Before he became a mystery writer and reviewer, Carl Brookins was a counselor and faculty member at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Brookins and his wife are avid recreational sailors. He is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Private Eye Writers of America. He can frequently be found touring bookstores and libraries with his companions-in-crime, The Minnesota Crime Wave.
He writes the sailing adventure series featuring Michael Tanner and Mary Whitney. The third novel is Old Silver. His new private investigator series features Sean NMI Sean, a short P.I. The first is titled The Case of the Greedy Lawyers. Brookins received a liberal arts degree from the University of Minnesota and studied for a MA in Communications at Michigan State University.
Come and enjoy a time of conversation with author Carl Brookins as he talks about translating his sailing adventures to fiction and creating fictional characters that feel like old friends. Brookins is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Private Eye Writers of America. He can frequently be found touring bookstores and libraries with his companions-in-crime, The Minnesota Crime Wave.
One of the enduring questions that arises, has to do with the sources and occurrence of ideas. You know, “Hey, where do you get your ideas?” I may have mentioned that my short story published a few years ago for Echelon Press, the one titled “A Winter’s Tale,” was stolen from a Shakespeare play with a similar title, although the two have little or nothing else in common. But I always say, “if you are gonna steal, steal from the best.”
One of the most stirring speeches in all of Shakespeare’s writing occurs in “King Henry V,” in the scene before the battle of Agincourt. “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers….that fought with us upon St. Crispin’s Day…” If you haven’t seen the marvelous WWII series “Band of Brothers,” produced by Spielberg and Hanks, you should.
I watched screenwriter/producer Paul Haggis take a small silver watch he’d never seen before, examine it, smell it, caress it in his fingers, and in the space of ten minutes, create a story around and about that watch that was interesting, compelling, and quite moving. It was an example of creativity of a high order. Haggis is the man who created and produced the award-winning “Crash” and some other fine films, like “Million-Dollar Baby,” and “In The Valley of Elah,” which starred Tommy Lee Jones. He also produced “EZ Streets,” a dark moody excellent television series which, unfortunately didn’t do well in the ratings, in spite of its good quality writing, acting and directing.
By the way, as an almost unrelated aside, I am about to publish Grand Lac, a stand-alone mystery novel based on a real incident in a western state. It takes place near a large lake and involves a bull-dozer, murder and civic chicanery.
Good reading to you all.