Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Interview with EJ Copperman

What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published?
I’ll have two books (!) coming out on October 9: The Question of the Dead Mistress is the fifth in
the Asperger’s mystery series about a man on the autism spectrum who answers questions for a living, and Bird, Bath and Beyond is the second in the Agent to the Paws series about a woman who acts as a theatrical agent to non-human clients. In all, I believe that makes 25 mysteries (and two non-fiction books) published.

How did you develop your character and choose your location?
I am from New Jersey and have lived here all my life, so the Jersey attitude and locations come naturally. Kay Powell (Agent to the Paws) works in New York City, but lives in Northern New Jersey, and Samuel Hoenig (Asperger’s mystery) lives and works in Piscataway, New Jersey. Pretty much all my books take place here.

What is a day in the life of an author like? Do you write a certain number of words, do you write in the morning or evening?
I write 1000 words a day when I’m working. No days off, not weekends or holidays. That gets you a book in about three months, all told. Time of day is not important; I can write anytime I’m not doing something else. I tend to write in the afternoon, but that’s hardly a set rule. I’ve written in doctors’ offices, at the DMV, on vacation in Scotland and with an IV of chemotherapy attached to my left hand. So don’t tell me you would write if you could find the time. You have the time.

Do you belong to a writers group or are you in touch with other writers? How does that help your writing?
I talk to other writers who are friends, but I’m not involved with a group. I’ve never attended a writer’s retreat. I often wonder why writers never want to go on the advance.

Do you model your character after yourself or any one you know?
Not really. Samuel has Asperger’s (or whatever we’re calling it this week) and so does my son, but they have very different personalities. Kay isn’t based on anyone at all. She’s a kind of brassy heroine from a 1940s comedy, I guess.

If your books were made into a movie, who would you want to play the lead character?
Anybody who could act the role. I would LOVE to see a movie (or better, TV series) based on my characters, but I’m happy with anyone the producers might hire.

Who is your favorite author?
Besides me? I’m a big fan of Irwin Shaw. In mystery I don’t read much when I’m writing, which is most of the time. But I recommend my friends Chris Grabenstein, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Kellye Garrett, Con Lehane, Toni Kelner… I’m leaving people out and that’s going to bother me. And of course Catriona McPherson because she’s amazing.

How do you keep track of character details from book to book so they are consistent?
It’s not easy. I keep a “bible” of the Samuel series especially because he’s so precise about his habits. Mostly I forget what kind of cars people drive and things like that. Readers will (rightfully) get on you about those sorts of things.

If you could not be an author, what would like to do as a career?
Well, playing second base for the Yankees seems out of the question at my age. Writing is really the only thing I know how to do. Sad, isn’t it?

For a review of Bird, Bath and Beyond, click here.


Denise Kainrath said...

Playing second base for the Yankees could have helped them last night!!!!

Nice interview, love hearing all the places you've had to write (but sorry for the chemo one :( )

E.J. Copperman said...

Believe me, my playing second base last night wouldn't have helped ANYBODY.