Tuesday, April 2, 2013

MEET AUTHOR JAMES R. CALLAN -- Mysteries, murder and intriguing characters

First of all, thank you, Ada, for having me on your site today.  You asked how some of my books came about.  Let me talk about the three mystery/suspense novels published in the last sixteen months.

Cleansed by Fire released in January, 2012 as the first Father Frank mystery. Father Frank is the  pastor at a small church in east Texas and is pulled into solving a series of arsons. The basis for this book came from the local news.  Several years ago, a number of churches were torched in east Texas.  Eventually, the police
caught the two young arsonists. But as I followed the trial, no motive ever came out, except, “Could we get away with it.”  While I could imagine this as a motive for one fire, I could not reconcile this for four churches.  So, I began to wonder, what could be a motive for burning several churches.  Eventually, the plot for Cleansed by Fire emerged.

The second mystery published during this period was Murder a Cappella.  Some years ago, our youngest daughter, Diane Bailey, sang with the Sweet Adelines, woman who sing barbershop harmony.  One year, her chorus made it to the International finals, so naturally we went to hear.  It was a very interesting week with nearly ten thousand women coming to San Antonio, all in colorful costumes. During almost every meal we had in a restaurant, some Sweet Adelines would spontaneously get up and start singing.  In the hotel lobby, on the River Walk, women would burst into song. It was certainly interesting. Diane’s chorus didn’t win, but they were excited to be named the fifth best in the world that year.

Diane writes middle grade non-fiction books  and has more than thirty in print.  We began to toss the idea around about a murder mystery set in the glitz and glamour of an International singing contest.  Eventually, Murder a Cappella materialized.  It is a fun book with all the sequins and excitement of the singing contest. But when two of the women from a chorus are shot while singing in front of the Alamo, a member of their chorus has to get involved in solving the murders.  Even the most well-read mystery lovers won’t figure this one out until the solution is revealed, even though the clues are there.

My latest, A Ton of Gold, was released by Oak Tree Press just over a month ago.  A couple of years back, I read an old Texas folk tale. I began to wonder if such a tale could affect the lives of people today.  Slowly the plot for A Ton of Gold evolved.  Young and brilliant Crystal Moore is in danger of losing her only family and her self-esteem. Adding to the murder, fire-bombing, and kidnapping, the man from her past who devastated her psychologically returns. This time, he can destroy her career.  She will need all the help she can get from a former bull-rider, a street-wise friend, and her feisty seventy-six year-old grandmother.

So, you can see, it doesn’t take much to set the wheels in motion for a seventy-five to ninety-five thousand word novel.  Just give your mind a little time to work on it, and ask those famous questions: What if … ? And Why?

All three are available on Amazon in either paperback or Kindle editions at:  http://amzn.to/RLYuhS
Or visit Jim’s website at:  www.jamesrcallan.com

Brief Bio of James R. Callan

After a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—writing.  He wrote a monthly column for a national magazine for two years, and published several non-fiction books.  He now concentrates on his favorite genre, mysteries, with his fourth mystery released in February, 2013.