Sherlock Holmes fans seems to find one another much easier than locating that missing sock from the laundry pile. Author and Holmes fan, Dan Andriacco, and I connected with one another via the social network a couple of years ago. Dan writes two mystery series, both with Holmes focusses: the Jeff Cody/Sebastian McCabe series and now, with fellow author Kieran McMullen, the Enoch Hale and Sherlock Holmes series. You don't have to be a
Holmes or a mystery fan to enjoy Dan and Kieran's first Hale/Holmes book The Amateur Executioner: Enoch Hale Meets Sherlock Holmes. I ask Dan to tell me about the development of this new mystery and what it was like to collaborate with another writer.
1. How did The Amateur
Executioner: Enoch Hale Meets Sherlock Holmes come about? I know you’ve been a Sherlock Holmes fan since you were nine.
Has this story been brewing for a while?
Not since I was nine!
It’s been long enough that I’m not sure how long, but I may have written the
outline between two of my Sebastian McCabe – Jeff Cody mysteries, or maybe even
before the first was published. I
kept thinking: I like this plot, but I don’t want to do all the research that
would be needed. Then I thought of asking Kieran if he would be interested in
collaborating with me. He’d already been incredibly helpful in answering all my
ballistics and police procedure questions for the McCabe – Cody books. So I
sent him the outline. He said, “Let’s give it a shot.” He made some helpful
plot suggestions as well as doing wonderful research.
2. What was
it like collaborating with another writer?
For me, it was
wonderful! Every time I hit a research question I couldn’t get answered with a
internet search, I put Kieran on it by sending him an e-mail or a
Facebook message. He always gave me a detailed answer very quickly. That
speeded up the writing. This was on top of the initial research in the planning
stage, when he provided me with biographies of historical characters and
detailed descriptions of real locations used in the book. We’ve only met once,
but I’m looking forward to seeing him again in Maryland in June at Sherlock
Holmes event, A Scintillation of Scions.
|Dan Andriacco and Kieran McCullen
3. One of the things I enjoyed about the book was the
presence of so many real people like Winston Churchill, Alfred Hitchcock, and
T.S. Eliot, and famous fictional characters like Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson
and Mycroft Holmes. Was it a conscious decision to include these characters or
did they come along as the story progressed?
It was a conscious
decision, but we tried to create a plot that they fit into naturally. I’m glad that
you think it worked! The first historical character to make it into the book
was T.S. Eliot. I knew that he would be the hero’s sidekick before I even knew
the hero’s name.
4. Are there
any incidents in the story based on actual happenings?
No major plot elements are real
based on real life, but there are a lot of references to historical happenings
as background – thanks to Kieran. To the best of our ability, everything in the
book could have happened: Ezra Pound
was in London during the time of the story. Alfred Hitchcock really did work at
that time for that particular movie studio, which looked just as we describe
it. George Bernard Shaw was known to dine at Simpson’s. Murray’s night club and
Arthur’s were real.
5. If you
went back in time, what question would you ask Sherlock Holmes; Sir Arthur
I would have to ask
Holmes what his retirement was like. I’ve always suspected that his Sussex
years weren’t all that retiring -- as happens in The Amateur Executioner. I would like to ask Sir Arthur why he
didn’t write more stories about Professor Challenger, a wonderful character
with too few adventures.
Holmes and his gang and Hale, are there any characters in the book, that
captured your interest enough to have them appear in the next mystery?
Tom Eliot will be back,
though probably not as prominently. At this point, I don’t think any of the
other historical characters will reprise their appearances because we’re going
to introduce different ones.
7. What’s next for Enoch Hale and Sherlock Holmes?
In their next joint venture, The Poisoned Penman, they will investigate the murder of a major
character in The Amateur Executioner
with the help of Dorothy L. Sayers and one or two other mystery writers of the
period. That book is in the plotting stages now. And we plan at least one more
book after that.
Check out Dan's blog The Baker Street Beat for what is happening in Dan's world of Sherlock Holmes.
Labels: #mystery #SherlockHolmes #BakerStreetBeat #sherlockians #sleuths