Archive for the ‘Detective Series’ Tag

Interview with John Holt   9 comments

Today’s interview is with John Holt, whose book The Thackery Journal asks the question “Were Lincoln’s own generals complicit in his assassination?” John has written a very well-researched book about the Civil War that suggests, very credibly, that Lincoln’s assassination was planned by his own generals who used John Wilkes Booth to cover up their treachery.


John HoltTell us a little bit about yourself, John. 

I was born in Hertfordshire too long ago now. Since 1980 I have lived in Essex, in a small town about 40 miles northeast of London, with my wife Margaret, my daughter Eizabeth, and Missy our cat who adopted us. I used to work as a Senior Project Manager with the Greater London Council. Then in 1986 I started my own surveying practice. In 2004 I suffered a heart attack, and I finally retired in 2008. In April 2012 I was diagnosed with a cancer. After several tests this was confirmed in the October of that year, and I started treatment in the November. I January 2013 I started an eight week course of radiotherapy. A blood test in May of this year showed no trace of the cancer. So I am hopeful that when I see my oncologist in November I will get the all clear.


I’m glad to hear that. You’ve written quite a few books.  Seven in total, five of which feature your private detective Tom Kendall. The Thackery Journal is a historical fiction/slash political thriller. What brought you to write this book?

The answer to that is quite complicated, but here goes. The first novel that I wrote was The Kammersee Affair, a story about the search for hidden Nazi gold. We went for a holiday to Grundlsee in the Austrian lakes. We discovered that during the war the next lake, Toplitz, was used by the German Navy to test rockets. As the war came to a close many items were hidden in the lake, including rumours of hidden gold. This gave me the idea for Kammersee. Shortly afterwards I heard about a hoard of Confederate gold going missing during the Civil War. I had no idea as to where the gold had gone, but I started to imagine how someone would feel when being pursued. This led to the last chapter of The Thackery Journal, and there it remained for some while. I started work on the first of my Tom Kendall novels, The Mackenzie Dossier. Gradually the idea of where the Confederate gold had gone, and why, began to form in my head. The gold was used to finance the assassination plot. But still the book wasn’t going anywhere, except I had developed a couple of opening chapters. I started to research the Civil War, and ended up with about 200 pages of data, but still no story. I produced three more Tom Kendall novels, The Marinski Affair, Epidemic, and A Killing In The City. Then suddenly the whole idea of “Thackery” came to me. I knew exactly what I wanted to say, and how. The book was finished, after almost five years, in three months.


This book plays on the sentiments of many a conspiracy theorist out there. It’s up there with Kennedy and the Grassy Knoll. Did John Wilkes Booth act alone or was he part of a wider conspiracy? This is a work of fiction, but it draws on historical documentation.  We were all taught in school that Booth acted alone, though supported by a handful of conspirators he was the only one actually in the theater at the time. Many of us even remember details of what is said to have happened that night.  Tell us a little bit about why it might be plausible that Booth wasn’t even in the theater.

The Thackery Journal is a work of fiction, nothing more and nothing less. In the whole book there are only a handful of characters who actually existed, the main ones being John Wilkes Booth, Ulysses S Grant, and Abraham Lincoln. Apart from the battles depicted, the only real events that occurred are Lincoln at Fort Massachusetts, and the assassination at the Ford Theater. The suggested conspiracy concerning Booth and Lincolns Generals, is simply that, a suggestion and it is not based on any evidence whatsoever. However the question could be asked as to why was Lincoln assassinated. What earthly difference would Lincoln’s death make to Booth? Alright he was a Southerner, and clearly he could have had a reason for hating Lincoln. But so could thousands of other Southerners. Nothing would be gained by killing Lincoln, he would simply be replaced by another Northerner. Booth was a simple actor and had nothing whatsoever to gain, except money. However, Lincoln’s own generals would have had much to gain by installing Grant as their President.


Holt BooksTell us about your other books.

 I love the old film noir with Humphrey Bogart, Cagney, Edward G Robinson. I had always wanted to write a detective story in the same style. Snappy dialogue, fast talking, fast acting. So I started The Mackenzie Dossier, hoping that I could re-create the crime thrillers from the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. I soon realised that I couldn’t do it. It just didn’t work. But what happened was, in fact, so much better because I realised that I was developing my own style, my own characters, my own brand, and so private detective Tom Kendall was created. Since Mackenzie Kendall has appeared in four more novels, the latest, simply called Kendall was published just a few short weeks ago. Although the fifth in the series it is actually a prequel. I am currently working on a sixth novel to feature Kendall, but it is early days yet. I’m afraid it will probably be another year before it becomes available. I have also made a start on a adventure story set in the 1930’s. It is loosely based on a true story about a submarine going to the North Pole. It never reached its destination, and was later found at the bottom of a Norwegian fjord. What actually happened was never discovered. There is also a very basic idea for another Civil War novel. So it looks like a busy year ahead.


thackery journalWhere can we find your books? Three of my books “A Killing In The City”, “The Mackenzie Dossier” and “The Marinski Affair” are available in EPUB form for Nook, Kobo, and itunes –

All of my seven novels are available in MOBI form – my Amazon author page is –

My novel “Epidemic” will be available on Countdown from the 21 September 70 28 September, priced at 99 cents/99 pence –



And where can people find you?
My author page on Facebook –
My twitter site –

Interview with CL Chase of The MacKenzie Murphy Series   Leave a comment

Writer Wednesday got off to a late start today because sometimes life happens while we’re making other plans! Lela
Today, I am interviewing CL Chase, the writer of the Detective MacKenzie Murphy series. These are a little different from the interviews I’ve done before, because Chantelle lives here in Fairbanks, where I make my home. Her books, focused on a young Fairbanks school teacher who solves crimes for a hobby, are filled with references that I recognize — the rigors of sled dog racing, the cold, the need for a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
Chantelle, tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I come from New Plymouth, Idaho. where I was born and raised, growing up on a dairy farm. I came up to Alaska at the end of August 2011 to work for room and board as a dog sled handler. How the idea came about to do something like that was a passion that I had to come up to Alaska and run dogs since I was around three years old. I had been working for conservation corps at the time and I emailed a musher who had an ad on a mushing website about a possibility to come work with them. They replied to my email saying that the position was filled; however, they had a few friends if I wanted them to pass my information along. I had nothing to lose so I responded back to go ahead and pass my information along. That got me in contact with the mushers that I ended up coming to Alaska to work for.  I worked until the end of April when I went back down to the Lower 48 to acquire some more job skills and work once more for the conservation corps.

I returned to Alaska early February of 2013 after being called up by the mushers that I had worked for the winter of 2011-2012. I have been up here ever since then. A person most often times can’t make a living just by running dogs unless they are really well known and have lots of sponsors. Even then, usually they have some other field of expertise. I started working at a bakery in Fairbanks around the start of June of 2013 based on some connections that I had between the mushers I worked for and their friends who owned the bakery.  I started out working there as a dishwasher and farm help, but I had been asked if I would be interested in baking at some point. I am open to trying something to see if I like it or not which was why I got my shot at baking in September at some point after the store relocated from one location back to its previous location. I became a baker and have been one ever since.


When did you start writing? What was the first thing you ever wrote?

Speaking of writing books, I really started writing in one of the summers while I was in middle school or junior high as it is sometimes referred to. I have been a voracious reader growing up and I had been reading a lot of historical fiction at the time. The setting for when I started to write was a truck ride with no radio and no one talking to fill the void of monotonous motor and motion. I got bored from the lack of distractions other than a notebook and ball point pen that I had in my possession so I started to write historical fiction. For anyone who knows this genre, it requires a considerable amount of research so my writings ended up being more fiction than historical. Although interesting, I ended up scrapping that project due to the fact that I felt as though I was doing the work an injustice.


I think we all do our first writing an injustice. It takes time to develop our skills.

 I then began writing fantasy which was interesting once again, however, I did end up dropping that project because I was working on it during a darker period of my life where my brother and parents were fighting (the rebellious teenager years) and I couldn’t get involved. Needless to say, that writing was not my forte, however, it did lead me to realize that I need to write what I’m passionate about and interested in. My first project that I really ended up keeping and thoroughly liking was a short little story about a mother and a daughter going for a weekend dog sledding trip together. When the mother got hurt, it is up to the daughter to get them safely home through the storm that raged on. This short story will be in another one of my projects that consist of a series of short stories and poems that I have accumulated since around 9th grade when that first short story came about.

Detective Mackenzie Murphy Series Cases: 1-16The MacKenzie series is short stories for about middle-school readers, revolving around the fictional detective MacKenzie Murphy, a Fairbanks teacher and recreational dog musher. How did you end up developing the series?
I honestly don’t know how my detective series came about, but I started writing that genre when I was still in high school and ended up typing it all up then giving it to a friend to read. That friend ended up reading it aloud to her boys and decided that it should become a book. Although the detective genre is what I have out there, I don’t really have a favorite genre per say because I tend to focus more upon the things that I love or am interested in rather than a set subject. I am hoping that readers will learn something from my Detective Mackenzie Murphy Series and any other books that I have out in the future. It is important to keep learning things to keep things interesting otherwise life is a monotony of the mundane with no hope of pursuing purposeful passions or of any further progression.
So the first book in the series was published under the Valley Walker imprint. The second book in the series is self-published through Create a Space. For the writers who follow my blog, can you talk a little bit about the two different experiences and your reason for going to Create A Space? And will Cases 17-32 be available on Amazon?

Detective Mackenzie Murphy Series Cases 17-32I mentioned that I had showed the detective series to a friend who determined that I should pursue the publishing into a book. This friend has been a great support system for me and she was the person to help publish my first book, which is why it initially started out as Valley Walker Press as the publisher. This publisher is also a fellow author and I asked permission to mention her name. It is because of JoEllen Claypool that I ended up becoming a self-publisher and setting up my own publishing name and business: Chase Dreams Publishing. I then set up the Kindle versions and put both of my books: Detective Mackenzie Murphy Series Cases 1-16 and Detective Mackenzie Murphy Series Cases 17-32 on Amazon for that.

There are a couple ways to publish and it is important to review any contract you sign for the publishing. My initial publishing was through Valley Walker Press so that I could get the work out there, having neither the confidence nor the experience to do such a task. In the contract that I signed, it stated that I would be allowed to go to another publisher or self-publish after a certain quota was met. I was then able to publish under my own business following a set of rough guidelines that had been given to me by JoEllen, whose sole purpose with this process was to help me publish. Now, I didn’t have to set up my own business, I could have just published through CreateSpace and have them be the publisher, however, I knew where I wanted to go and that I was going to have other works in the future to publish so that is the reason that I actually set up my own business.

The two books (Detective Mackenzie Murphy Series Cases 1-16 and Detective Mackenzie Murphy Series Cases 17-32) that I have out are available in Amazon for both Kindle and print versions.  They can be purchased there, through createspace or through me personally. If it is purchased through me personally then I will also be able to personalize them and autograph them for whoever is purchasing them or for whoever they are being purchased for.

What are your plans for the future? Will the Mack make a third entry into the literary world? Or are you working on something else?
At the moment, my goals for the Detective Mackenzie Murphy Series consist of having these two books about Mack and then two more that consist of a relative after Detective Mack Murphy and then there will be two more that are prequels and that will be all that the series consists of. At least, that is where I see it going. Other than that series, I have a collection of short stories and poems that I am working on as well as a story that is 256 handwritten pages about a fictional Mystery Musher. The short stories and poems is probably the next closest thing to being done seeing as I still have to type up cases 1-16 of the continuation of the Detective Mackenzie Murphy Series. I handwrite all my stories, or at least the majority of them due to the active lifestyle I lead where I am not often in front of a computer, with the exception of working on a few projects here or there.

I hope that this answers all the questions that you had and I greatly appreciate you presenting the interview. I also hope that this can help you decide on your own publishing ventures. The thing about writing and publishing is that you ultimately have to believe in yourself and just go out and do it. There will always be critics out there and if you look in the mirror, you might even see one staring back at you. The important thing is that you strive to make your dreams a reality. Even if getting a book published is not your goal, it is important to set goals to achieve and write for yourself if not for others. Feel free to contact me with any questions or feedback that you might have.

MacKenzie Murphy Cases

Mackenzie Murphy never meant to be a detective, but when there was no one else to call. . . there is only one Detective Mackenzie Murphy. From Alaska to Idaho to London and everywhere in between: Solving every mystery, making it history; All criminals beware, because this detective will stand up to any dare. Call it madness or even something like sadness, but the truth behold, the crimes untold. No matter the case or crime, just give the detective a little time. From now on, all criminals beware, because Detective Mack Murphy will take your dare. Don’t give a dime about crime, and you’ll pay the time. Detective Mackenzie Murphy is her name and solving crime is her game. This book is for the young and old alike and brings the added fun of creative activities at the end of each chapter for younger readers.

I love the quirky jingle quality to the pitch. Lela
Cases 1-16
Cases 17-32
Chantelle (CL Chase) can be found on Facebook

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