To Live & Write in FLA- Michael Haskins

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I never give up an opportunity to talk to Michael Haskins. You will certainly get the chance to if you attend the Mystery Writers Key West Fest. He is one of the organizers behind the two day event that happen every summer. I went to the fest in its inaugural year and had a blast. (Pub crawl.) I learned a lot, too. Michael has a generous spirit and is full of Irish wit and fun.

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Actually, he is just back from his annual research trip to Ireland. I can’t wait to read what new adventure Michael has in store for his PI character, Mick Murphy. Mick has one foot in Key West and one foot in Ireland. That combination makes for some interesting plot twists and mayhem.  Please check out the Mick Murphy series if you haven’t already.

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On to the interview—

How long have you lived in FLA?

20 years in Key West

Where do you write and when?

I write at a home office and usually during the mornings with afternoons set aside for re-reading/editing.

What is your biggest failure and what did it teach you?

My biggest failure was allowing the search for an agent and/or publisher to put my writing on hold and give me self-doubt. They were the gods of publishing then and I wanted in. Today, with the many small book publishers and e-book publishers, writers following the guidelines of using professional editors and cover designers, can produce good books that sell and make the author money. What I learned was you can not allow disappointments to keep you from writing daily.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?  Or do you have some personal writing advice to offer?

Two pieces of advice, 1) write daily, 2) read all you can of writers you enjoy.

Who is your Dead Dream Date and why?  (Literary or otherwise)

Hemingway. He changed the way writers of his time wrote and still influences writers and readers.

Favorite cocktail or N/A drink and at what Florida bar?

Jameson’s on the rocks, at the Smokin’ Tuna, Schooner Wharf Bar or the Hog’s Breath (honestly, any bar, anywhere).

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If you want more of Michael Haskins make sure to check out his website and event page. You can also read the interview I did with him in January 2015.

 

To Live & Write in FLA- Susan Cox

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I am so very excited to introduce you to my fellow Mystery Writers of America (MWA) chapter member, Susan Cox. When I am lucky enough to get her as a tablemate at our chapter meetings, the conversation is always sparkling and sometimes revolves around shoes. She has a wonderful collection of stylish shoes that I truly envy. This interview revealed more of her good taste to me. It might be a her English roots, but her beverage choice is spot on and a favorite of mine. (psst….Susan, we must sneak away to the bar at the next SleuthFest.)

Susan has impeccable credentials as a former journalist with a creative writing MFA. But what impresses me most is that she won the Minotaur Books First Crime Novel Award.That award is no small potatoes. Her debut novel The Man on the Washing Machine came out in December of 2015. (Don’t you just love the title,?! I do.) I hope you you will follow her and become a fan. She and her writing are charming.

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How long have you lived in FLA?

I’ve lived here twice.  I left Florida in 1986 after thirteen years to live in California and I returned two years ago.


Where do you write and when?

I try to write in the morning after an early swim.  I have a room set up with a desk, a comfortable chair and my bookcases—and of course I hardly ever write there!  I work on a laptop out by the pool or on the sofa in the living room.


What is your biggest failure and what did it teach you?

Twenty years ago I signed a two-book contract with a major publisher. Due to some internal changes, the publisher decided to cut back on its stable of new authors and since I was one of them, my novels were not published.  My failure was not trying again sooner, but the recent publication of my mystery novel (with another major publisher) has reminded me that success comes “better late than never.


What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

“Keep your pen moving.”  Even though I write on a laptop, I try to “keep my pen moving” until I have my word count for the day.


Who is your Dead Dream Date and why?  (Literary or otherwise)

For some reason I’ve always had a bit of a crush on Nicholas Blake, who wrote the Nigel Strangeways mysteries. Blake was an Oxford intellectuals who wrote crime fiction under a pseudonym. His real name was Cecil Day-Lewis and he was a fine poet (Britain’s Poet Laureate, in fact), a great friend of W.H. Auden, and the father of Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis.  He was politically radical and had a complicated private life.  I think he’d be a great dinner date.


Favorite cocktail or N/A drink and at what Florida bar?

I always, always order a Sapphire gin and tonic with a twist of lemon and I like to enjoy it at  The Two George’s, on the intracoastal in Boynton Beach.  It has a retro, tiki bar vibe, and watching the boats sail past at the end of the day is magic.