Tuesday 21 August 2018

Interview: Steven C. Levi

This week's author interview is with the lovely Steven C. Levi, author of the novel Dead Men Do Come Back. Keep on reading to find out what he's got to say!

Firstly, please could you introduce yourself?
I am a 60-something freelance commercial and technical writer in Alaska. I have lived here for 40 years and I have more than 80 books in print or on Kindle. About half of them are non-fiction. I specialise in three subjects: the Alaska Gold Rush, off-the-wall thinking and impossible crimes.
How did you first become interested in writing?
I became interested in writing because I wanted every day of my life to be different. I found school to be boring and repetitive. Writing was as much a release as it was a path to discovery. That’s why I like history. Every book I read on history tells me something I never knew before.
dead-men-do-come-back, steven-c-levi, book

Tell me about Dead Men Do Come Back.
My guiding slogan is:  
“If you do not write something unique, you have nothing.”  
The world does not need one more book on the Civil War, George Washington or a retired detective going through a bitter divorce, fighting alcoholism and being called in for the ‘biggest case in his career.’ Everything I write has to be different.  
I wanted to write a different murder mystery so I combined it with three separate robberies. The body will ‘disappear’ three times in the book and, as in real life, not all the perpetrators will be caught. The novel is set in the waning days of the Alaska Gold Rush and many of the people in the book are real. The book starts with the discovery of a body of a murdered miner floating in the Juneau harbour – and the corpse is frozen solid. If you murdered someone, why would you purposefully let the body be discovered and, in 1910, how do you freeze a body solid?
Why did you decide to write a thriller?
I don’t really look at Dead Men Do Come Back as a thriller. I look at the plot as a United States Marshal trying to make sense of an ongoing chain of inexplicable events which are occurring for some unknown reason. I want to keep my readers as confused as possible – until the last page. Thriller, yes, but I want my readers to be as confused as the United States Marshal as he – and they – try to figure what is happening and why – until the last page.
What drew you to writing about the past?
As a writer, I can go anywhere. I am not confined by a job requirement, the clock or what someone else thinks ‘would be neat.’ When you look over the subjects of my books you will see I am eclectic in my interests. I don’t think I could EVER have been anything but a writer and the internet offers me the fabulous opportunity to offer the most arcane of my concepts turning into books to readers anywhere in the world as long as Kindle is up and running.
How did you get inspiration?
Anywhere and everywhere. I am constantly looking for the next, great, unique idea. I often start with the Alaska Gold Rush because I have the background there. I look at photographs of the era and see if I can pull stories out of the woodwork. So far I’ve been lucky.
steven-c-levi, author

What’s your writing process?
Ha! I don’t have one. I usually have five or six different concepts in motion at the same time. I work on them as my interests permits. Some non-fiction projects die because I cannot find enough information to make it entertaining. Some fiction projects die because I cannot see how to make it unique. I try to write an hour a day – which I can usually do – and then I am looking for ‘the next big thing.’
What’s the hardest thing about writing?
Editing, rewriting, rethinking bad paragraphs, then more editing and proofreading and more editing and proofreading.
Which authors inspire you?
Arthur Conan Doyle, Alexander Dumas, Edgar Allan Poe.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Yes! Live my slogan! If you are going to be a writer, be unique.
What are you currently working on?
The follow-up to Dead Men Do Come Back where someone is killed for no reason, the fictional disappearance of a ton of gold on a railroad track being watched by the police, the non-fiction investigation of $150 million in mortgage fraud (which I reported to the FBI), the non-fiction story of the man whose invention plugged the Deepwater Horizon disaster and has yet to receive a dime in compensation and an historically illustrated narrative poem on how women today have a contract with their grandmothers to ‘be their best’ for the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment.
What are you reading at the moment?
Newspapers and magazines every day. Currently a lot of historical unsolved robberies and newspapers of area and era looking to see if I can use the internet to ‘solve’ the crime and come away with a good non-fiction book.
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
Local politics. My wife and I are active in the political community. If good people do not get elected, bad people run the government.
Dead Men Do Come Back is available to buy now. For more about Steven and his work, you can check out his website

Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below!

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