Marta Stephens author of the Sam Harper Crime Mystery series:
THE DEVIL CAN WAIT (2008), Bronze Medal Finalist, 2009 Independent Publishers Book Awards (IPPY), Top Ten, 2008 Preditors and Editors Reader Poll (mystery).
SILENCED CRY (2007) Honorable Mention, 2008 New York Book Festival, Top Ten, 2007 Preditors and Editors Reader Poll (mystery)
Marta Stephens, a crime/mystery writer, resides in Indiana with her husband and two children. Stephens is currently working on the third book in the Sam Harper series as well as a new novel featuring the character of Rhonie Lude, PI. Stephens also administers the collective authors’ blog, Murder by 4, selected by Writer’s Digest among the 2009 101 Best Websites for Authors.
Stephens holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism/Public Relations from Ball State University (IN) and is a member of Sisters in Crime International, Sisters in Crime Speed City Indiana Chapter, and the Midwest Writer's Workshop.
What do you want readers to take away from your books?
Writing is my passion and when I read, I want to be entertained—taken to another place and time along with the characters. My hope is that readers will experience this when they read my novels—that they’ll be drawn into the situations my character, homicide detective Sam Harper, encounters and will have a sense of reality within a work of fiction. I truly hope they’ll enjoy my books as much as I love writing them.
Are you a believer in outlines, or do you write spontaneously?
My plots are complex, often involving multiple characters and the need to weave 3-4 subplots together. The only way to ensure I’ve tied the clues and subplots together is to have a road map. Rather than an outline though, I prefer to write a synopsis. Initially I include everything I think will happen in the story adding as much detail as I possibly can. However, writing the synopsis is an entirely flexible process because I often discover the most interesting twist mid way through the manuscript that I hadn’t thought of ahead of time. As the story evolves, I update the synopsis. When I’m done with the novel, I’m also done with the synopsis.
What do you think it is about your book that will keep readers turning the pages?
The character of Sam Harper has a wonderful following among readers. One reviewer from Midwest Book Reviews described Harper as: “… a well-realized, no-nonsense cop, a streetwise guy who refuses to give up despite the odds. When the going gets rough, everyone else has given up, an easy option looms, and the race becomes overwhelming, Harper is just getting started. He is the original it ain't over guy.” But as tough as Harper is on the criminal(s), readers appreciate his compassion and soft side for his friends/co-workers and even the victims. Several have expressed their love of his relationship with his father who is a retired city detective. Harper often seeks his father’s advice. Readers have described my novels as fast-paced page turners. I think the reason for it is plotting, the obstacles Harper finds himself in, and the several cliffhangers that are written into the chapters. That’s what will keep them glued to their comfy chair turning those pages.
How can readers learn more and get in contact with you?
I look forward to hearing from readers or those interested in leaning more about me and my novels. I’m available via my website and blogs.
www.martastephens-author.com http://samharpercrimescene.blogspot.com – character blog: http://murderby4.blogspot.com – collective authors’ blog