1--What is the title of your latest release?
SANCTUARY MOTEL, first in a new series from Level Best Books
2--What’s the “elevator pitch” for your new book?
Mess Hopkins, proprietor of the seen-better-days Fairfax Manor Inn, never met a person in need who couldn’t use a helping hand—his helping hand. So he’s thrown open the doors of the motel to the homeless, victims of abuse, or anyone else who could benefit from a comfy bed with clean sheets and a roof overhead.
When a mother and her teenage boy seek refuge from an abusive husband, Mess takes them in. Shortly after arriving, the mom goes missing and some very bad people come sniffing around, searching for money they claim belongs to them. Mess tries to pump the boy for helpful information, but he’s in full uncooperative teen mode—grunts, shrugs, and monosyllabic answers. It’s not long before the boy vanishes too. Abducted? Run away? Something worse? And who took the missing money? Mess, friend Vell Jackson, and local news reporter Lia Katsaros take to the streets to locate the missing mother and son—and the elusive, abusive husband—before the kneecapping loan sharks find them first.
3--How did you decide where your book was going to take place?
I’ve always been fascinated with cheap (dumpy? Quirky?) motels. As a kid, we stayed in plenty of them. So I decided to use one as a backdrop for my new series.
4--Would you hang out with your protagonist in real life?
If I was his age, I think I would. I like his worldview, and I like the fact that he sacrifices in order to help those less fortunate.
5--What are three words that describe your protagonist?
Generous, resourceful, and, uh, messy.
6--What’s something you learned while writing this book?
Not everyone shares my love of seen-better-days motels!
7--Do you edit as you draft or wait until you are totally done?
I write the first draft all the way through, without editing. If a character’s name changes in Chapter 4, and again in Chapter 15, then that character will have three names! Needless to say, it can be quite confusing if someone else reads my first draft!
8--What’s your favorite foodie indulgence?
9--Describe your writing space/office!
I share an office with my wife, and because we live in a house with an open floor plan, I’m within steps of the kitchen. Maybe not the best way to stay focused. If a stranger wandered in, they’d say my desk is pretty messy, but I know exactly where everything is. More or less. Give or take.
10--Who is an author you admire?
So many! I won’t name any current writers—too hard to choose and I might forget someone. I’ll go with Robert B. Parker. In my head, all my books are really Spenser books with different window dressing.
11--Is there a book that changed your life?
I can’t point to one that “changed my life,” but there were many that inspired me in one way or another.
12--Tell us about when you got “the call.” (when you found out your book was going to be published)/Or, for indie authors, when you decided to self-publish.
I remember where I was when I got a call from my agent telling me that I had an offer for my first book--eating lunch with my wife. That’s about all I remember, though! The rest is just a blur.
13--What’s your favorite genre to read?
I read a lot of crime fiction, but I also enjoy a good horror or sci-fi novel from time to time.
14--What’s your favorite movie?
I’ll go with The Godfather. You can’t go wrong there!
15--What is your favorite season?
I like the hot weather, so that’s why we moved to South Florida a few years ago. Now, it’s summer all year round!
16--How do you like to celebrate your birthday?
With as little fanfare as possible. And, of course, cake!
17--What’s a recent tv show/movie/book/podcast you highly recommend?
It’s been on for a few years now (still on, as a spinoff), but I like BOSCH.
18--What’s your favorite type of cuisine?
19--What do you do when you have free time?
I exercise a lot, then I rest/recover a lot. I also read, play golf, and watch TV/movies.
20--What can readers expect from you next?
I’ve got a bunch of short stories coming out in various publications in the next six months, and a year from now (October 2024), the second Mess Hopkins novel will be published. Assuming I get it written in time!
A Mess Hopkins Novel #1
Mess Hopkins, proprietor of the seen-better-days Fairfax Manor Inn, never met a person in need who couldn’t use a helping hand—his helping hand. So he’s thrown open the doors of the motel to the homeless, victims of abuse, or anyone else who could benefit from a comfy bed with clean sheets and a roof overhead. This rankles his parents and uncle, who technically still own the place and are more concerned with profits than philanthropy.
When a mother and her teenage boy seek refuge from an abusive husband, Mess takes them in until they can get back on their feet. Shortly after arriving, the mom goes missing and some very bad people come sniffing around, searching for some money they claim belongs to them. Mess tries to pump the boy for helpful information, but he’s in full uncooperative teen mode—grunts, shrugs, and monosyllabic answers. From what he does learn, Mess can tell he’s not getting the straight scoop. It’s not long before the boy vanishes too. Abducted? Run away? Something worse? And who took the missing money? Mess, along with his friend Vell Jackson and local news reporter Lia Katsaros, take to the streets to locate the missing mother and son—and the elusive, abusive husband—before the kneecapping loansharks find them first.
Thriller Domestic [Level Best Books, On Sale: October 24, 2023, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781685123970 / ]
Before Alan stepped off the corporate merry-go-round to concentrate on writing, he had an eclectic (some might say disjointed) career. As an engineer, he worked on nuclear submarines, supervised assembly workers in factories, facilitated technology transfer from the Star Wars program, and learned to stack washing machines three high in a warehouse with a forklift. He even started his own newsletter business, educating the public about the benefits of recycling and waste reduction. Alan earned a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland and an M.B.A. from MIT/Sloan. He belongs to Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD. Residing in Northern Virginia with his diamond-loving wife and two sons, he’s currently hard at work on his next novel.
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