Jen: Today we welcome Mitch Haynes to Book Talk with J & J. Mitch, will you please share a short bio with us?
Mitch: Sure, but I’m going to lie a little to make it interesting. I’ve lived in the same city for over 30 years. I graduated from the University of North Texas in 1986 with a degree in Political Science and English. I’ve been a general contractor specializing in remodeling for the last several years, but I’ve also been a substitute teacher, a food and beverage manager, and an Independent contractor for the Department of Homeland Security.
Jen: Tell us about Hollywood Agent Provocateur and where it’s available.
Mitch: Well, it’s the greatest book ever written, but I’m a little biased. It’s set in 1938 Hollywood and most of the story takes place in an exclusive and private nightclub for the Hollywood elite. (I’m told by a good friend of mine who is a movie producer/director that these places still exist.) Anyway, the story is about Nazi spies trying to control and influence the movie industry and forcing some movie stars to perform acts of espionage for the Third Reich. It’s available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and a multitude of independent book stores around the US and the UK.
Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Mitch: It’s a weird story, but when I was 12 years old I saw the Jack Lemmon movie, How to Murder Your Wife, and I really liked his lifestyle in the movie, not working any fixed hours, the freedom. I already had the desire to be creative and I always made up stories, so I decided then and there that I wanted to be a writer. I had a poem published in the local paper when I was six. I still have a copy of it somewhere around here. Anyway, it’s taken me a long time, but this is my first novel…hopefully the first of many.
Jen: How does your family feel about your career?
Mitch: They are very supportive. They’ve told all their friends, family, and business associates. They’ve shown up at my book signings and brought friends. I think it’s a diabolical plan to make me a rich, bestselling author so they can hit me up for money.
Jen: Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
Mitch: Coffee. I like to drink coffee while I’m writing.
Jen: How do you shut out disruptions?
Mitch: I don’t know if it’s the by-product of growing up an only child or not, but I have the ability to shut out the world around me completely. I have a laser like focus…almost like I’m in a trance. And sometimes I get a little upset when that concentration is broken. Fortunately, everyone around me knows that once I’m “in the zone” I’m not to be disturbed…unless the house is on fire…and even then wait until the last minute.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Mitch: A LOT. I read numerous biographies about movie stars, studio personnel, and historical figures. I found old maps and pictures of 1930’s Hollywood. I studied Nazi spies in California as well as the German Hierarchy in the Third Reich. I made a huge wall calender for 1938 and I wrote down everything on each specific day – Errol Flynn finished filming Four’s a Crowd; Clark Gable signed on to be Rhett Butler; Germany invaded Austria; Mexico seized American and English oil interests of its coast, and on and on. I was so precise in my plotting that, for instance, I wanted Cary Grant to make an appearance in my story, but at the time he was actually filming Gunga Din in Lone Pine, California, so he wasn’t put into the story.
Jen: Describe a typical writing day.
Mitch: There’s nothing typical. I don’t have a set time or place. In fact, I carry around a small recorder and whenever a good piece of dialog or a plot point, or story idea pops into my head, then I record it immediately. I do a lot of writing in the early morning, 5:00 a.m., until it’s time for me to leave for work. Then I may start working at 9:00 at night and work until 2:00 in the morning. Right now, I just fit it in whenever I can.
Jen: What did you do to celebrate the sale of your first book?
Mitch: I invited all of my friends who’ve been with me during the trials and tribulations out to a steak dinner…dutch treat of course.
Jen: Who has inspired you as an author?
Mitch: Louis L’Amour’s Education of a Wandering Man is the blueprint for becoming a writer. I recommend it to everyone. I like the plotting of Harlan Coben, the character development of Stuart Kaminsky, the dialog of Robert B. Parker, and the complexity of Vince Flynn. I also read a lot of new writers and I like to see them develop over the years.
Jen: Do you have a favorite character or one that you identify most with?
Mitch: I’m analytical like Sherlock Holmes, I’m a smart aleck like Parker’s Spencer, I do stupid stuff like Inspector Clouseau, and I’m phobic like Adrian Monk…okay, maybe not that extreme.
Jen: What has been your highlight of your career to this point?
Mitch: Still waiting for that. I guess doing that first book signing…or maybe getting my first piece of fan mail. That’s so unreal to me.
Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Mitch: You’re much better looking than your author photo. LOL. Actually, I had someone I met on Facebook tell me, “Wow. I loved your book. You must have done a lot of research.”
Jen: What’s next for you?
Mitch: I’m working on the sequel to Hollywood Agent Provocateur – It’s called SPYSMASHER – but I’m also working on another idea that has been nagging me and slowly developing over the years. It’s in a different direction than Hollywood Agent Provocateur.
Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Mitch: http://www.Mitchhaynes.com, Facebook, email me at Hollywoodagentprovocateur@verizon.net, or instant message me at email@example.com (I didn’t pick the yahoo address.)
Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Mitch: What do you think of the book?
Jen: Thank you Mitch for joining us today. Readers, Mitch is giving away an autographed copy of Hollywood Agent Provocateur and some other promotional items to one lucky commenter. To enter the drawing you first must leave a comment for Mitch. Then you need to either leave your email address in your comment or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org letting us know you want to be entered. The winner will be chosen on Thursday, August 20.