R. Scott Wallis will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Author Interview: R. Scott Willis
1. How did you choose your genre? What made you write this book?
Given how many soapy dramas I watch on television, you’d think I’d be a romance writer or something similar, but I’ve always written suspense and thriller stories. I think I enjoy building the action slowly, incorporating lots of twists and turns, and making the reader second-guess themselves throughout the book. But at the same time, I love friendships, budding love affairs, and dialogue—my all-time favorite thing to write—so I absolutely have to incorporate those elements into everything I do, too. I started the Skyler Moore Thriller series because I’d never had a female main character before, and I thought it was beyond time. I also sketched out an idea where each book would take place in a different U.S. state, and instantly knew that the first book would be set in Maine, because I spent so much time there as a kid. The southern coast of Maine has a special place in my heart and when it’s 112º here in Las Vegas, Nevada in the summertime, man, I wish I was there enjoying endless lobster rolls and cool summer evenings on the porch.
2. Writers write what they know, and must observe the world. Are you a firstborn, middle or last child and how does this shape your view of the world?
I was the first of two. My sister is two years younger than me and we are very close and always have been. I honestly have never given the fact that I am the firstborn, or older, a second thought; I always saw my sister as my equal. We played well together, stuck up for each other, and ended up being very similar. We’re both writers—she’s worked for Martha Stewart for 20+ years—and I always go to her for advice both personally and professionally.
3. Where is your favorite place to write?
here at my desk in my home office. I’ve always had a dedicated home office
since graduating from college—usually a spare bedroom in my house—but now I
have what might be called the parlor at the front of the house. It’s across the
front hall from the living room and I have windows facing both east and west.
It’s quiet and away from the parts of the house with the most activity. I
typically write from 6:00 a.m. until 10-ish, seven days a week. I’m really only
good for four hours, then my brain starts drifting off to all the other things
I need to get done. But no matter where I am, I can’t sit facing a wall. My
desk is always in the middle of the room, facing out. And coffee is a
4. How do you feel about killing your darlings, and what do you do with the remains?
question gave me the chills and I have absolutely no idea what it means. I will
guess that you mean characters that I’ve come to know and love? Well, I never
hesitate to off someone if it’s good for the story, because I know that I can
always make another one to take his or her place. Isn’t that what Bill Cosby
always used to say? “I brought you into this world, I can take you out.”
5. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them?
I don’t have a favorite author. I like so many for so many different reasons that I could never pick one. That’s like asking a mother to pick her favorite kid! But, I’ll select Stuart Woods. He’s written a gazillion (beachy, airplane) books that I have enjoyed over the years—mostly his Stone Barrington series of 50+ books. What I like most about his writing is the dialogue and friendships; they seem real and genuine to me. His work might very well be the ultimate inspiration for my characters. And like Stone, my Skyler Moore isn’t a sleuth by trade, but gets into all kinds of jams along the way. I guess what I’d have to ask Stuart is, how did you possibly churn out so much material? Did you have help? Do you write eight hours a day, every day? And, how do you ignore the haters (because there are always haters, even for the most popular writers)?
6. Inquiring minds want to know…tell readers something about you that no one knows.
I once got fired by a billionaire because of a post I wrote on my personal blog that only four people read before I took it down. It wasn’t scandalous or reckless, but it pissed off the wrong person and the damage was done. I learned a valuable lesson that day, and it was also the best thing that has ever happened to me, because since that day, I have never worked for anyone else…only myself! I can no longer be fired.
7. You are stranded on a deserted island with only a backpack for company. What three items are in your survival pack?
Schweppes Club Soda, a credit card with no limit, and a satellite phone. I’m calling someone to come get me and I don’t care what it costs. I hate the beach, bugs, camping, water, and loneliness. So, I’m outta there!
8. If you could have one superpower in your existence, what would it be?
I’d love to be able to zip around from place to place in the blink of an eye. I love to travel. I love going back to the east coast to visit my friends and family there. But I detest the journey. Commercial air travel is the absolute pits these days and I have trouble sitting still for hours on end. Hell, I can’t even sit through a whole Broadway show, so a plane ride to Hawaii or Asia or something like that would literally kill me. I’m not kidding, I can’t do it. So, that’s what I’d pick. It worked for Samantha Stevens on “Bewitched,” it could work for me, too.
9. Favorite snack?
Ruffles Potato Chips dipped in French onion dip. The. Best.
10. Indy 500 – Do you know how to get where you’re going or do you drive the speed limit? I go 1,000,000 miles an hour. That’s how I write. I sit down and write the first draft as fast as I can without ever going back to read anything. Then, when I’m done, I’ll go back and pick up the pieces and fix things that may have fallen off on the track. It seems to work for me. And, no, I don’t always know where I’m going to end up when the race begins, but I usually figure it out somewhere about halfway through.
The Maine Nemesis
by R. Scott Wallis
independent, insatiably curious, and always up for an adventure, public
relations hotshot Skyler Moore is a hero for our time. She’s decidedly not a sleuth
by trade, but mayhem often comes knocking as she and her friends visit the
small towns and big cities of America.
In “The Maine Nemesis,” Skyler decides to spend the summer at her seaside cottage in Wabanaki, Maine, with her best friend—celebrity chef Brenda Braxton—and they have no idea that murder will be on the menu. But women are turning up dead in the once sleepy village where nothing ever happens. With the residents up in arms and the rinky-dink police force overwhelmed, Skyler and her friends feel compelled to lend a hand to save the town they love so much. The backdrop is classic New England Americana: lobster rolls, the whole town out for the Fourth of July, and summer evenings cooled by the ocean breeze. That…and an occasional murder, a kidnapping, and a few dangerous liaisons.
Skyler’s mile-a-minute adventure will keep you turning the pages to see what comes next for her and her Down East ‘friends.’
There were only a handful of orangeries in the United States and Lois Millhouse had one in her side yard. The tall metal and glass structure was an architectural marvel—fashioned after the original 17th-century orangery on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles in France, albeit much smaller—and had been featured in several magazine and newspaper articles over the years. Most recently, House Beautiful did a cover shoot on the property.
Inside, orange trees flourished year-round at one end and flowering plants such as Tropical Anthurium, various varieties of roses, African Violets, and scores of orchids were extremely well maintained on the other. Lois employed three part-time employees to tend to ‘her babies’ and she toiled in the greenhouse herself most mornings after she ate breakfast and had carefully read every page of the Wall Street Journal. She had a thing for financial news and plants, in that order.
And, of course, for making Wabanaki everything it should have become decades earlier.
On Tuesday morning, she was on her hands and knees cleaning up a broken pot and spilled soil when she heard someone approaching. She turned her head to see Skyler holding a pie plate and smiling widely.
“I hope I didn’t startle you,” Skyler said. “I was knocking, but I don’t think anyone heard me.”
“I don’t startle too easily, Skyler,” Lois said, getting to her feet. “How are you, dear?”
“I’m fine. I brought you a pie. It’s apple. Not blueberry.”
Lois chuckled. “You are very sweet. And, yes, I do not eat blueberries anymore. I appreciate them, mind you.” She waved her arms around like a flight attendant pointing out emergency exits. “I wouldn’t have all this without those little blueberries, now would I?”
“I have a feeling that you’d be successful no matter what.”
“You didn’t come over here just to give me a pie, now did you?”
“You’ve seen right through me.”
Lois pulled off her gloves and set them on the potting bench. “You’re working with my grandson to keep the Chowder House from sinking in bad press.”
“Thank you for that. And Wabanaki thanks you.”
“Well, Madam Mayor, I too have dedicated my life to this town.”
“I know that very well,” Lois said. “Let’s go get some coffee. There’s always a fresh pot in the kitchen.”
Skyler followed the old woman through a side door, down a covered breezeway, and up a few steps into the main house. They were in the cavernous kitchen and sitting at the built-in banquette sipping coffee out of enormous mugs when a young woman appeared out of nowhere and set a plate of muffins in the center of the table. She was gone as quickly as she appeared.
“Who was that?”
“Midge,” Lois said softly. “She’s new. And like a ghost. I hardly hear her moving about the house but she manages to clean and bake and sort the mail and she changes my bed sheets every day like at a first class hotel. I’m paying her next to nothing. It makes me feel bad. But I enjoy the help.”
“Maybe she deserves a raise,” Skyler said, biting into a muffin. “These are amazing. And still warm.”
“I will be sure to compensate her appropriately. So, what is on your mind?”
“Brenda and I were talking yesterday and she told me that she had a drink with an old mutual friend of ours, a man named Augie Alameda.” Skyler stopped and inspected the woman’s face for some kind of recognition.
“And?” Lois asked evenly.
“Well, to be very blunt, we wondered if perhaps you hired him.”
“Hired him to do what?”
“Seriously? Do you not know him?”
“It’s really none of your business, frankly.”
Skyler blushed. “It’s sort of my business. I mean, that’s my business. I’m a public relations professional. It’s what I do. And it’s what I’m doing for Tanner and the Chowder House. We all want to see Wabanaki overcome this slump, don’t we? Especially the mayor?”
“My dear,” Lois began sweetly, “I want nothing more than for this town to flourish. Just like my plants out there. But I did not hire this Mr. Alameda to do anything and I have no idea what he does anyway. How could he possibly help?”
“You said it was none of my business, like there was something there.”
“Because I meant that, not because I actually have something to hide from you. I don’t think I like you coming in here and interrogating me, that’s all. You’re a P.R. professional, not a detective on the Wabanaki police force.
“I see. And I am sorry if I upset you.”
“I’m not upset. But I will bite. Who is Augie Alameda?”
Skyler gave the woman a rundown of Augie’s credentials and history. “And he got Brenda her start.”
“But you don’t like him?” Lois asked.
“I don’t, but that’s because we worked together a few times and we’re both pretty much independent contractors. We’re both solo practitioners, if you will. We butted heads and it wasn’t pretty.”
“But he can get the job done?”
“Oh yes. He can. And he most certainly will. Which is why the Chowder House and the Lobster Shanty and the Sea Captain’s Inn and all the businesses in town need to be prepared. Combined with the Boston Globe piece that’s coming, we could get quite busy.”
“I’m thrilled, Skyler,” Lois said, standing, indicating that the visit was over, “I really am. But it wasn’t me.”
They exchanged pleasantries and Skyler was shown the door. It didn’t actually slam shut behind her, but it felt that way.
Skyler was more suspicious than ever and wondered if the Mayor was lying to her…or if someone else was behind Augie’s coming to town.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
R. Scott Wallis is endlessly inspired by his surroundings and adventures. And he thrives on new chapters and creating unique projects to keep himself out of trouble. Scott started his working life as an advance person and assistant to a sitting United States Vice President. Later, he served as the creative director for a leading Washington think tank. That led to working directly for one of the richest men on Earth, conceiving and executing exclusive events for his billionaire friends. Tired of working for the man, Scott became a top-rated pop-culture podcaster and celebrity interviewer, while also dabbling in both the worlds of clothing manufacturing (creating his own baby clothes brand that was sold in over 300 stores nationwide) and retail sales, with his own well-received men’s clothing store.
Always willing to lend a hand or donate what he can, he’s an enthusiastic philanthropist, championing causes such as childhood bullying, animal adoption, and feeding the less fortunate. A wide-eyed world traveler, Scott has been to four continents, mostly by sea. While he loves exploring Europe and the Caribbean islands, it’s the vast United States that he likes best. He’s been to Alaska four times, Hawaii twice, and can’t wait to explore the eight states he hasn’t been to yet. Technically a Connecticut Yankee, Scott grew up in historic Williamsburg, Virginia, and lived for 25 years in the Washington, D.C. area, before recently discovering that the American West is where he is most at home. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Learn more at www.rscottwallis.com
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