Interview with Irving Munro

Who are your favorite authors?
I have an extensive list. Agatha Christie, Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Raymond Chandler and Georges Simenon are all well known. Then there are the more modern writers in the genre including, Denise Mina, Steig Larrson and Ian Rankin.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I am a morning person, always have been. The morning is the time of day when I am at my most creative. As they day wears on I tend to lose energy and creativity. Each morning I am out of bed by 6:30 and by seven I am in my study. I have a large leather chair that face my garden and I will have my laptop in front of me and I write. I have stories to tell and when I start a new novel, the story will flow. It's like turning on a faucet it just flows. I then have to go back and edit and re-edit.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
We live in a residential community in north west Austin. At the center of the community is the golf club where my wife and are a members. We have a great circle of friends and we all play golf and socialize together. A few of the characters in my books have been modeled on these friends, with their permission of course. It is something that we all find terribly amusing.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I start with my genre of course, which is crime/fiction. I use Goodreads and look for recommendations form other readers. I do my own research of course and I like to just chose a book arbitrarily sometimes and take a risk, Sometimes that works sometimes not.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
In my previous work life I wrote many articles for publication in trade journals and as marketing collateral. I also have a blog that I write on lean manufacturing. My first real story was book one of the Detective Bill Ross Crime Series. The idea for the book came to me while golfing with one of my friends in the neighborhood. This friend owns a home in our neighborhood and also owns a summer home in Colorado where he and his wife goo to escape the Texas heat in July and August each year. He leave his main home empty and I started to imagine what might happen if a dead boy was discovered in his backyard while he was gone in Colorado. The End of Summer was created from that initial imagination.
What is your writing process?
As I said previously, I open the faucet and let it flow. I have very little structure. I start with a basic idea and let the story take me on a journey. I have no idea how it will end. I have written two books and both I have written this way. Perhaps in the future I may have to take a more structured approach.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I read the normal books you would expect in my school days. The first book that I read in what was to be my chosen genre was The Crow Road by Ian Banks. Ian Banks died of cancer a few years back. He was a Scottish writer and grew up in Fife, a region of Scotland on the east coast, to the north of Edinburgh, across the River Forth. The Crow Road was about a Scottish well to do family that had hidden secrets in their past, including murder. "Down the Crow Road" is a Scottish expression meaning you have died. The book and the plot structure stuck with me and I then found "Rebus". Rebus is the main fictional character in the novels by Ian Rankin. Rebus is an old curmudgeon; a detective in Edinburgh who constantly is at odds with the police hierarchy and at the same time a great detective. The Ian Rankin books and Rebus have had the biggest influence on my writing.
How do you approach cover design?
I found a fabulous source for cover design on the internet. is a source for internal formatting and cover design. I gave them the plot and that outline of the story. they give me back a few mock ups and I choose. To date it has been great.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
As I said previously, I have read all of Ian Rankin's books - I think there are now a total of 24. I have also read Denise Mina. Denise rights about her native Glasgow and her principle character is a female crime reporter in the city (Alex Morrow), whereas Rankin writes about the exploits of John Rebus an Edinburgh detective. Both writers have great characters and they create interesting plots around these characters. That's why I like them so much.
What do you read for pleasure?
I stick to anything crime/fiction. I have tried other genres but they don't do it for me. I hate sci-fi and anything vampire.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
In my last few years in the computer software industry, I learned a lot about in-bound marketing. It is really about the integration of all things in social media to create a following and a brand identity that will then lead to sales. I have a website and a blog on that site which I integrate with Facebook and Twitter. I use Mail Chimp for email campaigns to me followers. I keep the conversation going that way and grow my brand.
Describe your desk
My "desk" is my lap. I use a MacBook Air and it sits on my lap when I sit in my leather chair in my study. I know that it is not ergonomically very good for my back and my wife giver me a hard time, but I do it anyway. I have a desk in my study and us that to pay bills etc. Family photographs, paintings of Scotland and other items adorn the walls. My father was a Freemason in Scotland and I have his Mason's bib in a glass frame up on the wall.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Scotland. My parents had two sons. My brother is ten years younger than me and still lives in Scotland. He lives in Edinburgh and like me, follows a career in the software industry and is also a writer. We grew up in Kilmarnock, a working class town in Ayrshire in Southwest Scotland. We were poor by any standards, but my mother made sure that we didn't want for anything. She would go without, to make sure that her two boys had the best. My mother had a huge influence on who I am today. My father worked hard and I have his work ethic, but it was my mother who had the greatest influence on me.
When did you first start writing?
As I said before, I have written a lot of stuff over the years, mainly computer software related. I wrote my first novel The End of Summer 18 months ago.
What's the story behind your latest book?
We live in Texas and my book series is about a Scottish retired detective now living in Austin and helping out with the Travis County cold case unit. All of my stories are cold cases and the latest book What's Left is Right is a cold case.

In a remote inlet on the shores of Lake Travis in Austin Texas, the mutilated body of a man is found next to a burning cross. Both hands have been cut from the body and the head has been beaten to a pulp. DNA tests reveal no clues to the man’s identity.

Detective Bill Ross and his team suspect that the killing may have been staged to look like a lynching, and that other motives may be behind the killing. They find a clue that suggests that the dead man could have been US special forces; that it may have been a brutal execution of an American war hero. As their investigation unfolds it begins to reveal a frightening scenario. Politically connected people, committed to an insatiable lust for power and control. Mexican drug cartels and powerful politicians entwined in an evil dance. As they follow the evidence, each step takes takes them closer to the inner sanctum of power and control. Their lives could be at risk as they strive for the truth. The truth could shake the very foundations of government in the State of Texas, and have ramifications all the way to the White House.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I didn't think that I would live long enough to find a publisher! Seriously, the book business is changing driven by software technology. It is very easy today to be self published, but that also means that there is a lot of very poor quality material being published. I felt however, that being an indie was the only way for me to get my work out there using the most expedient process.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Don't know yet, just getting started.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Self expression. Letting the story fly!
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything, it is why a write. I don't need the money and I don't write to get rich, so the money part of it is less important. I want people to be entertained and enjoy what I write.
What are you working on next?
Just finishing up book two What's Left is Right. It will be published in November 2015.
Published 2015-09-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

What's Left is Right
Series: The Detective Bill Ross Crime Series. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 72,680. Language: English. Published: October 12, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » International crime, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
The investigation of the gruesome killing of an American war hero on the shores of Lake Travis, Austin, Texas, uncovers a frightening scenario. Criminal cartels and politicians in lockstep in an evil dance to fuel their insatiable lust for power and control.
The End of Summer
Series: The Detective Bill Ross Crime Series. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 69,040. Language: English. Published: September 30, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Police Procedural, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
A woman is found lying on a recliner by the pool in a vacant home in Austin, Texas. She is spectacularly beautiful. She is dead. Can Scottish detective Bill Ross track down a sadistic serial killer before he strikes again?