Welcome to our Guest Author Interview
This is the first of what are planned to be weekly author crime fiction interviews. S.N. Bronstein caught my eye on Twitter. He’s from Miami and writes about the city where, curiously, I don’t know if too many crime novels take place. It’s not for a lack of crime, I’m sure. A snippet from his novel, The Case of the Miami Blackmailer, follows below the interview.
If you’re an author who wants to be featured in an interview please go to our contact page.
Now, S.N. Bronstein:
What makes Miami a good city for crime/mystery/ thriller novels?
Miami has grown to be a huge metropolitan, heterogeneous area with over two million residents. With this growth came crime. Especially in the Miami Beach area, the crime problem is in total contrast to the feeling one gets when they see the beaches, ocean, hotels, and natural beauty. This contrast adds irony to the crimes I write about.
What motivated you to write The Case of the Miami Philanthropist?
I lived all my life on Miami Beach, and when I retired I had the time to reflect on the disconnect between the natural beauty there and the underworld of crime in all its forms. Knowing the culture, I was driven to write a series about crime stories in the area.
You mentioned in the 2nd edition that crime techniques have changed – what are some of those changes and why did you feel you needed to update the story?
The science of forensic crime detection becomes more complex each day. Technology such as DNA testing, routine cheek swabs of incarcerated persons, and laboratory analysis of previously untestable body evidence made me realize that a manuscript written in 2008 failed to contain opportunities for a detective to find evidence to establish reasonable suspicion. For example, iphones were never considered as a means for tracking the moves of a person of interest.
Have you grown as an author – name 1 or 2 techniques you’ve learned about the craft of writing and/or what advice would you give to new authors?
I have learned to trust my instincts while writing. If I am satisfied that my research establishes that something is factual, I keep in my books rather than edit it out because readers might not find it plausible. Also, I don’t count words as I write. When the story is told, it’s done. Crime stories in contrast to mysteries can be brief, to the point, and tell a great tale without being 500 pages long.
Do you have favorite authors in this genre that you like to read?
I always liked the style of Dashiell Hammet, Raymond Chandler, James Ellroy, and two great screen writers of the Columbo TV series; Stephen Cannell and Steven Bochco.
What do you like about writing older children’s stories and how did that come about?
One day the thought occurred to me that if I could write adult crime stories, then I could do the same for middle grade kids. Using the inquiring behavior of my two cats, I dreamed up the Private Eye Cats series. I used the same formula of discovering a crime, the gathering of evidence, and the insight of the protagonists to bring the criminal to justice. Of course, the books are age appropriate for 9-12 year olds but the formula is the same. I love that kids are fascinated by two cats being detectives.
Where can readers browse and buy your books?
My website is the best venue for learning about all of my books, myself, and ordering copies. Books are available in ebook format, paperback, and hardcover on Amazon and all online book sellers.
snbronsteinauthor.com is my website address.
BOOK EXCERPT–SNIPPET: The Case of the Miami Blackmailer
After almost ten years as a private investigator I still feel uncomfortable when I conduct my first meeting with a new client. Cops, murderers, whores, dopers, petty thieves, and everyone else who exists or works in the substrata of society I can deal with comfortably. My problem is I can never figure out how a new client should perceive me during the initial meeting.
I can do the therapist routine like keep eye contact, do the ‘forward lean’ thing, repeat a statement the client makes to get them to embellish on it, summarize periodically, and all of the other moves that encourage the client to talk. The problem is, this often makes me feel like a damn marriage counselor not a detective. I do these things and I can’t help but wonder if the person is looking around the walls to see my Doctorate in Psychology degree instead of a PI’s license. On the other hand I can sit there looking like a tough guy, smoke a cigarette, and keep a wary snarl on my face. I don’t smoke cigarettes, I’m not a tough guy, and I look foolish when I snarl. I’m not comfortable with the tough guy persona any more than I am with the therapist routine. I never got this introductory phase down.