Friday, February 4, 2011

Thirteen Questions for Frank Scully

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Frank Scully, a MuseItUp Publishing author who writes excellent mystery novels.

Frank was born at the end of World War II and grew up in a small town in North Dakota. He remembers a time when radio provided the entertainment and then along came TV with very few channels. While in college getting his Bachelor’s degree in History and a Juris Doctor in Law, TV graduated to color and the first Star Trek series arrived, the Beetles landed on the Ed Sullivan Show, Kennedy was assassinated, and Armstrong walked on the moon. He served in the U.S. Army as a Judge Advocate General Corps officer in the U.S., Vietnam and Thailand before getting his Masters in Business Administration from the Thunderbird School and embarking on a business career. Currently he is a Contracts Manager for a major aerospace and defense manufacturer.

Frank was always a voracious reader with a preference for mysteries and suspense novels. After many years of saying he would get around to writing a book someday, his wife decided that it was time for him to put up or shut up. Since that day, he has diligently worked at his writing until, finally, the first book, Resurrection Garden, has been published and others under contract are due out shortly.

ksm:  Frank, thank you for joining me today and answering these questions. It’s great to have you here. My readers are excited to learn more about you and your work. Congratulations on your contracts with MuseItUp Publishing.  You know I have to ask this, when and why did you start writing?

FJS:  I have been writing since I was in college. I had a professor that encouraged me. She said I had some talent. I was never able to actually do much more than dabble in fiction writing for my own pleasure for a long time. After graduating from college I served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. After that I went on to get an MBA and began my professional career. It wasn’t until many years later that my wife finally got me to sit down and start writing a novel. That was almost twenty years ago. It has taken that long to polish my writing and get something published.

ksm: Please tell us a little about your book.

FJS:  Resurrection Garden is a mystery novel set against the backdrop of the settling of the North Dakota prairie at the turn of the 20th century. Railroads and the telegraph were changing transportation and communication. The pace of life was speeding up. The land was filling up with settlers. Opportunity grew out of the newly plowed ground. Deputy Sheriff Jake Turner, a man with a past he would like to leave behind, discovers the body of a murdered man in a thawing snowdrift. While investigating the roots of the crime, Jake uncovers threads leading toward his best friend, who is the brother of the woman he is falling love with. Jake is almost killed and an orphaned boy who has attached himself to Jake is kidnapped and almost killed. Jake is convinced the people behind the murder will kill again to cover their tracks but solving the crime might destroy his dreams. The characters and story are true to their time and place. Interwoven into the fictional are aspects of real life culled from newspapers and letters from the era.

ksm:  What inspired you to write this book and why did you choose to write this in the mystery/suspense genre?

FJS:  The idea behind the story came to me while I was driving through one of North Dakota’s harsh winter blizzards. The idea led to research which fed the story background.

Resurrection Garden is a part of my Decade Mystery Series. I am writing at least one novel set in each decade from the beginning of the 20th century to the current time set in different locales with both continuing and new characters in each one. There is something unique in each decade that marks it as separate from what went before or what follows. I shall explore aspects of what is unique as it is expressed in the locale chosen and how it affects the culture, characters and the tenor of the times and yet also see the common humanity that never changes. Resurrection Garden is unique among the books in the series in that it is set where my grandparents settled.

I write mystery/suspense novels simply because it is what I most enjoy reading. The genre incorporates a range of styles which allows an author a wide latitude for story telling.

ksm:  What research did you do for this book?

FJS:  I have photos, letters and other material from my grandparents and relatives that provided a wealth of information. I also used the local museum which was a tremendous resource of material from the early settlement days. The local newspaper has archives of the papers from the time that I read and many stories that were in the paper appear in the book in one form or another.

ksm: They say that books choose their authors. How has writing this particular book affected you?

FJS:  I thoroughly enjoyed writing the book. The time in which the story takes place is significant to me since my father was six years old at the time and my mother was just born. My grandparents were pioneers and settlers on the prairie. My paternal grandmother took out a homestead as soon as she was old enough and proved it up which required her to live on the land and make improvements. A hard life for an eighteen year old girl. She built a soddy the first year and plowed the land herself. She had a gun by the door for unwelcome visitors. I grew up with the stories and it was fun to bring some of them to life.

ksm:  What do you want readers to take from your writing? What do you want them to understand and why?

FJS:  I have no pretensions of literary greatness. I write for enjoyment, mine and the readers. I want the reader to come along for a ride, to have the story unfold in their mind and get them involved in the characters. To live alongside them as they go about their day, to feel the grit and grime, the fear and anxiety, and the joy and love also.

ksm: Longhand or typing? Do you carry a notebook with you all the time?

FJS:  I work on my computer now. When I first started way back when I wrote in longhand first and then typed it out on an old unpowered typewriter. Then I graduated to electric typewriters. The next step was dedicated word processors. When I got serious about writing twenty years ago I was using a word processor that was considered the latest and greatest. Today, the simplest laptop is so much better.

ksm:  Do you consider yourself a full-time writer or do you have a day job? Where do you see yourself in five years?

FJS:  I have a full time job that requires my full attention for 8 to 10 hours a day. Writing must take place on my time. In five years I will finally be retired and able to spend more time writing and getting my Decade Mystery Series written.

ksm:  Are you working on any new projects? Can you give us a short preview?

FJS:  I have another book coming out soon from MuseItUp called Dead Man’s Gambit. This is a story set in the 1990’s in California. Mike Johnson, former detective and current Assistant DA, has fallen into a comfortable rut, but the murder of a friend in prison is going to turn his life upside down, drag him into a deadly dangerous investigation of a brutal crime and rekindle his passion for justice.

Another book entitled Empty Time will be coming out shortly after that. Jim Lang is a corporate bureaucrat lost in empty time where life has little meaning beyond daily drudgery when he is set up to take the blame for international industrial espionage, stock fraud and murder. Pursued by the police and the killers, Lang must find a way to turn the tables on the corporate titans who betrayed him before they kill everyone he loves.

More follow these.

ksm:  What is the hardest thing for you as a writer?

FJS:  Finding enough time to write. With my full time job it is very difficult to get enough time to do all the writing I want to do.

ksm:  Do you have any pearls of wisdom to pass on to aspiring writers?

FJS:  Nothing new. The usual platitudes are true. Perseverance pays off. Don’t give up. Practice, practice, practice. Write, and then write some more. When you don’t write, read. Write because you like to write, not for the money.

ksm:  Can you tell us what your favorite pastime is? (other than writing!)

FJS:  I like to spend time in the yard and garden or take a long walk. When the weather does not permit this I read or play poker online.

ksm:  If you could do anything you’d like, go anywhere in the world without time or money constraints, what would you do and why?

FJS:  I would be hopping from one place to another. Although my work has enabled me to travel to many places in the world there are still so many more I would love to see and spend more time visiting. The Tuscany region in Italy is at the top of the list but so many more clamor for attention. New Zealand and Australia, Chile, Brazil and Argentina, the Great Wall of China.

ksm:  Thank you for joining us here at Boston Daydreaming, Frank, and congratulations on your recent award from the Preditors and Editors Readers Polls! How can fans find, follow and friend you?

FJS:  Thanks for inviting me. It has been a pleasure.  My website is:  I have a blog there and all are invited to come and take a look and leave a comment.

Resurrection Garden

Jake Turner, a scarred veteran of the charge up San Juan Hill, has been a lone drifter through much of the settling of the west. Opportunity was growing out of the newly turned sod of the North Dakota prairie in 1904 when he stopped to take a part time job as a Deputy Sheriff, expecting to move on again when the dark parts of his past catch up to him.

An investigation into a murder of a man hated by everyone has threads that lead to his best friend, Isaac. Jake is ambushed and almost killed, but is nursed back to health by Isaac. While Jake follows the clues into a labyrinth of hatred, sordid crimes and missing money he becomes attached to an eight year old orphaned boy named Andy and falls in love with Isaac’s sister, Alice. After being alone for so long with no hope or care for what tomorrow might bring, Jake finds it difficult to accept these new emotional attachments.

Jake believes in Justice, but before he had only his own life on the line. When Andy is kidnapped and almost killed, Jake knows the killers will do anything to stop him. In order to protect Alice and Andy, he must break their hearts and leave them and North Dakota behind.

Jake knows he’ll be back. So do the killers. Trap and counter trap are laid. Jake knows there will be graves. He just doesn’t know who will be in them.

Excerpt from Resurrection Garden:

The sheriff joined me in my contemplation of the body. It wasn’t pretty. Thor had never been handsome and the ravages of being frozen under the snow for the winter and having birds and other animals picking away at the skin as the snow thawed and exposed the body made what was left of him downright disgusting.

One thing was evident though. He hadn’t died easy. Freezing to death is relatively painless. Wander out in the cold, get lost, fall asleep and don’t wake up. That wasn’t what happened to Thor.

“What do you think? Shotgun, maybe?” the sheriff opined.

“At least,” I answered. The hole in his chest was big enough to put a fist through. “But why? He musta been dead already when he was shot.”

“Yeah, first someone beat him to a bloody pulp, then gutted him and slashed his throat. And then shot him. Ain’t that what you said, Doc.”

“Looks that way to me,” Doc answered. “Can’t tell you much more until he thaws out all the way.”

“Somebody wanted him deader than dead,” the sheriff shook his head.

“Takes some hate to do all that,” Doc commented. “Got any suspects?”

Doc and the sheriff both turned to face me.

I let out a deep sigh. “I suppose you want me to find out what happened to him.”

Also available at Amazon.

Photo credits: Frank Scully and MuseItUp Publishing


  1. Excellent interview. Thanks for hosting Frank today, Karen. I'm in the middle of reading this book now and am hooked. I even took my Kindle into the tub with me last night--something I rarely do because I'm afraid to drop it. LOL!

    Best of luck with your book, Frank. Hope you're enjoying the tour so far.


  2. Great interview, Karen & Frank! Looking forward to reading this. I love agood mystery!

  3. Thanks for hosting me today, Karen, and thanks to all who stopped by. I appreciated the chance to provide some background on Resurrection Garden.

    Frank Scully

  4. Cheryl, I know what you mean! That's how I felt with Dead Man's Gambit (I got a preview editing it!). :) Love Frank's writing, so down to earth and real.

  5. Debra, you will love this! And his other books are as wonderful. Love it when you find an author you can count on for a good story and good voice. :)

  6. Frank, it's always a pleasure! You know I'm such a fan of your writing. I'm looking forward to your new releases as well.

    Best wishes! Karen :)

  7. Hi Frank: Will be looking at the series as it develops. Finally got my wife to accept reading on my old eBookwise reader -- she's the mystery/thriller fan.

    Chris H.

  8. Wow--I was impressed that your grandmother worked the farm ground at 18 years old. What a determined young woman she was! Did you get that characteristic from her? Love the idea of a story about each decade. Looking forward to a great read from the turn of the century

  9. Enjoyed the interview. Franks family history is very fascinating. His grandmother sounded like a determined woman. To be owning and working the land at 18 years old, how awesome.

  10. My grandmother was indeed an amazing woman. She was one of twelve children and all were pioneers. My Grandfather and his brothers were the same type of people, strong willed and unafraid to jump into the unknown. I enjoyed writing about people like them.

  11. Great interview--nice to meet you. And what an interesting series of books! Wishing you plenty of writing time.