iUniverse author Bill Noel is a finalist in the INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards for his book, Final Cut: A Folly Beach Mystery. Here, Bill discusses his Folly Beach Mystery series and what has influenced his writing.
Please briefly describe your book . . .
Since publishing Final Cut, I’ve also published a new novel, First Light, which is the ninth book in the light, humorous Folly Beach Mystery series. The debut book, Folly, was published in 2007, and has been followed by one installment each year since then. The series is set on—yes, you guessed it—Folly Beach, a small barrier island within the shadows of historic Charleston, South Carolina. Chris Landrum, the main character, retired to Folly after spending many boring years working in the human resources department of a large Midwestern health-care company. He had dreamed about retirement for years, but never expected his dreams to become nightmares. Throughout the series, he, and his cadre of off-center, quirky friends, have managed to solve several murders that have stumped the police.
In Final Cut, a movie production company comes to Chris’s beloved Folly Beach and the community’s excitement about having movie stars invading their island quickly turns to fear as bodies begin piling up. Chris and his pals learn that nothing is what it appears to be in the magical world of the movies.
Do you have any particular literary influences?
The mystery genre has long been a staple on my bookshelf, particularly books infused with doses of humor. I’ve also been a professional photographer for many years and as strange as it may seem, much I have learned through that visual art form helped me with my writing. The need to communicate a lot of valuable information in a short span; the importance of focus while not losing sight of the entire picture; for the photographer to create an image that is believable; and that no one else sees what you see through the viewfinder are all true in crafting fiction. Most importantly, at least to me, is the reality that not everyone will like my work, be it a novel or a photograph. And, that that’s okay.
What inspired you to write the Folly Beach Mystery series?
I spent my entire professional career as a college and university administrator, so I had written reams full of non-fiction over the years, but Folly was my first venture into the world of fiction. My wife and I vacationed for the first time on Folly Beach ten years ago. I fell in love with the character and characters of the small, bohemian island. In fact, while the characters are fictional, most of the locations in the books are real.
The first draft of each books takes me approximately two months to write; my rewriting and self-edits eat up roughly eight more months, so I’ve able to maintain the one book a year schedule.
iUniverse will be back shortly with Part 2 of Bill’s highly enjoyable blog!