Thursday, October 18, 2012

Please Welcome Matthew Iden, Author of the Marty Singer Mysteries

Omnimystery News: Guest Author Post
by Matthew Iden

We are delighted to welcome crime novelist Matthew Iden as our guest.

Matt's second "Marty Singer" mystery is Blueblood (CreateSpace, September 2012 trade paperback and ebook formats).

Today Matt introduces us to retired homicide detective Marty Singer. And he is giving three of our readers a chance to win a copy of his book; details below.

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When I first set out to write a crime fiction thriller series — including creating the main character that would be in the driver's seat for the whole run — I turned to the authors that I most admired for inspiration, the writers that kept me reading until 3 a.m. even though I knew I'd pay for it the following day … then made me pick up the next book in the series and start the process over again.

Matthew Iden
Photo provided courtesy of
Matthew Iden

Robert Parker, Donald Westlake, Lee Child, Robert Crais. These were writers who had brought characters to life for me and made me a life-long fan of crime and thriller fiction.

But when I sat down to cut my own guy, Marty Singer, from the same cloth, I realized I couldn't do it. Conceptually, it felt like I was trying to jam the wrong key into the right lock.

It took me a while to figure out what was wrong. I was embarrassed to admit that I was stumped. Here I was, failing to create a compelling character from a classic, leading-man blueprint that had been wildly successful. It was as if a group of Renaissance masters had left me a paint-by-numbers set and I couldn't even fill in the "1's." What was wrong with me? The Spensers and Parkers, the Jack Reachers and Joe Pikes of the fictional world were strong, sexy, cynical, funny, smart, unbeatable —

And that's when I knew what the problem was.

I'm a forever-fan of these characters, but I don't actually believe they exist. And, as a reader, I can handle that. In fact, a willing suspension of disbelief is my preferred mental state when I pick up a novel.

But as a writer, I can't believe in a character who's universally liked by beautiful women, tough guys, small children, and dogs while simultaneously being a perfect shot, a martial arts master, with a sideline as a forensic crime scene expert. Who also happens to possess an eidetic memory, volunteers at homeless shelters, and plays jazz piano on the weekends.

I need a flawed character. And the more I drilled down into that concept, I discovered I needed a specific kind of flawed character. Not one that had drunk himself into his troubles, or couldn't keep a woman around because of his inability to cry — staples of hard boiled detectives since time began — but one that had problems that happened to him, not created by him.

That's when I turned to other masters of the genre — Elmore Leonard, Henning Mankell, Michael Connolly. In them, I found a tougher schematic for a main character. One that might not be as universally appealing as the Superman featured in most thrillers, but one that would resonate with readers on a more basic level.

And that's when I really met Marty, the main character in A Reason to Live, Blueblood, and the forthcoming Signs. He's a retired homicide cop from Washington, DC with a wry sense of humor and a pretty good punch, but he's uncomfortable around his own emotions, has trouble communicating with others, and he's retired because he's battling a life-threatening disease. None of this stops him from saving the day, but he does so in spite of his character flaws, not because of them.

Maybe someday I'll try my hand at writing the invincible tough guy. It must be fun, knowing that your hero can do no wrong. But for right now, I'm sticking with Marty. I never have to stretch to complete a scene or a patch of dialogue he's in, because — for me — he truly exists.

Marty's as real as I am.

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Matthew Iden, who lives in Alexandria, Virginia, writes fantasy, science fiction, horror, thrillers, crime fiction, and contemporary literary fiction with a psychological twist. An eclectic resume — he's held jobs with the US Postal Service, international non-profit groups, a short stint with the Forest Service in Sitka, Alaska and time with the globe-spanning Semester at Sea program — has given him inspiration for short stories and novel ideas, while trips to Iceland, Patagonia, and Antarctica haven't hurt in the creative juices department, either. A post-graduate education in English Literature wasn't necessary, but it helped define what he didn't want to do with his life and let him read a great deal of good books.

Learn more about the author and his books on his website, Matthew-Iden-com, or find him on Twitter or Facebook.

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Blueblood by Matthew Iden

Matthew Iden
A Marty Singer Mystery (2nd in series)

Four unrelated murders. Nothing special in Washington DC. Not even good enough to make the evening news. But then a concerned police lieutenant approaches retired homicide detective Marty Singer with a simple fact that changes everything. They were all cops.

In a race to stop the killings, Marty tackles the case from the outside, chasing the killer from deadly Southeast DC to the heart of the Virginia gangland, on a mission to stop the spilling of yet more Blueblood. Print and/or Kindle Edition  Barnes&Noble Print Edition and/or Nook Book  Kobo eBooks  Smashwords: Your ebook, Your way.  Indie Bound: Independent Bookstores

For a chance to win a copy of Blueblood, courtesy of the author, visit Mystery Book Contests, click on the "Matthew Iden: Marty Singer Mysteries" contest link, enter your name, e-mail address, and this code — 4989 — for a chance to win! (One entry per person; contest ends October 25th, 2012.)


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