FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

This is where I attempt to answer some of the most common questions readers have asked. If you have a question not answered here, please contact me and I'll do my best to answer it.

The next novel—what, when, where?

Live Long Day, the fifth Malone novel, will go on sale at your favorite bookseller on December 11, 2018, in print and electronic book editions.

If you're wondering about the next book in the T.J. O'Sullivan series, The Chinese Tiger Ying is slated for release March 12, 2019. The first draft of the book is nearing completion and should go to my editor Sarah sometime in October 2018.

Why name the character Malone and what kind of name is it?

From the start, I envisioned Malone as being of Irish heritage and the name reflects that. As explained at Ancestry.com, Malone is an "Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Maoil Eoin ‘descendant of the devotee of (Saint) John’. This is the name of an ecclesiastical family at Clonmacnoise. MacLysaght states that this surname is now numerous in County Clare where it is pronounced Maloon and is probably really Muldoon."

Malone is pronounced the way it looks, but I have already noticed some people seem to want to accent the e at the end pronouncing it like "Maloney." That's incorrect. The "e" is silent and serves only to make the vowel preceding it (the o) a long sounding vowel.

The titles of the Malone Novels are a little unusual—how do you come up with them?

I've always been a great fan of William Shakespeare. The titles of all books in the Malone series come from lines in Shakespearean plays. Quite coincidentally, both of the first two book titles represent lines from the play Macbeth. When I settled on the name for the third book, Cold Comfort, I was thinking of Act 4 of The Taming of the Shrew, where the phrase is found. But "cold comfort" is also found in King John. I chose this method of titling the books as a small unifying theme for the series and using lines from Shakespeare as titles in the Malone novels will continue over the life of the series.

How many books will the Malone series have?

That's not really knowable at this point. We're three books in now. At the outset, I made a long-term commitment to the Malone series. However, I will continually reevaluate as time goes on. I really enjoy writing these books and I'm very happy with the character Malone as well as his supporting cast of characters. But of course, the point is that people buy the books and find them entertaining and enjoyable to read. For now, I'll just say that the greater the readership the series attracts, the longer its longevity. Hopefully in time Malone will become as mythical a character as Lucas Davenport, Robert B. Parker's Spenser, and Jack Reacher.

How did the T.J. O'Sullivan series come about?

T.J. first appeared in the third Malone novel, Cold Comfort. So many readers told me that she was their favorite character in the book, I decided to write a spinoff series with T.J. as the lead character. I have two close women friends in New Zealand and a couple of favorite New Zealand actresses, so I thought it would fun to make T.J. a Kiwi. There is a lot of my friend Jess in T.J. as far as personality and temperament, but T.J. is a composite of New Zealand women I know and admire.

Are your books available everywhere?

All the Malone and T.J. titles are available in print from most major bookstores, but you will likely have to special order them from brick and mortar stores. Up until recently, I've always published wide which means the electronic book editions are available from all online bookstores - Amazon, Kobo, Apple iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Google Play, etc. However, beginning with Honolulu Blues, the second T.J. O'Sullivan book,  I've decided to publish the electronic books in that series exclusively on Amazon. That's not something I've ever been keen to do, but independent publishing has become a very competitive business. Since the vast majority of self-published authors enroll their books in Kindle Select I've come to believe I really don't have a choice in the matter any longer. Amazon does some things to elevate the visibility of Kindle Select books on the site that they do not do for authors who do not enroll their books in the program.  Without visibility, given that there is now somewhere on the order of 10,000 eBooks on Amazon, books simply fall into Amazon's black hole and potential readers never even know they exist. The Malone novels have developed enough of a following, I will continue to publish the electronic versions on all online retail sites. I don't wish to alienate any readers who prefer to purchase electronic books somewhere other than Amazon.

Who are your favorite crime fiction writers?

My longtime favorite crime fiction authors include Raymond Chandler, Robert B. Parker, and John Roswell Camp who writes under the pen name John Sandford. I feel Chandler and Parker have influenced my own writing style the most. Sandford is probably my favorite crime fiction writer simply because the man has never written a bad book. After twenty-nine of the Lucas Davenport Prey novels, eleven Virgil Flowers novels, and around fourteen other books, every book Sandford writes is a quality read. Unlike some other household name crime fiction writers whose books tend to be sometimes great and sometimes awful, Sandford never disappoints. But, the fact is I'm always discovering new favorite authors too since I read somewhere around fifty new crime fiction books every year. Some of my recent favorite crime fiction writers include New Zealand  authors Vanda Symon (Sam Shephard series), and Katherine Hayton (Detective Ngaire Blakes series). I also really like Blake Banner (A Dead Cold Mystery series), and Robert W. Stephens (A Murder on Maui series).

How do you deal with bad reviews?

In this area, I have sort of a leg up on many writers. After spending more than twenty years as a police officer I've been criticized and called every name in the book by a good many of the individuals I dealt with on the street. Consequently, I've developed very thick skin and am not bothered by honest criticism. The worst reviews I've ever received didn't bother me at all. First, not every single person who chooses to read one of my books is going to like it. I know that. We're all individuals with different tastes when it comes to what we enjoy reading. Second, if you're going to write and publish books, you have to expect some people who read them and don't like them are going to criticize them. I never mind a person who has spent money to buy one of my books telling me he or she didn't like it and why. Many times this kind of criticism is something I find helpful and try to use it to become a better writer. On the other hand, I don't have much regard for people who post negative reviews and say something like "I couldn't even get through the first three chapters the book is so awful." My question to people like that is this. Why did you feel compelled to slam the book with a bad review when you didn't even bother to read it? I doubt any serious potential reader pays any attention to reviews from people like that. I read every review, and appreciate every single person who not only takes time to read one of my books but goes the extra mile by writing an honest review whether it's negative or positive. Yet I will admit I don't lose sleep over negative reviews written by individuals who haven't bothered to read a book they then decide to slam with a negative review simply because maybe it makes them feel better about themselves to anonymously criticize the work of someone else.

What is your writing schedule like?

Now that I have the luxury of writing full time, I treat writing like a job and write every weekday Monday through Friday unless I'm on vacation. My goal is to always write a chapter per day as a minimum, which for me is around 1,500 to 2,000 words. But, most days I end up writing more than the minimum.

Have you lived in the places you use for the settings in your novels?

No, I've never lived in Los Angeles, Honolulu, or the other places that appear in my novels. That said, I've visited them all extensively and am personally familiar with them all. I spent a lot of time in Los Angeles when I was in the military years ago, and still manage to visit the city quite often. I've visited Hawaii and Honolulu somewhere around thirty times since my first visit there in 1975. Hawaii is one of my favorite places to visit, and I vacation there at least once every year. I've also visited New Zealand a number of times and have close friends there who live in Queenstown, and in the Auckland area on North Island.