Karyne Corum interviewed Chris Grabenstein at The Raven Croaks. The start of their dialogue:
Why do you write mysteries? What in specific draws you to it?Chris Grabenstein's latest book is Mind Scrambler, the 5th John Ceepak mystery.
Chris: Well, I think I like the puzzle solving aspect of mysteries. As a writer, you are forced to tell a story with a beginning, middle, and an end. Also, mysteries are what I loved to read on the train ride from Metuchen to NYC. It's the one genre where the reader can be an active participant. I think mysteries have the same appeal that Crossword Puzzles do.
When did you begin the process of writing your first book? What did you find the most challenging?
Chris: I started writing my first book about a year after I left advertising. I had assumed I would write screenplays, since the commercials I had been doing for 17 years were mini-movies. But, I was WAY too old -- you have to be 24 to be a screenwriter. And, I lived on the wrong side of the country. Then I read Stephen King's little book ON WRITING and it convinced me that I may be able to write a...gasp...novel. All those words! Remember, a thirty second commercial has a maximum of 70 words. Books have thousands. Usually around 80 thousand, in my case. The most challenging part was....[read on]
Grabenstein won the Anthony Award for "Best First Mystery" (given at Bouchercon 2006) for his debut novel Tilt A Whirl—the first in a series of John Ceepak stories to be set "Down The Shore" in a New Jersey tourist town called Sea Haven. It was followed by Mad Mouse, Whack A Mole, and Hell Hole.
The Page 99 Test: Mind Scrambler.