispensable for me to live my life with no regrets. I’ll never forget this opportunity for growth. Thank you.”
MWU: If you had less than a minute to tell a perspective reader what they could expect from COMMITTED (you are at a trade show and someone has stopped by your booth) what would you tell them? Go….
John W. Mefford: Prepare for a story so real, you won’t believe it’s fiction. The story is about sinful deception. A malicious corporate takeover. Murder. Unrelenting greed.
The system of lies is deep-rooted, ingrained in the greedy minds that concocted what appeared to be another distasteful corporate takeover. But this one is different. Beyond the dishonesty, layoffs, and political posturing, their tentacles burrow until they engulf their target, regardless of the damage it causes.
Follow Michael Doyle on a journey to discover what is important – who is important – while he struggles to sift through the fog of corruption and treachery to find a killer. Can one man rise above his greatest fear to uncover the truth about a murder and save the life of the person he loves most?
Only if he’s…COMMITTED.
MWU: If the main character in COMMITTED was stranded on a deserted island and wasn’t going to be rescued for at least one year, what would he need to have with him to make sure he remains sane?
John W. Mefford: Michael would want to have his computer, a case full of cheap red wine, and his life partner, Marisa. They’d have so much fun together they’d probably ask the rescuers to give them another six months on the island!
MWU: How did you develop and differentiate your characters and how do you “stay in character” when you’re writing?
John W. Mefford: When I initially create a character, I try to write from that POV as soon as possible, and include some dialogue. After I sleep and run off to do a million other things, I can go back and read through a few key paragraphs to put me back in the mindset of that character. Many times I read the dialogue out loud. I probably change my facial expression and utter a grunt here or there as I bang out the storyline. After a character makes the first cut, I describe him/her in more detail, which helps me further shape and distinguish each person. All of that is saved in my support document – my little black book. It has all my secrets, the scoop on all the characters, and every twist and turn I’ve ever considered.  
MWU: Who do you see as your “ideal” reader?
John W. Mefford: Anyone who has ever worked for a corporation, ages 20 to 90, could relate to the base plot. For people who have ever been in a real relationship where people are flawed and a fairy doesn’t magically swipe her wand over them to fix everything, would certainly connect with this book. I intentionally wrote the story to appeal to the masses, but on a personal level.
MWU: What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
John W. Mefford: If you’re not living on the edge, you’re probably not living. It wasn’t directed at writing, but I’ve since used the phrase for that purpose. It encourages you to not be afraid to re-evaluate your approach and to challenge yourself on all levels.
MWU: What are your thoughts on the ever-changing publishing industry? What do you see for the future, as a writer?
John W. Mefford: If you look at the history of business, those who profit most from major industry shifts are those who are open-minded and don’t cling to the old way of thinking until their last dying breath. I’ve certainly developed strong opinions related to the world of indie authors and self-publishing. But as I’ve stated previously, I remain open to having my views altered. In fact, they will change as business models are tweaked, new players enter the game, and old players fade away. It’s the circle of life – from a business perspective.
MWU: Is there anything you would like to say to new writers, new readers or current fans of your work? When I worked in the newspaper industry, I fit right at home with a take it or leave it attitude. I knew my work would be loved by some and loathed by others who might have disagreed with my journalistic digging or an opinion in one of my columns.
As a novelist, I write to evoke emotion from every person who reads my book. Readers might connect with different characters or relate to one aspect of the story more than another, but I write so they can enjoy the gift of reading a great story. I truly appreciate them taking their precious time to read my debut story…the first of many.
I always like to ask readers, to what element of the book (including Committed) do they feel a connection?
I really enjoy receiving feedback from readers, whether it’s on my website, FB or Twitter, or through a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Here’s how people can reach me:
Twitter tag: @jwmefford
The synopsis for COMMITTED:
We all have that inner voice, the one who knows all but refuses to let even our closest confidantes inside. The one we must calm when we’re most unsettled, and the one who seeks to understand our path, our destiny.

Michael Doyle lives in emotional anonymity, resistant to fully devote himself to anyone or any cause. Without warning, a technology firm acquires Michael’s company, and he quickly sees through the fog of political posturing: false hope, layoffs, and blatant dishonesty. Then, death reaches up and grabs him.

Shaken to the core, Michael leans on his live-in girlfriend, who has touched his heart like no one else. But her haunting past resurfaces, and she’s pulled into a seedy web by an outside force so cruel it destroys every soul in its path.

Can Michael rise above his greatest fear to uncover the truth about a murder and save the life of the person he loves most? 
Only if he's...COMMITTED.

This post is part of a DECEMBER BOOK LAUNCH EVENT ---->> Join JOHN W. MEFFORD and 9 of his author friends at WoMen's Literary Cafe's Mystery Book Launch, December 13-15. Ten authors will discount their eBooks to just 99 cents. Buy 3 get 1 FREE!

No comments: