Robert, please introduce yourself, tell the readers when you began writing, etc.
I began writing when I was a teenager, but aside from a few poems and stories in school literary magazines, I didn’t start publishing until much later. My first book was the literary cookbook, A Taste of Murder, co-written with Jo Grossman. My first novel, The Wicked and the Dead, was published a few years later and the follow-up in the series, The Dead Don’t Forget, has just been published this year. I’ve also published a number of stories and one of them, “Identity Theft,” was a Derringer Award finalist. It’s available in the great eBook collection, Deadly by the Dozen, edited by Mark Terry.
I have an English degree from Haverford College, and after college, I returned to my home city of New York and began a career in publishing. I later moved to Los Angeles and shifted gears a bit, working in the film and television industry for a time – an experience which provides much of the background for my Hollywood-based mystery series featuring screenwriter-sleuth Billy Winnetka.
I live in California with my wife and daughter (who is currently away at college). Beyond my literary pursuits, I am an avocational singer and actor.
Do you write every day, and are novels the only things you write?
I write every day because I write for a living – that is, I make my living writing press and marketing material for publishers. I have also been a monthly review columnist for the national book review, BookPage, for eleven years. These commitments often prevent me from writing “creatively” on a daily basis, but I believe any writing we do helps to make us better writers, so it is all part of the process.
I know you have a new novel that’s just been released. Please tell my readers about it.
The Dead Don’t Forget, from Oak Tree Press, is the second in a crime fiction series featuring screenwriter-sleuth Billy Winnetka. The books are set in Los Angeles in the 1990s. In this installment, Billy meets a screen legend—a now 80-something woman who was a huge star in the silent film age. Gwendolyn Barlow is living in her deteriorating mansion in Hancock Park, largely forgotten. But someone remembers her, because she has been getting disturbing phone calls, threatening her with death. Or so she says—no one really believes her at first. But things turn uglier when someone actually makes an attempt on her life. Billy is soon mired in an investigation that suggests more than one person may have a reason to want Gwendolyn dead. Meanwhile, Billy is spending his days on the movie set where his screenplay, Perchance to Dream, is being filmed. It is not going well. A hot head novice director is wreaking havoc, and, being Hollywood, innocent heads will roll. Billy’s only solace is a new romance—with Gwendolyn’s attorney, Kate Hennessey. But in Billy’s world, nothing, especially not love, is without complications.
What other novels have you written?
The Wicked and the Dead.
What is your most rewarding writing experience?
For me, the most rewarding thing is when a reader lets me know that he or she enjoyed one of my books – and why. It is particularly gratifying if a reader “gets” what I was hoping to accomplish. Just yesterday, for example, an old friend who I worked with in the film business called to tell me he enjoyed The Dead Don’t Forget, and he told me he had been reading the book in a doctor’s waiting room when he got to the moment where a character is killed. He said he uttered, “Oh, no!” aloud and everyone else in the room looked at him as if he were crazy. I just love knowing that he was that absorbed in the book and cared that much about a character.
Do you belong to any writing groups, or critique groups?
No, I’m a bit of a lone wolf in that way.
Are you working on a new project?
I always have a few things in the works. I’m working on a noir book set in the early 1960s, and another novel, set in Hollywood in the 1930s, is percolating. And I should get to work on the third Billy Winnetka books, for which I have a general outline in my head. I’ve also written a play, Which Way the Wind Blows, that I hope will be produced.
Is there anything you would like to share with our readers?
First and foremost, thanks for their support of writers. Publishing has changed so much over the last decade or so, and the commercial success of a book is more and more dependent on word of mouth and online buzz. So if you enjoy a book – be it one of mine or someone else’s – do post your comments on amazon.com or goodreads.com or any other site that reviews and/or sells books. Writers really appreciate that.
Please provide the readers with a link to your website, and a link to your book.
My website can be found at http://www.RobertWeibezahl.com, and I invite readers to “like” my author page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Robert-Weibezahl-Writer/115515968523507. The Dead Don’t Forget can be purchased at http://www.bn.com, http://www.amazon.com, and http://www.oaktreebooks.com
Thank you, John, for inviting me to be your guest at your wonderful blog.