Michael Haskins, Author of “Car Wash Blues”

What is your book about?
Two Mexican drug cartel gangs come to Key West looking for my protagonist Mick Murphy, thinking he has stolen $20 million. Murphy is innocent, but has been set up by his friends in the shadows.

How long did it take you to write your book?
It takes me less than a year, but I spend a year on each book, editing and rewriting as I go along.

Did you do any research for the book?
I have to find a way to bring the crime/bad guys to Key West. I use a shadowy government agent as Murphy’s friend and check with a friend of mine in military intel to check my facts, especially firearms and they way drug cartels work. He is now an unrepentant contractor.

What was the most difficult part about writing the book?
I think that goes back to writing a Key West mystery because crime like you find in big cities, Miami, NYC, etc. doesn’t happen here. I find an item that interests me in news reports and then have to come up with why that incident would happen in the Keys.

What’s your writing schedule like?
Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day? I try to write in the morning and do a quick edit/rewrite in the afternoon. I keep a record of my daily writing. It helps with my continuity. I write the day it is in the story, time of day, and location. I avoid mixing up days and times in my writing. I am happy to write 1,000 words a day, but some days have to accept 250!

Do you have any rituals that you follow before sitting down to write?
Not before, but as I begin, the fist thing I do is re-read what I have recently written. That usually brings some rewriting but lets me know where to continue. I try to clear my head in the evening. Notice I said try, because it doesn’t always happen. Sometimes my story is rattling around in my head 24/7.

What are you working on right now?
I am almost finished with “Stairway to the Bottom,” continuing my Mick Murphy Mystery series. My plan is to get it as an eBook and trade paperback on Amazon for the holiday season.

How many stories do you currently have swirling around in your head?
As mentioned, I am almost done with my next book and the ending is a big surprise – or I hope it will be – and ends with a lot of lose ends. I did that on purpose because a follow idea come to me as I thought of the ending. To put it all in one book I’d need to write like Steven King, 1,000 pages. I decided to make it two books.

What is the easiest part of the writing process?
Oh that’s easy, turning on the computer!

Does writing come easy for you?
Now, that’s not so easy. The ideas come easy, making the idea work is difficult. As I said, some days I write 1,000 words and other days 250. Sometimes a whole chapter falls in place and I may exceed the 1,000 and finish a chapter in one day. Other times, getting the words to work is like pulling teeth without Novocaine. But I feel privileged to be able to write and have people read my books. I love it.

What do you like to read?
I read mysteries. Keep up on the competition! I am a firm believer that a writer must be a voracious reader. I learn something from every book I read. Sometimes it’s what doesn’t work, so I don’t make that mistake and other times I learn how to twist a phrase. There’s always a new technique out there.

What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you’d written yourself?
Any book by James Lee Burke! I think Heaven’s Prisoner was one of his best. I would like to have written that or someday have someone compare my work to Burke’s.

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?
Write everyday and read afterwards.

Where can people learn more about your books?
At my website: http://www.michaelhaskins.net and by checking Amazon.