Sunday, May 1, 2016

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with Greg Messel, author of 'Cable Car Mystery'

Greg Messel has spent most of his adult life interested in writing, including a career in the newspaper business. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist and has contributed articles to various magazines. Greg lives in Edmonds, Washington on Puget Sound with his wife Jean DeFond.

Greg has written nine novels. His latest is “Cable Car Mystery" which is the sixth in a series of mysteries set in 1959 San Francisco. “Shadows In The Fog,” ”Fog City Strangler," "San Francisco Secrets," "Deadly Plunge" are sequels to the first book in the series "Last of the Seals." His other three novels are "Sunbreaks," "Expiation" and "The Illusion of Certainty."

For More Information
· Visit Greg Messel’s website.
· Connect with Greg on Facebook and Twitter.
· Find out more about Greg at Goodreads.

About the Book:

On the hottest day of the year in San Francisco in 1959, Private Detectives Sam and Amelia Slater are contemplating fleeing the city for their Stinson Beach house. However, when Sam decides to take a cable car ride to run some errands on the lazy summer day, he’s suddenly thrust into the spotlight
when he rescues a woman who fell onto the busy street. Sam pulls the mysterious red haired woman out of the path of an oncoming cable car in the nick of time. The entire incident is captured by a newspaper photographer who splashes Sam’s heroics all over the front page. Sam is troubled not only by his new status as a city hero, but by the rescued woman’s plea for help. She whispers to Sam that she didn’t fall from the cable car but was pushed. She is frightened and disappears into the crowd before Sam can get more details. A San Francisco newspaper launches a campaign to find the mystery woman and Sam hopes to cross paths with her again.

Meanwhile, Amelia is troubled by the sudden disappearance of her elderly neighbor. Two thuggish younger men who now occupy the house next door say he took a sudden trip. One night when she’s alone Amelia grabs a flashlight and finds some disturbing clues in her neighbor’s garage. What really happened to her neighbor? Amelia is determined to find out.

Award winning author Greg Messel spins a new tale of intrigue in Cable Car Mystery, the sixth book in the Sam Slater Mystery series set in at the 1950s in San Francisco. 

For More Information

  • Cable Car Mystery is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself? 

My book is historical fiction. I try to be historically accurate about what is occurring in San Francisco and the nation. For instance, in an earlier book in the series I initially had some bank robbers hiding money in plastic bags. When I did some research I discovered that plastic bags had yet to be invented in 1958 or 1959. I had to change the receptacle to paper bags. In “Cable Car Mystery” one of thee main characters, Amelia, comes from a big Irish Catholic family. At a family gathering in 1959, the main topic of discussion was John F. Kennedy’s run for president. 

Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub? 

I’ve investigated publishing and agents. I’ve also discussed the pros and cons with numerous authors. Either way you will end up doing your own marketing largely. I have concluded that self publishing is the way to go. It allows me to be more prolific instead of waiting up to a year for a decision from a publishing house. I’ve also talked to authors who were working with a traditional publisher and they had to make significant changes to their books. 

If self-published, did you hire someone to format the ebook version for you or did you do it yourself?  Can you tell us what that was like? 

I’m lucky to have found a publishing consultant who has an excellent team of editors, designers and typesetters who work on my books. I’ve done six books with this group and we have an excellent working relationship. If I didn’t have them it would be difficult to find someone else who I would feel this comfortable with. 

If self-published, how did you determine the price? 

I try to make them very competitive and even a bargain. I want new readers to be willing to give it a try because of the price. 

Did you purposefully choose a distinct month to release your book?  Why? 


How did you choose your cover? 

I’m very proud of my covers. “Cable Car Mystery” is the sixth in the series and my designer has given each book a similar look and feel. I think covers are so important. Books really do get judged by their covers. I see some covers, particularly in self published books, that I think are very amateurish. I get a lot of compliments from readers about the covers on my books. 
Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went? 

I usually get a first draft done and then do at least two detailed revisions where I not only attempt to correct grammar but polish the writing and add layers of detail to the plot. 

Did you come up with special swag for your book and how are you using it to help get the word out about your book?   

I’m doing virtual book tours on a variety of literary blogs. I’m also doing interviews and have several people who are willing to write reviews. 

Did you consider making or hiring someone to make a book trailer for your book?  If so, what’s the link? 

Yes. I have someone who has done a wonderful job on my book trailers. I think the book trailer for “Cable Car Mystery” is the best one yet. Here’s the link.

What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?

I buy into the theory. My books is part of a series and if “Cable Car Mystery” interests a reader they may purchase the earlier books. I’ve had some readers tell me they are going to do that. 

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released? 

Editing, editing and editing. 

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released? 

You’ve got to really get involved in social media and interacting with literary blogs to promote your books. There are several good companies that can assist you on a book tour. A third suggestion I have is that you have to spend some money to promote your book. I realize there are financial restraints, however, after all of the effort it takes to write a book, you must do something to support your book. No one is doing to knock on your door and ask to buy your book. There is a very crowded field of books out there for readers. 

What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out?   

I use Facebook and Twitter to promote my book. I also have hired marketing experts to do book blasts and promotions. I have been using my book trailer for a few months to help increase the awareness of the pending release. 

Do you have a long term plan with your book? 

I plan to continue to the series for at least a few books longer. I’m currently writing the next book in the series called “San Francisco Nights.” However, there will be an end to the series. I’m working on another book has the 1968 presidential campaign as a backdrop. I’m very excited about the new project. 

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book? 

I hope you enjoy the Sam Slater Mystery series. I think they are full of likable characters and are good mysteries which will keep you guessing. I think the stories are greatly enhanced by the setting of 1959 San Francisco.

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