Jim is one of those great guys that contacted me telling me he liked my Noah Milano stories, way back... It's an honor to have him over to tell about his newest book, the Nick Kepler collection called the Compleat Kepler.
Tell us what to expect from your new book THE COMPLEAT KEPLER.
The Compleat Kepler tells the backstory of Nick Kepler up to, and in one case, shortly after the events of Northcoast Shakedown. Some of the stories were written just so I could get a handle on the character. Others were written to get the character out there in the lead-up to Northcoast Shakedown.
Where did the stories appear before?
The first appeared in Plots With Guns. The last appeared in Thrilling Detective. In fact, "Love Don't Mean a Thing" was in their final fiction issue. Judas/The 3rd Degree got the lion's share of the stories.
Tell us about how you were inspired to write them.
It depends. "A Walk in the Rain," the first story, was written after a friend from high school and I reconnected after about 15 years. She told me the story of her ex, an abusive man she met in the military. I was so enraged that I wanted to stuff him in a car crusher, which is exactly what happens to Joe in that one. "Full Moon Boogie" came about during a vacation to Ohio's Hocking Hills. It's such an unusual place for that state, and I had to write a story set there.
Will we see Nick Kepler return?
The novel BAD RELIGION was put aside about halfway through the revision process, so when that's complete, I'll release it. There is also a longish story called "Gypsy's Kiss," about the character Gypsy from "Roofies," that I want to send to a certain anthology. (Hint! Hint!)
Did writing the stories take a lot of research?
It depended on the story. "Flight of the Rat" required me to have a 9/11 timeline up while I wrote so I could refer to what happened when, as well as what sort of confusion was happening around the country. On the other hand, "Love Don't Mean a Thing" required nothing more than a vivid imagination.
What stories / scenes did you enjoy writing the most?
"Full Moon Boogie" was the most fun to write. I had to let that one simmer a few days. Then one day, I was in the West Virginia mountains taking a train ride on an old steamer. I scribbled the first draft out on a notepad during the entire trip. "A Walk in the Rain" just wrote itself. It's probably the closest to its original draft of anything I've written.
Who is your favorite among the characters in the stories?
I've grown fond of Gypsy, the stripper/call girl who has a goal of getting out of the sex trade under her own power. She found her spine by taking a bullet for Nick, who, in return, got her off heroin, and now she's unstoppable. I love a good redemption story.