Multi-genre author Susan Whitfield writes the Logan Hunter Mystery series: Genesis Beach, Just North of Luck,Hell Swamp, Sin Creek and Sticking Point. She authored Killer Recipes, a unique cookbook, and wrote a women's fiction, Slightly Cracked. She is currently writing an historical fiction titled Sprig of Broom. Susan interviews authors and industry experts on the blog. Web site: www.susanwhitfieldonline.com
Mark S. Bacon began his career as a newspaper reporter
covering the police beat. After writing
news and features at two newspapers, he moved to copywriting when he
joined the advertising department of
Knott's Berry Farm, a large theme park down the road from Disneyland in Orange
County, Calif. Bacon wrote commercials
and ads and he directed special events.
Later, his career moved into other forms of communication,
but his early background covering a daily police beat and working in a theme
park led him to create Nostalgia City, the setting for his new mystery novel.
He is the author of several business books, one of which was
selected as a best business book of the year by the Library Journal and printed
in four languages. He is also the author
of two collections of short mystery fiction including, Cops, Crooks & Other Stories in 100 Words.
Welcome to the blog, Mark.
a short synop of your recently published book, Death in Nostalgia City.
Ex-cop Lyle Deming talks to himself. And he wears a rubber band on his
wrist—therapy for stress. He thinks he’s
found the ideal new job to cure his chronic anxiety. He’s driving a cab in a theme park resort
that lets him relive a quieter time.
Nostalgia City is a meticulous re-creation of an entire small town from
the early 1970s, complete with period, clothes, cars, music, stores, hotels,
The relaxed atmosphere is just what Lyle needs, until rides
are sabotaged and tourists killed.
Iron-willed “Max” Maxwell, the billionaire founder of Nostalgia City,
drafts Lyle into investigating—unofficially. When more “accidents” happen and
employees get jumpy, Lyle gets help.
Maxwell persuades his PR director, 6-foot, 2 ½ -inch Kate Sorensen, to
deflect the horrific media coverage—and help discover who is behind the deaths.
Lyle and Kate scour the Arizona desert—the setting of the
theme park—and travel to Boston and back in a race to uncover a deadly
much of yourself is hidden in the characters in your book?
Lyle is really a combination of several people I’ve known
with a healthy dose of my own psyche tossed in.
I think I have a type A personality at times and, like Lyle, seek peace
whenever I can find it. Some of Kate’s
opinions about the news media are similar to mine—I was a PR manager for a
time, after I was a reporter—but for the most part, she’s a combination of two
women I’ve known and admire.
you travel to do research or for inspiration?
Can you share some special place with us?
As to the research, I stayed
in Boston twice and thought it was an ideal setting for several reasons. First, it forms a good contrast to Nostalgia
City which is a small town located in the open spaces of northern Arizona. Second, I especially like the New England city’s
downtown, with its winding, unparallel streets, modern glass buildings next to
centuries-old historic structures and a mixture of city hubbub and Boston
Common calm. The geography of eastern
Massachusetts fits the plot of the story as well. Or perhaps the geography influenced the plot.
Which came first?
Inspiration also came from
the southwest where I’ve lived for a long time.
Parts of old Route 66 run across northern Arizona from the New Mexico
border to California at the Colorado River, connecting the past with the
present in bits of cracked asphalt and retro diners. Nostalgia City fits there for many reasons,
not the least of which is I needed lots of inexpensive land to build the theme
park and resort.
would you characterize your book in terms of genre?
I would call this a
suspenseful mystery. Or perhaps a
mysterious suspense story. I wrote the
type of story I enjoy reading. I want an
author to create a puzzle, stir in lots of clues and suspects for me to
consider. That’s the intellectual
side. But I don’t want it all to happen
in a manor house. Action and suspense
are necessary to involve the emotions and persuade you to identify with the
protagonists’plight. I hope Death in Nostalgia City appeals to both
the head and the heart.
do you store ideas for later use: in your head, in a notebook, or on a
I store my ideas in my head
only long enough to get them down on paper. Eventually, I collect the scraps of
paper, with ideas hastily scrawled on them, and enter the details in files in
At first, your mention of a
spreadsheet sounded strange, but it could work for me. I’ve always written detailed outlines of my
books. When I was writing nonfiction I
would create lengthy outlines, covering many pages, for each chapter in my
book. Then when I got started I knew
exactly where I was going. I had made
note of everything.
When I started doing fiction
I followed the same strategy. But things
happen. I’m not saying my characters did
things I didn’t expect, but circumstances change—especially in a mystery/suspense
story—and at times my outline went out the window.
books have you read recently and do you have favorite authors?
I read in a variety of
genres, mainstream fiction, historical fiction, and history to name a few. I’ve recently read Team of Rivals, Unbroken,
Destiny of the Republic, Water for Elephants, Shadow of the Wind and
Thunderstruck. Obviously I love
mysteries and suspense. I read a broad
range of authors there including Robert Harris, J.A. Jance, Harlen Coben, Scott
Turow, John Grisham, Elmore Leonard, Bill Moody, David Morrell, Nelson DeMille,
David Baldacci, Stieg Larsson and the list goes on. Some favorites of the past include the
wonderful Graham Greene and 30s and 40s noir master Cornell Woolrich.
your books available in print and e-book formats?
in Nostalgia City is available in print and in all popular e-book formats for
Kindle, Nook, iPad and more.