Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Jeffrey Siger

Jeffrey Siger was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, practiced law at a major Wall Street law firm, and later established his own New York City law firm where he continued as one of its name partners until giving it all up to write full-time among the people, life, and politics of his beloved Mykonos. A Deadly Twist is the eleventh novel in Siger's internationally best-selling and award nominated Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis series.

My Q&A with the author:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

The title for book #11 in my Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis series is A Deadly Twist, and the story is filled with many unexpected deadly twists. But the interesting thing for me about this title is that it’s the first book in my mystery-thriller series that does not employ an alliterative title. With the exception of the trade paperback version of The Mykonos Mob (Book #10)–titled Island of Secrets–every Kaldis book uses an alliterative title naming the Greek locale where that story is set. With my books considered fast paced favorites of armchair travelers, I suppose it’s fair to say that, even in their alliterative form, my titles work well at drawing readers into the story. By the way, I happily agreed with my publisher’s decision to end that practice, as at times it seemed to take as long to come up with the title as write the book.

What's in a name?

My books are all based in Greece, and Greek names generally follow rather rigid traditions. For example, a first-born son is named after the father’s father, the second son after the mother’s father. Four sons having four more sons rather quickly floods the market with a lot of similar first and surnames. At times, I’ll use the names of friends for casual characters, but generally my goal is to keep the names simple, in order that the reader has no trouble keeping track. To that end, my primary characters all have simple names: Andreas, his wife Lila, his side-kick Yianni, his mentor Tassos, and his personal assistant/secretary Maggie. But I also often employ a different convention for some generally non-recurring characters (both villains and not) who play a crucial role in a particular story. Names such as Artist, Demon, Colonel, Teacher, Kharon, and Aryan, come to me as the plot unfolds and serve as the distinctive avatar for their character—in all senses of that word.

How surprised would your teenage reader self be by your novel?

Raised as I was where the confluence of two great rivers forms the mighty Ohio, my teenage bookshelf held multiple copies of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn—the literary gift of choice to Pittsburgh youth on virtually any occasion. But my teenage self would not be surprised at the deadly twist my writing has taken from what I read back then, because each night I’d fall asleep listening to the distant sound of trains rolling along down by the river, as my mind conjured up any manner of wild adventure tales.

Do you find it harder to write beginnings or endings? Which do you change more?

Both come relatively easily to me; it’s what’s in between that’s the tricky part. I’m a complete seat of the pants writer, meaning that when I sit down at the keyboard I rarely know where my writing is headed. When I start a new book, I let my fingers and thoughts run wild, and out of that exercise emerges a beginning that points me in a direction I do not yet consciously recognize. I don’t question why that is, but I do make sure to light plenty of candles of thanks to the writing gods. By the time the ending is due, my characters have figured it all out, and I’m just along to take dictation.

Do you see much of yourself in your characters? Do they have any connection to your personality, or are they a world apart?

Personally, I don’t see it, but people who know me well say that Andreas Kaldis’ style of solving problems, family values, sense of humor, and sense of justice, are mine. I think they’re just trying to stay on my good side.

What non-literary inspirations have influenced your writing?

I spent a career as a litigating lawyer learning how to marshal facts in support of a myriad of complex legal conclusions. Undoubtedly, that skill set comes into play in structuring my plots and character interactions.
Learn more about the book and author at Jeffrey Siger's website.

The Page 69 Test: Murder in Mykonos.

The Page 69 Test: Prey on Patmos.

The Page 69 Test: Target Tinos.

The Page 69 Test: Mykonos After Midnight.

The Page 69 Test: A Deadly Twist.

--Marshal Zeringue