So, if you read this blog with any frequency, you know I devote a lot of the posts to fellow writer friends, mostly Wild Rose Press and Romance gems chicks. Well, today I’ve got something – or should I say someone – new. A Wild Rose brotha. Steven J. Kolbe is just about to have his debut WRP novel published in 2 days and he very graciously sat down with me recently so I could get to know him better. But first, here’s a little about the book,releasing on 8.18.2021.
How Everything Turns Away
a contemporary mystery by Steven J. Kolbe
Ezra James used to be a big deal: Harvard graduate, FBI agent, beautiful wife. After being accused of fabricating evidence in a serial killer trial, he finds himself suspended, on the verge of a divorce, and working security at a posh Catholic school in Chicago. Then something out-of-the-ordinary happens: a young student-teacher is attacked during a Christmas pageant and left for dead in the snow with a noose around her neck and an electrical burn. Plus, she’s pregnant. Ezra, along with up-and-coming police detective, Lucia Vargas, and school chaplain, Fr. Remy Mbombo, must work fast before the culprit returns to finish the job.
Gorecki raised a hand. “I’m sure you’ve seen a lot, Mr. James, underage drinking, monitoring in-school detention duty and such, but this here’s serious.”
“You’re a cop, you said?” Vargas said. “Not in Evanston PD. What precinct?”
“I’m a special agent, actually.”
Both detectives raised their eyebrows.
“DEA?” Gorecki guessed.
Now he did produce his badge. “FBI, Chicago field office.”
Gorecki inspected it. “Special Agent James,” he said mostly to himself. Then a glimmer of understanding came over his face. “I—” he started to say but stopped abruptly.
This happened sometimes. Ezra would be having a perfectly normal conversation with somebody, but then a headline would flash through their mind, and their whole demeanor changed. For an entire year, Ezra’s name appeared in the Chicago Tribune, sometimes making the front page. Eventually people remembered seeing one of those headlines.
His jaw clenched as he waited for Gorecki to continue.
“You’ve helped a lot,” the detective said, biting his lip. “You can rejoin your friends inside.”
Peggy here – sounds good,doesn’t it? Okay, here’s a little more in-depth stuff into Steven the Writer, and the Guy:
Steven, The Writer Questions
- What drives you to write? As long as I’ve been able to write, I’ve gotten a thrill from writing down stories and sharing them with others.
2. What genre(s) of mystery do you write, and why?
So far I have only written one. It is mostly a traditional mystery (detective solves a crime in a normally non-criminal environment), but there are some procedural and thriller aspects to it.
3. What genre(s) of mystery do you read, and why?
I try to read it all. I have a few series I like, one is a cozy mystery, another is somewhat more procedural and definitely crime rather than cozy. Thrillers can be real fun, but I can’t read them one after another. I’ve also liked the noir I’ve read. My favorite subgenre might be postmodern mysteries: Pynchon, Lethean, and Horowitz are authors who spring to mind. I just read an excerpt of Paul Sister’s New York Trilogy and am eager to read more.
4. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write everyday?
Ideally. I’d love a solid block every morning, but with three kids and a full-time teaching job, I sneak the pages in where I can.
5. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?
In the middle of whatever chaos I find myself in. I have a study in the basement, it’s open, so I frequently have tiny visitors. I write just as often at the kitchen table or in the backyard.
6. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnel-vision?
I get pretty focused. My wife often has to take my pen away because one of the children has climbed onto the fan. (Not really, but almost.)
7. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?
I like jazz, classical, and foreign language music best because it doesn’t interfere with my thoughts.
8. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?
So my debut came entirely from the victim. I saw her attack in my mind and I wanted it to be nearly impossible to figure out. Then the characters came along and gave it life. With my WIP, I had the characters already and decided to give them an even more bizarre crime to solve.
9. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?
I believe in that magic that happens in the hour or two hours when you are totally immersed in a scene and literally anything can happen. I plot out ahead of time, which is great fun, but I live for that magic.
10. What 3 words describe you, the writer?
Spontaneous, meticulous, dictionary-aholic (Peggy here – I’m stealing that last word for my own!)
Steven, the Guy Questions:
- Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! By the time I graduated high school, I’d attended ten different schools.
- If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and…. I had an amazing day a few weeks ago. We were just home on summer vacation. Took the kids to the library, the pool, and grilled in the backyard. I wrote some, I read some, and I drank coffee all day. I don’t think it could get much better than that.
- What’s one thing you love about your significant other? She makes me laugh more than anyone I know.
- If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it item, what would it be? The internet.
- What three words describe you, the person? Optimistic, ridiculous, and sorry what was the question again?
- If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? Something I can’t possibly mess up.
- If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it be, why, and what would you do together? I know that I don’t write fantasy, but if there’s a world to visit, I have to think it’s Hogwarts. Only if I wasn’t a muggle, of course.
I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:
- Favorite sound – a babbling brook
- Least favorite sound – alarm clock (Peggy here – I second that!)
- Best song every written – “Clair de Lune” by Claude Debussy or “81” by Joanna Newsom
- Worst song ever written – mmbop
- Favorite actor and actress – Steve Carrel and Emma Stone. (If you haven’t watched Crazy Stupid Love, go do that now)
- Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) Einstein. There is so very much I simply do not understand. I’d like to understand some of it for a day.
- What’s your version of a perfect day? Productive morning–totally free afternoon.
Steven earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in English from Kansas State University. He started his writing career as a lowly student worker for the prestigious literary journal The Southern Review. (If you received a formal rejection letter from the mid-2000s, he probably sealed the envelope.) He has published fiction, poetry, and nonfiction in various newspapers, magazines, and journals since that time. He lives in Southwest Kansas with his wife and three children. http://www.stevenjkolbe.com
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