Today I am happy top welcome Jackson Paul Baer, author of THE EARTH BLEEDS READ, a literary suspense novel. I love to read mysteries that have me turning page after page. So this is great! Jackson has agreed to an interview. I’ve asked him some questions about his new book as well as tips he can give in writing a great mystery. So you’re not kept in suspense, let’s get on with the interview.
Can you share a little about yourself and your book?
Jackson Paul Baer: I'm married with four kids and "The Earth Bleeds Red" is my first novel. It's a literary suspense that looks at why bad things happen to good people, while a serial killer steals from the perfect family. This book will appeal to people who enjoy reading literary fiction and suspense/mystery novels. Think Joyce Carol Oates meets Junot Diaz, while they are both reading Sherman Alexie.
What inspired you to write this book?
Jackson Paul Baer: I decided after taking a short story writing class at Oregon State that I was finally going to write a novel. I've always wanted to, but I had never committed myself. The title came to me first and then the book just poured out.
When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
Jackson Paul Baer: Ever since I was a little kid. I used to write poems, then titles for books, and then songs as a young adult. My writing kind of evolved and grew into my true love: novels.
What types of books did you read when you were a teen?
Jackson Paul Baer: I read next to nothing as a teen. My favorite book from high school was "Men of Kent." It's an historical fiction set in England. I didn't start reading until around age 20.
Let’s talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
Jackson Paul Baer: I had to do a lot of research when it came to locations, setting, and distances. I wrote this novel while living in Oregon and tried to be as descriptive as possible. I want the reader to feel like they are in the Pacific Northwest as they read it.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
Jackson Paul Baer: I hope they will look at what's really important in their life. This book has a way of making you think about your own family and the decisions you make in life. It does for me anyway.
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
Jackson Paul Baer: The main character, Scott, is my favorite. His sense of humor is similar to mine as well as his questions about faith and life in general. I see my own struggles in him and can only imagine the loss he's dealing with in this suspenseful novel.
What tips can you give to writers wanting to attempt writing in the suspense genre?
Jackson Paul Baer: Read across genres, read real crime stories, and write every chance you get.
What makes a good mystery? Do you have a favorite mystery novel as an example?
Jackson Paul Baer: "Indian Killer," by Sherman Alexie, is probably my favorite mystery. A good mystery always keeps you on the edge... wanting to know what will happen next. Then, just when you think you have it figured out, the story throws you for a twist.
Where can we go to buy your book?
Jackson Paul Baer: You can visit my website at www.JacksonPaulBaer.com where I have links to pick up the book.
Any other links or info you'd like to share?
Excerpt from book:
Ashley made us whole. The three of us were more complete than any other family that ever resided in the Northwest. We had unforgettable times together. I love the way she read and the face she made after I told an embarrassing joke. She liked to tell stories herself, stories that always left me thinking. I often think about our times together and all the moments yet to be had in our two-story house on Hollow Drive. The light brown country style home that sat on a half-acre lot has been our loving home for the past five years. Lined with off-white trim, the double-paned windows sit above the winding stone walkway in the front yard.
I’d been planting a few cherry trees in the back yard. I put the shovel in the garage and took my dark-tan, steel-toed boots off by the door before going into the kitchen. The point of my second-generation shovel was so sharp that I just barely had to place my foot on the edge of the metal for the end to pierce the soaked dirt. The ground was soft from all the rain, as January and February proved to be even more dreary than usual. I’m not sure how much more of the gray skies and wet earth I could take. I like the rain, but it has poured for the last seven days… a soaking and miserable rain.