Interview with Frank Zafiro

Under a Raging MoonJen: This week we are pleased to welcome Frank Zafiro to Book Talk. I met Frank on MySpace when he asked for friendship. When I went to his page to check it out, I discovered we live in the same town (Spokane, WA), went to the same college and actually graduated the same year with the same degree (but as far as we can tell, we’ve never met in person). Small world. At any rate, I decided I needed to get some non-romance authors on the blog and Frank was happy to help me out. Frank, will you please share a short bio with us.
Frank: I served in U.S. Army Intelligence as a Czech linguist during the waning moments of the Cold War. From Augsburg, Germany, I watched the Berlin Wall tumble and the Velvet Revolution take place in then-Czechoslovakia. It was a fine time for freedom.

I became a police officer in 1993. I have served as a patrol officer, corporal, detective (his favorite job), sergeant, and now a lieutenant. I teach Report Writing and Sexual Assault Investigation at the Basic Law Enforcement Academy, and have written courses in police subject matter.

Most of my stories take place in the fictional setting of River City with recurring characters. The first River City novel, Under a Raging Moon, was published in 2006, followed by Heroes Often Fail in September 2007. Dozens of my short stories have been published in print and online magazines, as well as in several anthologies.

Jen: Tell us about River City crime fiction and where it’s available.

Frank: Well, River City is a marginally fictional Spokane, Washington. To date, there’ve been about 40 or so stories and two novels published in that setting. Most tend to center on the police officers that serve that city, but not all. The hallmark of River City stories and novels is gritty realism. The good guys usually win, but not always, and never without a price.

Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Please tell us your call story.

Frank: I’ve always been a storyteller. By the time I was eleven, I knew I wanted to be a writer. My first story was published in 1990, though I had some poems published sooner.

Jen: Describe your writing in three words.

Frank: Gritty, realistic, compelling.

Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?

Frank: I plot loosely, but I allow for a lot of play, depending on what the characters say.

Jen: Do you have a writing routine?

Frank: Unfortunately, no. When I can, as much as I can.

Jen: Do you do anything special to celebrate a sale, new contract, or release?

Frank: A glass of wine and an email to other writer friends…after the obligatory ‘woo-hoo!’

Jen: Where do you draw your inspiration?

Frank: Well, my career experiences for the details and my imagination and life experience for the rest. I ask myself ‘what if?’ a lot.

Jen: Who has inspired you as an author?

Frank: Stephen King. Dennis Lehane. Lawrence Block.

Heroes Often FailJen: What has been your highlight of your career to this point?

Frank: I think seeing a profile of me appear in my hometown newspaper on the eve of my second book being published was pretty cool stuff.

Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?

Frank: Well, the same three that inspired me, for starters. Gerald Peteviech. John Floyd, a short story god. George Pelecanos. Right now, I am reading a history of the Romanovs for non-fiction and just finished the new Joseph Waumbaugh for fiction (what cop can write crime fiction and not pay homage to him?).

Jen: What’s next for you?

Frank: I’ll continue to write River City novels and short stories. The third book in the series is called Beneath a Weeping Sky and is finished. The next, And Every Man Has to Die, is about half done. I’ve also finished a couple of River City novels further along in the time line – Waist Deep and Some Degree of Murder. Also, I’ve finished a novel about recreational hockey and am working on a non-River City mystery.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?

Frank: Easy. My website is http://frankzafiro.com and my blog is http://blogspot.frankzafiro.com

Jen: Do you have any questions you’d like to ask our readers?

Frank: Yes. I’m curious how many romance readers also read mystery. From a marketing perspective, it is an interesting question to me. My books have a tinge of romance to them, though nothing along the themes of most romance novels. Also, if anyone has read my books, I’d like to know what you liked and what you didn’t. I’m always looking to improve with every new work.

Jen: Frank will be stopping by this week to answer your questions. So fire away. If you leave a comment (either by answering his question or asking one of your own), you’ll be entered into a drawing for free books! Frank is being very generous and is giving away 3 copies of Heroes Often Fail and 1 copy each of Medium Of Murder, Hardcore Hardboiled, Seven By Seven, and The EX Factor: Justified Endings to Bad EXes. That means we’ll have 7 winners this week! The contest will run through Thursday, November 20. So, post away and if you want to be considered for only specific titles, please let us know in your post. And last, winners are responsible for claiming their prizes. If you leave your email address in the post, we’ll contact you… otherwise, you need to either subscribe to the post feed or stop back on Friday to see if you’re a winner.