Thursday, May 5, 2016

Cable Car Mystery: Interview with Mystery Romance Author Greg Messel

Greg Messel has spent most of his adult life interested in writing, including a career in the newspaper business. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist and has contributed articles to various magazines. Greg lives in Edmonds, Washington on Puget Sound with his wife Jean DeFond.

Greg has written nine novels. His latest is “Cable Car Mystery" which is the sixth in a series of mysteries set in 1959 San Francisco. “Shadows In The Fog,” ”Fog City Strangler," "San Francisco Secrets," "Deadly Plunge" are sequels to the first book in the series "Last of the Seals." His other three novels are "Sunbreaks," "Expiation" and "The Illusion of Certainty."

For More Information

· Visit Greg Messel’s website.
· Connect with Greg on Facebook and Twitter.
· Find out more about Greg at Goodreads.

About the Book:

On the hottest day of the year in San Francisco in 1959, Private Detectives Sam and Amelia Slater are contemplating fleeing the city for their Stinson Beach house. However, when Sam decides to take a cable car ride to run some errands on the lazy summer day, he’s suddenly thrust into the spotlight when he rescues a woman who fell onto the busy street. Sam pulls the mysterious red haired woman
out of the path of an oncoming cable car in the nick of time. The entire incident is captured by a newspaper photographer who splashes Sam’s heroics all over the front page. Sam is troubled not only by his new status as a city hero, but by the rescued woman’s plea for help. She whispers to Sam that she didn’t fall from the cable car but was pushed. She is frightened and disappears into the crowd before Sam can get more details. A San Francisco newspaper launches a campaign to find the mystery woman and Sam hopes to cross paths with her again.

Meanwhile, Amelia is troubled by the sudden disappearance of her elderly neighbor. Two thuggish younger men who now occupy the house next door say he took a sudden trip. One night when she’s alone Amelia grabs a flashlight and finds some disturbing clues in her neighbor’s garage. What really happened to her neighbor? Amelia is determined to find out.

Award winning author Greg Messel spins a new tale of intrigue in Cable Car Mystery, the sixth book in the Sam Slater Mystery series set in at the 1950s in San Francisco. 

For More Information

  • Cable Car Mystery is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Thanks for this interview, Greg.  Can we begin by having you tell us about yourself from a writer’s standpoint? 

When I was in high school and college, I was a stringer for the local newspaper where I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. I covered sports and wrote movie reviews. The combination of that experience and being one of the editors on my high school paper ignited a love for writing. I later spent about ten years as a reporter, columnist and news editor on a daily newspaper in Wyoming. I retired from the corporate world about eight years ago and have devoted full-time to my writing. “Cable Car Mystery” is my ninth novel and I am at work on my tenth and eleventh which I plan to finish in the next year or so. My last six novels have been mysteries and part of a series that is set in the 1950s in San Francisco. 

When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun? 

I enjoy gardening and love to run outside in Edmonds, Washington, in the Seattle area on the Puget Sound. I love movies and try to see one or two a week. 

Congratulations on your new book! Can you give us the very first page of your book so that we can get a glimpse inside Greg?

May 29, 1959 

It had been a beautiful early summer day in San Francisco but the evening 
fog was rolling in, seemingly pulling a cozy blanket over the sparkling city as 
28-year-old Debra Norton returned from her Friday night date with John D’Angelo, 
a tall, handsome, dark-haired man she had met at work. 
It was their first date. He was so unlike the men who had been part of her life in
 recent years. He seemed kind and gentle. John seemed like just what she wanted in a
 companion but she reminded herself it was too early to make such an assessment. It
 could be the beginning of something good for Debra who, at the urging of her sister, 
had fled Seattle to make a new start in San Francisco
John was truly an artist and Debra’s job had been the most unusual experience of 
her life. She began working at the wax museum on Fisherman’s Wharf at the beginning
 of May, where she performed a variety of tasks. Debra had secretarial and clerical duties 
but at times she was a ticket taker. Over the four weeks she had been at the museum, she 
had learned enough about various exhibits that she directed patrons and answered their
 questions. That part was really fun.
John, on the other hand, was the creative talent behind many of the museum’s 
famous wax figures. He actually created the figures which attracted tourists who 
visited Fisherman’s Wharf. She’d met John on the first day at her new job, but 
initially their paths didn’t cross because he was always in the upstairs studio. 
Nevertheless, recently, John had been finding excuses to leave his work studio and 
chat up Debra. A few times she looked up and noticed him watching her. 
Now on their first date, John had taken Debra out to dinner. He was very 
attentive. There were nice little touches many women would probably take for 
granted, such as pulling out her chair to seat her at the table and opening the car 
door for her. 
After the dinner, they went to the late show at the Embassy Theatre on Market 
Street and saw “A Summer Place” with Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue. It was just 
the kind of romantic movie Debra loved but had never seen. 
She shared a popcorn with her handsome co-worker. About halfway through the 
movie, he took her hand. His hands were manly but soft. He held her hand as if it 
were some delicate object of art which might break if treated carelessly. 
They continued to hold hands until he gave her a good night kiss on the steps 
by the front door stoop near the entrance of her San Francisco-style townhouse 
apartment building. She seemed euphoric as she began to descend the steps to 
her second floor apartment. Debra stopped halfway up the steps and turned to look 
at the front door. She could see John standing outside the glass door watching her 
ascend the steps.  She smiled and waved before resuming her climb up the stairs. 
She smiled to herself knowing John was watching her. 
Debra’s lighthearted contentment was shattered when she slowly walked 
towards the door of her apartment. Her sixth sense kicked in. Something just didn’t 
look right.  A little voice in her head told her to bolt and go retrieve John, but instead 
she pushed ahead.

Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing?  Can you tell us about your journey? 

It hasn’t been a problem getting it published but it was one of the most challenging for me to finish writing because of what was occurring in my personal life. I began writing “Cable Car Mystery” in the fall of 2014. Shortly after I began writing  it my wife died of early onset Alzheimers. During 2015 I began dating a longtime friend. We were married in the fall of 2015. I didn’t write much of the summer because of all the turmoil in my personal life. I finished it by the end of 2015. There were a few distractions to say the very least. 

If you had to summarize your book in one sentence, what would that be?

Sam Slater saves a woman who falls off of a cable car but nothing is as it seems. 

What makes your book stand out from the rest? 

I think readers find the characters likable and interesting. Readers seems to agree. The 1950s scenarios are unique. 

If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why? 

This story occurs during the summer of 1959. I’d say the 4th of July—summer, barbecues and hot days in the brick buildings of the 1950s which had no air conditioning. The only place to get to spend some time in cool air was at the movie theatre. 

Would you consider turning your book into a series or has that already been done?

I looked for a chance to begin writing a series. I found one with the characters and time period in the Sam Slater books. 

What’s next for you?

I’m working on two books. One is the next one in the Sam Slater Mystery series which will be called “San Francisco Nights.” I think it’s going to be a better whodunit than any book I’ve written so far. I’m really pleased with how it’s progressing. I’m also working on a book that I’m really excited about. It’s the story of a young reporter who becomes caught up in the anti-war movement in Berkeley in 1968. He is also assigned to cover the 1968 presidential campaign and much of the story occurs against the backdrop of Robert Kennedy’s final days and ultimately his assassination. The title will be “Dreams That Never Were.”

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