Thursday, December 15, 2011

Author Frank Scully -- Why He Writes Mysteries

Frank ScullyIt’s my pleasure to welcome Frank Scully, author of the thriller/mystery novel EMPTY TIME, as he makes a stop on his virtual blog tour with Pump Up Your Book!
Here’s a synopsis of EMPTY TIME: Jim Lang’s life sputtered into a workaholic rut on a middle rung of the corporate ladder while his colleagues, using his business plan, became the international business titans he once aspired to be.  

Bad memories of busted marriages and broken promises are all that keep him company in his personal hours so he is more than willing to sacrifice that empty time to his job to make the corporation grow.  His bosses have one more sacrifice in mind for him.  To die for them. 

Deceived, betrayed and framed for murder and massive stock fraud, his bosses plan for him to die and disappear.  Disappear, he does; die, he doesn’t.  

Lang must face and conquer his old fears and guilt, and live up to the potential within. To save the people he loves he must put his life on the line to turn the tables on his former colleagues in an inter-continental, multi-billion dollar, fast paced and lethal game of corporate intrigue and treachery with bloody traps and deadly counter traps. 

Frank joins us to explain why he writes mysteries and how he came up with his series theme.

I write mysteries simply because mysteries are what I like to read. The old maxim “write what you read” is true and important advice to follow. So why do I like mysteries and thrillers? Part of the answer is based on who I am and what I have done. I am a lawyer and did at one point in my life work as a criminal attorney. While I was interested in crime and mysteries before I became an attorney, the experiences that I had working in the field only enhanced that interest and gave me the “nuts and bolts” knowledge needed to develop stories that have the dirt and grime of reality to them.

Also, I like mysteries and thrillers because it allows the author to explore characters so well. Nothing so exposes character, both good and bad, as being placed in truly dire circumstances. The dire circumstances I prefer to use and to read about are mysteries and thrillers. I cut my teeth on the likes of Rex Stout, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Mickey Spillane, Phillip MacDonald and others. Some of my current favorites include Michael Connelly, Martin Cruz Smith and Walter Mosely.

Empty Time coverTo me a mystery has to have the usual “who/how/why dunnit” aspect with suspense, danger and thrills in order to fulfill the readers expectations but it must also have some humor and provide a message without beating the reader over the head with it. I want the reader to enjoy the journey in every way and come away satisfied that the hours they have spent with my characters and story were worth it. For that to happen they have to like and be able to connect with the main character and the supporting cast and find the story believable, well-paced and exciting. Not an easy task but a challenge I enjoy. Creating a mystery is the only thing I know that is more fun than solving one. 

How did I come up with my series theme?

I fell into my series theme in an odd way. The first book I wrote was set in 1958 in a small town in the Midwest. The second one was set in 1995 in California. The third book was set in 1904 on the North Dakota Prairies. The stories I had in development included one in current time in Europe, one back in the 1990s in California and Nevada and another set in Nebraska in about 2005.

I saw a pattern developing and sat down to formalize it into the Decade Mystery Series. I now have ideas for stories I want to write for every decade from the beginning of the 20th century to current time set in a variety of locales and featuring both continuing and new characters. As a history buff I enjoy research into what makes each time different than what went before and what follows and how it affects the people who live during that time. While the larger characteristics of the decade provide the background against which the story is told, I like to find certain lesser known events and circumstances that signal significant shifts around which to build the plot.

Once I had the series theme, so many ideas for books have come to me that my biggest job is to pick the best ones. And to somehow find the time to write them all.
I have six completed now and under contract with MuseItUp Publishing.

EMPTY TIME is the third and most recent release and one I enjoyed writing. It is set in recent time and is the story of how Jim Lang, a corporate bureaucrat who is stuck in the empty time of daily drudgery and false loyalty, is deceived, betrayed and set up to take the fall for murder and stock fraud by his bosses. Pursued by the police and the killers, Lang must find the courage to turn the tables on the corporate titans who betrayed him before they kill everyone he loves. 

Others available are:
RESURRECTION GARDEN is set in 1904 pioneer North Dakota. Jake Turner, a scarred veteran of the charge up San Juan Hill, has been a lone drifter through much of the settling of the west.  Immigrants were filling the North Dakota prairie in 1904 when he stopped to take a part time job as a Deputy Sheriff, expecting to move on again when the dark parts of his past catch up to him. He becomes a target for ruthless killers who want to stop him from solving a murder.  And that’s the least of his problems.

DEAD MAN’S GAMBIT takes place in 1995 California. Detective-turned-Assistant DA, Mike Johnson finds himself living in a comfortable rut. That is, until Warren Rogga, a friend he helped convict is murdered in prison, leaving only a last request: Protect his family. A game of real life Monopoly between bitter rivals becomes deadly as one side ups the ante and plays for keeps, but even death can’t stop the game.

Coming soon
BLOOD SINS comes from 1958. Bob Johnson, a decorated World War II veteran, former school teacher, and now Police Chief of Plainfield, and his family are enjoying a pretty idyllic life in the Fabulous Fifties except for the threat of nuclear war. The economy is booming, cars have fins, and television has three channels of news and entertainment.  Crimes are mostly relegated to the other side of the tracks. A long-buried secret pulls Bob into a bloody battle as he unravels a knot of clues to new and old crimes. Someone will have to pay in blood for those long dead sins.

Frank, thanks so much for guest blogging today. It’s interesting learning why you write mysteries and how the theme for your series developed.

Frank was born and raised in a small town in North Dakota and received a Bachelor’s degree in History with Phi Beta Kappa Honors and a Juris Doctor degree in Law from the University of North Dakota. He then served more than five years as a Judge Advocate General Corps Officer in the U.S. Army in the U.S., Vietnam, and Thailand. After that he attended the prestigious Thunderbird School and received a Masters in Business Administration with honors. In his professional career he has worked as an executive with large aerospace and defense manufacturers and also owned his own small business.

Depending on the vagaries of the universe he has been well off at times and broke, but never broken at other times. Blessed with an understanding wife who gave him twin sons, he has remained through it all a dreamer whose passion is writing stories that will entertain readers.

For more information on Frank and his writing, visit his website at:
Thanks so much for stopping by today. What are your thoughts on writing mysteries?


  1. Mason - Thanks for hosting Frank.

    Frank - What an absolutely fascinating approach to writing a mystery series! How intriguing! And all of them having to do with the era and the events of that ear. Very creative. I wish you much success.

  2. Frank, thanks again for guest blogging today. Wishing you much success with your writing.

  3. Margot, thanks for stopping by. Writing about a certain era does make for an intriguing read.

  4. Thanks for hosting Frank today. This is a great post. I've read the first book in this series and have books 2 and 3 on my Kindle to read for next year. He really knows how to draw the reader in.

    Wishing you and your readers a wonderful holiday season,


  5. Thanks for having me as a guest on your wonderful blog. I appreciate your hospitality.

  6. He certainly has the experience to write a mystery. Book cover is cool.

  7. Great post!

    "Write what you read" is so much smarter than "write what you know" :)


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.