Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rip-Off by Mar Preston --and --

Interview with Mar Preston author of Rip-Off a murder mystery
1.      Tell us about Mar Preston is this your first book, and what do you do when you are not writing?

No Dice was my first book, introducing Detective Dave Mason of the Santa Monica Police Department and his community activist girlfriend Ginger McNair. The plot centers on a casino consortium’s attempt to build a high-rise casino in Santa Monica, much against the community’s desire. It’s a rip-snorting tale of big money, big development.

When I’m not writing, or procrastinating, I work with the SPCA writing grants, and fostering litters of feral kittens and their mamas.  I walk in the forest with my dog Lily, although it’s so hot now neither of us enjoys it much. I watch out for rattlesnakes too.

2.      What is or was your goal when you wrote Rip-Off?  Did you have an agenda, some wrong you wanted to right?

I hope not. I wanted to tell a good story about some memorable characters and a situation that draws Mason into the vortex of organized crime playing out in an upscale Los Angeles Beach City. Detective Mason of the Santa Monica Police Department is very real to me, as is Ginger. I wanted to take their lives further than I had done in No Dice and write about what happened next to them.

3.      If someone asked you, what is the moral of your story, how would you respond?

Oh, boy. Billie, you sure ask hard questions. The moral?  I don’t know that there is one. How would you answer that? 
I'd for sure say, Crime does not pay. Or if you can't do the time don't do the crime.

4.      Rip-Off reads like you've been part of a police department—are/were you? Or is there a police officer/detective in your family?

Not at all. I’m a diligent researcher and genuinely interested in the Santa Monica Police Department.  They’ve been very receptive to my questions. Plus I love the city and want to share all the quirkiness of Santa Monica with readers.

5.      When you create characters do you base them on real people?

All the bad guys come from my imagination and research. I wish I knew a master burglar I could interview or a Chechen organized crime boss.  Ginger comes from me and my community activist crusades, I must admit.  Detective Mason is a composite character of all the great cops I’ve known.

6.      Everyone likes to peek into the mind of an author and find out Where Do You Get Your ideas from—can you tell us where yours come from?

I guess the newspapers in the case of Rip-Off. No Dice came from personal experience being up close and dirty in Santa Monica municipal wars. My third one, Payback, that I’m preparing for printing now comes from sticking my nose in local politics up here in the mountain village where I live in Southern California.

7.      Do you use contemporary political climate in your novels?  Are you afraid it will date your series or that it will become old news of sorts?

Yes, I use what’s going on now, and it will probably become old news.  That’s probably true in the law enforcement technology I write about as well. But crime in all its various expressions remains current. No chance of police departments being closed down for lack of work.

8.      What's next for Mar Preston?

I’m working with my editor, Jodie Renner, on a fourth novel, untitled as yet. I wanted to write about what happens next with Mason and Ginger. I really like rewriting and seeing the work get better and better. Working with an editor is frustrating fun. You finally have a collaborator after living with this manuscript for years.

9.      Where can we find out more about you and your books?

Please Google me, or look at my website at

10.  Do you have a readers guide for book clubs and are you available in person or via Skype or chat room or some other venue for your readers?

No, because I never thought of doing that until now when you suggest it. I’ll get to work on it.  I’d love to talk to book clubs.  Imagine people being that interested in me! 

Come back tomorrow for a review of Rip Off 


Suzanne Lieurance said...

Hey, Billie,

Interesting interview. I always enjoy finding out how other writers work - particularly when it comes to research. Plus, I always enjoy reading stories about beach communities (a beach community is the setting for a story I'm currently working on, in fact), so I'll have to check out this series!

Word Crafter said...

Thanks Suzanne and hey gang Mar has agreed to give away one book to one lucky commenter so -- speak out-- your chance to grab a copy before you buy another for a friend or relative.

Mar Preston said...

What attracts you about beach communities, Suzanne? I'm curious.

Mar Preston said...

I forgot to ask. Which beach community are you writing about?

sue berg said...

Interesting interview and I am interested in the book. I grew up just outside of Atlantic City, NJ, and remember the days when the arrival of casinos was just a rumor and when they began going up, and the supposed rules to keep the Mob out of the town ... :-) yeah, I know ... I've moved away but the heyday of big casinos in a "casino town" is just about over ...

Susie Kinslow Adams said...

Great interview. Your challenging questions gave us a real feel for the writer's intentions and for the book. I enjoyed learning about his inspiration and research as well as future plans.