A Conversation with Author TG Wolff 

IR- What inspired the idea for your book? 

 TGW-The core mystery was inspired by the rich and famous who paid to bypass college admission requirements for the kids. It sparked the question…what if that type of “devotion” was taken to the next level.

IR- Tell us about a favorite character from the book. 

 TGW-Aurora Williams, Detective Jesus De La Cruz’s girlfriend is a favorite of mine. She is one of the harder characters to write because she is thoughtful and quieter. She doesn’t get the one-line zingers, so she has to find other ways to make her presence known. 

IR- What was the most surprising thing you learned in writing this book? 

 TGW-I don’t do deep research in my books. They are essentially Whodunnits, where the puzzle is center stage. But, for this one, I did some research into the children of helicopter parents. I was surprised at how the outcome for the children was often the exact thing the parent was working to avoid. For example, statistically, the children are more likely to have self-confidence issues. It turns out, that confidence doesn’t come from never falling down. It comes from falling down and then standing back up.

IR- If you were friends with a character in this book, what would you do together? 

 TGW-Since I picked Aurora before, I’ll stay with her. Aurora is an artist, a painter, which is something I have zero talent for. But I can see myself sitting in her living room while she paints, fingerpicking on my guitar. She wouldn’t notice when I messed up a note or two. I would sing along and she would laugh when I forgot the lyrics and began singing spontaneous ones.

IR- What does it mean to you to be called an author? 

 TGW-The meaning of being called an author has changed as I have grown. At first, it meant being published. Then it meant writing as a primary job (I still work a day job). Now it means telling stories that resonate with people, often in ways I could never have imagined. It means giving people the little break they need to continue dealing with ordinary life.

IR- Do you have any quirky writing rituals? 

 TGW-My mother bought me a pair of fingerless gloves from Storiarts. Sometimes, when I am having trouble carving the time out to write, I put the gloves on. It’s a signal to myself that it is okay to put everything else aside and write.

IR- What comes first for you — the plot or the characters? 

 TGW-Inside of a series, like the De La Cruz Casefiles, the plot comes first because I already have the characters. Thinking about it, even for stand-alone stories, the plot comes first, then the storytellers.

IR- As an author what do you think makes a good story? 

 TGW-The unexpected. If a story is made up only of the expected, it’s boring.

IR- What do you look for in a story as a reader? 

 TGW-See previous answer (lol). I read for escape, so I do not like anything too heavy. I like engaging characters, people who I can care about, in compelling storylines. 

IR- Who is your audience? 

 TGW-I write for people who are also looking for an escape and those who love puzzles. Fans of non-fiction will not like me. Neither will people who like their fiction very hard or very soft. My audience are the Goldilocks of the world, those who like their stories just right.

IR- What has been your favorite reader feedback? 

 TGW-That I kept them up all night. It makes me feel like I did something right when people put off sleep to see what is going to happen to someone of my imagination.

IR- How do you interact with your readers?

 TGW- I am still learning how to do this. I am best at emailing, but very few have taken me up on the invitation to connect that way. I struggle with most social media platforms. Working a day job and writing leaves little time to play online.

IR- What is your all-time favorite book or author?

  TGW-At the top of the list is the Rex Stout Nero Wolfe series. This is where I learned that I did like to read. I also respect how the books are clean, giving me the freedom to write however makes sense for the character. Many of my characters do swear because it is their nature, not because I feel compelled to for the sake of the genre.

IR- What was the defining moment that made you say to yourself, “Today, I am going to write a book that I will publish.”? 

 TGW-I have never said that phrase. I write to entertain myself because it’s fun. Being published has been an extension of writing for pleasure.

IR- Describe yourself in as few words as possible. 

 TGW- Unexpected. 

IR- What would the title of your autobiography be?

 TGW- “I have a great idea”

IR- How do you avoid or defeat writers’ block?

 TGW- When I have writer’s block, it is usually because I have written myself into a corner. Usually, if I back out a scene or two, I can find another road, and then I’m going again.

IR- What is the first book that you remember reading? 

 TGW-I wasn’t a big reader as a child or teen. In fact, I don’t know that I ever finished a school assigned book. After college, I met my husband who was an English major. I began reading some of the “classics” to see what I missed. I remember reading Wuthering Heights (boring), War and Peace (skipped War, confusing), To Kill a Mockingbird (loved it).

IR- What is an underrated series that you think everyone should read at least once?

  TGW- Lately, I have been going back to the 1800s and early 1900s to read the first stories to be considered mysteries. There are some incredible, ground breaking stories. An interesting series is the Inspector Ebenezer Gryce Series by Anna Katherine Greene. She was the daughter of a lawyer and wrote some of the first procedurals. She was a true Victorian woman, though, and the role she has women in became dated as women progressed in the fight for equal rights. It is easy to dismiss this type of portrait of women when they are written by men, but here it is written by a woman who was cutting edge in many ways. A Strange Disappearance is an excellent mystery. 

IR- Aside from writing or reading, what are your hobbies or interests? 

 TGW- I pick a little guitar. I don’t know if I will ever be good enough to play anywhere but my back porch, but I like it. 

IR- What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book? 

TGW- Just do it. Start. Write 1 sentence and then 1 paragraph and then 1 page. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.

IR- What are you working on in the near future? 

TGW- The 3rd in my Diamond series, titled Psycho Therapy, will be out February 2023. I also have a podcast that I do with my 18yr old son called Mysteries to Die For. Season 3 features adaptations of the first cases for serial detectives like Holmes, Poirot, and Chan. Season 4 will begin summer 2022.

IR- What is your author spirit animal?

TGW- Rick Riordan. I read his Percy Jackson books out loud to my kids. I love his pacing and story arcs.

IR- If you could have lunch with 3 authors (past or present) who would they be? 

TGW- Emile Gaboriau, Anna Katherine Greene, and Dorothy L. Sayers. We would talk about how technology has made mystery writing harder.

IR- Name three fun facts about you or your work. 

TGW- I am 5-ft tall, the perfect height for measuring stuff. 

I have 12 earrings because 13 was bad mojo and 14 was too many. 

I am left handed and regularly practice writing backward like Leonardo D’Vinci (but in English)

IR- If you had a secret room that opened by pulling a book on a shelf, what book would you choose? 

TGW- Room 13 by Edgar Wallace. It is a story that I thought was going one place and went somewhere completely different. Perfect for a hidden room.

IR- If you knew you could not fail, what would you do? 

TGW- Fly! (like a bird, not in an airplane.)

Razing Stakes by TG Wolff Banner

Razing Stakes
by TG Wolff
April 1-30, 2022
Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Razing Stakes by TG Wolff

The first day of summer is the last day of a young accountant’s life. Colin McHenry is out for his regular run when an SUV crosses into his path, crushing him. Within hours of the hit-skip, Cleveland Homicide Detective Jesus De La Cruz finds the vehicle in the owner’s garage, who’s on vacation three time zones away. The setup is obvious, but not the hand behind it. The suspects read like a list out of a textbook: the jilted fiancée, the jealous coworker, the overlooked subordinate, the dirty client.

His plate already full, Cruz is assigned to a “special project,” a case needing to be solved quickly and quietly. Cleveland Water technicians are the targets of focused attacks. The crimes range from intimidation to assault. The locations swing between the east, west, and south sides of the city. This is definitely madness, but there is a method behind it.

The two cases are different and yet the same. Motives, opportunities, and alibis don’t point in a single direction. In these mysteries, Cruz has to think laterally, yanking down the curtain to expose the master minding the strings.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Down & Out Books
Publication Date: February 14, 2022
Number of Pages: 294
ISBN: 978-1-64396-245-0
Series: The De La Cruz Case Files, 3rd in series


Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Down & Out Books

Read an excerpt:

Ten minutes dead. The sun shined brightly, no clouds on this first day of summer, the last day of John Doe’s life. Cleveland police Detective Jesus De La Cruz squatted next to the broken body. The warmth beneath his hand testified to the newness of death.

Two EMTs had worked to sustain the man’s life. One was at the ambulance now, tending to the tools of his trade. The other stood over the body, shaking his head at the victim. “He was dead before we arrived, Detective. He just didn’t know it.” The EMT peeled off his gloves, finality in a simple act. “Damn it if we didn’t fight for him. In the end, he was just too crushed.”

Cruz rose looking east and west, north and south. The crime scene was on the side of a road halfway between East 9th Street and East 55th Street. North Marginal was a two-way street carved between Lake Erie and a spur off I-90 called the Shoreway. Properties cut off by the Shoreway—the Coast Guard station, Burke Lakefront Airport, a private marina, a condominium complex—were accessed from North Marginal. Even at the busiest times of day, vehicular traffic here was scant. Middle of a workday, a steady stream of runners arced around the first responders.

“Popular place,” Cruz said, meeting the eyes of a curious runner rubbernecking as he slowed to a jog.

“It is,” the EMT said. “Few better places downtown for running. A solid two and a half miles with no cross streets. Whoever hit him came from the east. Blew him up.”

The body spoke for itself. No way it could be where it was being hit from the west. Cruz straddled the curb, which was a generous term for the inch separating the driving surface from the running path. A bicycle wouldn’t call it an obstacle. John Doe either never saw it coming or was unable to get out of the way. The impact had launched him into the airport’s tall security fence. The fence bounced him back, the one-hundred-eighty-pound body a pinball rebounding off bumpers.

John Doe had been moved, necessary and appropriate as he’d been alive when he was found.

“Medical Examiner is en route,” the EMT said. “He’s yours now.”

“I’ll take care of him.” Cruz studied the victim. The man was mostly skin. He had taken off his shirt on the warm day, one of the first to be hot. A shirt lay on the edge of the path, marked by an evidence tag. Two other shirts lay close to the body; one black, one yellow and stained with blood.

The running shorts covered hip to mid-thigh. He wore socks, shoes, and a fitness device on his wrist. Skin was scraped off his arms, legs, chest, and face, the asphalt unforgiving. An AirPod was in his left ear, the right one missing.

Squatting again, Cruz felt the side seams of the shorts, finding zippered pockets. Inside the right one was a slim, card-size piece of plastic, a security badge for a building on East 9th Street. The dead man smiled out of a poor-quality image. Beneath was the name Colin McHenry.

“Detective, we found his phone,” one of the officers securing the scene called out. “It’s in good shape. Thumb print pass coded.”

“Open it before the ME takes him. Who found him?”

“A pair of runners. I parked them under the big tree.” The officer pointed across North Marginal to a small grove on a manmade hill. The two men waited anxiously under the tree, watching the activity. Both were runners. Both were shirtless. Both came to attention as Cruz approached and introduced himself.

“I’m Landon Chartres, this is Denny Bradford. We saw him as soon as we came around the bend. He was half in the street.” The otherwise straight line of North Marginal had a large curve bumping out to make space for an exit from the Shoreway. McHenry’s body would have been screened by the fence and shrubs separating the public from the airport’s private property.

“We knew someone was ahead of us,” Bradford said. “When you turn onto the Marginal, you can you see all the way to the curve.”

Chartres nodded like a bobblehead. “We saw the vehicle that must have hit him. It was the only one that passed us before we got to him. Black SUV. Part of the license plate was LDC. Those are my initials, so it caught my attention. I didn’t catch the make or model.”

Bradford looked behind him, to East 9th Street. He repeatedly shifted his weight from foot to foot. “He was only out of our sight to a few minutes. Would you say he had a five-minute lead, Landon?”

“At most. Probably more like three or four. We called 9-1-1 and pulled him out of the road. Anyone coming around the curve would have hit him. We used our shirts to try to stop the bleeding.”

As a pair of witnesses went, these two were easy, answering questions before he could ask them. They wanted to talk, maybe even needed to talk. “Did anyone pass you from behind, coming from East 9th going east?”

The pair looked at each other, huddled like they were on a pitcher’s mound deciding on a call. It was Chartres who answered. “We don’t think so, Detective, but we couldn’t swear to it. We weren’t paying that much attention. But the one that came toward us, the one with my initials, it was flying.”

“Is he going to make it?” Bradford asked, hope in his voice. “The ambulance got here fast. We kept pressure on his wounds, like they tell you to.”

“I’m sorry, he didn’t.” As if on cue, an engine started. The ambulance pulled away without a passenger.

***

Excerpt from Razing Stakes by TG Wolff. Copyright 2022 by TG Wolff. Reproduced with permission from TG Wolff. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

TG Wolff

TG Wolff writes thrillers and mysteries that play within the gray area between good and bad, right and wrong. Cause and effect drive the stories, drawing from 20+ years’ experience in Civil Engineering, where “cause” is more often a symptom of a bigger, more challenging problem. Diverse characters mirror the complexities of real life and real people, balanced with a healthy dose of entertainment. TG Wolff holds a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering and is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Catch Up With TG Wolff:
TGWolffCom.wordpress.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @TG_Wolff
Instagram – @tg_wolff
Twitter – @tg_wolff
Facebook

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

04/01 Interview @ I Read What You Write
04/02 Showcase @ Our Town Book Reviews
04/05 Interview @ Quiet Fury Books
04/08 Guest post @ Novels Alive
04/11 Guest post @ The Book Divas Reads
04/14 Guest post @ Author Elena Taylors Blog
04/15 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
04/15 Showcase @ Books Blog
04/18 Review @ Novels Alive
04/20 Review @ flightnurse70_book_reviews
04/21 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
04/25 Review @ Nesies Place
04/27 Showcase @ 411 ON BOOKS, AUTHORS, AND PUBLISHING NEWS
04/27 Showcase @ The Authors Harbor
04/28 Review @ One More Book To Read
04/29 Review @ Pat Fayo Reviews
04/30 Review @ Melissa As Blog
04/30 Showcase @ Silvers Reviews

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY FOR A CHANCE TO WIN:

THIS IS A GIVEAWAY HOSTED BY PARTNERS IN CRIME TOURS FOR TG WOLFF. SEE THE WIDGET FOR ENTRY TERMS AND CONDITIONS. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

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