GIVEAWAY!! Leave a comment on this blog post with your email address, to enter to win one of two copies of One Murder More by: Kris Calvin. The contest is open only to those, residing in the US or Canada. The contest ends Wednesday, June 10th at 12am. At that time, both winners will be selected at random and be emailed, notifying them of their prizes.
Interview with Kris Calvin (Author of One Murder More)
Interview Initials Key Reference= BR= Bibliophile’s Reverie; KC= Kris Calvin
1) BR: Most conventional question always comes first, but what inspired you to write One Murder More?
KC: I’ve worked in politics in California for many years, both as a local elected official and as CEO of an association that lobbies state government. California is the ninth largest economy in the world, ahead of many countries, so the money and power at stake is significant. Recently, a California senator was indicted for firearms trafficking, money laundering and murder-for-hire. It got me thinking about the many motives for murder and mayhem in state politics.
2) BR: And what kind of research was involved with writing this novel?
KC: I had a strong knowledge base regarding the core of the story, so I relied largely on that experience. But I still had fun diving into the web for one thing or another—one example, I researched “leading Sacramento bird species” so my description of wildlife along the Sacramento river would be accurate.
3) BR: How about the setting of the novel? Is Sacramento a city you’re familiar with, and how about the political scene there? Was some of the interplay between lobbyists and senators derived from your own experience, perhaps, in the political climate of the California state capital?
KC: I’m not a lobbyist, but I work in partnership with one. I live just outside of Sacramento, and speaking with legislators and their staff is part of my job. I use what I’ve learned, it’s definitely reflected in the book.
4). BR:The plot line hits upon some very relevant topics, including the distracting nature of cellphones when it comes to driving. Is this a topic that you yourself are impassioned about? Are there some real political battles going on across the country, when it comes to this very divisive issue?
KC:With respect to cell phone use while driving, it’s the multitasking and distraction that is dangerous, not whether the driver holds the phone. In 2011 the National Transportation Safety Board recommended a full ban on driver cell phone use, but no state has done it yet. I don’t know of a battle on cell phone legislation now, but given the evidence it’s likely on the horizon.
5) BR: What is your favorite political thriller tv show/ movie/ or book at the moment?
KC: West Wing remains the gold standard, although House of Cards is intense, and ever since his role in The Usual Suspects Kevin Spacey is a favorite of mine. I find Julia Louis-Dreyfus in VEEP very funny. As far as right this moment, I’ve tried to stay away from political thrillers and mysteries while writing this series, so that I wouldn’t subconsciously lift anyone else’s ideas.
6) BR: If I’m not mistaken (correct me if am wrong), but it is published through a new self-publishing platform called Inkshares? Explain a bit about this site, which interestingly looks like the Kickstarter for indie writers?
KC:I pitched One Murder More to three agents, all were interested in seeing the full manuscript. Then I learned about Inkshares, Inc., a San Francisco-based publishing house. If enough individuals “back” a project (a la kickstarter) Inkshares will publish and distribute it, utilizing the same tools as traditional publishers (e.g., a marketing department, cover artists, etc.). When I ran for political office I had to raise funds and convince people of the value of my ideas. This felt similar. I also wanted to know whether my work was any good, based on more than an agent’s opinion.
On the strength of my first chapter I was able to raise the money needed for the backers’ print run ($15,000), and prepublication we are already on a second printing.
Inkshares is terrific to work with, they seem dedicated to giving each of their house authors the best possible chance to gain an audience. They’ve secured a book tour and publicity for me, working well with other members of my team (web designer, publicist, etc.). Plus, my backers provide moral support in what I’m learning is the very vulnerable process of putting my “art” out there.
7) BR:What are you planning on working next, and do you have a message for the devoted readers of A Bibliophile’s Reverie?
KC:The second book in the Maren Kane Mystery Series, A Timely Murder. I don’t outline, so I’m in the phase that highly-accomplished mystery and suspense author Catriona McPherson calls “fuzzy daydreams”. The unedited creation of conflicting and overlapping plot lines. A Timely Murder (so far) has arson, a kidnapping, and lost treasure.
I first stop by sites that are going to interview me, to understand the tone and what the readers might expect. I found myself lost in the variety and intelligence of what A Bibliophile’s Reverie had to offer. I’ll be back.
Thanks so much to Kris Calvin for taking the opportunity to answer our questions about the process of writing One Murder More, and we eagerly await for more potential coverage of any upcoming books in her new political-thriller series!
When reading thriller novels, I normally trend more towards the supernatural-themed thrillers, as of late, versus ones set more within the real world of political machinations and intrigue. Kris Calvin’s political thriller One Murder More is more of the latter, in that it is realistically set within the world of sometimes messy, complicated local politics and legislation. It explores the complicated relationship between lobbyists and senators, in the way that both interact to help bring forth new types of bills that sometimes are motivated by business interests, just as much as general concern for the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens who live within the bustling state of California.
The story’s lead character Maren Kane is a lobbyist for a company, fittingly called Ecobabe, who specialize in creating environmentally-conscientious toys, which are manufactured out of certified “green” materials. At the beginning of the novel, we are introduced with sparing, succinct prose about the latest piece of legislation that Maren Kane is trying to push, which involves banning use of all cell phone use in automobiles, including hand-free ones. A company that specializes in selling this type of cell phone is on the opposite side of the issue; they oppose the bill due to the fact that it might stymie their economic progression. In recent years, the company that sells hand-free cell phones has managed to sell a large quantity of these phones, boosting the number of investors into their company, and thus leading to higher sales revenues in effect. Essentially, their interests are much more pecuniary than that of Maren Kane and her allies in this bill. And the drama surrounding this bill is at the center of the story’s intriguing, multifaceted plot, which even though it contains a lot of intriguing political drama about the happenings within the Sacramento California state capital building; there is also a heart-pounding, exciting murder plot at the heart of all it.
The story pulls you in immediately with the first murder, along with the subsequent arrest of someone unlikely, who just incidentally happened to be on the scene of the crime. Kris Calvin meticulously plays with the reader’s doubts, suspicions, and expectations, as we are constantly debating the identity of the real murder (and eventual series of murders). With the political facet of this story, there is also the additional question of “Is this person, a hired murderer, and with whom are they in collusion with?” Along with some well-defined, interesting side characters, along with a realistically spunky, strong female lead (Maren Kane), Kris Calvin’s story is an intensely exciting story that you’ll no doubt have trouble putting down, once you get hooked onto it.
My only minor complaints is the unnecessarily convoluted romance subplot, which sometimes confused me with the sheer number of past romantic interests, and the lack of any real development with each of them. It certainly helped act as a distraction from the main drama of the story, yet sometimes it wasn’t a reprieve the reader wanted, nor really expected. It sometimes felt a tad bit contrived and forced, and that mainly comes as a result by the dizzying number of past relationships she had. Perhaps with a more manageable number of past relationships and love interests, this subplot could have been both more sensible and enjoyable;otherwise, it slightly detracts from the overall dramatic cohesiveness of the book.
Nonetheless, this is only one minor thing to nitpick because the story, as a whole, is extremely exciting, well-written, and has dramatic, realistic political intrigue/drama that will have any fans of political thrillers staying up far past their bed-times to unravel the mystery of the heart of Kris Calvin’s One Murder More. And I certainly cannot wait to read further installments in this exciting, finely-written series.
REMINDER ABOUT GIVEAWAY: Be sure to leave a comment on this blog post with your email address, to enter to win one of two copies of One Murder More by: Kris Calvin. The contest is open only to those, residing in the US or Canada. The contest ends Wednesday, June 10th at 12am. At that time, both winners will be selected at random and be emailed, notifying them of their prizes.
A suggestion for a comment involves an answer to one of the following questions: “What do you like best about political thrillers?” “Have you read one before?” “How about your feelings on the Netflix series, House of Cards, which has been compared to this novel?”