It’s been two years since I first interviewed, Marshall Thornton, the author of the very popular BOYSTOWN series. This week, I’ve decided to share the same interview with you again, and provide some updates to what Marshall has been up to with the Boystown series.
Where do you live? City, town, island, country?
I live in Long Beach, California about a block from the beach. I’ve been in Southern California for twenty-five years. Before that I lived in Chicago.
Writer’s rarely like to toot their own horn; seriously! What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?
Well, aside from simply still being alive, I’d have to say that my Boystown mystery series is what I’m most proud of. I suppose, I’m also quite proud of the fact that I put myself through college; several times.
Without getting too personal, can you share a little about your home life?
I live in a very large apartment with two roommates, two step-dogs and one pampered pedigree cat.
What inspires and challenges you most in writing?
I think the best writing advice I’ve ever seen is to write something you’d like to read. I find that both inspiring and challenging.
You’ve probably answered this question a hundred times, but please indulge as our readers (and fellow writers) would like to know: Do you fly by the seat of your pants when writing, or plot out your storylines?
It depends on the project, but generally I start an outline before I begin a project and then never finish it. Sometimes if I loose my way, I stop and re-outline. I will admit that the first five Boystown books have an arc that was unplanned and completely seat of your pants writing. I have actually thought through an arc for the next three or four books… I don’t want to trust in luck twice.
How do you deal with the constant distractions such as blogs, FB, promo and real life (like that dreaded daytime job)?
I’m a multitasker by nature. I don’t have the patience to just do one thing at a time. As I write this I’m also checking my sales numbers, playing World of Warcraft, and considering ways in which our government could become functional.
I think the best series, whether in book form or on television, are stories in which the main character has an unsolvable internal conflict at the center of their character. An easy example of that would be the TV comedy Everybody Loves Raymond. Raymond is a guy who hates his family and loves them at the same time. That’s a problem without a solution. In my series, as in many detective series, the main character’s central conflict has to do with the desire for justice and the inability to get justice in an unjust world; in a gay mystery series this internal conflict mirrors the external conflict of our community’s fight for justice.
There are some big differences between audio and print. With audio, I think there’s a temptation to spell everything out for the listener and I’m trying to avoid that. I prefer the listener feel that they’re being told a story rather than having a story acted out for them. Some of the books I’ve listened to go too far with elaborate voices and characterizations; personally, I have trouble finishing those.
Your first book in the Nick Nowak series Boystown: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries was a 2012 Lambda Literary Award finalist. Can you share how you learned your novel was a finalist and how you felt?
Honestly, I don’t remember how I found out. I think I saw that the finalists had been announced and went to their site and saw my book. Of course, it felt great. I think I’ve wanted a Lammy since I first heard about them twenty-five years ago – years before I was even writing fiction… It was very exciting to come close.
After your book(s) come out, have you ever had to deal with homophobia, and if so, what form has it taken?
No, I wouldn’t say I’ve dealt with any homophobia. Or at least, not homophobia with a big H. The books are pretty clearly labeled so I wouldn’t expect to. I’ve had a little pushback from some m/m romance readers who aren’t comfortable with Nick’s unrepentant promiscuity. But then, I’m not trying to write that kind of book and I think readers have figured that out by this point.
On behalf of the Facebook Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction Group, thank you for answering the questions. Huge congratulations on your Boystown 6: From the Ashes being selected finalist in the 2015 Lambda Literary Awards in the Gay Mystery category. Good luck with Boystown 7: Bloodlines for the 2016 Lammys!
Will you share with us a little about your current release and/or WIP?
The eighth book of the best-selling Boystown Mystery Series begins with a phone call in the middle of the night. Private investigator Nick Nowak is pulled into the troubled world of freelance journalist, and all around pain-in-the-ass, Christian Baylor. When Christian can’t stop lying about the corpse in his bathroom things slip slowly out of control. Meanwhile, Nick’s relationship with former priest Joseph Biernecki takes an unexpected turn and the Federal case against Jimmy English proceeds toward trial
Have any questions to ask Marshall? Feel free to post them here and Marshall will be happy to respond!