New interview with mystery author Rex Burns

Multipublished and Edgar-award winning mystery novelist Rex Burns is back in the house. Today he’s sharing about his second-in-a-new-series novel, Crude Carrier.

You can find his first interview on Reviews and Interviews about the first novel in this new series, Body Slam, here

Rex Burns’ nineteen
books are primarily in the mystery genre. The longest series features homicide
detective Gabe Wager. Set in Colorado, the stories are used to depict Denver
and environs at specific times using the “police procedural” format.
Other titles include the non-fiction Success in America: The Yeoman Dream
and the Industrial Revolution
 and a historical anthology of the mystery
story (with Mary Rose Sullivan): Crime Classics. Crude
 is the second in a father-daughter private eye series.
Welcome back to Reviews
and Interviews, Rex.
Thank you, Lisa.
Please tell us about
your newest release.
 involves the case of an unexplained death at sea. It alternates
narrators between James Raiford and his daughter, Julie Campbell. She flies to
London to dig into the background of the shipping company that hired the
missing sailor, while her father goes aboard the ship from which the sailor was
lost. Both soon find themselves in very rough waters.
What inspired you to
write this book?
I liked the research
into sea transport and into the dangerous, and often ill-rewarded, life of
members of the international merchant marine. Having sailed aboard several
large vessels, both combat and commercial, I wanted to re-create the feel and
atmosphere of shipboard life. And I, like so many writers, find London to be a
city of fascination for its many faces: historical, architectural, and human.
What’s the next project?
Currently, I’m working
on a story set in Australia.
What is your biggest
challenge when writing a new book?
The biggest challenge
with every book I work on is to complete a first draft. Once that’s done, the
fun of rewriting begins.
If your novels require
research – please talk about the process. Do you do the research first, and
then write, while you’re writing, after the novel is complete and you need to
fill in the gaps?
All of the
above–initial research can reveal whether or not there is material of enough
depth for the kind of story one wants to tell, and whether or not the facts can
be shaped into an artistic form. During the writing, specific incidents of
plot are tested against the possibilities of the setting and the action. It’s
also where questions arise that were not foreseen in the initial research and
which require resolution. Once the first draft is complete, one goes through
for the gaps and literary inconsistencies and the means to fix them.
What’s your writing space
I have an office into
which I disappear. Sometimes–all too seldom–the muse joins me.
What authors do you
enjoy reading within or without of your genre?
So many! Like most
readers, I find pleasure in a good story told well, and I find it in
established masterpieces as well as recently published writers. The latest
pleasures include T. Jefferson Parker for his stories of Southern California
and the memories they stir, R. T. Lawton’s solid short stories and the sheer
fun of good costume drama, and Roz Barber’s The Marlow Papers for
the psychological effects and nuances of feeling that are born from reading a
500-plus page story told in blank verse.
Anything additional you
wish to share with the readers?
If you really enjoy a
book, please let the author know. That’s a currency rarer than coin.
Thank you for coming
back to Reviews and Interviews and entertaining my readers today!

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