For celebrated detective Alex Mendez the investigation into a series of rapes becomes a nightmare when DNA evidence points to him.As an introduction, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in Denton Texas and grew up there and northwest Arkansas. I am deliriously happily married to the most incredible woman in the world.I spent over half of my adult life in public service as a firefighter/paramedic, police officer and RN. I’ve seen many things that boggle the mind.
What is your book about?IRREFUTABLE follows Alex Mendez, a decorated veteran detective as he tries to solve a series of brutal rapes. He is trying to cope with the loss of his wife two years earlier (for which he blames himself) while raising Carmen, his teen-age daughter alone.
As DNA is identified on two victims Alex follows the evidence to his suspect, but when DNA from a third victim is matched to Alex the hunter becomes the hunted. To clear his name he must disprove the evidence he has collected in the case, but in doing so he could also vindicate a sadistic predator.When and why did you begin writing?
A person I knew died of an apparent suicide, but something about it bothered me. There were things that didn’t add up. I developed a theory about what could have happened and thought it would make a good book. I began developing the idea as a novel but abandoned it for fear of offending other people that were close to the victim.
One night my wife and I were in bed and she asked a ‘what if’ question and the premise was born. A year and a half later I finished IRREFUTABLE.
What genre do you prefer to write in?Suspense/thrillers. Medicine and law enforcement are my background so I write in those areas, at least the first one. My second novel, a work in progress, is a departure from that. The FOLLOWING is a psychological thriller.
I love legal thrillers, but I’m not a lawyer. I don’t have enough of a grasp on the finer points of law to make for a convincing story.
What is your biggest writing achievement to date?In October of 2011, IRREFUTABLE peaked at #19 on the New York Times bestseller list for e-books with over 50,000 copies downloaded from Amazon in that month.
What inspired you to write this book?I guess I already answered that one above.
Who is your favourite author, and what is it about their work that strikes a chord with you?That’s a tough question. I have several. Since I love legal thrillers John Grisham and Steve Martini are in the top five for me, but I guess my overall favorite is Michael Crichton. I envy his imagination and his ability to teach complex subjects while weaving them into the story. I love to learn while I read.
Where and when do you do most of your writing?I have a study that I can seclude myself from the world. I do most of my writing late at night. My imagination seems to be most productive when I am delirious from being up way too long.
What would you say was the hardest part of writing your book?I would say the thing I struggled with most was keeping my self-judgment under control and keeping faith that my writing was good enough.
I also found it very difficult to avoid the urge to edit everything while writing.Who designed your book cover – and was the cover something you deemed important?
I design my own covers. I think covers are extremely important. The old adage “you can’t judge a book by its cover” couldn’t be more false. Everyone makes the decision to pick up a book and take a closer look based on the cover. If it doesn’t get a reader’s attention they will never see the inside no matter how good the writing.As part of the cover, the title is important too. I try to title my books to give a hint as to what the book is about while leaving an aire of mystery. I use as few words as possible, one or two at the most. I hate long wordy titles.
Did you try to go down the route of traditional publishing first – or did you feel that self-publishing was right for you from the beginning?I did send out a few query letters to agents and got a couple of requests, but in the end I decided that I could do better and keep control over my work by self-publishing.
On the whole, how have you found self-publishing?I think it’s the only way to go. Like I said before, I keep control and make my own decisions on editing and marketing. I would hate to have some editor try to change the entire story into something that doesn’t even resemble the story I originally wrote. Besides, the royalties are much better by self-publishing.
Where can we buy the book?IRREFUTABLE as an e-book is only available on Kindle from Amazon.com. You can purchase the paperback version from any online retailer: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders etc…
Do you have a website or blog where we can keep tabs on you?www.dalerobertsbooks.com
Do you have any advice for other writers?Never let doubt keep you from pursuing your dream. Just keep writing. When writing your first draft, don’t worry about editing, just write. It can all be edited when you are finished.
Seek out and join forums with other writers. The advice I found on some of them has been invaluable.And, finally, do you have anything else that you’d like to say to everyone?
To all the avid readers out there, give the independent authors a chance. While it’s true that the quality of writing in some self-published books leaves little to be desired, you occasionally find a gem.