Few writers have kept me turning the pages of a book more than Steven James. I have lost countless hours of sleep that have left me longing for a shot of coffee the next morning as a result of the first five books of his Patrick Bowers series—The Pawn, The Rook, The Knight, The Bishop, and The Queen— In each installment readers join Patrick and his team on their quest to capture some of the most dangerous serial killers known to exist. But within each story is an underlying plot revolving around one man from Patrick’s days as a Milwaukee detective- Richard Basque…
In Opening Moves , James takes readers back to the beginning, to Milwaukee in 1997… It’s a city recovering off the heels of the crimes of Jeffery Dahmer and now, just as life seems to be about to move on, a new killer has risen. One eerily reminiscent of Dahmer himself…
Steven has won countless awards including The Best Book of 2010 by Suspense Magazine for The Bishop as well as two back to back Christy Awards for The Bishop and The Queen…
A few weeks ago Steven took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for my blog… I hope you enjoy both his insight as well as his passion for the work he produces.
Your book “Opening Moves” was just released. This marks the 6th book in the Patrick Bowers series… Can you briefly tell us a bit about it…?
It’s actually a prequel that takes us back to the days before Bowers joined the FBI and was still a homicide detective in Milwaukee. In this installment in the series we see his origins—when he faced his nemesis for the first time, when he met his mentor and his best friend, and how he ended up studying geospatial investigative techniques and joining the FBI. It was a blast turning back the clock and exploring his early days in law enforcement. This book is a great place for new readers to start, and a thrilling departure into the past for people who are already fans of the series.
You’ve written some great villains in this series… Any particular one stand out as being your favorite…?
My favorite would have to be Alexei Chekov from The Queen. He’s a complex and interesting assassin with his own set of complex moral convictions. He intrigues me. There are villains who have appeared in other books who actually frightened me (namely Giovanni from The Knight and Joshua from Opening Moves—don’t worry those aren’t plot spoilers). I have to say, it’s pretty weird when you create characters that give you nightmares, but that’s what happened with me in writing those two guys.
You’ve got two more books in this series from my understanding… The King and Checkmate… How does it feel to know that you are about to say goodbye to these characters…? At least as far as the realm of this series is concerned…?
I’m finishing up the first draft of The King and planning to do Checkmate, but haven’t decided for sure since I’m working on a new series that premieres this fall. I feel like there are still stories to tell with this cast of characters, and I’m not sick of them yet. I guess that’s a good sign. There may be other books on the horizon where he appears, namely one I’ve been toying with in which his daughter is the main character, but we’ll have to see what the future brings.
You wrote a small short story called “Second Thoughts” that is available as an ebook… Do you find writing short stories more challenging than novels or easier…? Any plans to do more short fiction in the future…?
Ever since I can remember I’ve been a fan of short fiction. I like the craft, how concise you need to be, the economy of words. I’ve written some short stories before that have appeared in anthologies but this was my first one to appear as an ebook. I have some more ideas, and eventually I plan to shoot them out there, although at this time I’m pretty snowed under with the novels I’m working on. So, keep your eye out but don’t hold your breath yet.
You have a new novel coming out titled “Placebo”… What can you tell us about it…?
Jevin Banks is one of the world’s greatest illusionists and escape artists. In this first book in the series he uncovers a pharmaceutical firm conspiracy and has to use all of his skills to try and stop an assassination attempt. These books have a different feel than the gritty suspense of the Bowers books. The Jevin Banks novels are more science thrillers. It’s been fun to create another fictional world, one that I can move back and forth from.
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