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Debbi Mack interviews crime writer Frank Zafiro on the Crime Cafe podcast.
Debbi (00:54): But first let me put in a good word for Bluebrry podcasting.
I’ve been using Bluebrry podcasting as my hosting service for my podcast for years, and it’s one of the best decisions I ever made. They provide great service. You’re in complete control of your own podcast. You never have to leave your own website. There is a plugin that you can use to incorporate Bluebrry and distribution through your website. So it’s a great service that has taken a lot of the work of podcasting out for me. And I find for that reason that it’s a company that I can get behind 100% and say, you should try this. If you want a podcast, try out Bluebrry. It doesn’t require a long-term contract. It’s just a great company, period. And I am a Bluebrry affiliate. So there’s that.
Debbi (02:07): And did I mention that they have free technical support by email, video and phone? Yes, you can actually reach a human being there. I’ll say no more.
And, once again, we have a transcription of the show notes. It’s a miracle! 🙂 Click here to download a copy in PDF.
Debbi (02:24): Hi everyone. Today, I have a guest making his second appearance on the podcast, a retired police officer, he hails from the great state of Oregon. The author of more than 30 novels, including the River City series and the Charlie-316 series, he also hosts his own podcast, Wrong Place, Write Crime, which I have had the pleasure of being on. My guest today is Frank Zafiro. Hi, Frank. Welcome back. And thanks for being here.
Frank (03:00): Hey, Debbi. Great to be back again.
Debbi (03:02): Excellent. Wonderful. It’s good to see you. You seem to be making something of a career out of writing collaborative novels and series. Can you write them faster than you would if you were writing them on your own or is it about the same?
Frank (03:20): Oh, I think it’s faster. For a couple of reasons, I mean one you are you know, you’re only writing about half of the first draft, so you know, it’s faster, you know? Uh, but the other thing is, is that when you’re working and the bigger piece is when you’re working with someone else there’s a certain synergy that, that kicks in and you really gain momentum. And so when you get the piece back and it’s your turn to write something you’re energized and you also don’t want to keep your partner waiting. In some cases, the person I’m working with, they’re not working on anything else, at least not in the first draft stage. And so I’m kind of holding them up while we’re doing this in a way is how I feel about it. So I want to get it back to them as quick as possible. But I think it would happen either way because there’s just, you just get that really strong momentum going that you’re, you know, you’re building something great. And it just, it goes really fast. I mean, Charlie-316 took like three weeks and it was a hundred thousand word draft. I mean, that, to me, that was just, that blew my mind when we got to the end of it and looked at how long it had taken.
Debbi (04:47): Oh my gosh, that was for a first draft, right?
Frank (04:50): Yeah. And you know, the thing of it is, it’s the first draft, but the way that the process works, it’s a pretty tight first draft because it’s been essentially edited twice, once by each of us throughout the process. So but yeah, it’s still, still technically a first draft.
Debbi (05:09): Well, that’s fantastic. Three weeks. Wow.
Frank (05:13): That’s a bit of an aberration, but that’s a good example of how quickly things can happen.
Debbi (05:19): I was going to say would most of them be like that?
Frank (05:24): Most of them are like that. Not quite as fast, but, but I, there hasn’t been one that, that for in which that first draft lagged or dragged, they’ve all gone quickly. You know, sometimes the editing process has gone just as quickly. Other times, it’s, it’s taken a little bit longer than we we’ve gone about it differently, or we’ve been more methodical or taken our time or other projects have pushed it onto the shelf briefly. And then we pull off and get back to work on it or when it’s ready to go, deciding how to approach it, whether to send it to an agent, a publisher or to publish it independently, that’s a stage that maybe it’s sat for awhile. But, in each of the cases, and I think I’ve done I’d have to go back and count, but it’s at least 12 books. Uh, every one of them went quick in the initial first draft.
Debbi (06:20): Mmm-hmm. Yeah. I was curious about how many books you work on at the same time, this way, if you do work on other books at the same time, and how do you release the books? Do you do a release on one series then another, or do you sort of alternate between the series? How does that work?
Frank (06:48): So I tend to not work on more than one book at a time in the first draft mode. I’ve kind of learned to on a creative level to try to stay in the same skin. And so that might be another reason why it goes pretty quickly because, you know, if I have something else to get to, I know I need to get through this to get to that. And I can’t get to that until we’re done, so let’s get busy, you know, but I don’t feel that same restriction when it comes to editing. I feel like that’s a little easier to do regardless of what else you’re doing. And so at any given time, I might be working on one book whether that’s my own or a collaboration editing another book again, it could be a collaboration, could be one of my solo works, and I might be be reading, you know, beta reading, doing a deep critique for one of my friends or co-authors on a completely different book that I had, you know, that I didn’t write or didn’t have any input on.
So I tend to not work on more than one book at a time in the first draft mode. I’ve kind of learned to on a creative level to try to stay in the same skin. And so that might be another reason why it goes pretty quickly because, you know, if I have something else to get to, I know I need to get through this to get to that.
Frank (08:00): And, and so I can do that with the editing. I can work on multiple things at once. But, I try to stay on just the one with the with the actual first draft. And then your second question, you’re talking about can you clarify on that? I wanna make sure I answer it correctly.
Debbi (08:20): I was curious about release schedules. Basically, you have several series and I didn’t know whether you released all the books in one series before you went on to the next one, or if you mix them up.
Frank (08:35): Well, historically it’s been kind of a staggered. Initially I just was writing the River City series, kinda my main series, and I had several books in that series come out before I had written anything in another series. Uh, but once I started writing multiple series I kinda started lily-padding from one to the other and trying to kind of give them all a little bit of love. But it’s also dictated by what story is kind of, has kind of forced its way to the top of my consciousness. And I might have notes, well, I do, I have notes for half a dozen different books in and in different series, but which one gets written next sometimes is the product of which one’s screaming the loudest at me, you know, which fictional character refuses to be denied.
Frank (09:27): Uh, that might be the one that gets worked on next. And and essentially as soon as they’re finished in terms of, you know, the editing process and the book cover and, and all the other things that go along with that, if I’m releasing them independently, I try to get them out. As soon as they’re ready with a little bit of strategy. But, but frankly, I don’t put a lot of stock in long pre-order periods or let’s time it with Valentine’s Day. I mean, you know, or, or something like that. My attitude is, is, hey, the book is ready. You know, the only thing I might take into consideration is say, I don’t want to release it in competition with another of my own releases or my coauthors releases. So I might be strategic in that sense, but I feel like if I’m the reader and you’re the writer, I mean, I want the next Sam McRae book, as soon as you’re done with it, I don’t want to wait six months, you know, so get that baby out there, you know, and I try to be right with my own stuff.
Debbi (10:33): Exactly. Uh let’s see. So I take it that you are generally the one who comes up with the idea for the series or book, or have the collaborators come to you with ideas or the main idea.
Frank (10:53): Yeah. It’s my collaborators have done a lot of heavy lifting on these series. Just to to give you an example the first series that I ever collaborated on was I believe was the Anya trilogy, or now it’s actually got a prequel. So it’s a quadrilogy with Jim Wilsky and that one, we kind of, I think we kind of tailored that one up together. That was pretty mutual. And then the although I will say that Jim came up with three out of the four titles and I think all four of the locations and settings and stuff. And and in all cases, Debbi, the collaborators I’ve worked with, it’s been a true 50-50 split. Nobody’s been senior or junior at all. Uh, but, but in terms of the genesis of the ideas when I did the Bricks and Cam job series with Eric Beetner, he came up with that premise.
It’s my collaborators have done a lot of heavy lifting on these series. Just to to give you an example the first series that I ever collaborated on was I believe was the Anya trilogy, or now it’s actually got a prequel. So it’s a quadrilogy with Jim Wilsky and that one, we kind of, I think we kind of tailored that one up together. That was pretty mutual.
Frank (12:00): He wanted to do this, this two hit men idea. Uh, and then we went from there and working with, with Colin Conway and the Charlie-316 series, which is the most recent collaboration that I’ve had come out. That’s a four book arc, but when he came to me with the first idea, he had a very solid idea and a premise and a basic structure already in place. And really he was coming to me because of my experience in my career in law enforcement having been involved in executive level leadership. There were things happening in that book that, that he wanted to peek behind that curtain. And he’d really never been in that room very much. Uh, certainly not in that role. And so he’s like, Hey, I mean, I want your expertise on this. And so that’s, that’s how I got brought in almost as a consultant kind of initially. But so yeah, my coauthors have been fantastic. They’ve done easily 50% of the heavy lifting on every single one of the books.
Debbi (13:08): Well, that’s fantastic. It’s nice that you can have the idea or for the premise. That’s really what I was thinking about the big picture, kind of, what is this story about, or they could, you know, either way, you know, you guys can work together. Has the pandemic affected you or your collaborators at all?
Frank (13:31): Well, of course, I mean, just like it has everyone else. I mean, on a personal/professional level, I mean I started writing working on my writing career and podcasting full time at the end of 2017. I had retired from law enforcement in 2013 and I was teaching leadership pretty much full time after that for about four years. And so from what 2018, 2019, and a little over two years I was living at home, you know, had the house to myself all day just me and the dogs and the cat. And I was a hermit pretty much, right? I didn’t deal with anybody except you know, my wife would come and go and to work. And then the pandemic hit and it hit about a month after my step-son was staying with us, just kind of in a transitional period.
I mean, on a personal/professional level, I mean I started writing working on my writing career and podcasting full time at the end of 2017. I had retired from law enforcement in 2013 and I was teaching leadership pretty much full time after that for about four years.
Frank (14:28): He was moving from one job in one location to another, he’s just gonna stay here for about three weeks. And then bam, you know, the, the pandemic hit. And he was here for ended up being, you know, till almost Thanksgiving I think, or, or something like that. I mean, you know, he kind of was locked in place. And then my wife, a teacher, she’s suddenly teaching from home. And so this not very big house suddenly had three people in it, full-time, all the time. You know, and I have a podcast, so I’m trying to record stuff for that. And so everybody’s having to tiptoe and I’m having to time it around when Kristi’s teaching her kids cause she’s teaching live and I’m having to tiptoe and be careful. And of course Brian’s trying to be as unobtrusive as possible, and we’re all in this small house.
Frank (15:18): And of course everybody’s worried about being sick. And do I go visit family? All the things I’m saying? I think probably all of your listeners experience, something like that in this unprecedented times that we’ve lived in. What it didn’t do really is, is stop me from being able to work on the written page or to be able to work with the people that I was collaborating with. I mean, Colin and I wrote big chunks of the Charlie-316 series during the pandemic. I wrote a book with with Larry Kelter that is not released yet, but we wrote that and edited it and rewrote it during the pandemic. So.
Debbi (16:03): I was gonna say the potential for people to work together is so much greater now that people are using Zoom.
Frank (16:19): Yeah.
Debbi (16:19): I mean, if I want to work with somebody and have a, almost a workshop atmosphere, you can do it.
Frank (16:19): I think people got more comfortable with it too. I mean I mentioned Eric Beetner earlier. I wrote three books with him, three entire books. We never spoke even on the phone, much less over zoom. And then we finally met when I came on his podcast as a guest, that was the first time we’d ever spoken live, which is just completely bizarre. But the online world, I think opened up for a lot of people when it became necessary, it became absolutely a requirement and people, you know, were able to work from home. But in some ways I’m sure it wasn’t a big switch for me. I mean, I’ve been doing it, you know since 2013 and exclusively since 2018, you know, working only on this kind of stuff. But it was a big transition for someone like my wife trying to, to teach and, and she had she worked extreme. She’s been working extremely hard since March of 2020, and anybody who thinks teachers have just been sitting at home, collecting a paycheck. Well, this is probably a family show, so I won’t to express my true feelings about the matter, but they deserve a poke in the nose because they’re, they’re ignorant. Um …
I mean I mentioned Eric Beetner earlier. I wrote three books with him, three entire books. We never spoke even on the phone, much less over zoom. And then we finally met when I came on his podcast as a guest, that was the first time we’d ever spoken live, which is just completely bizarre. But the online world, I think opened up for a lot of people when it became necessary, it became absolutely a requirement and people, you know, were able to work from home.
Debbi (17:38): Many people are ignorant. Yeah. About school teachers.
Frank (17:44): I’m amazed at how hard that she’s worked. It’s basically been having to recreate her entire curriculum and learn a new delivery method and she stuck with it. And so the transition for me, hasn’t been nearly that difficult because I was almost living the, the lockdown life, you know, self-imposed prior to that.
Debbi (18:06): Believe me, I understand that.
Frank (18:08): I know you do.
Debbi (18:10): Yeah. I mean, I was just pretty much at home just doing this. So yeah. But yeah, teachers, what people don’t realize is that teachers aren’t getting paid for those summers off either, that’s another thing they don’t realize.
Frank (18:29): Just because they get a paycheck. Doesn’t mean they’re getting paid. I mean, they’re paid for the nearly 10 months that they worked each year and then it’s just prorated over a 12-month period because that’s easier for us. It’s actually easier for the government bookkeeping. Yeah. Absolutely easier for the district. But yeah, there’s a whole, it’s funny. You know, I was a police officer for 20 years. And, you know, she’s been a teacher for almost that long. And when we first we knew each other since we were kids, but, but when we reconnected as adults and eventually when we got, we got married and we were spending all this time together we got to talking about our careers. And one of the things we both noticed was how many parallels there were between the two careers, both of them being, you know, public service related and both of them you know, being a vital function of society.
Frank (19:22): And the other thing that we both noticed and talked about was how there’s a lot of people out there who have misconceptions about our job and a lot of people who think they know exactly what our job is and how we should be doing it, and aren’t afraid to tell us that, you know, and it, and the police were all … I guess it’s, I saw CSI, so I know what’s what, and, and in the teaching realm, it seems to be, Hey, I went to school, I have a kid, so I know all, everything I need to know about it. And it’s it can be a little frustrating at times to be, to be honest with you.
Debbi (19:57): Oh, well, as a former attorney, I mean, as a lawyer who used to practice law, I know what it’s like to be to have one’s career misrepresented, let’s say, or whatever. And my husband is a retired DC firefighter. So I think I get where you’re coming from.
Frank (20:21): Yeah. I think firefighters suffer that too. Although not, I don’t think quite as much because they just have better PR and let’s face it, you know? I mean their job doesn’t end up.
Debbi (20:34): Involving guns.
Frank (20:34): Well, it doesn’t, it doesn’t require them to necessarily for their actions to be unpleasant for, for people. I mean you know, for normal people out there. And I mean, when, I mean, normal, I mean, people who aren’t involved in a lot of criminal behavior or extremely unlucky, I guess, but for your average American, the times that they see the police are when either they’ve done the stupidest thing they’ve ever done in their life, or they’ve had the worst thing that’s probably ever going to happen to them in their life just happened to them, you know, or they’re in the middle of a crisis that doesn’t happen every day. And so it’s these rare moments that are usually negative. I mean and then when the police come, they’re not necessarily making it better or fixing it. I mean, if you just screwed up, you’re probably getting arrested.
“[F]or your average American, the times that they see the police are when either they’ve done the stupidest thing they’ve ever done in their life, or they’ve had the worst thing that’s probably ever going to happen to them in their life just happened to them, you know, or they’re in the middle of a crisis that doesn’t happen every day. And so it’s these rare moments that are usually negative. I mean and then when the police come, they’re not necessarily making it better or fixing it.
Frank (21:27): If something bad happened to you, you just got your house burglarized and the cops aren’t going to show up with all your stuff in their trunk. It doesn’t work that way. You know, at least firefighters, they show up when somebody isn’t feeling good. They take him to the hospital or something’s on fire and they spray water on it, you know, and people thank them for it. And they have a great PR, I mean, they’re great at PR, too, you know, and, and there’s always been that healthy, like brotherly-sisterly rivalry between cops and firefighters, you know ultimately they realize that that they’re on the same team and, and, and get along. But of course, there’s, you know, used to tease the firefighters that the firefight creed was uh, you knoweat til you’re tired, sleep til you’re hungry, you know, and hang out at the fire station, but I’ll tell you what, you know, that I got injured a couple of times on the job and it wasn’t lawyers who came and fixed me up. It was medics, it was the firefighters. So.
Debbi (22:32): Absolutely.
Frank (22:33): And I’ve had some really good friends who that’s, you know, that’s been their job. And so I admire them. But people think they know what firefighters are all about. And they, they really don’t necessarily have the whole picture.
Debbi (22:46): Oh, yeah, absolutely. Let’s see. Would you like to talk more about Charlie-316 or about your podcast?
Frank (22:57): I think Charlie-316, to be honest with you. You know, it’s a four book series. It’s one of those series that does have a beginning and an end. It’s not, open-ended like most of my other books series are. I wrote it with Colin Conway, who I mentioned before. And he did come up with the idea and he brought it to me. And the more we talked about it and put some bone some meat on those bones and started working with it, it took on a life of its own. But the initial story is about a police officer who was a, just a model officer. He’s a golden child of the department in the community. You know, a good looking, great shape, family, man tactically sound hard worker you know beloved in the community.
But the initial story is about a police officer who was a, just a model officer. He’s a golden child of the department in the community. You know, a good looking, great shape, family, man tactically sound hard worker you know beloved in the community.
Frank (23:53): He gets into a shooting in chapter one, spoiler alert. But he gets into a shooting in chapter one that immediately starts to look like it like it could be a bad incident. The, the driver doesn’t have a weapon and has been shot in the back. And so questions are immediately going to arise. Uh, and rightfully so. And so the book progresses from there giving the reader, you get to experience as the reader, you know, what that officer’s going through, what the detectives that are investigating are seeing what the police leadership is seeing and doing what the community reaction is, and what’s happening there, what’s happening at city hall. And the question of that book really quickly becomes, you know, what, what will the department, what will the city do? Will they, will they hang this guy out to dry sacrifice him on the altar of public opinion, or will they stand by him as they discover, you know, what really happened?
And the question of that book really quickly becomes, you know, what, what will the department, what will the city do? Will they, will they hang this guy out to dry sacrifice him on the altar of public opinion, or will they stand by him as they discover, you know, what really happened?
Frank (24:58): And then of course, a couple of twists and turns come in that I won’t spoil that really changed the complexity of that question. And ultimately the entire series which as the series continues, the latter three books really become an examination of the whole concept of policing in the U.S. and some of the pitfalls that exist there. And it becomes about uh, about how every character in every person is, is essentially gray. And, and some are on the darker end of the scale and summer on the very lighter end of the scale. But nobody is completely one or the other. And you, as the reader, get to decide by the end of the series, whether you’re going to put that person in the good or the bad category based on what their actions have been throughout the entire series.
Frank (25:56): And so this has been a question that’s been on my mind, you know, for, for a lot of years, the idea of of policing in America and the community’s relationship with their police department. And, and we wanted to explore one aspect of it in this series. But it’s not a social essay. It’s it’s, they’re, they’re procedural thrillers. So there’s a lot of tension there’s action there’s realistic events, although we amp them up and blow them up like you do in fiction. But if people want something gritty and realistic, then they’re in the right place.
Debbi (26:34): I was going to say it is, and it’s also really relevant. I mean, it’s the kind of topic that people are talking about, people are concerned with. So there’s that.
Frank (26:44): So I think so, and we, you know, we kind of flipped the script a little bit in that first book purposefully to perhaps put people back on their heels just a tiny bit. So they might look at things differently and, and this was Colin’s concept. And I really like what he came up with. And that was, you know, this takes place in Spokane, Washington, which is a predominantly white city. And so the person who gets shot is white but Tyler Garrett, this model police officer that we’re talking about is black. And he’s one of the few black officers on the department. And as often happens uh, is, is pretty much best practices in, in the profession today. When an agency has an officer involved shooting, another agency is the one that conducts the investigation.And that’s just, that’s just good practice, but the home agency or the host agency, whatever you want to call them does assign a detective to shadow that investigation, just to make sure that they do a good job and that they look into everything and that, you know, that they don’t overlook anything.
Frank (27:56): And so it’s kind of creates this double transparency situation. And in Charlie 3-16, the detective who is the shadow detective, that’s linked up with the sister agency detectives looking into this shooting is one of the few black detectives on the department. And so race is definitely an issue that we explore in this first book as best as we can.
Debbi (28:27): Mmm-hmm. While being an entertaining read at the same time.
Frank (28:35): Which is always the primary goal. I mean, the story is the primary goal. But we wanted to do even more than that. We wanted to get people thinking. And, you know, if you get people thinking, then, then maybe they’re not relying on their own entrenched positions. Maybe they’re thinking about a subject in a way that, that that can change that entrenched thinking, because that’s certainly what we have in many places in America now is very, you know, people not looking for information, but looking for validation of their, or confirmation of their pre-existing biases. And we want to try to maybe nudge people past that a little bit. So.
Debbi (29:19): That’s a laudable goal. And you’ve had the podcast since when?
Frank (29:28): I think 2018 is when I started the podcast. I’d have to go back and look, I’m in my fourth season. But the seasons were a little uneven to start with, but it runs from September to June. I took the summers off to spend more time with my wife when she’s out of school. And right now they drop weekly during that time period with the one feature episode a month, it’s about an hour long. And then the rest are open and shut up episodes that run about 15 or 20 minutes. And I talk mostly to people like you, other crime fiction authors. So it’s similar to the Crime Cafe in that regard, in that I try to talk to just folks who write mysteries, all subgenres though. I don’t necessarily just find people who write what I write. I try to mix it up and, and talk to people who write cozies, who write thrillers and even throw a few curve balls. People maybe that aren’t even crime fiction writers.
About his podcast, Wrong Place, Write Crime: So it’s similar to the Crime Cafe in that regard, in that I try to talk to just folks who write mysteries, all subgenres though. I don’t necessarily just find people who write what I write. I try to mix it up and, and talk to people who write cozies, who write thrillers and even throw a few curve balls. People maybe that aren’t even crime fiction writers.
Debbi (30:34): Well, that’s cool. I think that’s great. Who handles the technical aspects of your podcasts? Do you do all the work?
Frank (30:43): It’s a one-man show. Yeah.
Debbi (30:47): Same here. One woman. Whatever. Yeah.
Frank (30:50): Yeah. I’ll take credit for anything that works out and I’ll blame it on the dog or the cat. If something goes wrong,
Debbi (30:58): These things happen. Technology will let you down sometimes.
Frank (31:03): Well, I’m not as brave as you are. I’m strictly audio, and you’ve delved into the video element, which I just think is is very, very ambitious, very brave. I’m not ready for that.
Debbi (31:22): It’s interesting. I just decided, why not? And I thought this way, I can just talk to people rather than trying to write everything down, which is kind of nice. Let’s see. There were other things I was going to ask you. Oh, have you have you released any of your work in audio book form?
Frank (31:49): Yeah. Yeah. A good chunk of it is in audio. I kind of jumped on the audio train you know, like eight or nine years ago when the royalty share arrangement was pretty popular on ACX, on Audible. More recently after kind of learning about audio technology and, and so forth mastering and everything through working on the podcast, I’ve started to delve into recording and, and producing them myself. So my trial run was the short story collection, The Cleaner, where I narrated all but two of the stories. And then then my wife and I narrated two flash fiction stories that were from uh, a female narrator. So I, I wanted to try that. And so that was kinda my first foray into that. And it, I mean, it passed quality control.
Frank (32:52): It’s out there, if people want to give it a listen and I’m working on Sugar Got Low, which is my most recent short story collection. But for that one, I’ve been using multiple narrators. I think there’s going to be like six or so different narrators including myself and Christie, but another four or so different people that were chosen specifically for a specific story. So it’s a collection, not an anthology, but from a narration standpoint, it’s kind of like an anthology in that there’ll be like, you know, seven different people in there reading a total of 13 stories.
Debbi (33:33): Cool. Very cool. Let’s see. Where can people find you online?
Frank (33:40): Pretty easily. FrankZafiro.com. Zafiro is Z-A-F-I-R-O is my website. And pretty much everything is linked through there, the podcast, all of the books and so forth, and appearances like this. I’ve got those linked under a tab, as well. So that’s probably the best place to find me, but my books are out there on Amazon and elsewhere as well.
Debbi (34:14): Have you ever considered crowdfunding a book?
Frank (34:18): That’s an interesting question. Have you done it?
Debbi (34:21): I have done it actually. Yeah. I won’t say I’ve done it successfully, but I’ve done it. I’ve raised some money.
Frank (34:30): Well, I’ll have to ask you what worked and what didn’t in that regard. I actually have considered it for you know, I write, I write mainstream and children’s fiction under my given name and fantasy. I’m branching out into fantasy under another pen name, and I have a project that I’ve started and I’ve been working on. But, I thought about that idea of crowdfunding for the fantasy novel simply because I’d like to really invest in the art both in terms of the cover and the maps. And then maybe additionally you know, art inside the book and on the website. And, you know, that’s more expensive than just a straightforward cover because you’re talking about, you know artists who are hand drawing something that’s a hundred percent unique versus maybe photo manipulation of existing images, which is still an art form that’s beyond me.
I’m branching out into fantasy under another pen name, and I have a project that I’ve started and I’ve been working on. But, I thought about that idea of crowdfunding for the fantasy novel simply because I’d like to really invest in the art both in terms of the cover and the maps. And then maybe additionally you know, art inside the book and on the website.
Frank (35:32): And so I thought maybe, you know, crowdfunding might be a way to go there, you know. Get the money up front and really go, big and get some really great art in involved in this, because I’m pretty excited about the story itself. But you know, fantasy is one of those genres. I think we’re cover art and associated art is, is more important. I mean, a mystery novel certainly needs a good cover and people do decide whether to give your book a look or even a read based on the cover. So I’m not diminishing its importance, but I feel like it has an even greater importance in the mystery genre. So, hey, maybe I’ll take your suggestion and run with it.
Debbi (36:24): Well, that’s cool. I hope so. Cause I think that crowdfunding is not only a great way to potentially make money and to pay back some of the costs of production, but to develop a readership, people are investing in your product because they have level of belief in it and can relate to it in some way. So.
Frank (36:48): I’ve been on the other side of that. I’ve invested in, in things you know, various things, never a book yet, but computer games and card games or board games that I’ve been interested in that I, you know, I mean, if it looks like a cool idea, I’d like to see it come to fruition, you know, you support it and it gets there. And, so it’s kinda fun to get that product at the end of it all. And you, you were part of it from the inception. And so there’s that, that sense of belonging and that, you know, that, that, that being a piece of the creation. And so I would expect that would carry over in a book scenario as well.
Debbi (37:37): Absolutely. I would think so. Is there anything else you’d like to mention before we finish up?
Frank (37:45): Boy, that’s a loaded question. I could mention about 40 different things. I’ll just say that, well, I mean, I’m over a hundred episodes on the podcast now, so people can, can find a lot of different authors, yourself included in the back episodes there, it’s definitely worth a peek and it’s available on all different platforms, wherever you get your podcasts. I can 99% guarantee that Wrong Place, Write Crime is there. And I think the same accessibility exists within within my published books. If you like procedurals, I have the river city series, you know, the Charlie 3-16 series, if you like, you know, noir or hard-boiled the Anya trilogy fits that the SpoCompton series fits that. If you like a little dark humor and action, the books I wrote with Eric Beetner, the Bricks and Cam Jobs series fit that, I mean, pretty much every subgenre of mystery except for cozy.
Frank (38:52): I’ve got you covered. And with my co-authors what I don’t have, they do, I mean Colin Conway writes a cozy series. Bonnie Paulson writes romance. So between me and my coauthors, I, I dare say anything that’s remotely mystery. I mean, Lawrence Kelter writes a novelization of the My Cousin Vinnie books which are, which are funny. So humor is, you know, whatever you want, we’ve got it, you know, so dive in and click around and, and try whatever it is that you might like.
Debbi (39:34): Cool. Very cool. Well, Frank, thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate it.
Frank (39:42): Thanks for, thanks for having me.
Debbi (39:44): It’s been fun talking to you, and I always learn a lot from talking to authors. I tell you, you guys are full of great information.
Frank (39:54): Yeah, I can attest to that being a host. You learn something, you never know what it’s going to be, but you learn something from every guest
Debbi (40:02): That’s right. Yeah, absolutely. Just best of luck with everything you’re doing. It’s great.
Frank (40:08): Well, thank you. And congratulations on your success with the Crime Cafe. I mean, when I reached out to you about coming back on, at some point, I think you were almost a year out in your scheduling because of demand, so that’s fantastic. Congratulations.
Debbi (40:24): It’s really totally unexpected. I got to tell you that. Totally unexpected,
Frank (40:31): I’m not surprised in the least.
Debbi (40:33): Well, thank you. And just so you know, everyone, we’d greatly appreciate your giving the Crime Cafe Patreon page. a look. You can see that I offer a variety of perks for supporters of the podcast there, including shout outs on social media podcast, mentions and credit as a producer or associate producer, depending on your level of support. So please don’t miss that. You’ll find the link on my website. You can also find it in the show notes to this podcast, and I will be back in two weeks with another guest, another author. In the meantime, happy reading.
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