Interview with Lee Mossel

What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Sot Weed Factor by John Barth---Without question my all-time favorite book. It had everything from obvious extensive research, an incredibly creative plot line, exhaustive character development, and fanciful form prose. This book contained some of the most laugh-out-loud characters and scenes ever invented. At over eleven hundred pages it may have seemed daunting but, nearing the end, I never wanted to see the last page.

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtrey---As with THE SOT WEED FACTOR, I didn't want it to end. The characters became part of my life; sayings and aphorisms contained became part of my vocabulary. The story flowed as smoothly as the lower Mississippi yet took the reader over Niagara Falls on regular occasions.

The Spenser series by Robert B Parker---The Spenser character, developed in over thirty volumes, is one of the most memorable of all modern day protagonists. The writing style is "spare" to say the least and yet two pages of one word paragraph conversations can say more than chapters in other books. Spenser was a near proto-type for my own hero, Cort Scott. A modern day Renaissance man who enjoys a wide gamut of life's pleasures from fine wines to barroom brawls.

The Inspector Lynley series by Elizabeth George---The antithesis of Robert B Parker, Elizabeth George paints fully detailed pictures with exquisite usage of the English language. Her brilliant characterizations and intricate plot lines create classic "mysteries." It is rare to figure out "who-dunnit" before the last chapter of an Elizabeth George novel.

The John Rebus series by Ian Rankin---Dark, somber, complex stories in a police procedural genre are superbly portrayed by Ian Rankin in his Detective John Rebus series. Like others of my favorites, Rebus is, at best, a flawed hero. He's borderline alcoholic with numerous slips; he antagonizes his superiors as well as his fellow detectives; he violates the law, and, oddly enough, he doesn't always solve the case. In short, he's all too human---a man most of us other humans can easily relate to.
What do you read for pleasure?
For the most part, I read fiction. I am particularly drawn to crime thriller mysteries written as series. My favorites are the Elvis Cole series by Robert Crais; the Dave Robicheaux series by James Lee Burke; the Inspector Lindley series by Elizabeth George; the Dismas Hardy series by John Lescroat; the Joe Pickett series by CJ Box; the John Rebus series by Ian Rankin plus several others. I enjoy historical novels also particularly those set in colonial America; the Civil War era; and the western American frontier/mountain man days.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Although I prefer printed books, I have used an iPad on occasion.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Unfortunately, not many, ha, ha. So far, personal appearance book signings at book fairs and privately sponsored events have yielded some success.
Describe your desk
Executive style, light oak backing to a built in credenza. My computer keyboard is "hide-away" in a slide out drawer. The desk is located in a main floor office/den in my home in Parker, CO, with views of an open hillside "open space" out the north facing windows. Interestingly enough, Cortlandt Scott, my protagonist in my novels "lives" in my house and utilizes my desk as his own. The house and desk play prominent roles in my novels.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small logging and lumber mill town in western Oregon. Small towns such as these regardless of the primary industry whether logging, farming, oil and gas, mining, or whatever ALL have unique characters and inhabitants who make indelible impressions on young people growing up around them. The discipline and work ethic required to be a successful author were instilled in me at an early age by observing the people around me, in particular, my parents. The grinding poverty associated with my childhood made me appreciate the material gains I achieved as an adult while never forgetting my "roots."
When did you first start writing?
I've always been interested in writing and excelled in essay and précis writing throughout my formal education. As an oil and gas executive, I "rewrote" many of the reports and papers submitted for my review. I made several aborted starts at creating novels of differing genres over a dozen years prior to my retirement from industry in 2000. Spurred on by my own declaration of "I can write a better story than that", I began working on THE MURDER PROSPECT, my first published novel, in 2009.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The "real life" stories and characters involved in the oil and gas business are sometimes bigger than life and, definitely, stranger than fiction. Adapting real life stories to "urban legends" and crime thriller fiction is not difficult. Following the advice of many successful authors to "Write what you know" became my mantra. My latest book, THE TALUS SLOPE, deals with the real world potential of Colorado's oil shale reserves but has been fictionalized to bring in international espionage and a world energy crises. I'm currently working on a mystery based on professional jealousies, family discordance, and wealth which spills out of the oil business and onto the headlines.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Primarily, the obstacles, hurdles, and virtual impossibility of first, finding a literary agent and subsequently, a traditional publisher. I believed in my work, believe in my future, and wanted to spend my time writing versus trying to sell myself and my books.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
An unanswered question at this point. It certainly looks to be a fast paced and lucrative alternative to other forms of indie publishing.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
First, a sense of accomplishment in achieving a goal; secondly, gathering feedback from readers. Being told that someone is eagerly awaiting your next book is a highly addictive stimulus.
Published 2013-10-28.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

More Than 100% Dead
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 73,640. Language: English. Published: April 16, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
Denver geologist turned PI, Cortlandt Scott, follows developments in the oil business. When one of those "developments" is the brutal murder of a "bigger than life" oil producer, Cort's friend, homicide detective Tom Montgomery, asks for help on the highest profile case of either of their careers. Their suspect list is too long, pressure for an arrest is too high...and the clock is ticking.
The Talus Slope
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 93,840. Language: English. Published: December 20, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage
Cort Scott is back from the brink. After an alcohol fueled bereavement and depression, he's hoping to restart his life and private investigation business. As a favor to an old friend, he looks into the accidental but suspicious death of a government geologist. He did not anticipate being plunged into a murky and dangerous world of spies, world oil conspiracies, and murder.
The Murder Prospect
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 88,280. Language: English. Published: November 29, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
Cortlandt Scott is burned out. He wants to change from finding oil to finding oil field crooks but didn't anticipate the dangers to himself and those he holds dear. His life of good wine, beautiful women, fast cars, and learning on the run will be altered forever. From Denver to California and beyond, Cort Scott is forced to investigate his own morals and motives; he doesn't like what he finds.