In the Spotlight feature kicked off in April 2015 and is an opportunity for authors, editors and publishers (basically anyone in the book industry (yes, even bloggers!)) to connect with fans. There is an option to do an interview, guest post, feature a book sale or book release or a cover reveal.
Now on with the show!
In the Spotlight with Cliff Protzman
Welcome to Second Run Reviews, Cliff! Thank you for being In the Spotlight. I appreciate you stopping by and answering a few questions. So let’s get things started.
In a tweet (140 characters or less), tell us a bit about yourself.
After a long career in banking and finance, Cliff Protzman rekindled his passion for writing acquired as a reporter for his school newspaper
Please tell a bit about your journey to becoming a published author.
My career in banking and finance required writing numerous reports and analyses, factual with creativity discouraged. I had numerous false starts of a novel, putting pen to paper briefly, moving on to other demands in my life.
Six years ago, my brother passed away. He had some modest success with screenplays and graphic novels. At the funeral, my daughter, a newspaper editor, made the comment, “I know how to write, but I have no stories to tell.”
I commented, “I have stories to tell.”
At that moment, I knew it was time to do what I had subconsciously wanted, to write a novel.
What are the best things about your journey and the worst?
The best thing for me was reading the first independent review, a five star review. They noted this is a remarkable book for a first-time author. It was validation of the painstaking efforts of writing the story. Along the way I met many writers who shared their insights and offered their support.
The most difficult (not necessarily the worst) was the crash course on selling a book. The many facets of working with booksellers was foreign territory.
Tell us a bit about your latest release. What inspired you to write it? Why should fans of Second Run Reviews consider reading it.
Dead Air is a murder mystery. Beck’s friend is murdered while on the air and he is embroiled in the investigation to find the killer. The trail leads him to the financial and political powers of his beloved Pittsburgh.
I wanted to write from the perspective of a mid-life male confronted by his crumbling personal life. He must face the dark secrets of the past to find the murderer.
Dead Air is a story of one man’s journey to find the truth amidst betrayal, sex, lies and murder. The characters are intriguing and realistic. The reader can feel themselves involved in the story.
What types of books do you enjoy reading the most? What three books to you find yourself recommending to your fans over and over?
I lean toward murder mysteries. Although, all stories are mysteries. Will starcrossed lovers live happily ever after or not? Will the Empire survive or be conquered? Will the hero hit the game-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth or strikeout? All are unknown to the reader. The reader is induced to finish the book to find the answer.
Other than my own, I love the following:
Ask Not, Max Allen Collins
Murder At Fenway Park, Troy Soos
To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
What is your current obsession? Any secret obsessions you would like to share?
Other than writing, that obsession would be baseball. My first Christmas present was a ball and a glove. I have never been too far away from either in the past sixty years. I like to write with the sound of the radio broadcasting a ball game in the background. A game is like a suspense plot. With each pitch the tension builds until in one second there is the crack of the bat and all players are in action trying to reach a successful outcome.
What is one question you wish I would have asked, that I haven’t? And please answer it!
What did you experience as a writer that surprised you?
Writing Dead Air was an evolutionary experience. I started with a murder victim, a PI, and a killer. I found myself blocked after just a few chapters. I was trying to lead Beck to find MY killer. After struggling, I rewrote the story. This time I let Beck lead me to the murderer. My planned killer was actually innocent, creating a more intriguing story.
Any last thoughts or wise words you want to pass along?
I attended a mystery writing conference as I started working in Dead Air. The instructor’s first words were unforgettable.
Writing a murder mystery is not that hard. Make your first sentence the best you’ve ever written. Every sentence after that has to be better.
He was right!
Thank you for being In the Spotlight, Cliff. Good luck with Dead Air and all your future writing projects.
Synopsis: Dead Air signals trouble at the radio station. Glenn Beckert discovers his high school best friend is shot in the head while on the air. Beck, the owner of Blue Water Security, is employed to provide security for the station.
He becomes willingly embroiled in the investigation by the not-so-innocent widow. The list of potential suspects is long, gleaned from the numerous extramarital affairs of the victim and widow. The pending sale of the radio station has created friction between his now dead friend, Richie Zito and the major stockholders. Motives for murder becomes increasingly murky after the search reveals an encrypted file on Zito’s laptop.
Beck enlists the help of an old flame, Irene Schade, to break the code, revealing a money laundering network leading to the financial and political powers of his beloved city of Pittsburgh. Their collaboration ignites the flames of passion each had considered extinguished.
A former college teammate, police Lieutenant Paglironi delivers a message to back off. Arrogantly, he ignores his friend’s advice. The threats from less friendly sources are more ominous, forcing Beck to move in an unfamiliar world. A startling revelation from his client forces Beck to deal with his inner conviction of right and wrong, challenging the gray areas of his ethical principles. Betraying his client’s confidence could expose the killer. The alternative is to confront the suspect and take matters into his own hands. Either way his life is in jeopardy.