Today, I would like to introduce you to the very talented, Paul Mansfield Keefe.

I met Paul a few months ago, on BestsellerBound, a message board where indie authors can chat to readers. (I'm a resident author on the board). We have since become very good online friends.

I recently had the pleasure of reading Paul's debut novelDigger's Bones as a reviewer for Bookpleasures. You can see my review here: Review of Digger's Bones on Bookpleasures.com

I really enjoyed the book and can tell that Paul is an author to look out for in the future. It is rare that a debut novel is so well written, and I must say I was very impressed. Paul has a way of describing an action scene so that you feel as if you are actually there. His thriller, Digger's Bones, is a must read.

As well as agreeing to take part in an interview today, Paul has very kindly offered a special discount voucher to all my blog readers, so you can get your hands on a copy of the book for just $2.99. Don't miss it! More details about this are at the end of the interview.

Here are Paul's replies to a few interview questions I set him:

Is there a particular author, or book, that inspired you to start writing?
My inspiration really came from working on an animated sci-fi movie script. I had decided that I had far more to write than could be encompassed in a movie so I began writing a novel. I started writing my thriller, Digger’s Bones, after reading The Jesus Thief by J. R. Lankford, which was a very enjoyable read. Angie Cooper came to me mostly formed and I knew it was the story I needed to write.

When did you first discover your love of writing?
When I was in high school I wrote a lot of poetry and I truly loved it. However, like many people in life, I moved away from writing for many years. Now that I’ve found it again I wonder how I could have ever stopped, I’m obsessed with filling empty paper with words; even if it is electronic paper.

Your debut novel, Digger’s Bones, is a thriller dealing with subjects including archaeology and the history of religion.  How much research did you have to do and how long did it take you to write the book?
I did tons of research. Every church mentioned, every religious doctrine, every location around the world, had to be extensively researched. The last thing I wanted was for someone to say, “Boy, did you get that wrong!” I collected photos, multimedia CDROMs, read up on archaeology as much as possible, and of course consulted everyone’s favorite, Wikipedia.

It took me about two years to finish the manuscript. A lot of that time was spent working out an intricate plot and ensuring it played well with the characters. Of course, I also work full-time so that made the overall development time a bit longer.

Have you ever visited the holy lands described in the book?  As a reader, I was impressed by how detailed the description of the places was.
I’ve visited some, but not all, of the places in the book. I once lived in Virginia and worked in the Russell Senate Office Building and spent time visiting the different Smithsonian buildings. I spent time up on Bandelier looking over the ground Angie did in the novel, and the same for the Zugspitze in Germany. However, I haven’t been to the Holy Land. So, now you know the reason for the painstaking research. And let me add that I’m now dying to go!

You have been getting some great reviews for Diggers Bones.  One thing I noticed, and I think was also mentioned by another reviewer, is that you have really managed to somehow get into the mind of a female character.  Angie Cooper, the main character is very believable and she seems to think and feel just like a woman.  Was it hard for you as a man to write from a woman’s perspective?
It was important to the story that Angie be an “every woman” and not an embittered, whiskey drinking, overly masculine, female stereotype. Not that they don’t have their place in thrillers, a hard-boiled female detective can be a great character. But Angie is an innocent caught up in a powerful drama that she didn’t create. So, I set out from the start to make her believable as an ordinary person.

I grew up around many strong women, my sisters and my mother, and so I was exposed to non-stereotypical women early in life. Not thinking of women as being the “weaker” sex allowed me to better portray a woman’s perspective and emotions. Still, the first go-round a couple of woman said they didn’t “get” Angie and I had to figure out what was missing from her personality. That turned out to be a nurturing spirit and Madie was added to help round out Angie and that really seemed to do the trick.

I understand that Digger’s Bones is the first in a series, can you tell us a bit more about your plans for the series?
I can tell you that I’ve had three books planned out for some time and I am currently working on the second. I can also tell you that as long as Angie finds ways to get into, and out of, trouble, I’ll be writing about her. The last thing I can say without spoiling much—any reader of my first novel can attest to the fact that it is difficult to talk about without giving something away—is that the settings will be completely different from the first book. Yes, I have my research cut out for me.

Do you have any tips for someone who is considering self-publishing their own book?
Absolutely. First and foremost, do it. Don’t worry about the difficulties involved, they are minimal. Start with Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com and create eBooks for the Kindle and Nook. Next, go to CreateSpace.com and make a print version. CreateSpace is a part of Amazon so you can link your two books together on Amazon and they will also get linked on Barnes and Noble. Finally, take a deep breath and hold on tight.

Who are your favourite authors and what is it about their writing that you like?
Growing up I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy such as Frank Herbert’s Dune and the Adept series by Piers Anthony, because the settings amazed me. As an adult I read a lot of David Baldacci for his character development and great plots. Lately I’ve been enjoying John Connolly because of his fluid and descriptive writing style. I like the fact that he can pull that off without getting too flowery. You may have noticed that Angie reads a Sue Grafton novel in Digger’s Bones and you would be right in thinking she is another of my favorites. The last I’d like to mention is the late, great Tony Hillerman. I believe I’ve read all of his novels but I keep hoping there is one I missed so I can revisit Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn one last time.

Is there a book you own that you’ve read more than once?
Speaking of Tony Hillerman, I read a couple of his more than once—the first that springs to mind is Skinwalkers, a great novel. I also read Dune more than once as a kid.

What was the last book you read?
Right now I’m reading several at once, a somewhat bad habit of mine. The last novel I finished was by the brilliant Maria Savva, A Time To Tell. I have to say, it was a pleasure to read and even greater pleasure to get to know the author.

Thank you, Paul :)

Are you reading a book at the moment?
I’m reading several as mentioned above. One that would be of interest to lovers of the sci-fi genre is Jaleta Clegg’s Nexus Point; I’m really enjoying it. Even though the characters are young adults the book could easily be read by YA readers as well. It kind of reminds me of a Michael Crichton novel.

What do you think of ebooks?
I love them. Not that I don’t like the feel and smell of the printed page, I really do. Yet I find the convenience of eBooks, especially carrying a library around with me in my Kindle, to be quite compelling. There’s no doubt that they’re here to stay and every author should address them as a means to greater readership.

How important are reviews for you as a writer?
It’s hard to say. I had a couple of bad reviews in the beginning because I, stupidly, posted a mainly unedited version of my book accidentally. Once I righted that, the reviews got better but I can’t say that sales were directly affected. I suppose if they had all been bad it would have had a negative effect, but the reverse hasn’t proven itself out.

How did you go about choosing a cover for your book?
I created the cover art myself because I had several ideas I wanted to try out. I ended up with a skull set in a sort of blended out earthy background to make it sort of pop off the shelf. Yet, I worry that too many see the cover and assume it’s some sort of horror novel. I guess that’s why publishers have marketing departments.

What are you working on now?
Book two in the Angie Cooper Series. The one great piece of positive feedback I’ve heard more than anything else is, “When’s the next book coming out?” Readers really want to know what’s going to happen to Angie next. And I’m not going to let them down.

Where can people buy your book?
It’s available in print at:
CreateSpace
Amazon.com
Barnes and Noble

For the Kindle:
Amazon.com

For the Nook:
Barnes and Noble

As an iBook For iPad, iPhone, and iPod (available in the iBookstore):
iBookstore

For the Sony Reader:
Sony

For all eReaders at Smashwords:
Smashwords

Do you have your own website or blog where people can read more about your work?
Any of these URLs will lead to my blog with more info on the book, including some review clips.
DiggersBones.com
PaulKeefe.com
PaulMansfieldKeefe.com

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Yes, I would like to give a special promotional offer to all readers of the Maria Savva Goodreads blog.
From now until March 31, 2011 get Digger’s Bones as an eBook for only $2.99 at Smashwords using the coupon code: TT55Q.
That’s $4 bucks off, so if you’ve been thinking of checking out the adventures of Angie Cooper, now’s the time!

Thank you, Paul, for answering my questions. I wish you every success with your books.


Digger's Bones by Paul Mansfield Keefe Paul Mansfield Keefe
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Published on March 01, 2011 03:49 • 2,523 views • Tags: author-interview, digger-s-bones, discount, interview, paul-keefe, paul-mansfield-keefe, smashwords
Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)    post a comment »
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message 1: by Stacy (new)

Stacy Juba I love the title Digger's Bones, Paul, and I love books with an archaeology premise. I am going to head over to Smashwords later!


message 2: by Paul (new)

Paul Keefe Thanks, Stacy! I hope you enjoy reading it.


message 3: by Darcia (new)

Darcia Helle Great interview, Maria and Paul! This book has been on my radar for some time now. I can't resist a bargain, so I just bought it from Smashwords. Now to work it into my to-read list!


message 4: by Paul (new)

Paul Keefe Thanks, Darcia!

The never ending to-read list, I feel you! I really need to update my goodreads lists someday, it doesn't really reflect my books--only what I remembered when I first signed up.


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