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Interview: Greg Messel, Author of Deadly Plunge

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Greg Messel grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area.  His newpaper career has spanned positions from columnist and sportswriter to news editor. Mr. Messel’s talent won him a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist while working at a daily newspaper in Wyoming.

He also spent many years in the corporate world as a financial manager. He now devotes his energies to writing at his home in Edmonds, Washington on the Puget Sound just north of Seattle, where he reside with his wife, Carol.

Greg Messel has written four novels: Sunbreaks, Expiation, The Illusion of Certainty, Last of the Seals and his latest release Deadly Plunge as well as three unpublished memoirs. 

Readers can learn more about Greg Messel and his works by visiting the following links:

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Goodreads

If you had to describe Deadly Plunge in two sentences, what would they be?

Sam Slater is a private eye who is involved in an intense romance with TWA stewardess Amelia Ryan in 1958 San Francisco. Together they try to find out why a rich, politically well-connected businessman suddenly ended his life by jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Do you have a favorite line or excerpt from your current work?

This is a good scene. Sam and Amelia are exploring the mysterious house on Eddy Street, trying to understand what is going on there. Suddenly, they hear two men enter the building and there are foosteps on the creaky stairs. Here’s the excerpt:

Just as Sam began to open a box in the closet he heard a sound down below. He froze. There were footsteps below and voices. The stairs began to creak. Someone was coming.

Sam quickly stuck his head in the bedroom door. “Amelia, someone’s coming! Hide!” he whispered. “Quick!”

Amelia looked panicked. She jitter-bugged in place for a moment, then quickly removed her high heels,grabbed the flight bag and slid under the big Victorian bed. Sam rushed to the closet and closed the door as the creaking on the staircase grew louder.

Sam and Amelia held their breath. It sounded like two men were now on the landing on the third floor, chatting as they entered the bedroom.

It was filthy and Amelia stirred up an accumulation of dust bunnies as she slid under the bed which swirled all around her. To her side was the flight bag and she clutched her shoes to her chest. She tried to not breath for two reasons.
She didn’t want to make a sound but she was also fighting off a sneeze generated by the flying lint and dust under the bed. Amelia pinched her nose and tried holding her breath.

“What do we need to do in here?” one of the men asked.

“We need to print some posters for the rally tonight. You and I are supposed to hand them out at the Cow Palace as the union people go into their conference.”

“Says who?”

“Lt. Colonel Stephen McKinnon, that’s who,” the one man said mockingly.
“McKinnon thinks we’re all in the Marines and he’s our commander. Who put him in charge?”

“No one, but since Arthur’s plunge off of the bridge, McKinnon’s the boss,” the man said.

The second man walked towards the nightstand and picked up Maggie’s picture. “How did an old geezer like Arthur get a beautiful dame like this?” he said admiring the picture.

“Rich boys can afford nice toys,” his partner said sarcastically.

Amelia could no longer hold her breathe and tried to gently take in some air. It only made the sneeze she was fighting off grow more urgent.

“What do you think really happened to Arthur? Do you think he really killed himself?”

Just then there was a noise under the bed. Amelia could no longer stop it. She did the best she could to suppress the sneeze. The two men stopped talking and looked at one another.

Amelia was really frightened now. The men were completely silent and listening intently. Amelia again tried holding her breath and closed her eyes. Suddenly she felt a hand around each of her ankles and with a whoosh, she was pulled out from under the bed across the hardwood floor.

What are five important things that you take into consideration while writing your story?

I want an interesting story and characters that the reader will care about. It really pleases me when readers tell me that they really like a certain character.
I try very hard to make the dialogue interesting and realistic. I probably work harder on that than any other aspect of my writing. It is difficult to write good dialogue.

I use historical information as a backdrop to my story. I want to make sure that my books are accurate. I spend a considerable amount of time researching these items for my book.

Since my two latest books are mysteries I want to be honest in the clues I leave along the way. I also want the answers to the mysteries to be revealed slowly.

I want my book to be well-edited. That is very difficult with hundreds and hundreds of pages but that is very important to me. I think it’s my newspaper training. I was the news editor of a newspaper for several years and I would get very upset when there were mistakes. I never put out out perfect newspaper and I have yet to produce a perfect book.

Why should readers pick up your book?

I think Deadly Plunge and Last of the Seals will transport you back in time to a place most people are not familiar with — San Francisco in the 1950s. It was a very interesting time. I also think you will be treated to a good mystery, with suspense and a romance all in one.

What was the turning point when you realized you wanted to write and share your voice with the world?

In my earlier life, most of my writing was as a reporter in the newspaper business. Several years ago I wrote a memoir about my life. It seems to unlock another type of writing ability in me. I loved telling stories. Now I have written five novels and am working on a sixth.

What genres do you prefer to read? Which do you enjoy writing in?

I enjoy historical non fiction. I love history and I think it’s fascinating to discover the journey one person takes from obscurity to becoming a prominent figure in politics, entertainment or history.

What five things would you have with you at all times if you had to be prepared to take a trip at the drop of a hat?

I would have to have my iPhone since I have all the details of my life in there
Credit cards for sure
My wallet
Some good music to listen to as I travel
A good book to read.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

I think it would be the ability to instantly transport myself. I really don’t like the rigors of travel or long car trips.

What footprint do you want to leave behind in this world?

I hope I will be remembered as someone who was kind and loving. I tried my best.

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About April Pohren

  • Greg

    Could you fix the spelling of my name?

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Fixed!

    Christopher Rose
    Blogcritics Comments Editor

  • Greg

    Thanks