Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Please Welcome Back Crime Novelist Gary Garth McCann

Omnimystery News: Guest Post by Gary Garth McCann
with Gary Garth McCann

We are delighted to welcome back author Gary Garth McCann to Omnimystery News.

Last week we discussed with Gary his new crime novel The Man Who Asked To Be Killed (A Few Good Books Publishing; September 2014 trade paperback and ebook formats; you can enter to win a copy, here!) and we asked him to give us the backstory to the book. He titles his post for us today, "What’s Autobiographical in The Man Who Asked To Be Killed? Look for Me in the Details".

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Gary Garth McCann
Photo provided courtesy of
Gary Garth McCann

A Christmas card with a snapshot arrived at our Southern California home. I, a wiseass teen at the time, stared at the picture of three dressed-up children sitting primly on a sofa, flipped it over and wrote on the back, "3 lumps on an otherwise decent couch." My little sisters and I had a laughing fit over it until my mother came into the room and asked what was so funny. She was not amused. "What if they come for a visit and we look at pictures?" she said. "Now I'll have to throw this away."

In The Man Who Asked To Be Killed 28-year-old protagonist Buddy receives an all-occasion greeting card with, inside, a picture of two boys small enough that their bare feet stick off the couch toward the camera. The boys are Buddy and his brother. On the back in his mother's scrawling handwriting are the words, "Two lumps on an otherwise decent couch." He remembers when she wrote it. She was putting snapshots into an album. He and his brother couldn't go out to play because it was raining. They'd been fighting all day.

Going further back in my own life, to my early childhood in Cincinnati, our brown-and-white mongrel Pal knocked a freshly baked pumpkin pie off a counter and ate most of it. I threw a conniption. I loved pumpkin pie. My mother soothed me and said she'd bake another one tomorrow.

In my novel, protagonist Buddy's cousin, Governor Mac Roren, says his whole life would be different if his mother hadn't died when he was five. Mac remembers their dog knocking a pie off a counter, and remembers his own tantrum, and his mother soothing him and baking another pie. The pie in the book is pecan, characteristic of Maryland's Southern aspect.

Another of my earliest memories: my mother took us in a taxi on an icy night to hear my sister solo in a piano recital. In the book Mac remembers his mother taking him in a taxi on an icy night to hear his sister sing in a high school chorus.

As a boy I hung-out in our garage and watched my older, teenage brother shatter empty Pepsi bottles with bee-bees and pellets. In my book, narrator Buddy talks about Mac's prizes for sharpshooting and recalls a Thanksgiving Day when he watched older, teenage cousin Mac target practice with a bee-bee gun.

In my thirties I visited Galveston, Texas, and watched my sister carry her infirm white German shepherd up and down the stairs to and from her house, which sat on pilings as do many Gulf Coast homes. The dog had lost bladder control and, indoors, lay on a waterproof pad. On lunch hours my sister came home from work and carried him downstairs so he could spend the afternoon lying outside in the fresh air.

Mac has an aged, bladder-challenged Labrador named Thomas whom he carries up and down the stairs in my book. Worrying about his own fate closing in — assassination? prison? — Mac tells protagonist Buddy, "I keep hoping Thomas will die before I disappear on him. I hate to think of the old guy wondering where I am."

The large, deep-voiced, irascible cat left with Buddy by an ex-girlfriend is the only character in The Man Who Asked To Be Killed based on a live personality — in Arfie's case, a very live personality, one that demands all the attention. The real Arfie has a human connection to the University of Arizona who maintains a household in Tucson where I'm privileged to visit.

Readers ask what in my novel is autobiographical. I could say that everything in any work of fiction is autobiographical in the sense that it comes from the writer's mind. Even the writer's imagination is limited by his experience. He can't picture something without first a thread from the world around him touching his brain, a wire connecting outside and inside. But this answer begs the question readers are asking, so I tell them instead, "Look for me in the details."

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Besides being a novelist and a short story author, Gary Garth McCann is managing editor of and monthly contributor to Late Last Night Books, the blogzine about fiction. He also blogs Through My Eyes: Pictures and Words and, for rail fans, Streamliner Memories.

For more information about the author, please visit his website at and his author page on Goodreads, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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The Man Who Asked To Be Killed by Gary Garth McCann

The Man Who Asked To Be Killed
Gary Garth McCann
A Crime Novel

What if you learn someone you care about is implicated in murder? What do you do? Young lawyer Buddy Smith, cousin of Maryland's governor, does four things he never thought he would. He withholds evidence. He confesses love for the governor's wife. He cheats on his fiancée. And he resolves to no longer care what happened to his brother, missing for nine years.

While Buddy confronts his own dark side, he also unwittingly becomes the killer's next target — until they meet on a rainy beach with a result as surprising as inevitable. Print/Kindle Format(s) Print/Nook Format(s)  Kobo eBook Format


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