Ray joins me today to chat about his new mystery sci-fi, Murder in Rock & Roll Heaven. (The book is on sale for only $0.99.)
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Trinidad & Tobago at the ripe old age of 12. Already steeped in the rich
culture and mysteries of his native land, it would only be a matter of time
before he, too, became a musician and storyteller. After a short stint at Iowa
State University, he became a nurse for practical purposes but never abandoned
his musical and literary aspirations. Eventually, he did play guitar in several
bands, committing himself to localized tours and album releases. Leaving the
music world behind, he delved headfirst back into his second love – writing. To
date, he has authored six screenplays, two novels, seven novellas, around fifty
short stories and many poems. Thus far, he’s published six books – five fiction
and one non-fiction, all available in paperback and e-book formats.
Welcome, Robin. Please share a little
bit about your current release.
murder in Heaven, an absolutely unlikely event since death was only for
mortals, did occur and shocked the afterworld to the core. Because of the
growing mistrust between angels and citizens, a PI new to Heaven was tasked to
investigate how the singer Amy Winehouse died again and why. The detective and his
sidekick, enlisting the aid of rock legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin
and Kurt Cobain, must work fast to uncover the mystery otherwise Heaven may
close its doors forever.
What inspired you to write this book?
initially wanted to write a book of interviews where I was speaking to deceased
legends like Da Vinci, Beethoven, Turing, Mozart, Einstein, Mahavir, Tesla and
many others. When I saw that another Seattle writer had already written a book
of interviews of the dead, I thought some of my characters could still come
alive in a story which involved them. Meaning to also write a murder mystery
novel, I incorporated my interview idea with that. Now, all I had to do was
determine who “died” again and take it from there. The idea of a Rock &
Roll Heaven, as opposed to just Heaven, came about because I needed to narrow
the scope and focus of the investigation which also gave me an excuse to get
some rock legends to speak. If “Heaven” becomes a hit, then I may get tempted
and/or encouraged to come up with other titles such as “Murder in Jazz Heaven”
or “Murder in Chef Heaven,” or even “Murder in Classical Heaven.”
Excerpt from Murder in Rock & Roll Heaven:
5:15 PM and still no Jim Douglas Morrison. The bearded singer of ‘Five
to One’ was keeping his company of three waiting: Gregory pacing back and forth
in front of the window, Tony spinning around on a padded, reclining office
chair pretending to understand what he was reading from the law book opened in
his hands, and the polygraph monitor, Eric Witherspoon, himself a past bassist
in a bar band from Nebraska and former student of the angel D’Ariel. Eric, the
recent consumer of four slices of 6-cheese pizzas, three stuffed cheesy breads,
one piece of chocolate cake and a giant-sized cup of organic, craft brewed root
beer, was comfortably sleeping with folded arms in his reclined chair.
Completely forgetting he was with company, he twisted to one side, eased off
his butt, and made a fart sound so loud and wet he’d better check his drawers,
like, immediately. Gregory opened the window to spare himself the pleasure of
the cheese-inspired wind. Just then, Jim came staggering into the office, his
pants wet from who knows what, his shirt disheveled, and a road sign in his
hand. Instinctively, the PI and Tony helped him sit in a chair before he
collapsed on the floor.
you fellas start lecturing me,” Jim managed to spit out, albeit slurred, “just
know I have a history of being fashionably late.”
road sign as the examiner woke up.
down and noticed the wooden item.
gave this to me?” he asked, stunned. Nevertheless, he read the sign:
want a haircut?” he laughed. Not amused, Gregory wrestled the sign from the
singer and placed in on the desk. “Come here and give me some love,” Jim
beckoned the small gathering, outstretching his arms for an embrace; when no
one accepted his offer, crestfallen, he folded them across his chest. “You guys
are chumps,” he groaned. “I want my money back.”
What exciting story are you working on
next book I’m working on is a collection of horror stories called “Obey The
Darkness.” Being from Trinidad & Tobago, I felt that we’re sorely
under-represented on TV, in print and the movies when it comes to our folk
legends. Everyone knows about vampires, werewolves, dragons, the Loch Ness
Monster, the Golem, Anansi the Spider, trolls, witches, wizards, warlocks and
so on. How many have heard of the La Diablesse, soucouyant, obeah, jumbies and
Papa Bois? Two stories in “Obey” contain three of these characters; the rest of
the stories are either sci-fi horror, fairy tale horror or general horror.
you first consider yourself a writer?
my first book got published by All Things That Matter Press. They’d picked up
“Wetland & Other Stories” a few years ago. This encouraged me to keep on
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
say I average around 4 – 6 hours a day writing, sometimes more, sometimes less.
I do spend a lot of my free time writing, mainly at night. That way, I’d get
less interruptions. I’m glad I’m on disability now; this gives me more time to
write. When I’m not writing I’m going for walks, arranging my ever growing
digital music collection, reading and researching, or playing Classic Words
Plus, a Scrabble variation.
What would you say is your interesting
when I’m writing, I like to listen to certain types of music to set the mood.
If it’s an action-adventure story I listen to movie soundtracks with a driving
score. Generally, though, I prefer silence. Some of the characters I’ve created
were actually written for real people. When I wrote “Stranded In Paradise,” I
thought Gene Hackman would be perfect to play Captain Wieck. In “Murder In Rock
& Roll Heaven,” I had Will Smith in mind to play Det. Gregory Angelicus and
Bruno Mars to play his sidekick, Tony Lopez. In “Little Hammer,” I had Wesley
Snipes in mind for Det. Michael LaTour, and in “Iron Maiden,” the role of
Ingrid Werner would be perfect for Mariah Carey if she ever optioned it.
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
never thought that far ahead when I was a child. It wasn’t until high school
that I thought I wanted to play the guitar on the MTV after seeing KISS at
Madison Square Garden. Life got in the way, so I became a nurse instead. I’m
glad I can write now. It’s like I’m making up for lost time.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
I was 30 years old, I tried pulling the plug on myself. After all I’d been
through, I just didn’t believe I was supposed to have lived that long. In a
sense, this is my 2nd go around, and since I now have all this free
time to play with, I’m glad I’m able to write books and maintain a blog. If
need be, maybe I’d even like to purchase a guitar in the future and start