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Category Archives: Author Interviews

The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories – Author Interview – Brenda Seabrooke

Throughout the Kickstarter campaign, we will be adding brief interviews highlighting the talented authors who have contributed to the anthology. Today we have the excellent Brenda Seabrooke.

How did you first get introduced to Sherlock Holmes?

My grandparents lived in a tiny town. I always took books to read when we visited but one visit when I was 9 I read all of my books too quickly. I went looking for books and discovered the Sherlock Holmes books in the hall bookcase. I read my way through them starting that day.

What was the inspiration for your pastiche?

I knew about colonial soldiers hanged in a stairway by the British in Augusta, Georgia during the Revolution. I thought a stairway would be a good spot for a haunting so translated that into a single hanging.

What is your story about? 

The story is about greed, the greed of one person wanting what others have.

Where and when does it take place?

The story happens at the fictional ancient house, Barcombe Keep, the site of hauntings which lead to deaths on the stairway.

What do you believe readers will most enjoy most about your tale?

I hope readers will enjoy the upended situation with the super rational Holmes believing in the curse/haunting and Watson challenging this belief.

Which is your favourite story from The Canon and why?

The Red-Headed League. The pawnbroker wanting his silly job back intrigues me. Digby, Sherlock’s Dog in SCONES AND BONES ON BAKER STREET accompanies Mr. Holmes on that case and solves the mystery of the dirt dilemma.

Your favourite Sherlock Holmes-related place?

I’m fond of Baker Street. I was amazed to learn that Tussaud’s Wax Museum was close to 221B but never mentioned in the Canon. It was the perfect place for Digby to meet Holmes and Watson.

Tell us three things about yourself that few people would guess?

I found my bio father knowing only that his name was Smith and his father owned a furniture store in Ft. Lauderdale the year before I was born.

I can write backwards and forwards and upside down with both hands at the same time. This incredible talent hasn’t made me rich or famous, alas.

I still have a baby tooth and never grew any wisdom teeth which may account for my behavior sometimes.

Any upcoming projects?

More Holmes stories, another Digby book, and a non-Holmes mystery.

Click here for more details on the Kickstarter campaign.

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The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories – Author Interview – Dick Gillman

Throughout the Kickstarter campaign, we will be adding brief interviews highlighting the talented authors who have contributed to the anthology. Today we have the excellent Dick Gillman.

How did you first get introduced to Sherlock Holmes?

My first experience of Sherlock Holmes was watching the old black and white films from the fifties when Holmes and Watson were played by Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. This prompted me to go on to read and explore the canon.

What was the inspiration for your pastiche?

After Prof. Moriarty’s demise at Reichenbach, I felt there was a void which cried out to be filled. Another ‘Napoleon of Crime’ had to be found. With that in mind and also the need to introduce a strong female character, other than ‘the woman’, I created Julia Moriarty. She is the vengeful sister of James Moriarty and she holds Holmes responsible for her dear brother’s death. Equally intelligent and as ruthless as her brother, she will stop at nothing to destroy Holmes.

What is your story about? Where and when does it take place?

I have, so far, written seven stories where Julia Moriarty and Holmes cross swords. The final story, ‘The Broken Watch of Meiringen’ finds Holmes taking advantage of the chance find of the Professor’s gold watch beneath the Reichenbach falls. This Holmes uses it to exploit Julia Moriarty’s obsession with her brother leading to a final confrontation at the 1902 ‘Paris in London’ exhibition and her ultimate fall from grace.

Tell us three things about yourself that few people would guess?

Well, I don’t think anyone would guess that my first job, before I trained as a teacher, involved developing new flavours for jelly babies! I am an acrylic and digital artist with works exhibited locally, online internationally and also in private collections. Third thing? Unusually, for a senior citizen, I’m a bit of a David Guetta fan!

Any upcoming projects?

I’m continuing to explore digital art and to contribute to the wonderful MX Sherlock Holmes anthology.

Click here for more details on the Kickstarter campaign.

In Memorium 6

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The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories – Author Interview – Jane Rubino

Throughout the Kickstarter campaign, we will be adding brief interviews highlighting the talented authors who have contributed to the anthology. Today we have the excellent Jane Rubino.

How did you first get introduced to Sherlock Holmes?

As an early, and quite precocious reader, and one who pre-dates the current explosion in YA fiction, I began reading adult fiction quite early. At home, we had a small library, shelves of books – I was probably around 9 or 10 when I first picked up “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and that started a journey through the Canon that I revisit to this day.

What was the inspiration for your pastiche?

I enjoy revisiting Canonical characters; in an earlier volume, my story brought back James Windibank/Hosmer Angel – that snake! – and a few years ago, I Kindled (if “Kindle” can be verbed) a novella that was the Copper Beeches from Violet Hunter’s POV. The boundaries for this adventure were that the problem had to present as supernatural, but have a real-world explanation, so my first thought was whether I could devise a story around a character from one of the earlier tales.

What is your story about? Where and when does it take place?

The Return of the Noble Bachelor is set entirely in London in the mid-1890s. A somewhat more sympathetic Robert St. Simon (now the Duke) returns to Holmes, ten years after his misadventure with Hatty Doran, to have Holmes investigate his mother’s claim that she has seen the ghost of his late father.

What do you believe readers will most enjoy most about your tale?

Always hard to predict what readers will like – I hope they’ll find Holmes’ introduction to Dr. Moore Agar to be sufficiently dramatic.

Which is your favourite story from The Canon and why?

Hard to single out one. I love “The Yellow Face”- a conventional set-up with a wonderfully touching resolution. “Charles Augustus Milverton” because there were shades of the real-life rapscallion, Charles Augustus Howell, and it has that pithy and for that pithy exchange about something that is morally justifiable though technically criminal. And “The Illustrious Client” because it highlights one of Doyle’s gifts, which was to give shape and dimension to secondary characters. And, of course, “The Norwood Builder” because it has one of the best observations in all of The Canon: “…he had not that supreme gift of the artist, the knowledge of when to stop.”

Your favourite Sherlock Holmes-related place?

Canonically, probably the Diogenes Club. I’d fit right in except for the gender rules (which I addressed in my previous tale.) In the real world, my study – I’ve got a shelf of Holmes-related books, Holmes stuffed doll, Hound of the Baskerville poster, Holmes paperweight, Knight Errant mug and a dog who sits at my feet while I work  – what woman wants more?

Tell us three things about yourself that few people would guess?

Well, of course, one should never guess – it’s destructive to the logical faculty. I’m a lifetime member of the Jane Austen Society of North America. I’ve never used an ATM. I had, among my succession of rescue dogs, a lop-eared, brown and white fellow I named Toby after the dog in SIGN.

Any upcoming projects?

One day, I’ll get around to dusting off the Holmes novel-in-the-drawer. I’m always working on something, but of course, it only becomes “upcoming” when it’s picked up by a publisher.

Click here for more details on the Kickstarter campaign.

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The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories – Author Interview – Tom Turley

Throughout the Kickstarter campaign, we will be adding brief interviews highlighting the talented authors who have contributed to the anthology. Today we have the excellent Tom Turley.

How did you first get introduced to Sherlock Holmes?

When I was maybe twelve years old, my mother gave me a volume called A Treasury of Sherlock Holmes. It contained two of the novels (A Study in Scarlet and The Hound of the Baskervilles) and 27 of the best short stories, plus an introduction in which Adrian Conan Doyle wrote entertainingly about growing up with his father and Sir Arthur’s attitude toward Sherlock Holmes.  Once I read Hound, I never looked back. I acquired other Holmes collections as a teen-ager and eventually read all the Canon, although I didn’t purchase The Complete Sherlock Holmes until I was in college.  I also sampled The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes and Nicholas Meyer’s first two Holmes novels, but I never developed a real interest in pastiches until I had an idea for one while mowing the yard one afternoon.  That idea became “Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Tainted Canister,” which MX published as an e-book in 2014 (https://www.amazon.com/Sherlock-Holmes-Adventure-Tainted-Canister-ebook/dp/B00J3QS5CW), but which David Marcum turned down for the anthology because its ending is extremely un-Canonical.  Fortunately, David was nice enough to invite me to submit a less controversial story, and my next two efforts—“A Scandal in Serbia” and “A Ghost from Christmas Past”—appeared in Parts VI and VII of the MX anthology.  We agreed that these stories were “traditional” enough to make the cut, even though they’re not strictly Canonical because they contain elements from Baring-Gould.  “Serbia” was panned on that account by one reviewer, but “Ghost” got a nice mention in Publisher’s Weekly’s Part VII review.  It was also included in The Art of Sherlock Holmes—West Palm Beach Edition.  I’ll stop bragging now, having long since outrun this question’s boundaries.

Which is your favourite story from The Canon and why?

Hound is still my favorite.  I was disappointed that Granada’s television version with Jeremy Brett didn’t quite match The Sign of Four.   Among the short stories, undoubtedly “The Speckled Band,” which is both wonderfully creepy and masterfully deduced, even though it’s based upon a faulty premise. (Dr. Roylott—one of Doyle’s best villains—could not have trained the “swamp adder” to return to him by whistling, because snakes are deaf.)  My other favorites include “A Scandal in Bohemia,” “The Five Orange Pips,” and the bookends to the Great Hiatus: “The Final Problem” and “The Empty House.”  All of those stories have contributed usefully to my own works in one way or another.

What was the inspiration for your pastiche?

The underlying inspiration for “The Solitary Violinist” was that David Marcum decided to do another round of pseudo-supernatural tales for the Fall 2019 anthology.  I was already working on two stories, but neither had any place for ghosts or goblins.   Having missed the last few volumes, I badly wanted to submit something but was stuck for an idea.   Happily, at about that time I learned that my favorite composer, Gustav Mahler, had an extremely talented friend and fellow student at the Vienna Conservatory who came to a sad end.  Their relationship, and its subsequent (unacknowledged) influence upon Mahler’s music started my creative juices flowing, and I eventually concocted another “ghostly” tale that met David’s criterion of having a non-supernatural explanation in the end.

What is your story about? Where and when does it take place?

Hans Rott, who wrote a wonderful “Mahlerian” symphony several years before Gustav Mahler wrote his First, is “The Solitary Violinist” in my story. Rott ended up in an asylum, and his little-known symphony was not performed until 1989, long after Mahler’s music had become world-famous.  Holmes tells Watson the story in 1911, just before departing for the United States as “Altamont.”  However, its main action takes place in Vienna in 1902, when Mahler persuades the visiting detective to investigate his apparent “haunting” by a long-dead former friend.  To discover why Holmes—whose maxim, as we know, is “No ghosts need apply”—accepted this commission, we return briefly to his college days.  The story ends back in  Watson’s study with a final ghostly echo, which David kindly permits to authors of his “pseudo-supernatural” anthology selections.

What do you believe readers will most enjoy most about your tale?

Classical music lovers who have not heard of him will find Hans Rott of interest. I have included references to information on the young composer’s life and to recordings of his music.   Whether readers love, hate, or ignore the symphonies of Gustav Mahler, he was a fascinating personality.  My story treats him less unsympathetically than its plot implies.  Mahler’s wife Alma—that seductive “Muse to Genius” who snared two more famous husbands and was parodied in a Tom Lehrer ballad—makes a brief appearance, as does Sigmund Freud.  The story explores Holmes’ own fondness for Wagnerian music, which is well-established in the Canon. Finally, there is the fun of seeing him grapple with a case that he finds utterly ridiculous, but which he is compelled for reasons of his own to take.

Any upcoming projects?

I’m currently working on “A Game of Skittles,” a submission for the next MX anthology.  It features a famous Victorian courtesan and two eminent statesmen who—in one way or another—made her acquaintance.  Had Holmes not solved this case so tactfully, it might have been the Profumo Scandal of the 1880s.

Then it’s back to the next installment of Sherlock Holmes and the Crowned Heads of Europe:four historical tales that immerse our heroes in the diplomacy that preceded World War I.  When finished, the collection will include “A Scandal in Serbia” and two more stories I have yet to write.  I hope to enlist Marcia Wilson—a talented artist as well as an outstanding Sherlockian pasticheur who focuses on Scotland Yard—to illustrate Crowned Heads.

Meanwhile, Crowned Heads’ longest and earliest story chronologically, “The Case of the Dying Emperor,” is already done and is available from MX Publishing as a separate e-book (https://www.amazon.com/Sherlock-Holmes-Emperor-Crowned-Europe-ebook/dp/B07LCMVKDD/).  It takes place in 1888, during the brief reign of Frederick III, the son-in-law of Queen Victoria and father of the infamous “Kaiser Bill.” Frederick’s premature demise inaugurated Sherlock Holmes’ espionage campaign against the German Empire, which (as we know) ended only in August 1914 with “His Last Bow.”  My story has received kind reviews from three Sherlockian authors I very much admire—S.F. Bennett, David Marcum, and Daniel D. Victor—although Dan did suggest that Crowned Heads substitute a bibliographic essay for the “overabundance” of end notes in the e-book!  Readers who like combining Holmes with history will, I hope, enjoy the story, whether they acquire it now or wait for the entire collection.

One other tale on my horizon requires a return to the vexed question of Dr. Watson’s wives. “A Ghost from Christmas Past” introduced Constance Adams, the first of them (courtesy of W.S. Baring-Gould), while “Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Tainted Canister” recorded the sad fate of Mary Morstan.  My candidate for Wife Number Three—Priscilla Prescott—has lurked in the wings of other stories, but the case that introduces her to the good doctor will be a Boer War tale, “The Adventure of the Disgraced Captain.”  No idea yet how soon it will appear!

Tell us three things about yourself that few people would guess?

Politically, I am a liberal Democrat, which is uncommon among old white men in Alabama.

My other hobby is building model sailing ships, my latest being the frigate U.S.S. President.  She was the Constitution’s sister ship and quite a showpiece in her day.

My wife Paula is an aspiring science fiction writer, who has recently finished a novel called The Winds of Onega.  We’re looking for a publisher, if MX decides to take on science fiction!

Click here for more details on the Kickstarter campaign.

dying emperor

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The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories – Author Interview – Marcia Wilson

Throughout the Kickstarter campaign, we will be adding brief interviews highlighting the talented authors who have contributed to the anthology. Today we have the excellent Marcia Wilson.

How did you first get introduced to Sherlock Holmes?

Good Lord. I don’t think I was ever without Holmes. Sesame Street, for goodness’ sake!

What was the inspiration for your pastiche?

I usually get inspiration from several things. In this particular case, my fascination with alder wood water pipes, picking up a book of witchcraft in the second-hand store, the multidiverse nesting-box worlds of London in *any* era, and of course…crime. In this particular case, I was beginning to come to terms with how my memory had been…erased due to traumatic events. It made me think about the other folks out there with the same problem, and how that tends to fester and breed further crime and damage to victims.

What is your story – ‘The Adventure of the Long-Lost Enemey’ – about? Where and when does it take place?

Close to Christmas, and Watson is asked to perform as an ersatz coroner for the Yard. While confirming the deceased really is deceased, he sees Inspector Lestrade literally stumble into evidence of another problem, and it is fast out of his league. Watson of course fetches Holmes, who in turn fetches a key witness, someone readers of Canon will recognize! Terry Pratchett’s Sam Vimes says, ‘where there are policeman, there’s crime,’ and he refuses to change the wording. Think about that for a moment. If a policeman doesn’t recognize an action as a crime, how far does it go in the courts of justice? How likely is it to be seen as a crime?

What do you believe readers will most enjoy most about your tale?

I would like to think the opening with Watson strolling past a bitter London night, observing the many, many different observances of faiths and cultures and being happy in it. He’s utterly alone yet he’s finding joy on his own terms. And of course, Holmes and his own little adventures with his bookshelf. Oh, the delights of being a bigger reader than you are in possession of necessary storage space… Lupe Lawrence did a bang-up job in conveying the drear cold and isolation with her artwork. We see Holmes and Watson’s POV walking down a looming street to the dubious welcome of that odd, narrow building holding an equally odd crime within. I was impressed as all heck. She showed exactly what I was going for. Lastly, Holmes has proven to take victims seriously. He’s willing to bide his time like a hunter, for the right moment to reveal itself. Nothing is worse than no-one believing in you.

Which is your favourite story from The Canon and why?

Good grief. Who can choose?

Your favourite Sherlock Holmes-related place?

Cornwall!

Tell us three things about yourself that few people would guess?

I’m frantically trying to get a job.

I’m growing strawberries found in an Iron-Age Danish fort.

I preserve skeletal specimens for display on my back porch.

Any upcoming projects?

I’m in survivor mode right now, hoping to complete my math courses for my associate degree. David keeps me in touch so I can chip in when I can.

Click here for more details on the Kickstarter campaign.

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The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories – Author Interview – Carl Heifetz

Throughout the Kickstarter campaign, we will be adding brief interviews highlighting the talented authors who have contributed to the anthology. Today we have the excellent Carl Heifetz.

How did you first get introduced to Sherlock Holmes?

I first became a fan of the great detective in 1987, after my wife’s aunt bought me a very nice birthday present.  It was a book entitled New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It contained new stories written to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the publication of the original Sherlock Holmes book, A Study on Scarlet in 1887.

What was the inspiration for your pastiche?

All of my recent pastiches have been inspired by mysterious ailments and how Sherlock Holmes is able to deduce the cause of the illness. This interest stems from my background as a registered pharmacist and as a research microbiologist.

What is your story about? Where and when does it take place?

My story is about an apparent epidemic of cyanide poisoning in several British regiments. As usual, Sherlock Holmes figures out the real cause of the deaths of regimental commanders, who did it, why, and how.

What do you believe readers will most enjoy most about your tale?

I think the readers will enjoy how Sherlock Holmes used his scientific skills to solve the cases.

Which is your favourite story from The Canon and why?

My favorite story of the Canon is Sign of the Four.  It is a complete story with strange people involved, mystery, romance, humor, and an exciting boat chase scene.

Your favourite Sherlock Holmes-related place?

My favorite Sherlock Holmes related place is 221B Baker street, where it all starts.

Tell us three things about yourself that few people would guess?

I am not a professional writer, I am a scientist, I live in Florida.

Any upcoming projects?

I ‘m still trying to find a publisher for my science fiction novel “Adventure of the Plant Whisperer.” It involves flying saucers, alien abduction, telepathic communication with plants and sentient plants from interplanetary environs. And romance.

Click here for more details on the Kickstarter campaign.

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The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories – Author Interview – Stephen Herczeg

Throughout the Kickstarter campaign, we will be adding brief interviews highlighting the talented authors who have contributed to the anthology. Today we have the excellent Stephen Herczeg.

How did you first get introduced to Sherlock Holmes?

I think from very early on I was drawn to crime stories, especially those with a deep detective element. I recall a “junior” detective series from primary school that led the reader to form their own solution before the main character revealed all, plus I grew up with the Peter Ustinov Poirot movies and was an avid Agatha Christie reader, I still have a decent collection on my shelves. My other loves have always been Mickey Spillane and James Bond, grittier than Holmes but each has a level of detection involved.

My first recollection of Sherlock Holmes would be from watching “The 7 percent solution” and “Murder by Decree”, very heavy dramatic movies that I watched in my early teen years but the essence of which has stayed with me all these years later.

What was the inspiration for your pastiche?

When the call came out for an anthology with a “supernatural” bent, I decided then and there to write a Sherlock Holmes vs Zombies story. I’ve had a fascination with the zombie sub-genre for as long as I can remember. I’m a bit of an aficionado, having seen and rated well over 150 zombie movies. I’ve also written several zombie film scripts, two of which have done pretty well in international screenplay competitions. In my story, I managed to weave the Haitian zombie/voodoo theme into a detective mystery and I’m happy with the result. The ending is perfectly rational, with a little left open to the imagination.

What is your story about? Where and when does it take place?

My story “The Adventure of the Sugar Merchant” takes place in late 19th century London, in and around the docklands area with the climax on a country estate.

It begins as a simple dead body mystery but leads Holmes and Watson into the dark underbelly of Thameside London, then back to a businessman with nefarious dealings in Jamaica and Haiti. His crimes are avenged by supposed legions of the dead which almost costs Holmes and Watson their own lives.

What do you believe readers will most enjoy most about your tale?

The Zombies. Who doesn’t like zombies?

These aren’t the ravenous undead of the “Living Dead” or “28 Days later” movies, these are the old-style voodoo zombies of “White Zombie” and “I walked with a zombie”. I hope I’ve painted a picture that lends a level of credibility to the zombies and leaves the reader with the idea that they could exist.

Which is your favourite story from The Canon and why?

My other love is horror. I’m an avid horror-phile and am lucky enough to have had dozens of horror stories published in parallel to my Sherlock Holmes stories. The natural favourite story is of course “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” A mystery presented as a supernatural story with a totally rational ending and one that piqued the imagination of the mainstream public and brought Holmes into the average person’s mind.

Your favourite Sherlock Holmes-related place?

I lived in London for about three years in the early 00’s. Absolutely loved it and miss it dearly. We did a lot of night-time walking tours which included some of the seedier sides of the city, (i.e. the East end, etc) and you could clearly imagine yourself in 19th century fog-bound London. The city itself is such an incredible mix of old and new, from the wonderful Georgian and Victorian terraces through to the wide-open fields of Hyde and Regent’s park and even Hampstead Heath, nestled in amongst the towering blocks of Canary Wharf.

Even now I just love it when I need to research a new Holmes tale. Google Maps (and street view) feature prominently in my investigations bringing up memories of my own trips to many of the places.

I’ve promised my kids that I will take them to London and just need to pull my finger out and do it. Though me may not return home this time.

Tell us three things about yourself that few people would guess?

I’m a Third Degree Black-belt in Taekwondo. I started training over fifteen years ago and am currently working towards my fourth degree, though my old body is a little more susceptible to injuries these days, so it’s been a hard slog.

My father was the first Adelaide based soccer player to represent Australia. He was picked up for the 1966 world cup campaign, but we went down to South Korea. I’ve never had his talent, but I’ve played for years and am currently coaching my daughter’s Under 14 girls’ team.

I played the “Burnt Guy”, one of the main zombies in an independent zombie film called “Theatre of the Dead” filmed right here in Canberra, Australia. I was brought in early on, mostly cause I knew the Director and he knew my knowledge of zombies, and became the face of the film with a promotional shoot done in full makeup to help with the Kickstarter campaign and early advertising to raise funds. I was brought back to act in the film over a period of three days (two and a half hours in the makeup chair each time).

Any upcoming projects?

Bucketloads.

Apart from a few Sherlock Holmes stories that I’m waiting to hear back on, I have, at last count, stories featuring in around fifteen magazines and anthologies waiting to be published, plus another ten or so stories sitting on various “to read” piles.

My personal “Submissions List” has another ten projects on it that takes me up to early next year, plus I’ve had the need brewing in my mind to produce a novel. It’s there simmering in the back of my head, I’ve plotted it out, I have written the short story it will be based on, so it’s just about making the time and sticking with it.

The biggest problem is that life keeps getting in the way of my writing.

Click here for more details on the Kickstarter campaign.

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