Bentley Turner, a pseudonym, has written several short stories for literary journals. “The File on Thomas Marks” is his first mystery. Turner is working on another mystery tentatively titled “A Killing in Oklahoma.” Under his legal name, Turner has written articles for academic journals, chapters for academic books, entries for encyclopedias and other reference books, and several books of nonfiction for academic and reference publishers.
What inspires you to write?
I have been writing most of my life. In fact, I enrolled in several creative writing courses when I was an undergraduate. One or more of the stories I wrote for one or more of these courses were published in literary journals. Later, when I started my career in higher education, I wrote nonfiction for academic and scholarly publications. When I retired from higher education several years ago, I returned to writing fiction. Since I enjoy reading mysteries, I wrote "The File on Thomas Marks," a mystery, which was just published by the Global Publishing Group. I should mention that I worked on this novel several years.
Tell us about your writing process.
Generally, I do not use an outline that I have put on paper. Rather, I have an idea for a character or characters and a storyline. Although the storyline usually changes as I go along. Sometimes, I will toss out one or more chapters, especially if one or more are not necessary to the story. Sometimes, I will get rid of a particular character. For instance, when I wrote "The File on Thomas Marks," there were two or three chapters that I literally cut from the novel because these were not necessary. I also deleted or changed one or more characters.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I believe I know my characters well. I know what they look like. I know what they think. Consequently, I know how they will act and what they will say in any given situation. However, if I don't like a character or if I think a character is not adding anything to the storyline, I may cut the character or change the character. Or I may change the storyline as a result of asking myself, "What if . . ." I noticed I asked myself this question all the time when I wrote "The File on Thomas Marks."
Who are your favorite authors?
James M. Cain, Raymond Chandler, John D. MacDonald, Harold Robbins, Sidney Sheldon, John Grisham, John Hart, Linwood Barclay, and several others. Some of the books include "The Postman Always Rings Twice," "Double Indemnity," "The Big Sleep," "The High Window," "The Little Sister," "A Deadly Shade of Gold," "A Tan and Sandy Silence," "The Green Ripper," "Condominium," "The Naked Face," "A Stranger in the Mirror," "Rage of Angels," "The Doomsday Conspiracy," "Nothing Lasts Forever," "Tell Me Your Dreams," "Are You Afraid of the Dark?," "Stiletto," "The Carpetbaggers," "Where Love Has Gone," "Dreams Die First," "Memories of Another Day," "King of Lies," "Down River," "A Time to Kill," "The Firm," "The Pelican Brief," "The Client," "The Chamber," "The Rainmaker," "The Testament," "Ford County: Stories," "Bad Move," "No Time for Goodbye," "Too Close to Home," "Fear the Worst," "Never Look Away," and "A Tap on the Window."
What genres do you write?
Mystery/thriller fiction, Academic nonfiction
How did you choose the genre(s) you write?
I research and write academic fiction primarily because of my formal education, professional career, and personal interest. I did not start writing mystery fiction until I retired from higher education. Since I enjoy reading mysteries and since I enjoy writing fiction, I thought I would try writing a mystery instead of researching and writing another book for an academic publisher. After several years of writing (and editing) "The File on Thomas Marks," I finally sent it to several publishers. The Global Publishing Group accepted it.
What three things are on your writing desk at any given moment?
A dictionary, a thesaurus, and a pen. Of course, a computer is not far away.
What hobbies do you have when you need a break from writing?
Reading a short story or novel
Taking a drive
What formats are your books in?
All information is provided by the author and is presented as it was submitted so you the reader get to hear the author’s own “voice” in their interview.