Novelist David Siegel Bernstein is in the hot seat today to chat about his new mystery thriller Poisoned Pawn.
During his virtual book tour, David will be giving away a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too.
To support his writing addiction and excessively extravagant lifestyle, David Siegel Bernstein, PhD, is a data scientist who consults as a forensic statistician. That sounds really boring until you realize that his clients include the US National Security Agency (NSA), the Secret Service, the FBI, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and a host of other acronymonious agencies who cultivate exciting and shadowy reputations. Alas, those reputations are mere facades that disguise the real reason these organizations exist, which is to keep him entertained and fed.
When David wants a break from this spellbinding work, he writes. His fiction credits encompass two novelettes and sixty shorts. His nonfiction has appeared in newsletters, popular blogs, academic journals and he is the author of the book Blockbuster Science: The Real Science in Science Fiction.
He lives within the shadow of Philadelphia with his wife, Michelle, two children, Seth and Gwendolyn, and a dog named Ringo Biggles Woofington.
Welcome, David. Please share a little bit about your current release.
Hi Lisa. Thank you for inviting me here!
Here is gist of Poisoned Pawn. It is the story of Caleb Jacobs. He is a man with a dark past. After serving on a failed dark ops assignment in Afghanistan, he leaves Marine Corps Intelligence to try to build a new life in Philadelphia as a homicide police detective.
During an investigation, Jacobs becomes convinced the murder he is assigned to solve is related to the truth of what had happened during his time in Afghanistan. Old secrets have come back to haunt him.
In this novel, he is forced to partner up with a private investigator named Lawrence Holmes. The PI is an irritation to the police, but he is unmistakably brilliant. And, many powerful people in the city owe him favors. Holmes is a bit odd. He insists on calling Jacobs Watson but claims to never have heard the name Sherlock.
It is a very character driven novel—very quirky characters—very hot characters. Take Margret Liang for example. I have to admit I’m a little afraid of her. She is sexy, deadly, and always in control. If I ever had a sinful thought about her—I wouldn’t be around to write the sequel.
What inspired you to write this book?
My bibliophile and poet mother, and my mystery loving grandmother were my early writing inspirations. Between the two of them I had read a library’s worth of books before I left high school. Of course, my mom gave me a lot of at home writing assignments. My father reinforced my love of mysteries by watching (just about) every mystery ever aired on PBS and BBC with me.
Here is brief excerpt of Poisoned Pawn. Enjoy.
I opened my eyes. A ceiling fan whirled slowly above me. Pain erupted in my chest when I raised my head to look around. So it hadn’t been a dream. I did get my ass kicked.
Where am I? I lifted up the blanket. I wore only my boxers. I dropped my head back onto a pillow.
“Good morning sleepy head,” a familiar voice said. Gum popped.
“Penelope?” I turned my head and saw her standing in the doorway, wearing a retro 1960s-styled paisley blue dress. Today Liang’s assistant was platinum blonde with long thick eyelashes. The action of looking cost me more pain. I moaned.
She rushed to my bedside, holding a glass. “Move slowly. I didn’t feel any breaks but your ribs are bruised. You’re going to be tender there for a while. I doubt a lung was punctured. Your breathing sounds clear but you have to get an X-Ray. You might also have a concussion.”
She handed me the glass and a couple of pills. “I brought you Ibuprofen. It’s all I have. Sorry.”
She sounded like a trained medic. I pushed myself into a sitting position and accepted the offering. The cool water tasted good. “What’s going on?”
She settled herself on the edge of the bed. “You not saying thank-you. This girl appreciates gratitude.”
“Tell me the last thing you remember?”
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on the next book in the Caleb Jacobs series titled The Queen’s Gambit. A frighteningly skilled assassin hires Jacobs to find her latest assignment and to then protect him from her.
I’m also working on a science fiction novel set on a planet where time is literally a currency. The wealthy live for hundreds of years in dewy youth while the poor are geriatric.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That is a deep question. Darn you. Okay, here’s how it is. I bragged I was a writer the day I sold my first story. Not long after I like a fraud (Don’t judge me!). Even now, after over 70 publications, two novelettes, and two books I’m still uncomfortable calling 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?
To support my writing addiction and excessively extravagant lifestyle, I’m a data scientist who consults as a forensic statistician.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write naked. No. That isn’t true. My real quirk is boring: I’m my most creative when editing (or after a few beers. Once again… don’t judge me.)
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
First an astronaut, then a movie star, then a kung fu master.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Look for the mystery in everything. When you write, never be boring. Oh, and buy Poisoned Pawn.
Thank you for being a guest on my blog!
It was a lot of fun. I hope to be invited back.
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