Interview with Crime Writer Mark Edward Langley: S. 7, Ep. 6 — Debbi Mack

I was watching the Spenser for Hire series on television. And one of the ladies I worked with said, “If you love the show, you should read the books.”

I got into reading Robert Parker and then Mickey Spillane and John D. MacDonald, and just went from there, and I just started loving whatever I could get my hands on.

First, I took a two-week vacation out there and I traveled the route that’s in the book. So, whatever I saw along that way, I dictated into a tape recorder and came back and transposed it all down. Then started developing characters and backstories for the characters.

I actually was texting back and forth in the mornings with one of the local reporters on the NBC Station here in Chicago, and I wanted to ask her some questions about what do you give up to have this life you have? I wanted to make her real and things that happen in their life, once you have that job, a lot of things you don’t get to do.

You have to feel the heat, feel the cold, in order to convey that to the reader in the book. And a lot of people who have read my books feel like they’re right there in the situation, in the area. I love that.

Once I got into the area and was driving through the red landscape up through Utah’s, I was home. I mean, I just… That’s the way I feel about it.

So, I found somebody online that I saw who lived in Farmington and could answer my question. So, I asked her about that, and she agreed to answer it. … we got talking back and forth and became kind of Facebook friends. … She was the one who got me involved in meeting some people out there when I went out there …

I came upon the idea of ‘When Silence Screams’ by being a part on Facebook, linking up with MMIW, which is Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women organization. And every day, it seemed like, a couple of years back, I was getting notifications and flyers every day of someone going missing.

I came upon the New Mexico Livestock Board and contacted the Deputy Director there. I had a nice long Zoom conversation with him, and he answered several questions. I emailed back and forth and got more information.

I’ve been told I do things backward. I create a title first and fill a story out around it.

I told Anne [Hillerman] about her dad. I says, “You know, your father taught me about the landscape.” And John D. MacDonald taught me about setting up things with the writing in general. Parker taught me about dialogue. Mickey Spillane taught me about action in a novel. And Hemingway, I think, taught me heart.

--

--

--

New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, including the Sam McRae Mystery series. Screenwriter, podcaster, and blogger. My website: www.debbimack.com.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Debbi Mack

Debbi Mack

New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, including the Sam McRae Mystery series. Screenwriter, podcaster, and blogger. My website: www.debbimack.com.

More from Medium

How to Map OneDrive to a Drive Letter in Windows 11?

Route 66 Buzz-Flip-flop by Rick Hammer

The Witcher Season 2 Review

My Hair is Leaving my Head… and Landing on My Face