I would like to introduce you all to Trace Conger. He recently contacted me regarding his book and was keen to be interviewed for my blog.
Can you tell me a bit about your book please?
My novel, THE SHADOW BROKER, introduces the world to Finn Harding (Mr. Finn to his clients), a PI who recently lost his PI license.
To make ends meet he begins working for criminals who pay in cash and don’t care if he’s licensed or not. Finn gets ensnared in a plot to take over a black market information brokerage and finds himself entrenched deeper in the criminal world than he ever expected.
With his own clients gunning for him, Finn (and his family) must evade a psychopathic killer, special agents from the FBI’s cybercrime unit, and a Detroit mob boss.
Did it take you long to write?
I outlined the novel in November of 2013 and then began writing in January 2014. I completed the first draft in May. From there it went through review with my beta readers, editing by me, review from my editor, more editing by me, and then I had the final version published in October of 2014.
So it took about five months for the first draft and then another five months for reviews, editing, and all the other responsibilities (cover design, formatting, etc.) that comes with publishing a novel.
Where do you get your ideas from?
Everywhere. I find most of my ideas come while I’m writing or reading, as if those acts open up the part of my brain that generates ideas. The original idea for THE SHADOW BROKER came to me several years ago, and at the time, I thought it would be a short story. I wrote the story several times, but never really liked it, so I shelved it.
About a year or so later I had a conversation with a retired PI who explained that she used to work as a black market information broker for a very short time to make ends meet. In that role, she acquired illegal personal information for her clients who paid top dollar. After learning that these shadowy individuals exist, I was intrigued and disturbed at the same time.
I combined this plot point with some of the other plot elements from the original short story and THE SHADOW BROKER was born.
Did you have to do any research for your book and if so what did it entail?
I try to be as accurate in my work as possible and that can entail a lot of research. The “Mr. Finn” series is set in Cincinnati, and since I live there, scouting out the locals is pretty easy. I also have a few private investigators and law enforcement contacts who I work with at times to flesh out specific situations.
There is one scene in THE SHADOW BROKER where two FBI agents interview my protagonist at the FBI office in Cincinnati. I tried to get a visit through the FBI so I could see the inside of the building in an effort to capture it accurately (within reason) in the book, but as you can imagine the FBI didn’t go for it. They did hook me up with a contact though who answered a lot of my questions and helped me visualize the setting for the novel.
I understand that most readers wouldn’t know if I’m painting an accurate picture or not, but I’ve always tried to be as accurate as I can. It doesn’t matter if I’m describing how to pick a lock or how to steal a specific drug to cut heroin. It needs to be real.
Would you like to see your book made into a film or drama?
I think every author would love to see his or her work on the big screen (not to mention the cash that comes with it). I’ve visited several book clubs to discuss my novel and during every meeting someone has said they could see THE SHADOW BROKER as a movie.
It’s very fast paced, so I think it would lend itself well to film, but it was never something I considered while writing it. Of course, if Hollywood comes knocking, I’ll answer the door.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on the follow-up novel to THE SHADOW BROKER. It’s called SCAR TISSUE and picks up a few weeks after the previous novel ends. It’s been a lot of fun to write, and with my first novel out of the way, I feel much more confident about my writing process. The second novel dives deeper into the characters’ background and readers will learn a lot more about some of the ideas brought up in THE SHADOW BROKER.
In addition to SCAR TISSUE, I’m also outlining the third novel in the Mr. Finn series as well as researching a standalone novel that leans more to the horror side of suspense than the crime side.
I also enjoy writing short stories, so I have a few of those in the works as well.
What made you want to start writing?
It sounds hokey, but I’ve always enjoyed writing and never really saw myself doing anything else. I cut my teeth in the PR business in New York and my responsibilities included a lot of writing. It wasn’t the writing I wanted to do—I always gravitated toward fiction—but it was great experience and helped me discover my voice and taught me how to pitch journalists and work under the pressures of a deadline, all things I still have to do as an author.
Describe a day in your life.
That’s a tough one, because with two children, my days are anything but typical. As far as writing is concerned, since I’m also a freelance writer, I split my time between writing for clients, promoting THE SHADOW BROKER, and writing the follow-up novel, SCAR TISSUE.
I try to keep an even split with 50% of my week writing fiction and the other 50% writing copy for clients, but this ebbs and flows as any freelancer will attest. For me, one of the most important aspects of a writing career is to be consistent. While I strive to write fiction every day, sometimes life gets in the way and this isn’t possible, but at a minimum, I try for 1,000 words of fiction every day.
Where can readers connect with you?
The best way is through my website at http://www.traceconger.com. I love hearing from readers and answer all of my email (though it can take some time).
Readers can also connect via Facebook at (www.facebook.com/tracecongerauthor) or Twitter @TraceConger.
Readers can also sign up for my newsletter on my website or through my Facebook page to get updates on my work (and a free short story).
About Trace Conger
Trace Conger is an author in the crime, thriller and suspense genres. His Mr. Finn series follows disgraced private investigator Finn Harding as he straddles the fine line between criminal investigator and criminal.
Conger is known for his tight writing style, dark themes and subtle humor. He lives in Cincinnati with his wonderfully supportive family.
Find out more about Trace Conger and the Mr. Finn series on his official website, http://www.traceconger.com.
‘The Shadow Broker’ is available to buy on Amazon:-