Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Role of Storyteller

In my role as a fiction writer, I consider myself primarily a storyteller. I have listened to some great oral storytellers over the years who could keep you entranced as they spun a tale. I am not glib of tongue and rarely give more than the essential details when telling someone about an incident I've been involved in. But when seated at a keyboard, I do my best to create stories with depth that entertain readers. My intent is not to espouse opinions or champion particular causes, as do writers of what is popularly called literary fiction.

Having said that, I do occasionally find my characters discussing matters of a more philosophical nature. When I'm caught doing this, I usually go back and read the passage with a feeling that authors sometimes experience when reading a passage they haven't looked at in years: Did I write that?

I encountered one of these "aha" moments when reading a review of my first post Cold War political thriller, Beware the Jabberwock. The review was written by Lee Boyland for Military Writers Society of America. Here is the passage he mentioned (quoting from the book):

Ex-FBI Agent Burke Hill comments regarding his initial  reluctance to get involved in a counter-espionage operation:

"I got all hung up on legalities and ethicalities. I finally accepted Cam Quinn's version of reality, that you can't fight unconventional wars with conventional means. I guess the important thing is to be honest with yourself and not compromise on your search for justice."

The answer to his dilemma is given by CIA Director Marshall, who winds up with:

"To achieve justice, which, as you indicate, is our ultimate goal, we must introduce another concept called equity. If the outcome of the action is equitable, then justice has been served."

Although I make no effort to espouse a particular point of view, I'll have to admit that some of my characters reflect my own feelings. But others may express diametrically opposite sensibilities. As I indicated earlier, I try not to get too philosophical. I don't write with a message in mind. I write with a good story to tell.

I hope you enjoy them. I'll have a tenth to add to the list shortly. Stay turned.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

5th Greg McKenzie Mystery FREE Tomorrow

A Sporting Murder, the fifth novel in my Greg McKenzie mystery series, will be free to download for the Kindle tomorrow (April 8) through Wednesday. If you enjoy a good, rousing whodunit, this one is for  you. The plot revolves around a reported plan by local businessmen to bring a National Basketball Association team to Nashville. This greatly upsets a group of dedicated Nashville Predators' hockey fans who feel it could be the death knell for their sport.

When rumors of shady dealings involving the NBA plan surface, the group's lawyer hires PI's Greg and Jill McKenzie to investigate. A potential informant is promptly murdered. The book has several good reviews, but one I particularly like is that of veteran reviewer Sylvia Cochran, who wrote:

"Campbell knows how to spin a good yarn, and it shows. There are the murderous plot involving the NHL team and the engaging sub-plot of the man with a grudge. There is some back-story and some lovin'. Keeping all the balls in the air at all times, the parallel investigation makes for an exciting read, especially since there is never a shortage of action.

"The protagonists are a charming couple of seasoned professionals (not the bumbling `chick lit' characters that mystery writers of late seem to favor). They are also not the brooding private eyes with the haunting past, which make up pretty much the other half of the genre.

"Just like the plot, they are straight forward in a most refreshing way, which leaves the darker twists and turns to the plot without allowing the main characters to get in the way. The story is a welcome departure from recent genre pieces, which automatically turns A Sporting Murder into a must-read."

You'll find the book for the Kindle at its Amazon page. It will go free at midnight PDT.