As many of you know, I attended the New England Author Expo, orgainsed by Christopher Obert of Pear Tree Publishing, as a blogger. And I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed my time. I learned a great deal from the panels of authors, editors and many more, who dished on their experience of the publishing world and offered invaluable advice. Not only that, but I also got to meet and interview some amazing authors. This week, over the course of seven days, I will be sharing the stories of those wonderful imagineers. Without further ado, I'd like to welcome Martin Herman, author of The Jefferson Files and The Hidden Treasure Files, historical murder mysteries.
Could you tell me a little about your books?
Well, let me start by telling you about The Jefferson Files because that was my first book published. The Jefferson Files is a historical murder mystery. I’ll give you the cast of characters. I have Thomas Jefferson, a secret society that I created on those pages, a dead body, the Potomac River, a group of college students, a diary that stays hidden for almost two hundred years and a computer hacker. Did I just say Thomas Jefferson and a computer hacker in the same sentence? How could that be? And that is my mystery.
The way I write a book is to create a character that is so completely full, that even if you don’t like them, you can’t help but care what’s going to happen to them. I try to grab you early. So for instance, in The Jefferson Files, if I can keep you interested until page fourteen, I own you. (He said with a broad smile). And I also like to create a scenario at the beginning and a scenario at the end which is completely different. And so, how I get from one end to the other, becomes the fun of writing it and talking about it.
Two characters from The Jefferson Files, although the books stand alone, are also in The Hidden Treasure Files. In this book I start with a small antique store that has an auction every week. It tells the story of a piece of history, a permit which allows the holder to make alcohol legally during prohibition, being sold. The auctioneer looks at it and says, ‘it’s an interesting piece but who remembers prohibition? And it’s such an ugly frame. I’ll put it up for two dollars, maybe I’ll get a dollar.’ Within ten minutes two people had bid it up to a hundred thousand dollars. Within the first half-dozen chapters I’ll introduce you to people from Russia, China, and Germany, each of whom did something to make this so valuable. And when all is over, you will see an ending that will actually whisper in your ear “Surprise!”
They both sound so interesting. What was your inspiration for The Jefferson Files?
First of all, he’s been my hero since I can remember. And I came across a small news item in USA today, about a dozen years ago, about a sting operation the FBI were doing against politicians on the take. And it just struck me, what would Jefferson have done if someone put a bushel basket of money in front of him and said “all I want is a little influence.” He’s my hero, I would have hoped he would have beaten the crap out of him, but who knows. He was human, they were human. And so as it started to fester it was… let me put a real dilemma in front of him. What if I put a dead body that floats up the Potomac River behind the Whitehouse? He instantly knows who did it, he instantly knows he can’t touch them because of their political power. What would he do? And that’s how it started.
Can you tell me, what have you planned next?
Well, I’m 22,000 words into my third book. And again it’s a couple of characters from my previous book in a completely different story.
If you'd like to find out more about Martin Herman's works, he can be found here.
His fantastic books can be found here.
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