A Visit by J. Gunnar Grey

If you like a good mystery, this is the author to check out! I’ve known Gunnar for just over a year and a half and the stories this talented writer produces never fail to entertain. These stories may not have been on Mystery Theater, but if these shows were still running, I would fully expect the latest in Gunnar’s releases, Trophies, to turn up there.

I was lucky enough to be granted an interview, and Gunnar’s fans are lucky because we have a brand new release!

Why should we care about history?

You know, it doesn’t matter how many centuries have passed—human nature hasn’t changed. When properly written, history and historical fiction open a window for the reader to the past, providing insights into the world and people of the present, as well as guidance and wisdom for the future. And honestly, it’s so fascinating, I can’t stop myself!

Why do you write mystery?

Because I enjoy writing about life and when you think about it, mysteries are all around us every day. I’m not talking about murders here, but the little mysteries, such as where did I leave my keys, or why is my neighbor acting strangely.

My very favorite writing technique is what I call the J.K. Rowling school of mystery. Have you read the Harry Potter novels? In the early ones, particularly the first one, she’s not writing a mystery or adventure novel; she’s telling the story of Harry’s year at school. The reader becomes so caught up in the fun, the magic and friendships and rivalries, that when Rowling springs the mystery plotline and the adventure, all but the most attentive readers are caught unaware.

 I tried to pull off something similar in Deal with the Devil, with the early clues in part one and the “gotcha” moment in part two. Someone tell me how well or otherwise I pulled it off, please?

What was the hardest part of bringing DWTD through the writing process?

There are four scenes that just about derailed the entire novel, and that’s the interrogation sequence, where Major Stoner, a British Intelligence officer, is probing and manipulating Faust, an accidental German prisoner of war. Those four scenes are central to the full, two-part novel—there’s nothing that happens in the rest of the book that isn’t related in some way to those four scenes.

And they were the most difficult scenes I’ve ever written. They took a year—no exaggeration—to pull together. I must have written each of them four or five times, only to throw them out and start over yet again. Either Faust seemed too gullible to be real, or downright stupid, or Major Stoner came across as pompous or overbearing, or the scenes dragged on for too long, or something.

Only when I grasped the central core of those scenes—that Faust and Stoner would like each other if not for the war, and sometimes they couldn’t help liking each other even while they were fighting—only then did those scenes, and therefore the rest of the novel, come together.

What is your next project?

Currently I’ve just released Trophies, a contemporary mystery with an amateur detective, and it’s available as of August 1 through Amazon.

Here’s the blurb:

When his aunt is murdered, NATO Rapid Response officer Captain Charles Ellandun finds she’s left him a literal locked room puzzle. Granted, Aunt Edith is the one who taught him to pick locks. But what he finds in her garret hauls their family’s past into the present and knocks his war-damaged brain even further askew.

 Now more people than usual are trying to kill him and unless he wants to be the next one dead, he must figure out why she is—fast. But the hunt for her killer takes him and his team members to places he’d rather not visit—to the art gallery where she died, the police station where he’s a suspect, the past he’d thought safely locked away, the family he doesn’t want to love, and the memories of the war that he just can’t shake.

Care to share an excerpt?

Why not? In this scene, our intrepid hero, Captain Charles “Robbie” Ellandun, has just lost yet another argument and for comfort turns to his former girlfriend, psychiatrist Dr. Caren Gallardo:

Caren finished wiping down the butcher block and straightened, the damp rag a sodden little heap before her. I understood how it felt.

“I’ll stay here on guard,” she said.

The danger of leaving her in such a position gnawed at me. She had only a few months’ experience handling a gun, and the only pistol currently available for her use was an old Second World War relic, manufactured when the Germans were losing the war and substituting inferior metals into their production runs. If the slide snapped or the firing pin jammed, she couldn’t fix it and would be helpless. Perhaps she didn’t realize how brave she was being. For a moment I thought about convincing Sherlock to stay behind, either instead of or with her, but that would leave Patty or Caren to do the driving. Could I protect either or both of them if that homicidal Suburban returned and forced a crash? Another mental overload, I decided.

“I suppose that’s best.”

She circled the table and laid a damp hand on my uninjured arm. “All right, Charles?”

Her eyes were warm, dark, and deep, like tropical water, and I fell in headfirst without a rope. My breath caught in my heart. Without giving myself time to think, I eased closer, until I heard our clothing rustle together. She didn’t back away—I watched for the first leaning—and her face was calm.

This looked promising. I kissed her, once, oh so gently, then held her. With the first touch of my arms her body stiffened. Of course she wouldn’t be comfortable. But she felt so good against me, her head tucked against my shoulder, her hands on my chest, that now I knew I didn’t want to let her go.

We stood motionless. She didn’t fight and I didn’t push. My arms held her, one hand on her waist, the other buried in the exquisite sensuality of her hair. Our touch was somewhere between the comfort of friendship and the first tantalizing hint of a sexual advance. The next move would have to be hers. I was willing to earn her trust again.

The tension faded from her body one breath at a time. With every slow heartbeat, her weight against me increased. Finally her hands trailed down my chest, neither the direct invitation of fingernails nor the feather touch of exploration. She kept her palms against me all the way around my waist and held me in return.

Find Gunnar’s writing on  Amazon     and   Barnes & Noble

(Note: Trophies is currently available on Amazon and Gunnar hopes Barnes & Noble and Smashwords will have it available soon.)

Find more of Gunnar here:

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of just-released Trophies. And rumor has it, if you visit Gunnar at the blog above, you’ll find more opportunities to win! What are you waiting for?

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