– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Mink Eyes’ blogtour, organised by R&R Book Tours.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but b
About the Author :
Dan Flanigan is a novelist, poet, and playwright, as well as a practicing lawyer. His novel, Mink Eyes, is set in 1986 and explores the “greed is good” dynamic and the cultural tensions and gender complexities of that era. It is a modern hero’s quest in mystery-detective form. In addition to developing a screenplay version of Mink Eyes, he has published a book of verse and prose poetry, Tenebrae: A Memoir Of Love And Death, and Dewdrops, a collection of his shorter fiction. He has also written the full-length plays–Secrets (based on the life of Eleanor Marx) and Moondog’s Progress (based on the life of Alan Freed).
Title: Mink Eyes
Genre: Thriller / Noir / Crime Fiction
Publication Date: March 10, 2019
The year is 1986–the tarnished heart of the decade of greed.
Private detective Peter O’Keefe, a physically scarred and emotionally battered Vietnam vet, is hired by childhood friend and attorney Mike Harrigan to investigate what appears to be a petty mink farm Ponzi scheme in the Ozarks. Quickly O’Keefe finds himself snared in a vicious web of money laundering, cocaine smuggling, and murder–all at the behest of a mysterious mobster only referred to as Mr. Canada. Also caught up in Mr. Canada’s illicit network is the exquisite Tag Parker, who seems to dance between roles as the woman of O’Keefe’s dreams–and his nightmares.
From start to finish Mink Eyes delivers classic noir crime fiction at its finest. In a category filled with formulaic and predictable characters and plot lines, reviewers are calling Mink Eyes absolutely “unique and unexpected.”
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I have wanted to be an author since high school. I was deflected by many things including alcoholism, cowardice, day job,and the difficulty of getting past the gatekeepers. For example, i had a a publisher of my novel clear back in the 80s and also enjoyed a staged reading of one of my plays in New York. The publisher went bankrupt. And trying to get anywhere with serious theatre back then was close to impossible without a commitment I was unwilling to make even if I had understood what it might entail. I gave it all up until many years later. But if something like this is embedded deeply enough within you, it seems that it won’t go away and keeps rising up.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I don’t recall reading very much as a young child. When I really plunged into reading, as an “older” child and young adolescent, I immersed myself in sports-oriented fiction and the many books written back in the 50s and early 60s about youth gangs and young hoodlums trying and sometimes succeeding in “getting straight.” Later, I engaged with the Classics. Today, I don’t read as much as I would like to. I buy a lot more books than I read, which are sitting on my nightstand waiting patiently to be opened (I am told there is actually a Japanese word for that). But when I do read, it is likely be a philosphical work (right now I am reading This Life by Martin Hagglund) or returning to old friends like Shakespeare, Joseph Campbell, Yeats, Joyce. Of more contemporary writers, my “influences,” though I don’t really dare to compare myself to them, are Robert Stone, E.L. Doctorow, Ross MacDonald, and a bit of Elmore Leonard.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
“Picking brains” always reminds me of that scene—was it in Raiders Of The Lost Ark?—where they are forking up and eating the brain of a live monkey. That aside, it would be Shakespeare or Yeats. And the question, simply—how do you do that? I doubt the answer would be helpful but it would be worth a try.
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Yevgeny Bazarov from Fathers and Sons. I have always felt a deep affinity for/with him. He has been a cautionary tale for me. I think his example helped me avoid his fate, although I have been very close to it many times.
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I often have to “get out of the house” when writing—mostly to a coffee shop, sometimes to a place like the Rose Reading Room of the New York Public Library, to be among the gruff but freindly ghosts of so many great writers and scholars who labored and created there. At home, I often have the television on, usually, and oddly, either to Bloomberg or to a true crime show, sort of Muzak with, in the case of true crime, direct or subliminal plotting possibilities.
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
So far I have come up with them from incidents in my own life or snatches from the lives of others, in each case radically transformed by imagination. For example, my story On The Last Frontier was wholly imaginary but sparked by a brief encounter and conversation with an elderly waitress in Juneau, Alaska who, I am sure, had a much tamer life than did Katie, my heroine. If it is a detective/mystery thing like Mink Eyes, I have to do a lot of interstitial research (e.g. types of weapons or the methods of coroners and the contents of autopsy reports, how one dies of a heroin overdose, etc.) to make sure I am portraying something that could happen in the real world, as I have no desire to write fantasy. And I think all the true crime shows I watch might bear fruit in later O’Keefe books (truth may not be stranger but to me is far more fascinating than fiction).
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
A combination. I start out with something that has in my mind a rough beginning, muddled middle, and possible end, but then I let things go from there. I think it’s like a road trip or a stroll around an interesting city. You set out with a provisional route and destination but then let the journey make its own way.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
I am still a “novice writer” so I have no faith in my own advice, but here it is: Be honest with yourself about your talent, and not just the negative side. If you think your work is good enough, don’t let the gatekeepers get you down; find a way; but think hard before you give up your day job. And “Don’ t follow leaders, watch your parking meters.”
What are your futureplans as an author?
If time allows me, I want to write more O’Keefe (Mink Eyes) novels, another book of poetry, another triptych “collection” like Dewdrops, a novel about the Alamo (yes, sorry, can’t help it, but it will be “special,” I promise), and a novel called Goose Chase, capturing a group of Boomers who have grown up together and now are poised for flight, fight, failure, or fulfillment in the mid-1980’s (“Midway in our life’s journey, I went astray from the straight road and woke to find myself alone in a dark wood.” Dante, Inferno, Ciardi translation). And, sorry to admit it, if I get really desperate, a memoir. (Wow, I’d better get to work.)
Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
“Hey, Kelly,” said the witch.
The witch cackled. “Guess who? Trick or treat.”
Kelly watched them walk past and off down the street, trying to figure out who it was.
“I don’t know who that was. Next year I wanna go out trick or-treating with my friends. Can I do that? Will I be old enough then?”
“We’ll see next year. That’s a long way off.”
He supposed this would be the last time he would trick-or treat with her. Another letting go. Letting go, and letting go, and letting go again. That seemed to be what being a parent was mainly about sometimes. He remembered that he had begun to go trick or treating without his parents by age eight or nine. But everything was so different now. Brownies laced with strychnine. Razor blades in caramel apples. Real goblins and demons stalked the night these days, and the wolves had emerged from the forest and were hunting in the streets.
They had entered a cul de sac of only a few houses. She had forged ahead of him about ten yards. “Look, Dad,” she said, pointing across the street. An executioner, much taller than the other trick-or-treaters, in black hood and cape and brandishing a bloody ax, marched slowly, portentously across the street toward her. O’Keefe started to laugh, but the laugh caught in his throat when he saw the executioner bearing down on her with what seemed like harmful intent. The blade of the ax looked so real. Something in his body told him to move very fast.
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Dan Flanigan.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds
Blog Tour Organized By:
R&R Book Tours
P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!