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Mystery Thriller Week 2018 is upon us. It runs from April 12 through April 19 2018. MTW 2018 is aimed at not only authors, but also at readers, reviewers and book bloggers.

You may find a complete list of events, authors, and books on the Mystery Thriller Week website. Some of those books are subject of giveaways too.

To celebrate the week I will be featuring three authors who are participating in MTW. The first is Marc Rainer. I have already read all of his books and reviewed two of them. I do hope you pick up one of his books as he is a great writer.

Here he is to answer my questions:

Why do you write?

I’d suffered through the usual, worn-out and unrealistic novels about cops and detectives for years. Any reader can walk through the stereotypes with me: a lone wolf detective, probably an alcoholic filled with raging personal demons, solves the world’s biggest criminal case either by his lonesome self or with the help of a skeptical partner, dodging machine gun bullets while snap-shooting a bad guy off a rooftop half a mile a way with a pistol. Having worked in law enforcement and around the pros for three decades, I wanted to write realistic novels in which both the police and prosecutors were more accurately portrayed.

What are you currently working on?

My sixth Jeff Trask novel. Unlike the first five, this one will be set in the heartland of America, instead of in the political swamp known as Washington, D.C.

Do you have any plans for books after the Jeff Trask series is completed?

Not yet. Thinking about that.

It strikes me the series is ripe for conversion to the screen. Are there any plans in that direction?

We’re working on a script for a possible television series now. It’s always a crapshoot getting one picked up for production, so we’ll see how that goes.

There is some social and/or political content in your books. Was this a conscious act or one that flowed from your writing?

Very conscious. I’ve seen politicians infect our justice system with bad ideas for years, and with no idea of what they were doing or the effects their “reforms” were having on the system or on our society.

You appear to have some strong views on the death penalty. In the UK we abolished it many years ago. My own view is that abolition in the UK was a good thing in light of the history of ‘miscarriages of justice’ in that country. Any views?

I think that we in the U.S. now have enough safeguards in place to prevent virtually every miscarriage from occurring. In addition to forensic advances, we have specialized reviews of indictments before a capital case is even filed, requirements to balance the penalty with aggravating factors, specialized jury instructions, and seemingly endless appeals. There are some cases so heinous that only the ultimate sanction is appropriate, and even then it might be too humanely administered (see my third book, “Death’s White Horses,” for some examples). We also have situations where – without the death penalty – there is no deterrent punishment available, as where a convict already serving a life sentence of imprisonment kills another inmate or a guard.

Are you a plotter or pantster?

I suppose this question deals with my method of writing. I discovered at a writer’s conference last year that I am an “organic writer.” (Before the conference – having never taken a creative writing course – I had no idea what that meant, and had never before heard the term.) I start a book with only the most bare-bones idea of where I’m going, then I hop into the minds of my characters and join them for the ride. Instead of cramming my character into the tunnel vision of an outline, I think that it produces a more realistic book when I ask myself, “What would he be thinking, saying, doing next?”

Which writers had the most influence on your decision to write and why?

The W.E.B. Griffin guys for writing a series, and Michael Connelly for some style points.

What was the last book you read?

One of Connelly’s. Since I read them all, I can’t remember which one it was.

Do you suffer from writers’ block?

No. My only block is the other time demands of life. When I sit down to write, I write.

Biggest frustration as an author?

The 19th-Century methodology of the traditional publishing game. Query letters, agents, publishers, etc. I’m much happier being self-published. Without the digital revolution spawning a publishing revolution, I wouldn’t be writing and/or published.

Reviews for books are vital. Any tips on getting more reviews?

Write well and wait. They’ll come. Free book promos are essential at first, but then the reputation of a good book will spread.

Do you use social media? If so, do you like using it?

I use it, because I’m self-published, and because it’s cheap. I still have some reservations about all the self-promotion, but being self-published, it’s up to me to do it. Nobody else will (other than readers like yourself who find and like the books).

Who is your biggest fan?

Probably my wife. She also inspired and encouraged me to take the plunge with the first novel. After thirty years prosecuting major cases, I came home from work with quite a few plot lines.

Many people have a bucket list. What is #1 on yours?

Life’s too big for a bucket. We’ll see what opportunities arise, and take it from there.

Any special message for your readers?

Thanks for giving an indie author a chance. Enjoy the books!

I hope you, the reader, enjoyed that as much as I did.

Want to know more about Marc?

marc rainer

Marc Rainer is the pen name for Charles (“Chuck”) Ambrose, Jr. He was born and spent his childhood in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, and is a former Air Force JAG Circuit Prosecutor and former federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., and in Kansas City, MO.

In his more than thirty years of experience, he has tried hundreds of both military and federal (civilian) major cases, including prosecutions of homicide cases, federal conspiracy trials, and mafia and other organized crime prosecutions. He weaves scenes from his investigative and trial experiences into the plot lines of his novels, which have been hailed by those in the criminal justice fields for their realism.

He has also co-authored a manual on how to try murder cases, which was published by the American Bar Association’s Criminal Law Section. He lives in a suburb of a major northwestern city with his wife, a retired Special Agent of the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI), and their three rescue mutts. His web page may be found at www.marcrainer.com. The first novel in his Jeff Trask crime drama, Capital Kill, has reached #1 in the sales rankings of Amazon’s kindle stores mystery series category.

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