Author Q and A with R.G. Belsky

Giveaway Ends 10/31

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

I think it means whatever you want it to mean. If you write – whether or not you’re published or finish a book or short story or screenplay or whatever – then I believe you’re a writer. To me, an author is someone who actually has a book. But, as far as I’m concerned, everyone who tries to write can call themselves anything they want!

What inspired the idea for your book, “IT’S NEWS TO ME”?

I’ve spent a lot of years covering crime stories in the media as an editor at the New York Post, Star magazine, the New York Daily News and NBC News. I get my inspiration from many of these real life crimes – then try to do a “Ripped From the Headlines/Law and Order” type fictional version.

Tell us about a favorite character from the book.

I introduce a new character in this book as Clare’s boss, executive producer Susan Endicott. Endicott is a very ambitious, rude, cut-throat woman who Clare constantly clashes with. Several people told me how much they “hate” the Endicott character. Which makes me happy. Because that’s exactly what I was going for when I created her!

Where did you come up with the names in the story? 

Coming up with names is one of the toughest things for me to do in writing a novel. I combine names of friends, look up people on the internet, take some famous people and tweak their names – I’m always struggling with this. Usually I just use a temporary name when I’m writing the book, then go back and try to come up with something better. One other thing about names: You need to make sure that none of the main characters’ names start out with the same letter or sound similar. That’s too confusing for the reader. So the whole process is a real struggle. 

How do you define success as an author?

Writing a book that YOU like. If you do that, hopefully a lot of other good stuff will follow. 

Will you share a day in your life as an author?

I write in the morning. Always have, it’s when I feel the most creative and inspired. When I worked full time in the media, I would get up at like 6 a.m. and write before I went to work. Now I sleep in a bit, but still do most of my writing before lunch. Afternoons I concentrate more on editing, writing business stuff and just thinking about what I’m going to write the next morning. That’s very important in my writing process. Generally, when I sit down to write I have a pretty good idea of what I want to say. 

Have you always wanted to be an author?

I always did, but not necessarily a fiction -or certainly a mystery – author. When I was growing up, I loved sports books and wanted to write. I did publish a couple of them while I was starting out. But then I happened to read The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler and fell in love with the mystery genre. After Chandler’s book, I read everything by Ross MacDonald, Agatha Christie, Mary Higgins Clark, Robert Parker, Lawrence Block, Sue Grafton, Michael Connelly and so many more. And eventually I got my own mystery novels published. 

How do you avoid or defeat writer’s block?

Never had it. I enjoy the writing process. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t do it. The only way to defeat writer’s block is to sit down and write. It will come. At least it always does for me. So writing block is NOT a problem I’ve ever dealt with in my career.

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

Finish it. Sorry, but it’s as simple as that. Until you have a book, you have nothing. A lot of people talk about writing a book, but you have to actually do it to have a chance as a writer. Also, write what YOU want to write. Don’t listen too much to friends or other people who give you advice. It’s your book, not theirs. I feel very strongly about this. 

Do you have any quirky writing rituals?

I write all of my books out longhand on a legal pad with a pen. Not on a computer. That comes later. Not sure why, I just feel more creative that way. I also like to write with a lot of crowds and noise around me – not in a quiet setting. So I work in coffee shops, on park benches, at the beach, even on the subway. I think I like noise around me because I spent so many years working in busy newsrooms as a journalist for newspapers and TV. Anyway, that’s what works for me. 

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

The character. Definitely more important. For me, the plot develops during the writing process. Maybe the character does a bit too, but I have to nail the character right. If I do that, the rest will fall into place. 

 How do you interact with your readers?

As much as possible. It’s so much easier today than it used to be with twitter and Facebook and email and websites and all the rest. I try to answer everyone who reaches out to me about my books. And I use social media as much as I can to get the word out about my books to potential readers. 

Which of your books would you recommend
to readers who haven’t read your work before?

My Clare Carlson books are a series. It’s News to Me is #5. So I’d recommend starting with the first book in the series, Yesterday’s News. But, if you read any of them out of order, they do work as stand-alones. So you could read It’s News to Me first, then go back and read the others – if you prefer. 

What is your all time favorite book or author?

Raymond Chandler. Because, as I said, reading The Big Sleep by him inspired me (like a lot of mystery writers) to try to write my own book. My favorite book of his was The Long Goodbye. Stephen King was also a big influence. And many more of course.  

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

Just that I want to keep reading it – I like the character, I’m interested in the story, I enjoy the writer’s style. Hopefully, other people feel the same about my writing.  

If you could have lunch with 3 authors, who would they be?

Raymond Chandler, Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe. I think that conversation would take care of itself.

Name three fun facts about you or your work.

  • My characters never have the same name they start out with.
  •  I never have any idea how the book is going to end when I start it.
  • I write a lot of chapters completely out of sequence – then piece them in order together later like scenes from a movie. (Yes, I buy a lot of Post-it cards for my bulletin board!

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

Write a hit screenplay from one of my books, learn how to surf and play the lottery.


It’s News to Me by RG Belsky Banner

It’s News to Me

by R.G. Belsky
October 3-31, 2022
Virtual Book Tour

It's News to Me by RG Belsky

Synopsis:

Dashed dreams: she wanted to run for president one day, now she’s dead at 20

When Riley Hunt—a beautiful, smart, popular student at Easton College in Manhattan—is brutally murdered, it becomes a big story for TV newswoman Clare Carlson.

After days of intense media coverage, a suspect is caught: a troubled Afghanistan war veteran with a history of violent and unstable behavior. The suspect’s mother, however, comes to Clare with new evidence that might prove her son’s innocence.

As Clare digs deeper into the puzzling case, she learns new information: Riley had complained about being stalked in the days before her murder, she was romantically involved with two different men—the son of a top police official and the son of a prominent underworld boss—and she had posted her picture on an escort service’s website offering paid dates with wealthy men.

Soon, Clare becomes convinced that Riley Hunt’s death is more than just a simple murder case—and that more lives, including her own, are now in danger until she uncovers the true story.

Praise for It’s News to Me:

“[It’s News to Me is] witty, clever and engaging. Clare Carlson’s irreverent comments and dogged reporter’s instincts make for a propulsive ride as she races from the chaos of a newsroom’s inner sanctum to the dangers of a murder victim’s deepest secrets. Once you start, you won’t put it down.”

Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times best-selling author

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: October 4th 2022
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 1608094561 (ISBN13: 9781608094561)
Series: Clare Carlson #5 (each is a stand alone work)
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

I met Brendan Kaiser, the owner of my TV station Channel 10 and about a zillion other properties, for lunch on a sunny spring day at a restaurant called Tri-Bar in lower Manhattan.

Tri-Bar is what’s known in New York as a celebrity restaurant. In other words, whenever you read the gossip columns, there’ll be an item about how “so and so said such and such over dinner last night at Tri-Bar . . .”

Robert DeNiro sometimes ate there. So did Jimmy Fallon and Alec Baldwin and Julia Roberts when she was in town.

I’d been to trendy hotspots like this a few times to see if I could spot someone famous. Mostly all I ever saw were a lot of other people like me hoping to see if they could recognize anyone. The closest I ever came to a celebrity was when I ran into Sally Struthers once in the ladies’ room of a restaurant on the Upper East Side. It had been a long time since Sally was a big star on All in the Family. My last memory of her had been doing those late-night infomercials about world hunger, and she sure didn’t look much like Gloria Bunker anymore. I decided not to ask for her autograph.

There was some kind of a maître d’ standing at the entrance to Tri-Bar. He wore a black tuxedo like outfit, highly shined shoes, and white gloves. I had on a pair of tan Calvin Klein jeans, a chocolate-colored silk blouse, and beige sandals. I thought my outfit was pretty swell, but he looked me over coolly.

“Is there something I can do for you, ma’am?”

“I’m looking for Brendan Kaiser. My name is Clare Carlson.”

“And?”

“I’m the news editor of Channel 10 News.”

He still didn’t seem too impressed.

Maybe he didn’t like my color coordination.

“And what might your business be with Mr. Kaiser?”

“Well, I might be here to pick up his dry cleaning, but I’m not. How about I discuss my business with him?”

He scowled and picked up a phone to check with someone inside.

The truth was I wasn’t sure why Brendan Kaiser wanted to meet me here. I’d had a few dealings with him in the past on big stories in my job as the news director for Channel 10—but he’d never invited me to lunch. Maybe he was going to give me a raise. Maybe he was going to tell me I’d been named Employee of the Month. All I knew is that when the big boss asks you to go to lunch with him, you go to lunch.

The maître d’ still looked unhappy when he got off the phone, but he eventually directed me to a table inside. Brendan Kaiser was already there. Kaiser was in his 50s, with thick gray hair. Not a bad-looking guy, but he did have a bit of a paunch. I noticed it when he stood up to greet me. Probably from eating too many lunches at a place like Tri-Bar.

“Thank you for coming on such short notice, Clare,” he said. His office had just arranged the meeting with me a few hours earlier. “I hope I didn’t interfere with any other lunch plans you had for today.”

“Well, until I got your call, my lunch plan had been to go for a Big Mac at McDonald’s. That special sauce they put on it is to die for.”

He smiled.

We made small talk for a few minutes, and then a waiter came over and took our orders. Kaiser was having some kind of duck dish with orange sauce and shoestring potatoes. I went for the tortellini with a salad. According to the menu I’d scanned, this meal was going to cost a lot of money. What the hell—he was paying, not me. Whatever happened next, maybe I’d at least get a good meal out of it.

“So do you want to tell me what this whole lunch deal between me and you is all about?” I said after a bit more conversation.

“You do get to the point, don’t you?”

“I’m a journalist. I used to be a newspaper reporter. I like to get to the lead of the story as quickly as I can.”

He nodded.

“The reason I asked to see you like this was to discuss a situation we need to deal with, Clare.”

“What kind of situation?”

“A situation involving Channel 10 News.”

“I didn’t know we had a situation.”

I took a drink of some iced tea I’d ordered with my meal. I wished now it was something stronger.

“Look, I think that everyone at Channel 10 news is doing a really terrific job,” Kaiser said.

“Glad to hear it.”

“Especially you as news director.”

“Glad to hear that too.”

“And you’re a star, besides being the news director. You’ve broken some big stories for us, gotten a lot of publicity and notice in the media world. The Charles Hollister murder case. The serial killer you helped catch. I appreciate that from you, Clare. I appreciate all of your success and all your hard work. I really do.”

“But?”

“Excuse me?”

“There is a ‘but’ coming here, right?”

“Yes, there is,” Kaiser sighed. “Despite all your hard work, the ratings—and, as a result, the advertising revenue—isn’t quite at the level we need at Kaiser Media to run a profitable news operation. I want to do better. I think we can do better.”

The waiter brought our food. We both ate in silence for a few minutes. I waited to see what Brendan Kaiser would say next. I didn’t really have anything to say. So I stuck my fork into the tortellini and bit into a piece. Pretty tasty. Good cream sauce too. Almost as good as the sauce on a Big Mac.

“I’ve decided to make some changes at Channel 10 News,” Kaiser said finally, nibbling on a shoestring potato.

“What kind of changes?”

“Changes at the top.”

“Wait a minute—are you firing me?”

“No, of course not.”

“Demoting me? Is that the reason for this lunch?”

“You’re still going to be the news editor.”

“But you said you were making changes at the top so . . .”

That’s when it hit me.

“Jack Faron?” I asked.

“Yes.”

Jack Faron was the executive producer at Channel 10 News. My boss.

“I’m replacing Faron. Jack’s done a good job, but he’s more old school than we need right now. I’d like to put someone in the job with more drive, more energy, more new ideas. So I’ve hired a new executive producer. Jack will still be with us at Channel 10 News. But moving forward, he’s going to be in a more . . . uh, advisory role.”

“Does Jack know about this?”

“Not yet. I know you’re close to him, so I wanted to make sure you were the first to hear about this.”

I wasn’t sure what to say. Jack Faron had been my mentor at Channel 10 News. The one who had hired me when the newspaper I worked for went out of business. The one that stood by me when my early on-air appearances as a TV reporter bombed. The one who promoted me to news editor and had backed me on every story and crisis since then.

And now he was not going to be there for me.

At least not in the same way.

I asked Kaiser the obvious question.

“Who’s replacing him as executive producer?”

“Susan Endicott,” he said. “Do you know her?”

“Not really.”

“I think you two will get along really well. That’s why I wanted to have this conversation with you. I want you to accept this. I want you to understand the reason for it. I want you to be happy. I want you to help make Susan Endicott feel welcome here. Are you good with all that, Clare?”

“Hey, you know me—I’m a team player.”

“No, you’re not.”

I sighed. “Yeah, you’re right, I’m not.”

“Let’s try to make this work, huh?”

I wasn’t sure what to say next, but it turned out I didn’t have to. I got a break. My phone rang, and—when I looked down at it—saw it was from Maggie Lang, my top editor at Channel 10 News.

“Where are you?” Maggie said.

“At lunch.”

I hadn’t told anyone who I was having lunch with.

“We’ve got a big story breaking. A murder. Female college student found murdered near Washington Square Park.”

“Who is she?”

“Her name’s Riley Hunt. She came here from Ohio to go to school at Easton College, not far from the park. Family has money, it sounds like. Her father’s a doctor back in Ohio, her mother a lawyer.”

“All hands-on-deck for this one,” I said.

“Already done. We’re gonna lead the newscast with it at 6.”

After I hung up with Maggie, I told Kaiser what was happening. I said I needed to get back to the station right away to direct the news coverage. That wasn’t totally true, Maggie could have handled it on her own. But I wanted to get out of here, and this seemed to be the perfect excuse. I didn’t like what was happening to Jack Faron. I didn’t like the fact I knew about it before him. And I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to like Susan Endicott, even though I’d never met her.

And so I did what I do anytime I can’t deal with problems in my life. I threw myself into a big story. And this murder sounded like a big story.

I said goodbye to Kaiser, walked through Tri-Bar and out the front door to catch a cab back to the Channel 10 newsroom.

The maître d’ didn’t bother to say goodbye.

Excerpt from It’s News to Me by R.G. Belsky. Copyright 2022 by R.G. Belsky. Reproduced with permission from R.G. Belsky. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

R.G. Belsky

R.G. Belsky is an award-winning author of crime fiction and a journalist in New York City. His new mystery, It’s News to Me, will be published on October 4 by Oceanview. It is the fifth in a series featuring Clare Carlson, the news director for a New York City TV station. Belsky has published 19 novels—all set in the New York city media world where he has had a long career as a top editor at the New York Post, New York Daily News, Star magazine and NBC News. He also writes thrillers under the name Dana Perry. He lives in New York City and is a contributing writer to The Big Thrill magazine.

Catch Up With R.G. Belsky:
www.RGBelsky.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @dickb79983
Instagram – @dickbelsky
Twitter – @DickBel
Facebook – @RGBelsky

Tour Participants:

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

10/03 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
10/04 Showcase @ The Mystery Section
10/05 Interview @ I Read What You Write
10/06 Showcase @ Im All About Books
10/09 Guest post @ The Mystery of Writing
10/12 Review @ Novels Alive
10/14 Showcase @ Silvers Reviews
10/15 Review @ enjoyingbooksagain
10/16 Showcase @ Cassidys Bookshelves
10/17 Review @ Nesies Place
10/18 Guest post @ The Book Divas Reads
10/19 Showcase @ The Authors Harbor
10/21 Review @ Paws. Read. Repeat
10/25 Review @ tea. and. titles bookstagram
10/26 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
10/27 Guest post @ The Reading Frenzy
10/28 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews
10/29/2022 Review @ A Room Without Books is Empty
10/30 Review @ Melissa As Blog
10/31 Review @ rozierreadsandwine

GIVEAWAY:

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

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