We’ve met some fascinating indie authors lately and ironically, they’re Canadian. One of these talented authors is Eldon Farrell. We got to chatting and come to find out, he’s just published his third medical mystery in his series. Mrs. N corralled him into an author interview and he agreed. Please give a warm welcome to Eldon and be sure to check out book 1 (Stillness). Mrs. N has just started reading it and it’s well-written, captivating … you get the point. Take it away, Eldon:
What book do you wish you could have written?
A number of years ago now I came across a novel by Robert Liparulo called Germ. The blurb absolutely blew my mind! There was no way I could not read the book. His concept of a biologically engineered strain of Ebola that targets specific individual’s DNA was so original and intriguing that I wished it had been mine. So for being entirely original—Germ is the novel I wish I could’ve written.
Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you?
Patrick Redmond is my favourite author and his books have inspired me greatly. His talent is unsurpassed in my humble opinion and I continue to be amazed that more people don’t know about this author. Pick any one of his books and you won’t be disappointed if you’re a fan of psychological suspense. He could write about paint drying and have you on the edge of your seat—I swear!
The late great Michael Crichton is another inspiration of mine. The way he could bend genres is something I greatly admire. So often these days you find authors who only write one type of fiction; they never seem to leave that comfort zone. Crichton wrote thrillers, sci-fi, historical fiction, you name it. One of the reasons he is so sorely missed by his legions of fans.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…be humble. Too much confidence in your abilities will hinder your growth as a writer. When that happens…you’ll find yourself going nowhere fast. Not everything you write is the greatest thing ever. If you can learn to see your words as others will see them you’ll be amazed by how quickly you improve.
And beyond that piece of advice, every aspiring author should do themselves a favour and prepare to hear and read negative things being said about their work. It’s not if as much as when—it will happen. If you want to prosper in this line of work you have to take criticism. I don’t know how many talented authors I’ve known who are your best friend until you criticize their work and then you’re dead to them. It’s a shame really because again, if you can’t admit to yourself that you need improvement you’ll never improve.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I make it a habit to read my reviews. If a reader of my work has taken the time to post their thoughts about it, then I feel it’s the least I can do. Like all aspiring authors, I crave that feedback and long for more reviews. It’s also just neat to think about someone a world away reading your words and being moved enough to write about them.
That said though, I do not respond to reviews whether they are good or bad. Responding is tricky; no matter what you say it could be taken the wrong way because tone and inflection do not carry across the internet. While I appreciate all the reviews I get, it’s just safer to remain silent on them.
The best advice I have for dealing with bad reviews would be to learn from them. The first 3 star review I received was a bitter pill to swallow. I could no longer say that all my reviews were positive. But I learned about a grammatical blind spot I had from that review and have since been able to correct the book and improve as a writer. I owe them a debt of gratitude. Everybody is going to get bad reviews no matter how good the book is; just accentuate the positive and keep moving forward.
What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?
An easy question. I love writing. There is nothing more challenging or exciting than to be faced with the blank page and find a way to fill it up with a story that previously only existed in your head. It’s awesome! But as much as I love the writing I detest the marketing. I don’t think I’m alone in that either. So many writers struggle with marketing their books, myself included. It’s a long road to visibility in this crowded marketplace and if I could avoid that part of the process I would!
Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)
Stillness is my first published novel. Like so many others though, it’s not my first novel. My first novel is securely buried on my backup drive where it shall never see the light of day. Too many mistakes made there to fix but many lessons learned that enabled me to grow as a writer and complete Stillness.
And I’m sure you’ve noticed that Stillness is Book One of Descent, so yes, it’s not my only book. Taken and Realm of Shadows, books two and three, are available now. Each book stands on its own as a complete novel but the long story connects them all together in a complete narrative.
What are you working on now? What is your next project?
I’m so glad you asked that! The project that I’m currently working on is a departure from what I’ve previously written. Singularity is a dystopian future novel with an urban fantasy twist. I’ve never had so much fun writing a novel and I really think readers will enjoy it. In brief, it’s essentially about a time of great upheaval. Through each character the struggle for and against change is then explored. With the fantasy elements woven in I call it the comic book all grown up!
Do you drink? Smoke? What’s your vice?
I rarely drink and I have never smoked. If I had a vice I would say it is comic books. I have a massive collection of graphic novels that I love reading. They keep me young!
What do you want your tombstone to say?
I was hoping for a pyramid.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
This question is right up my alley. If I had only one superpower it would have to be super speed. To be able to zoom around like the Flash—that would never get old!!
Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
I’m tempted to say Bora Bora just because it looks so relaxing but the adventurous side of me would lean toward Antarctica. To stand at the bottom of the world in a place where few ever tread would be awe inspiring. And cold!!
What’s on your bucket list (things to do before you die)?
Retire! Ha! No, seriously I’m too young for that. I’d like to travel—to see the world with my beautiful wife beside me. I’d like to take that quintessential family road trip with my wife and son that we all remember taking with our parents when we were young. More specifically I would love to attend the San Diego Comic Con just once in my life—to stand at the summit of comicdom.
What were you like as a child? Your favorite toy?
I was a quiet child, very introverted. I remember spending many hours writing short stories back then—my introduction to fiction writing before I graduated to novels at the tail end of high school.
As a child of the 80s I really feel like I grew up in the golden age of toys. We had it all from Transformers and G.I. Joe to Masters of the Universe and the just burgeoning home video game systems. Of all the toys though my personal favourite remained Masters of the Universe. Although if I watch the cartoon today I really have to wonder what I was thinking lol. The innocence of childhood I guess; all I know is that toy line really expanded my imagination.
Author: Eldon Farrell
Genre: Medical Mystery / Thriller
Some secrets won’t stay buried…
When people start to succumb to a virulent strain of plague in the seemingly idyllic hamlet of Stillness, the CDC is called in to investigate. Pulled from her training with the Epidemic Intelligence Service, Dr. Lynne Bosworth is tapped to head the investigation.
Many questions surround the outbreak, not the least of which is how did plague find its way to the heartland of America? Determined to find the answers and her own way out of the long shadow cast by her father, Lynne embarks for Iowa. Unable to isolate an index case of bubonic plague, patient zero is traced to Nikolai Markov; an old Russian bio warfare scientist.
Rumors of a bioterror attack are rampant.
Under examination, the bacteria present Lynne with many anomalies but few answers. The antibiotic resistance noted in the field is absent in the lab, while a synthetic gene is found that seemingly has no purpose. For her superiors it’s enough to deem the outbreak a biological attack, a conclusion that Lynne does not share. For her, something about the whole incident remains…elusive.
In search of evidence to either prove or disprove the bioterror claim, she crosses paths with FBI Special Agent Caleb Fine. Together, they come to believe that something other than a biological attack is going on in Stillness, and that the answer to what may lie in solving the fifteen-year-old murders of Bobby and Maggie Sullivan.
As the body count rises and the pressure mounts, they delve deeper into the shadowy past of this quiet town; in the process exposing secrets long thought forgotten until finally uncovering the shocking truth behind the cause of the outbreak.
With a file in his left-hand Walt Anjou waddles into the tiny interrogation room and closes the door behind him without raising his eyes from the file.
Seated across the battered wooden table—with his right wrist shackled to said table—William Sullivan shows no sign of acknowledging the sheriff’s entrance.
Scraping the wooden chair along the floor, Walt tosses the file on the table and lowers his hulking frame into the chair. Turning his left hand over he begins to examine his fingernails while completely ignoring his prisoner.
It’s a psychological tactic that’s supposed to frustrate the captive party.
Finally raising his eyes to look at Will, Walt bristles upon seeing that the tactic didn’t work. Will Sullivan is still staring off into space.
“My boys tell me that aside from waiving your right to counsel, you’ve said nary a word since they found you hunched in an open grave.” Pausing for effect Walt asks, “Your parents grave right?”
“Yeah,” Walt calmly continues “Your parents’ grave. Bobby and Maggie Sullivan—how proud they must be of you, don’t you think so?”
Only an experienced interrogator would notice it, but Walt is certain that he saw those distant eyes flinch just a little. Smiling he continues.
“Who helped you dig up their grave?”
“Oh come on,” Walt motions toward him saying, “I’m looking at you and I know that you didn’t move six feet of earth by yourself. So who helped you?” Leaning across the table Walt nods his head as he asks, “The same help that took their remains?”
Slowly Will turns his head and looks down at the table—at the file resting on it.
“You want to know what’s in here.” Walt picks up the file continuing in a self-satisfied tone “This is what we in the law enforcement business like to call a trail of evidence—a pretty impressive one too, if I do say so myself. Care to guess where the trail leads?”
“You know exactly where it leads, straight to you. I got to say, you are one persistent bastard Sullivan. I mean I have here in my hands requests from you written to the M.E.’s office, several councilors, the mayor’s office, Christ you even wrote to the FBI crying for the case to be reopened. You had to know that your parents’ case was never a federal matter, but you’re just that persistent.
“No matter how many times your request for their grave to be exhumed was denied, you just wouldn’t go away.”
Leaning back in his chair Walt closes the file and asks, “Do you see where I’m going with this? We have a paper trail a mile long connecting you to this act not even mentioning the little fact that you were found in their empty grave. So why don’t you tell me that I’m wrong?”
Keeping his eyes down Will offers no answer.
“What were you doing in their grave Sullivan? Where are their remains? What did you do with them?”
Looking up momentarily, Will shrugs his shoulders slightly before the vacant stare reclaims him.
Lowering his rough voice to just above a whisper, Walt asks menacingly “You think this is a game Sullivan? Take a good look around you, at where you are. You don’t see any two-way mirrors or windows in this room do you?
“I’ll tell you what else you don’t see. You don’t see any cameras do you? It’s just you and I in here and I suggest you start talking before I lose my patience with this bullshit silent act. This isn’t some fucking movie where I actually give a shit about your goddamn rights. If you really want to do this the hard way,” a sinister grin creases his plump face as he says, “Then by all means.”
“Fine,” Walt snorts derisively as he stands up and opens the door behind him. “Henson! Get this lump out of my sight!”
Stepping back into the room away from the door Walt moves to within inches of Will’s face. “You’re going to wish for two things when I get through with you Sullivan. You’re going to wish that you had cooperated with me when you had the chance because now I’m going to dig up every little thing I can pin on you.
“You better hope there are no nasty secrets waiting to climb out of your closets because if there are…I’ll find them!”
Walking away Walt stops at the doorway and says over his shoulder “And the second thing…you’re going to wish you hadn’t waived your right to a lawyer. Put him in isolation Henson—he’s got nothing to say anyway.”
Eldon Farrell was born in Guelph, Ontario, growing up just down the road in Brantford. A designated professional accountant, he’s a graduate of both Fanshawe College and Laurentian University. He still resides in South Western Ontario together with his lovely wife Emily and their young son Connor. An avid reader and writer of suspense fiction, he is a lover of language and an unapologetic fan of DC Comics. Stillness is his first published piece of fiction.
Social Media Links:
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Eldon-Farrell/e/B01DTBSLNE