What is To Beat the Devil about?
Mick Murphy’s search to find Russian gangster Alexei, the man responsible for the murder of his fiancé, the sinking of his boat and almost taking his life. The book has two parts. It opens in part one, in Murphy friend’s voice – Norm, the black ops guy in Murphy’s life from book one.
While chasing down leads to Alexei’s whereabouts, Murphy and his friends get hold of Alexei’s journal and it leads them back to Key West, where the journal indicates a terrorist attack is about to take place.
What inspired you to write the book?
I became inspired to write the book after talking repeatedly with my military intelligence source about safety in the USA. I discovered, with other sources to verify, that cruise ships are not really protected on international waters or in local ports. What little protection offered in the port of Key West could not stop a plane attack on a docked cruise ship, any more than the TSA security at the airports stops terrorists. They do, I believe, give passengers a sense of security and that is its main purpose.
Who is your most unusual character?
I think that would have to be Padre Thomas, a Jesuit who sees and talks to angels. Not all the characters believe him, especially Norm and Bob, but Mick does because in past books the padre’s foresight of things has saved Mick.
How much of a story do you have in mind before writing your book?
Most of my books start when I have a beginning, middle and end. How I get to those last two locations is always surprising and often the characters take over and what I thought was going to be the middle or end changes. The changes the characters bring to my story are usually better than what I had in mind.
Did you do any research?
Research is an interesting subject in fiction. I believe the reader today knows a lot, some true some untrue if it’s taken from CSI shows on TV. But if one reader is disappointed in your facts, you’ve lost a reader for good. I have a military intel officer I run my ideas through, as well as weapons. Since most of my story is set in Key West, I do personal surveillance at local bars and restaurants, to get the facts straight!
Has your background influenced your writing?
My background as a journalist helped me do research as well as look for details. I gave many of these traits to Mick Murphy, so I a way I know him better because we share the same background.
Do you prefer to write at a particular time of day?
I like to write in the mornings, but to finish To Beat the Devil, I began setting time aside in the afternoons and that often went on into the knight. Now that I realize I can write most anytime, I might be able to finish the next book in less than a year!
What is a one sentence synopsis of your current work?
Art forgery takes Murphy to L.A., N.J. and Ireland to discover why his cousin, IRA fugitive Cecil Fahey was the front man for the sale to a Miami drug lord.
What do you like to read?
I am a believer that writers must read almost as many hours as they writer and, of course, you must read the genre you write to see what the competition is doing.
Do you have a saying or motto for your life or your writing?
I have a number of sayings hanging in my home office, but I think Einstein sums it up:
“Imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited while imagination embraces the entire world.”
Where can people learn more about your books?
I have sample chapters of all my books on my website – http://www.michaelhaskins.net – and of course you can read chapters on Amazon and buy the books and eBooks on Amazon.