Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Renee Pawlish - This Doesn't Happen in the Movies - Author Interview

My thanks to Renee Pawlish for stopping by The Plot Thickens for an author interview during the blog tour for her book, This Doesn't Happen in the Movies.

Author Interview

1. Who is the plot based around?
Reed Ferguson is a wannabe private eye with a love of film noir and detective fiction. When I got the idea for this book, I fell in love with the idea of a guy who idolized the old gritty detectives like Humphrey Bogart, even though Reed knows he can never be like Bogie. And truthfully, Reed’s too much of a good guy to have the ambiguous morals that the old film noir detectives had.

2. What is the main idea of the plot?
This is about a woman, Amanda Ghering, who wants to find her missing husband, but the reader, and our hero Reed, quickly realize that all is not as it seems. What starts out as a simple missing persons’ case turns into much more than that, and Reed has to find out what secrets Amanda has and why she has them. The story is full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing right until the very last pages.

3. When does the plot take place?
The story takes place in the present day. It would be fun to write a period piece, but for now, I’ve stuck with the here and now.

4. Where does the plot take place?
This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies takes place in Denver, Colorado. This is where I live and it was natural to write the story here. It’s fun to include real places in a story, and I’ve received feedback from readers who are familiar with Denver, saying that they enjoyed the references to real places.

5. Why did the plot develop the way it did?
I’m a very instinctual writer and I don’t typically know how the story is going to end when I write it. I remember writing about a character who was integral to a piece of the story and suddenly I had a revelation of how to use that character for a twist in the story (I need to be vague so I don’t give anything away). This led to a series of a-ha moments that propelled the plot along.

6. How did you come up with the idea for the plot?
A central piece of this story is following a novice detective who is trying to solve his very first case. We so often meet the hero after he’s already honed his skills and he seems to know what he’s doing, and I thought it would be fun to turn the tables a bit and meet someone who is a greenhorn. We get to see Reed develop as a detective.

As for the mystery, I had the first line of the book, “I want you to find my dead husband,” and I worked the story from there. The vigilante group and other twists in the plot came along later.

About the Book
This Doesn't Happen in the Movies

Book Details:
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Detective Fiction, Film Noir
Pages: 226
Format: Paperback, ebook
Price: $13.95 paperback, $0.99 ebook
Buy Links: Amazon, Kindle

A wannabe private eye with a love of film noir and detective fiction.
A rich, attractive femme fatale.
A missing husband.
A rollicking ride to a dark and daring ending.

“I want you to find my dead husband.”

“Excuse me?” That was my first reaction.

“I want you to find my husband. He’s dead, and I need to know where he is.” She spoke in a voice one sexy note below middle C.

“Uh-huh.” That was my second reaction. Really slick.

Moments before, when I saw her standing in the outer room, waiting to come into my office, I had the feeling she’d be trouble. And now, with that intro, I knew it.

“He’s dead, and I need you to find him.” If she wasn’t tired of the repetition, I was, but I couldn’t seem to get my mouth working. She sat in the cushy black leather chair on the other side of my desk, exhaling money with every sultry breath. She had beautiful blond hair with just a hint of darker color at the roots, blue eyes like a cold mountain lake, and a smile that would slay Adonis. I’d like to say that a beautiful woman couldn’t influence me by her beauty alone. I’d like to say it, but I can’t.

About the Author
Renee Pawlish

Renée Pawlish was born in California, but has lived most of her life in Colorado. When she's not hiking, cycling, or chasing ballplayers for autographs, she is writing mysteries and thrillers that include the Reed Ferguson mysteries, Nephilim Genesis of Evil, the first in the Nephilim trilogy, Take Five, a short story collection, and The Sallie House: Exposing the Beast Within, a non-fiction account of a haunted house investigation.

Renée loves to travel and has visited numerous countries around the world. She has also spent many summer days at her parents' cabin in the hills outside of Boulder, which was the inspiration for the setting of Taylor Crossing in her novel Nephilim: Genesis of Evil.

Connect With Renee:
Web Site

A print or ebook copy of Renee Pawlish's book Nephilim and a $25 Amazon gift card to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.


  1. That is a GREAT first line. I know that I need to be drawn in right from the beginning of the story & you certainly do that.


  2. I love these type detective stories. I loved the old black and white movies and this sounds like one of them in print.

  3. As I was reading your interview today, an episode of Quantum Leap popped into mind; Season 1, Episode 9 'Play It Again, Seymour. Sam leaps into a Humphrey Bogart look alike private investigator Nick Allen. He tries to find his partner's killer without becoming a victim himself.' It had the femme fetale and the nerdy guy who runs newstand and idolizes Nick/Bogie! It's a great episode and you would get a kick out of it. Available at Netflix...you should check it out.

  4. Thanks for hosting me!
    Marybelle, thanks - in all my books I definitely try to hook the reader with my first line.
    Momjane - The Reed Ferguson mysteries definitely harken back to the old days of detective stories - good clean fun lol but with suspense...
    Karen - I'll have to check out that episode, thanks for recommending it.

  5. I’m a very instinctual writer and I don’t typically know how the story is going to end when I write it.

    Isn't that difficult when you're writing a mystery? Don't you need to know when to drop in a clue (or a red herring), etc.?

    I'm very much a pantser myself, but I would think that would be far more difficult to do as a mystery author.

  6. Mysti, it can be. It means as I figure things out, I have to go back and rework things and insert clues and so on. Thank goodness I'm not working on a typewriter :)

  7. That is one great first line! And it's always said that the first line is most important :-)
    Humphrey Bogart is pretty awesome ;-)


  8. Renee...What countries have you been to? What's your favorite (outside of the US)?

    Catherine Lee

  9. Great question - I've been through most of western Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Israel, Canada, Mexico, UAE, Oman, Russia, Hungary, England, Ireland, and Peru. I may have missed some...
    It's hard to pick a favorite as each country has something great to offer, but I really enjoyed Israel.

  10. Renee and company thanks for the terrific comments!