Ask the Author: Bentley Turner
What would you like readers to know about you?
I have written several short stories and numerous poems that have been published in literary magazines. However, The File on Thomas Marks is my first full-length mystery scheduled to be published in June.
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
It concerns Thomas Marks, a young, intelligent man who is naïve about those who work in law enforcement. After two young women are murdered, Thomas becomes the leading suspect. Although he claims he’s innocent, the investigating detectives don’t believe him primarily because the evidence doesn’t corroborate his story. Eventually, another suspect surfaces. Thomas thinks he’s in the clear, but appearances can’t always be trusted.
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
Well, I’ve read mysteries all of my life. Although I had written one or two short stories that contained elements of the genre, I had never tried to write a full-length mystery until several years ago. The process was more difficult than I had anticipated. It was not like writing a short story or a saga about a family. I realized the process became easier when I started asking “What if . . . ?” questions. In other words, what if the character does this? Or this? Or what if the character says this? Or this? In other words, a situation could change as a result of one or more questions. Eventually, I completed the first draft, which I put aside for awhile. Then I went back to it and worked on it some more. After several years, I was satisfied with it and sent it to a small publisher. Then another. And then another. More than one small publisher showed interest in it. Thank goodness.
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
The chapter in which the leading detective learns about witchcraft from a reporter. The information the reporter provides is based on research. In short, it is not necessarily fiction.
I also like the scene in the next to last chapter.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
Although I enjoy reading various writers, including Raymond Chandler, John D. MacDonald, John O’Hara, Ernest Hemingway, J. D. Salinger, Erskine Caldwell, John Grisham, and Linwood Barclay, to mention a few, I don’t know if I have been inspired by any particular one. I believe the spark has always been inside me.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
Write a sentence, then another, and then another until you have a paragraph. Then write another sentence, and another, and another until you have a second paragraph. Keep doing this until you have a short story or a novel. Don’t give up.
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