Bill Fitts


The Needed Killing Series: Cozy Mysteries with a Southern Flair

I don’t believe it matters how long it takes you to find your calling--as long as you find it eventually. I certainly took the long way around to becoming a writer.

The path I took--part-time jobs from the seventh grade through college, Merit Scholarship winner, Presidential Scholar, Princeton University dropout, communications technician in the U.S. Navy Reserve, Princeton University graduate, group insurance salesman, underwriter, account executive, management accountant, tax accountant, software installer, systems administrator, computer help desk employee, Unix support provider, webserver administrator, online learning systems administrator, and tornado survivor--made me a different writer than I would have been had I skipped any of the stops along the way. With the possible exception of the tornado, I’m glad to have experienced them all. The tornado did make one thing clear. If I wanted to write, I’d better get to it. In September 2011, with my wife’s encouragement, collaboration, and editorial support, that’s what I did.

Fortunately, all that time I wasn’t writing, I was reading—I started out with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, moved on to Perry Mason, Nero Wolfe, Sherlock Holmes, and later added to my reading list such authors as Dorothy Sayers, Dick Francis, and Robert B. Parker. They and many other writers helped shape my understanding of how to construct a mystery and fueled my love of a good whodunit. Authors outside the genre, notably Robert A. Heinlein and J. R. R. Tolkien, kindled my imagination as a young reader and engendered in me a love of reading that continues to this day. I thank them all for the many wonderful hours I have spent in cloud-cuckoo-land, from the English countryside to the streets of Boston to the far reaches of outer space.

Since the tornado of April 27, 2011, my wife and I have published five murder mysteries—the first five books in the Needed Killing Series. There are lots more of them to come--I’ll never run out of people who need killing. Plus, I’ve got books in another genre waiting to be written.

Having taken a long and winding road to this calling, my wife and I are having great fun writing books. Try one of them and see if you don’t have fun too.

If you enjoy the Needed Killing Series, please consider leaving a review at the website where you purchased the book.

Smashwords Interview

Why are you starting your interview with a reference to cats?
My cat Hawk, model for The Black in the Needed Killing Series, was sitting in my lap while I reviewed the answers for this interview. (He often sits in my lap while I'm writing and is pictured on my Smashwords author page and on the back of the paperback copies of the first three books.)

He noted that there was no mention in my Q&A about cats. More to the point, there was no mention of him. I promised to rectify the situation before publishing the interview.

Satisfied, Hawk?
Why do you write murder mysteries?
When Robert B. Parker and Dick Francis, two prolific and very popular mystery writers, died within a month of each other, I thought their deaths would open up some room in the field. I didn’t realize that another writer was going to take over the Spenser series and Francis’s son Felix was going to take up the family business.

Seriously, I had tried writing other fiction. I finished one book—a fantasy intended as part of a three-book series—actually got an agent for it, but never found a publisher. Then I tried writing a mystery novel. I discovered that mysteries were easier for me to write and—as a bonus—I’m pretty good at it.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Bill Fitts online

Where to buy in print


Who Needed Killing?
Series: Needed Killing, book 5. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 106,470. Language: English. Published: December 1, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Provost Rufus George is worried. “Something,” he tells Crawford, “is not right at University Village. I want you to look around and see if anything bothers you.” Crawford begins with a question here and a question there--until he asks the wrong question. As Crawford grapples with the most perplexing case of his career, he and the provost find themselves the target of a wily and ruthless killer.
The Deacon Needed Killing
Series: Needed Killing, book 4. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 85,070. Language: English. Published: February 25, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Alone with a corpse on a back road, Crawford is glad to see the police. “It was actually a deputy sheriff's car but any law enforcement officer was like a gift from heaven. The car stopped and I started toward it. The siren yelped and the headlights flashed. I froze in place. That was not a come-hither signal." This time, Crawford must establish his own innocence before he can help anyone else.
She Needed Killing
Series: Needed Killing, book 3. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 106,240. Language: English. Published: July 17, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Book 3 in the Needed Killing Series. Newly licensed PI James F. Crawford had never considered taking his cat to the local folk festival. But when a friend wants The Black for a photo shoot, Crawford obliges. That a snake will be part of the shoot is just the first surprise in store for Crawford. Snakes, arson, blackmail . . . this festival will be unlike any other in the history of Jemison County.
He Needed Killing Too
Series: Needed Killing, book 2. Price: Free! Words: 74,060. Language: English. Published: October 18, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Book 2 in the Needed Killing series. Dr. Douglas was often described as a man who “needed killing.” When someone takes the description literally and puts a bullet through his head, the provost calls in James Crawford. As Crawford tackles his second case as a private eye, he also wrangles with the particulars of becoming a licensed detective, including the burning question of business cards.
He Needed Killing
Series: Needed Killing, book 1. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 66,620. Language: English. Published: October 18, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Book 1 in the Needed Killing series. When several employees get ill from tainted potato salad and one actually dies, the university issues condolences and goes on with business as usual. But another death cannot be ignored, and university retiree James Crawford is thrust into the role of private eye. Murder, he finds, begets murder. Can he expose the killer before someone else is killed?

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