Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Publisher: Pen-L Publishing
Number of pages: 239
Word Count: 60,000
Cover Artist: Kelsey Rice
Book Trailer: None
Detective “Frankie” Ryan tracks a sadistic killer while the press attacks her as a feminist vigilante who takes the law into her own hands. The only one who can help her is a tabloid reporter who can’t decide if he’s a psychic who sees ghosts or is just going insane.
As they search for the killer in a sunny seacoast city’s seamy S&M underside, they begin to question everything they know about sexual identity. How can they find the killer before he strikes again when he defies any description?
Silent Partner is a paranormal mystery, a police procedure novel with a female detective that will remind you of Harry Bosch, a ghost story that suggests what lies beyond death, and a comic look at a tabloid where the “truth” is whatever sells.
Frankie glared at Landry. His neck turned red, but he didn’t say anything. “How could I live without her? I was addicted to her. Once you had her in your system, you never wanted her to leave. When I was away from her, I thought of her constantly. It wasn’t just the sex. She was the smartest, wittiest woman I’ve ever known. She was the most interesting and exciting woman I’ve ever met. She was also the most manipulative woman I’ve ever met. I hated myself for not throwing her out, but I just couldn’t. Love is a horrible thing, and not the wonderful things
“Did she leave a note?” Frankie was trying to develop a timeline.
“I came home around five-thirty, and she didn’t leave a note. I never believed her notes anyway. You have to understand something about Lorna. She never admitted she was wrong about anything, and she never apologized. She could convince herself in a minute that anything she said was true. Lorna once left me a note that she was going shopping with a girl friend. That friend called later and didn’t know anything about the shopping. I told my wife I knew she lied to me, and she became furious that I didn’t believe her. I’m sure she totally believed that she was right and I was wrong. I think the shrinks call someone like that a sociopath.” “We’ll need your statement. Does your wife have any enemies?”
Marco looked up. His eyes glistened from his tears. “It’s probably a long list. As I told you, Detective, she didn’t play by the same rules as everyone else.”
“Let’s start with the names of people you know had reason to dislike her,” Frankie said.
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I always wanted to write books, but I never thought I could be a professional writer. I’ve had multiple careers –an amazing range that includes college professor, software trainer, sales manager, futurist, computer store manager, telecom/network manager, etc. I even went to medical school where I imagined myself eventually becoming the new Dr. Spock and writing the definitive book on caring for kids. Still, I always managed to write on the side while working at my regular job. It’s only in the last few years that I’ve had the time and resources to devote myself 100% to writing fiction.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
I guess the publication of my first book, a book about the novelist Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., made me realize I was a writer. I really got a thrill when I picked up the book and saw my name on it. Since then, I’ve been publishing books almost every year. I’m up to around 35 books now if you count both the non-fiction and the fiction.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
Actually the first publisher I approached for the Vonnegut book accepted it. Since then I’ve learned just how it is to find a publisher for fiction. If you don’t have a million followers on Instagram or a million Friends on Facebook, publishers are leery of any unknown novelist. I’ve found that small publishers are much more willing to give new writers a chance based on the merit of their work. That’s certainly the case for Silent Partner (Pen-L Publishing) and Egypt Rising (Eternal Press). It took me several months to finally find Pen-L’s website and submit my manuscript.
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
Until recently I had the most incredible job in the world from my point of view. I was a very specialized analyst that assumed the role of being a futurist for market research firms. In other words, my job at several such firms over a number of years was to forecast the future for different kinds of technology. I would talk to everyone in a specific industry, read everything I could, and then just plain think about where I thought the industry was headed. I would write my reports for major technology companies and stock brokerage firms. Often I’d be quoted by media such as the Wall Street Journal or BusinessWeek. I even got to appear on cable TV to discuss the future of wireless technology. I used my knowledge of green technology, for example, to co-author a book on how to find jobs in the growing green industries (Paint Your Career Green). I even self published a book this year on 3-D Printers that forecast the future of that really exciting technology.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Silent Partner is a paranormal mystery that examines gender identity as well as what lies beyond death.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
I published Silent Partner with Pen-L Publishing, and they did a great job. I thought having the page numbers enclosed in little handcuffs was a great touch as was the cover that looks like a tabloid newspaper on a detective’s desk. I have self-published a number of books, so it depends on the book and its market as to whether there’s a match with a specific publisher.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
It’s not the writing that takes time; it’s the rewriting and editing and then editing several more times. I tend to write quickly and can write a first draft in three months or so. I generally work on a couple of books at a time, so I go from one to the other to stay fresh.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I jump from genre to genre. Let me answer in more detail so you see what I mean. I already have written a paranormal sequel to Silent Partner—same genre. I also have just completed a sequel to Journey to a Different Dimension, an Amazon best selling children’s novel set in the world of the Minecraft game. I’ve written my part of a YA mystery I’m writing with my granddaughter. The book is called Jane Blond, International Spy, and it has attitude! Finally, I’m a third finished with a science fiction novel I’m writing about a love affair between an ex-SEAL and an extraterrestrial scientist who is far more than she appears.
What genre would you place your books into?
Lately I’ve been writing mysteries, even paranormal police procedure mysteries, but there’s also a thriller angle to them. Let’s call Silent Partner and its sequel paranormal mysteries. My Minecraft novels would be classified as a juvenile adventure. My upcoming book about Jane Blond probably would fall into middle grade adventure or mystery.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I think a writer starts with a basic situation and one or more characters. The direction the book takes determines the genre. Faulkner once said that he visualized a girl sitting up in a tree and looking into a room. He began asking himself questions about the girl and then the novel just happened. In Faulkner’s case, it became a literary novel. If I start with a detective, it’s likely to be a mystery. If I start with a SEAL who stumbles on a beautiful extraterrestrial female being attacked, then its science fiction. If I suddenly begin writing about a beautiful sexy spirit, then it’s a paranormal mystery.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
I’m kind of partial to Olivia in Egypt Rising and to Andy in Silent Partner. Both characters kind of grabbed me and came to life (or in the case of Andy, materialized).
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I wrote my first hand-written novel when I was around twelve. I couldn’t find a science fiction book I liked at the local school library, so I sat down and started writing my own. I think I generated around a hundred pages. I always wanted to write and have an entire shelf of my own books. I was a huge reader as a child as was my mother. I’ve been writing ever since. I think I’m up to around 35 books now if you count all the non-fiction.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I can write anywhere, but I do have a favorite chair and spot (my desk). I don’t like having music playing, but surprisingly I can write well with talk in the background. I think I developed that trait from tuning out my mother while I was growing up.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I read the reviews. Now that I’m over a hundred for one of my books, I don’t read those partiular reviews anymore because I think the book is now established enough so that a bad review won’t make a difference. It’s hard to read negative reviews, but I do read them.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I definitely write the book first and then grapple with the title. I LOVE Silent Partner as a title because it has a double meaning. The person referred to is a partner no one else knows about. She also is silent because she’s dead and only the psychic reporter can hear and see her.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
I’ve answered part of this question below. I try to avoid duplicating character names in a book to avoid confusion. In other words, I won’t give a detective and a CSI analyst the same first name. Names have to sound right to me. “Josh” strikes me as a straight-forward, honest person who is friendly. I don’t know why, but it does. “Frankie” for Francis seems to fit my detective. She is sometimes brutally frank, but the name is also boyish. Since she works in a heavily male world, “Frankie” seems to play much better than if I named her Francine.
Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
It’s funny that you ask that. I wanted to set Silent Partner in San Diego, but I discovered there could be some issues associated with having Frankie work for a real police department. I opted to create a brand new city in which to set the story. As far as character names go, there are certain names you like and certain names you just dislike because you associate them with people you don’t like. My wife taught elementary school. When it came to naming our son, we had to eliminate some names because she associated them with some students who didn’t behave. Similarly, I’ve had to eliminate some names because we have friends with those names and I didn’t want them to think I was writing about them. Sometimes your name becomes your destiny. You don’t want a hero growing up with a feminine name or a classical Greek name that causes kids to pick on him. That would warp his psychological development and make him difficult to describe as a hero. Similarly, some names convey a certain socio-economic status. I can’t imagine a Tiffany living in an abandoned car. I can’t imagine a boy today named Stanley or a girl names Birtha.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I’ve tried building characters a number of different ways. I can’t force myself to be as mechanical as some writing experts urge --- writing complete biographies of each character that cover many pages. On the other hand, I haven’t had good luck with just writing because that way the characters are not consistent. I find for me the best course of action is to write brief descriptions of the characters’ backgrounds. I fill them in more fully as I write.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
I suppose there are morals contained within my book. Usually writers let their readers dig them up. I once taught college English, and I know students sometimes come to class to find out what a story means. I don’t think my themes are not that hidden. “Trust your Gut” is not that different from a message you might hear in Star Wars. “Gender is destiny” is a theme I think worth discussing in terms of Silent Partner’s plot. “Life is not the end” is another theme worth discussing.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
That’s an interesting question. My son just published a non-fiction hardcover book that retails for $60. I think the days of hardbacks are just about over because publishing costs have made their retail prices prohibitive. I love paperbacks because I’m still old-fashioned enough to life the feel of the book as well as the thrill of picking one up and seeing my name on the cover. I publish all my books as ebooks, because a generation is growing up thinking that ebooks are the only way to read material. I’d like to see some compromise between Hachette and Amazon. I don’t like the idea of charging readers $13.95 for a product that costs pennies to produce. On the other hand, I don’t like the idea of pushing the price down to .99 cents to the point that publishers and authors both fail to make enough money to survive. I don’t necessarily buy Amazon’s point that people take the savings from a low-priced ebook and then buy a second ebook. I think they tend to buy other non-book products on Amazon so that it wins and authors and publishers lose. Let’s shoot for a fair price point where readers, publishers, and even Amazon can do well.
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
I re-read Dune every year. The idea of being able to create an entirely new universe with a complete history as well as the eco-systems of several different planets and then make everything so logical simply amazes me. Frank Herbert never captured that magic again, but he certainly had it for that one novel.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
That’s an interesting question. I think Gone with the Wind transferred amazingly well. I finally got around to reading the novel and was amazed just how well the movie captured everything. I think, and Michael Connelly agrees, that The Lincoln Lawyer was a great film adaptation. There are lots of terrible film adaptations. Dune is an example of one of my all-time favorite novels that didn’t work as a movie. The latest version of The Great Gatsby also doesn’t work very well for me. I would love to see Silent Partner as a film because I imagined the book in scenes that I think would translate to film very well.
Your favorite food is?
I hope my wife has her hands over her ears right now. I love a good well cooked steak. Unfortunately, now I limit just how many times I enjoy it.
Your favorite color is?
I find myself buying a lot of blue shirts and ties (when I still bought ties).
Your favorite Author is?
I read certain authors over and over again. I’ve read everything Michael Connelly has written and also enjoy Faye and Jonathan Kellerman. I liked Connelly so much that I sat down and read all his novels, short stories and even the articles he wrote for newspapers. I then published a reader’s guide to his novels so others could enjoy his work as well.
Stan Schatt grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and now resides in Carlsbad, California. He has written thirty-five books on a wide variety of subjects ranging from fiction to technology. He is co-author of Journey to a Different Dimension, an Amazon bestseller. He also authored Egypt Rising, a YA novel focusing on a teen’s experience in Egypt at the time of the Egyptian revolution of 2011. This novel contains paranormal elements including a secret buried under the Sphinx. The paranormal mystery Silent Partner is Schatt’s latest novel.
He has led several careers including futurist and executive for many of the world’s leading technology market research firms, police department administrator, autopsy assistant, software trainer, Telecommunications Department Chairman, and English professor. He taught at Tokyo University as a Fulbright exchange professor. His non-fiction includes books on such diverse topics as strategies for changing careers for a green industry job, studies of Michael Connelly and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., network and data communications technology, telecommunications, computer programming.