‘Fatal Blow’ author Thane signs fiction murder books on Dec. 6

James L. Thane, Fatal Blow author, will attend a book signing, 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 6 at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore, 4014 N. Goldwater Blvd. in Scottsdale. (Submitted photo)

 

Waiting for the light to change at the Scottsdale and Bell roads intersection, a body floats atop the Central Arizona Project canal.

Imagine seeing that horrific sight at the infamous canal that runs under Scottsdale Road. Scottsdale resident Jim L. Thane did imagine it, and authored his new novel, Fatal Blow, which was recently released by Moonshine Cove and available on Amazon.

“The book is set here in Phoenix and is the third in a series featuring a Phoenix homicide detective named Sean Richardson,” said Mr. Thane, a full-time writer.

He will attend a book signing at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6 at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore, 4014 N. Goldwater Blvd. in Scottsdale, promoting his newest installment of the thriller that recounts a harrowing narrative surrounding a detective, a criminal, an affair coupled with a divorce and more.

Mr. Thane, who contributes to many worthy causes during the years, has a vivid imagination. His imagination is evident in the pages of his books, but let the writing prowess give an overview himself and his craft.

When and why I moved here:
I initially came here on vacation in 1993 and fell in love with the area. I was attracted by the beauty of the desert, by the climate (I don’t even mind the summers!), by the great restaurants, recreational opportunities and live music venues.

After returning often on vacation, I bought a condo here in 2002 and began splitting my time between Scottsdale and Moline, Illinois. I then bought a house and moved here full time early in 2011.

What I create:
I write crime fiction set here in the Valley. The books feature a Phoenix homicide detective named Sean Richardson. The third book in the series Fatal Blow, has just been released.

What inspired me to become involved:
I’ve always been a very avid reader and at a very early age I decided that I would love to be a writer. For a number of years I was a college professor and during that period I wrote one non-fiction book and a number of magazine and journal articles. A few years ago, I decided to try my hand at a novel and so I left teaching to pursue that dream.

Elements most inspiring to my interests:
I’m inspired by a number of other authors whose work I’ve enjoyed through the years. I also have a fairly active imagination, and a good idea can arise from even the most mundane circumstances.

To take just one example, the idea for Fatal Blow came to me one afternoon when I was sitting at a long stoplight at the intersection of Scottsdale Road and Bell.

This is the spot where the CAP canal runs under Scottsdale Road, and as I was sitting there looking at the canal, it occurred to me that a great way to open a crime novel would be to have a body float to the surface of the canal right at that spot. That idea became the genesis for the scene that opens Fatal Blow, and the rest of the book flows from that moment.

Challenges of living/creating the arts such as singing, dancing, acting, writing, etc.:
For me, the most difficult challenge of being a writer these days is finding enough time to actually write. The days when a writer could simply lock him- or herself up in a garret, write a book and then ship it off to a publisher who would take care of everything else are, sadly, long gone.

In this day and age, a writer has to be actively involved with a book at every stage of the process, from the conception of the original idea all the way through to publication and beyond.

In particular, writers are now expected to take a much larger role in marketing their books than was once the case, and with the rise of social media this is no longer confined to a few weeks after the book is released.

Most successful authors now discover that they must have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other such platforms and that they must constantly tend these accounts. All of this can take an enormous amount of time that you might otherwise have spent writing.

Other activities I enjoy:
As a writer, I naturally love reading, and one of the things I especially enjoy about living here is that I can read outside on the patio for much of the year, enjoying the fresh air.

I like hiking, golf and tennis, although I don’t play as much golf and tennis as I would like these days. After a long day in front of my computer, I love going out to eat at one of the great restaurants in the area; I also enjoy going to clubs to listen to live music.

Artists/singers/actors who are an inspiration?
I’ve been inspired by a large number of writers whose work I’ve admired for years. As a child, I was introduced to the world of crime fiction by my father, who was a huge fan of Erle Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason series.

I’m indebted to Gardner for getting me hooked on the genre and for setting such a great example of how a productive writer should work. I also admire writers like Lawrence Block, Megan Abbot, John Sandford, Michael Connelly, Crista Faust, Robert Crais, and a host of others.

My No. 1 suggestion to new artists/singers/actors/authors:
I’m not sure I’m qualified to be giving advice to aspiring authors, but if I were to offer any, my number one suggestion would be to tell them just to sit their rear ends down in the chair and write.

A great many people think that they would like to become writers, but most of them never actually do anything about it. To succeed as a writer, the most important thing you need to do is to sit down, write the first sentence and then the one after that and then the one after that, until your project is finished.

What one thing would you like to see changed?
Like everyone else, I suppose, there are a great many things about the world today that I would like to see changed. When it comes to the profession of writing, though, if I could change one thing, it would be to improve the quality of editing. I say this as both a writer and a reader.

Sadly, while editing was once a major priority with publishers, it has become much less so in recent years. Many publishing houses have significantly reduced the number of editors that they employ, and these people are often simply overwhelmed by the amount of work that is expected of them. The result is that most books are not edited nearly as carefully as they once were, and both writers and readers suffer as a result.

Advice to today’s youth?
I’m not sure that I’m any more qualified to be giving advice to the nation’s youth than I am to aspiring writers. But the one thing I emphasize to my nieces and nephews is the importance of a good education.

In particular, it’s important to educate yourself broadly so that you develop excellent critical thinking skills, so that you can communicate effectively both orally and in writing, and so that you have a good understanding of the world around you.

At a time when the world is changing so rapidly, students who educate themselves narrowly to meet the criteria of one particular job, for example, may well find that they have left themselves at a significant disadvantage.

The job you are preparing for in 2018 may not even exist by 2025. It’s extremely important that a young person leaving school in this day and age be prepared to adapt and change as quickly as the world around them is changing.

How have times changed?
One could, of course, write a number of books on this topic alone. But confining my answer to the profession of writing, doubtless the biggest change to come along in recent years is the advent of the e-book which, in turn, has made possible the exponential increase in self-published books.

As a practical matter, this means that now anyone who wants to write a book can write a book. There are no more gatekeepers. This has opened a lot of opportunities for writers who have struggled to find a traditional publisher and, in effect, has led to a revolution in book publishing.

Independent Newsmedia News Services Specialist Delarita Ford can be reached by e-mail at dford@newszap.com.

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