Another Column at MyShelf.Com

Between The Pages, Past
A Mystery Column
By Dennis Collins

Interview with Carl Brookins

Carl Brookins is the author of thirteen mystery novels. I first met Carl at a writer’s conference in Chicago and enjoyed a pleasant dinner with him and several other mystery authors. Since then we’ve become internet buddies and have shared our views on many subjects. He graciously accepted my offer for a Myshelf interview.


Dennis: How long have you been writing?

Carl: With parental encouragement, I learned to read at a very early age, and writing came along with that ability. I sold my first fiction to a pulp magazine in seventh grade. I think I won fifty cents for a short (very short) western tale. All my career choices, except working in the fields at the Agricultural Experiment farm, have involved a considerable writing component. So, I guess you can say I’ve been writing seriously for fifty plus years.


Dennis: What made you settle on writing mysteries?

Carl: I have always read mysteries and more widely crime fiction, so when I decided to try writing for fun and profit outside of my then job, crime fiction seemed a natural choice.


Dennis: Did you begin as a self-published author or were you mainstream all the way?

Carl: I’m old enough that self-publishing was really not an option when I started so my early novels and short stories are all traditional print items.


Dennis: Was there a particular writer who influenced your style?

Carl: I don’t think there was a writer who influenced my style, so much as writers (multiple) who taught me a lot about writing crime fiction, writers like Stephen Greenleaf, Lawrence Block, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky. And writers of western and country music.


Dennis: Your stories include sailing. Is there something in your background that led you to this type of story?

Carl: I learned to sail and really appreciate the ocean and sailing while I was in the Navy. So when I began thinking seriously about writing a novel, I was sailing off the coast of Canada and since we are urged to write what we know, it came logically, especially since a number of plot ideas spring up whenever I am sailing, even in stormy weather that requires a good deal of personal concentration on what’s going on with boat and weather.


Dennis: Is your background in literature?

Carl: I’m not sure what that means, background. I have always read a lot and widely. My career choices, television broadcasting, college counseling, provide a lot of support, as does my family.


Dennis: What do you do when you’re not writing books?

Carl: I read, I make photographs and videos. I listen to the radio and watch films and television.


Dennis: This is your space to talk about anything you’d like.

Carl: I’m pretty excited about the advances in digital technology, the way paths to distribution are opening up for new talent. As a book reviewer, of course it means more work in the sense of more books to examine, but it also means a lot for the untested. More variety, more dreck, more direct communication. All good. Of course that also means more lies and erroneous information gets circulated, but we humans seem to be able to persist and get beyond the most egregious distortions. Eventually. I wish I had more time to travel and work in the garden.

You can read all about Carl at his website:

2014 Past Columns