What is the one book you want us to read (title, genre, and availability).
Dead Men Don’t Answer, latest in my Al Pennyback mystery series, available at Amazon.com in paperback and for Kindle, as well as other retail book sites.
Give us a one sentence synopsis.
When a woman’s fiancé, supposedly killed six months previously in a car bombing, answers his telephone, the woman goes to Al Pennyback for help explaining how the impossible could have happened.
Who are the main characters and who would you like to see portray them in a movie?
The main character is Al Pennyback, a retired army officer turned private investigator, who works in Washington, DC on cases that the police have either given up on, or ignored in the first place. In a movie, this is the type character Denzel Washington plays.
Tell us about the story, but please don't reveal too much.
Al takes the case, which gets him involved in the African immigrant community in Washington, and the world of corporate greed and scandal. A ghost from his past, his last military special operations mission that went horribly wrong, comes back to complicate his life, at the time he learns that the woman’s fiancé might not be dead, but might, in fact, be a murderer.
What inspired you to write this book and how long did it take?
This particular book didn’t take too long, since it’s the 14th in the series. The first one, though, took more than four years to write, and rewrite, and rewrite. I’ve lived in the DC area for 30 years, and while I like most of the work that’s been written with DC as a setting, I got tired of the only characters being spies, politicians, and high-powered lobbyists, and decided to do a series about ordinary people.
In addition to the Al Pennyback series, I’ve done a series of YA historical novels about the Buffalo Soldiers, set in the period after the Civil War in Texas and New Mexico, five fantasy novels (two sword and sorcery and three urban fantasy), three books on leadership, and a photo journal on my stay in southern Africa from 2009 – 2011.
Which authors inspired you, your style?
I read everything, and probably unconsciously copy my favorite authors when I write. The writers whose style I most admire are Sue Grafton, Janet Evanovich, and Robert B. Parker. Each is different, but in some ways similar, in that they focus more on telling a good story than trying to impress with fancy words or overlong descriptive passages.
Where can we learn more about you and your books?
Information about my books can be found in a number of places:
My blog: http://charlesaray.blogspot.com, which has a store where they can be bought, my Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/charlesray/, which lists them, and they’re mentioned occasionally on my other blot at http://charlieray45.wordpress.com/ . As I mentioned previously, they’re also on Amazon.com and other retail book sites.
How can we follow you? Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.
I’m pretty active on social networks, with a Twitter account (https://twitter.com/charlieray45), a Facebook author page (http://www.facebook.com/CharlieRay45) , Google+ (https://plus.google.com/u/0/#106101898215720668007/posts/p/pub), and LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=18410940&trk=tab_pro) where I participate in a number of different groups, including several related to writing and publishing.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I’ve been writing fiction since I was 13 and won a Sunday school magazine short story contest. During the mid-60s through the early 80s I did a lot of newspaper and magazine writing, photography, and art; including a stint as editorial cartoonist for the Spring Lake (NC) News, a small weekly paper near Ft. Bragg, NC where I was stationed in the army. For me writing is not just a pastime, it’s something I feel compelled to do. I don’t write for the money or the publicity, although, I don’t turn down royalty checks and I get a bit of a rush when I encounter people who’ve read and like my work, and I save all the nice emails I get from readers. Okay, maybe I do write for the notoriety sometimes. I’m currently working on my 28th book, and soon as it’s done, I’ll start on number 29.