Who designed the cover? My designer’s name is Trevor Houlton. He’s really freaking good. I told him that I wanted to keep a theme across all the covers of this series where we took an image of a real person, who’s loosely related to the story, and then obscure their face to make them less recognizable.
The cover for ‘A Study in Sin’ is from a mug shot of Irish mobster Whitey Bulger. There’s actually an article on my site about the process we went through to create this first cover. You can read it here: Process of Creating ‘A Study in Sin’ Cover.
We’ve already finished the second cover in the series and we’re working on the third right now.
Trevor is working on a site where he’ll be creating pre-made and custom covers for authors. It’s not up yet, but when he goes live, I think he’ll be one the best cover designers out there. The main thing he’s told me is that he wants to focus on doing covers that steer clear of your standard ebook stock photo collages; so lots of original artwork and great typography.
How important do you think villains are in a story? Probably more important than the hero. In ‘A Study in Sin’, I really wanted to play with the idea of a “villain” that is a hero in his own mind; where he comes off very evil at one point, and then very caring at another. . I think that’s what all good villains should be like: the hero of their own story. They should truly believe they’re doing the right thing.
Have you started another book yet? In the Remy Moreau series, Volume 2, which is called ‘The St. Mary’s Cipher’, and Volume 3, which is called ‘The Red-Headed Order’, are both done. They’re both shorter, only about 15,000-20,000 words each. Volume 4 will be a shorter book as well and is about half way done right now.
I wanted to make sure I could keep the overall story arc moving along quickly for readers, so I’ll be releasing Volumes 2-4 not long after ‘A Study in Sin’ comes out.
I just started work on Volume 5 which will be another full length novel. I’m really enjoying number five, it’s a great story.
Can we expect any other series from you in the future? Absolutely.
In the beginning, I started the Remy Moreau series as an exercise to work with a dialogue heavy story. But the more I got to know the characters, the more I wanted to keep going with it. Right now I have plans for 8 volumes, but the series will probably end up being much longer.
The series I’ve been working on for over a year is the one I’m extremely excited about. The working title right now is ‘The Portrait’ and the scale is just horrifically large. It’s about everything – life, money, power, politics, war. It’s going to be epic. I originally had it planned for a trilogy but it will more than likely end up being a nine part series – which I’m pretty sure is an ennealogy – so, yea…
What inspires you to write and why? I agree with Stephen King (and a few others) who’ve said that you can’t teach great writing. Maybe good writing, maybe even really good writing, but great writers are born, not made. They’re artists. I want to know if it’s something I’m capable of; that greatness I mean.
And I think writers, above all other artists, have the capacity to change entire societies and outlooks with their art. More than painters or musicians or anyone else, writers can craft lasting change with nothing more than words.
That inspires me to write everyday.
What are your goals as a writer? My goals right now are to put out books that affect people; it’s that simple for me. My first goal is to have readers say: “We love it. We want more. Don’t stop. Keep going.” When I hear that, then I’ll start thinking of larger goals
Long term, I just want to have that one thing I can look back on and say, “That’s the best I can do. That’s my magnum opus.” To know that’s out in the world, that it exists, what more can you ever ask for?
What books have most influenced your life? I’ll probably take a bunch of heat for this, and I’m constantly getting mocked for it, but Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas Shrugged’ was pretty big for me. I went through my post-high school Hemingway phase, but I started to get more into politics in college. I started reading Orwell and Huxley and all the great social commentary stuff. When I finally got around to reading Atlas Shrugged, I already knew mostly what it was about, but I still loved it.
Just to be clear, I don’t take it as a justification to be greedy or evil or anything like that (like so many other people who love it do), but I do think it’s one of the best books for socio-political philosophy – whether you agree with the premise or not.
Plus, nobody really talks about the fact that it’s a great story, regardless of everything else. It’s just a really good plot with really well developed characters.
Have you ever considered anyone as a mentor? Sure. Hemingway, Rand, Orwell, Philip K Dick, Huxley, Thoreau, Einstein, Carl Sagan – all of them are my mentors.
A wildly intriguing, intimately suspenseful story about the human capacity for good and evil – and what pushes us to inevitably, and often tragically, turn to our darker emotions for comfort.
Jacob Watts broke his neck in Afghanistan. Now he’s in D.C. with no job, a therapist, an uncontrollable tick in his arm, and PTSD. And he can’t pay his rent.
His new, and monetarily necessary roommate, Remy Moreau, isn’t helping either. Cold and detached, she might be a savant – but she’s also socially inept, has absolutely no boundaries, and is possibly dealing drugs out of their apartment. When the two come in contact with a stiff and blood-covered body in Capitol Row, the ambiguous Remy Moreau will lead him on an obsessive-compulsive hunt in pursuit of a tormented killer.
Can Remy, with Watts in tow, catch a murderer before he strikes again? And what are Remy’s real intentions with Watts? Is she even capable of anything resembling real human emotion?
A Study in Sin is a fast-paced modern update of a classic Sherlock Holmes mystery.
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Genre – Mystery / Thriller / Suspense
Rating – PG13
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