Saturday, September 5, 2015

Interview: GERALD W. DARNELL Author of the Carson Reno and Jack Sloan Series

Today it is my pleasure to have Gerald Darnell as my interview guest:

Welcome Gerald! After reading MURDER IN HUMBOLDT, I have a few questions for you ...

How long have you been writing? 

Since college. Early in my working career I wrote for several outdoor magazines and some local newspapers, then I walked away from writing to go earn a real living! However, I kept notes of my life events and a few years before retirement put them together for my non-fiction book ‘Don’t Wake Me Until It’s Time To Go’. I didn’t realize the size of my task – I had 23 years’ worth of notes!

What inspired you to write the Carson Reno mystery series? What inspires you to continue the series? 

A close friend suggested a murder mystery centered in our hometown, Humboldt, TN. I began to create characters, and with the inspiration of several other friends wrote my first fiction book ‘Murder in Humboldt’. 12 novels later I still find pleasure in writing what I call ‘Fiction for Fun’. I use real places, create semi-real characters, place them in a time in our history that I’m familiar with, and tell a story that didn’t happen…..but could have. The time frame for all Carson Reno Mystery Series novels is the early 1960’s – an interesting and troubled time for America. Fans who know me personally get a kick out of trying to put real names to my characters… sometimes they get them right – most of the time they don’t. All Carson Reno Mystery Series books are PG rated and can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. As other writers will tell you, that’s not easy when trying to be realistic with bad guys, murder and the Mafia of the 1960’s.

How long does it take you to write each book in the series? Is it easier with the latest ones than the early ones? 

Average is about 6-8 months and I actually think it gets harder and not easier. I certainly spend more time on each new novel than I did on the previous one. I like to think my writing and style improves with each book, and I know my story telling has grown during the process.

How did you choose the location for the series? 

Carson Reno’s office is located in the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, and all stories begin there. Early in my working career I lived in Memphis and actually had an office in the Peabody. So, many of the stories about the hotel you find in the novel are real – especially the ones about the ducks.
Location really is Memphis, West Tennessee and the Southeastern United States as it existed during the early 1960’s.

Which book in the series is your favorite? 
‘the Illegals’ is my favorite, not sure why. I’m just proud of the story and sometimes still listen to the audio book when I travel.

Who designed the book covers? 

I do my own covers.

If you were in charge of casting, who would play the part of Carson Reno? 

I can’t think of any living actor, but you couldn’t go wrong with Humphrey Bogart.

What are your favorite things to do besides writing? 

Hunting, fishing and playing golf

Who is your favorite author and why? 

I have two – James Patterson and John Grisham. There styles are polar opposite and I find myself trying to put them both together when I write – short compact bursts (Patterson) and long drawn out dramatic events (Grisham). I also enjoy their story lines – Grisham is sometimes predictable, but Patterson never is.

Anything else my readers might want to know about you?

During my 30+ years working career I traveled constantly – flying somewhere on Monday and (if lucky) returning on Friday. While traveling I read books – novels mostly. I’d estimate I’ve read over 2000 books and still have most of them. And, I always read the book BEFORE the movie and never afterwards.

However, during travel I would use my boarding pass as a bookmark. Today I can open an old book and several of those boarding passes will greet me, still stuck between the pages. While I would always remember the book, I might not remember when I read it; but, the dated airline boarding pass certainly gives me a good idea!


There are 13 books in the Carson Reno Mystery Series. All are offered in paperback and ebook formats. Some are offered in hardcover and 6 are offered as an Audio book.

The first 3 books in the series are also offered as a single ebook called ‘Carson Reno Mystery Series – the beginning’.

The second 3 books in the series are also offered as a single ebook called ‘Carson Reno Mystery Series – the early years’.

I have just one book in my Jack Sloan Series – ‘Concrete Jungle’. It is offered in paperback and ebook format. An audio version is currently in production.

Thank you for stopping by today Gerald! I enjoyed MURDER IN HUMBOLDT and hope to read more of the series, as well as the Jack Sloan series.

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