DM: OK so you have a publisher now, and a snazzy headshot, and a new book out, Crimes of Redemption that's available at Amazon. Is this a guy book? A girl book? That probably doesn't exhaust all the possibilities... take it from there.
LM: Crimes of Redemption boasts no gender bias. Even dogs are in this story. A drifter, Gayla Early, is accused of beating to death Albert Raeder, the town’s most important citizen, although she claims he held her captive for two years, and she killed him only during a desperate attempt to escape. But Raeder’s good ole boy buddies aren’t about to buy that and are ready to railroad her right into prison.
Only a town curmudgeon with her own ghosts, Willie Morris, believes her. Then, even as evidence mounts against her, the local sheriff, Tommy Maynard, begins to suspect she may be more victim than murderer. The three of them eventually form an unlikely alliance that changes their lives forever.
DM: Contemporary, right? Genre?
LM: The sheriff is a Vietnam vet, around 50, so it’s a few years earlier than now. It’s a psychological suspense novel.
DM: I'm imagining Tommy Lee Jones starring, set in Alpine, Texas. What rating is the movie going to get?
LM: The settings are all Oklahoma, except a bit in Texas. It’s probably an “R”. Jones is one of my favorite guys to watch, but he’s a little grizzled for the sheriff now. Ten years ago . . .
DM: What catastrophe was averted in your life that prodded you into writing?
LM: Are you secretly a lawyer?
DM: Your reviews at Amazon are embarrassingly good. What's going on there?
LM: See me later.
DM: Your publisher did the cover art? The cover says "Innocence Came Calling." What do you know of innocence?
LM: Not nearly as much as I used to. (I do like the cover, though!)
DM: Do you think your acting experience informs your writing? Seems like it ought to make your characterizations and motivations sharp. Am I all wet?
LM: It helps in stepping inside their heads, I think. Also I can hear the rhythms a little better in my mind, perhaps, than someone who hasn’t spoken a lot of dialogue out loud. And I have never thought of you as all wet, Dennis.
DM: What books would you buy kids that are marooned on a desert island?
LM: Scouting Manuals? Self Help books? Pick-up Sticks?
DM: Influences? Any new or used authors that have grabbed your oeuvre and turned it on its head?
LM: No one is grabbing it that I know of, but I have been reading Pete Dexter, Arnaldur Indridason, and Mark Twain.
DM: Current projects? Anything in the works? Literature? Film? Stage?
LM: I’m starting to work on a sequel for COR, but it’s only in the embryonic stages. Just finished a thriller set in SW Texas. Getting ready to act in Mrs. Mannerly at Carpenter Square Theatre in OKC starting in late February through March.
DM: Do you have any advice for other writers? Anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
LM: I make it a rule to write a minimum of 10 minutes a day, which usually turns into at least a half hour, or three. John Grisham said if you aren’t willing to commit to a page a day, you probably won’t finish your book. You would have 365 pages in a year. I kinda like that, and it’s worked out that way for me.
I love the feedback from my readers so far. It’s been positive and supportive and I haven’t even paid them any money yet.
Thanks to Denis. His website is http://www.maleybooks.com