Interview with mystery author David Myles Robinson

Mystery author David
Myles Robinson
joins me today to chat about his new suspense novel, The Pinochet Plot.
Welcome, David. Please tell
us a little bit about yourself.
I graduated from Blair HS in Pasadena, CA, in 1968 and moved to
San Francisco to attend San Francisco State College. Interesting times. I lived
for a time on the corner of Haight St. and Broderick and hitchhiked through the
Haight every morning to get to school. In 1969 I moved back to Pasadena to work
as a staff journalist for a minority newspaper while attending Cal State LA. My
family had moved to Honolulu in 1968 and so, in 1970, I enrolled in the
University of Hawaii. I spent the summer of 1970 in Europe with my San
Francisco friends and then re-enrolled at SF State. Too much moving around,
however, almost got me drafted. I got my Selective Service letter and had to go
for my physical and written test in Berkeley. Thankfully, President Nixon
stopped the draft three numbers before I was called. 
I graduated
from San Francisco State University in 1972 and was accepted at the University
of San Francisco School of Law. It was there I met my wife, Marcia Waldorf. In
1975 we moved to Honolulu. Marcia took a job as a Public Defender and I opened
my own office. Over the course of the next 38 years I had my own firm with a
couple different partners. I did a little of everything early on, but
eventually specialized in personal injury and workers’ compensation law.
In
2010 I retired and wrote my first novel, Unplayable
Lie
. Two legal thrillers followed: Tropical
Lies
and Tropical Judgments. The Pinochet Plot is my fourth novel.
After
dividing our time between Honolulu and our second home in Taos, NM, for several
years, we decided we would see what it was like to be full time mainlanders
again. We love it. I ski, golf, hike, and travel when I’m not writing.
Please tell us about your
current release.
The Pinochet Plot: High-powered San Francisco
attorney Will Muñoz is just about to start a sabbatical from his practice of
law when he learns his mother has committed suicide. The letter she sent him on
the eve of her death changes Will’s life forever.
When
he was eleven years old, Will discovered the murdered body of his father, the
famed Chilean novelist Ricardo Muñoz. The police write it off as a burglary
gone bad, but unbeknownst to Will at the time, his mother was convinced that
the brutal, CIA-backed Chilean Dictator, Augusto Pinochet, had Ricardo murdered
in an attempt to stop the publication of Ricardo’s last book, The Daughters of Pinochet. In her
letter, his mother explains her suspicions and, in what sounds to Will like a
fit of delusional madness, goes on to say she believes Will’s stepfather, Chuck
Evans, may have been involved in the murder. 
As
Will sets out to learn more about his father’s murder and his mother’s mental
state, he becomes immersed in stranger-than-fiction leads involving the CIA’s
role in Chile, assassins for hire, illegal CIA-funded drug experimentation, and
chilling political intrigue.
What inspired you to write
this book?
The
political discourse in our country had been getting so bad it reminded me that
there are many countries where political dissent is not allowed, and, in
extreme cases, dissidents are arrested and/or assassinated. While America has
its own history of oppression and genocide, I had hoped we had grown out of
those times. Instead, we are falling victim to tribalism and intractable
opinions, which should be danger signals to the well-being of our democracy.
So, I decided to write a novel that, while hopefully entertaining to read,
toyed with the idea that Pinochet’s solution to dealing with political opponents
could happen here.
What exciting story are you working on next?
In Saigon’s Son, seventy-year old Hank
Reagan had just lost his long-time wife, Becka. It had been Becka’s idea to buy
into a posh retirement community, but now Hank was depressed, thinking thoughts
of mortality. He’d play golf with his one friend, Norm Rothstein, and smoke
Becka’s leftover medical marijuana and felt as if he was wasting what was left
of his life. Then, one evening a beautiful Vietnamese woman appears at the
front desk and asks for Hank. It takes him a few moments to realize it is Mai,
his lover from the days he was stationed in Saigon as a CIA agent. As the war
was lost and the Americans were forced to evacuate, he left Mai with a bag of
money and promises he wasn’t sure he’d be able to keep. He never saw her again
until this night. Hank never knew Mai was pregnant and had made her way to
America. Now, she has come to ask Hank to help her find their son who
disappeared on the day of his graduation from high school.
Hank
and his buddy, Norm, set off on a road trip to track down his son’s high school
friends and solve the mystery of why he disappeared.
When did you first consider
yourself a writer?
I
worked as a staff journalist for a minority newspaper in Pasadena in 1969,
while still in college. I also did some free-lance writing for magazines around
that time. I wrote short stories and attempted some novels while still in
college, but when I became a lawyer in 1972 I didn’t write anything other than
legalese for many years. About twenty years ago I wrote and completed a novel,
but it was awful. The writing was stilted from years of writing legal briefs
and memoranda of law. When I retired, I began writing Unplayable Lie, my first published novel, a golf-related suspense
novel. It was truly a work of passion and when it was published and garnered
good reviews, I began to cautiously think of myself as a writer. Now, with Pinochet, I will have four published
novels and two more coming out within this next year, so I think I can
legitimately call myself a writer.
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?
I am
fortunate enough not to need the income from my writing to live. So, I don’t
have the strict regimen of writing which many writers advocate. That said, when
I’m into a book and it’s going well, I can sit and write most of the day and
happily avoid distractions. When I’m not into something, or need to take a
break from writing, I love to golf, ski, and travel.
What would you say is your
interesting writing quirk?
As I
do in real life, I swear a lot in my writing. It just feels more real to me.
As a child, what did you
want to be when you grew up?
 A
lawyer – although I’d always loved writing and at one point I asked my creative
writing teacher at San Francisco State College whether he thought I should try
to become a writer or should go ahead with my plans to be a lawyer. He smiled
and made a gesture with the palms of his hands up, like a scale. “Starving
artist” or “a rich lawyer.” I think you can guess how he tilted the “scales.”
Needless to say I sold out and went on to law school.
Anything additional you want
to share with the readers?
Thank
you. If you buy the book, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed
writing it.
Links:
Thanks for being a guest,
David!

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