The Award Winning ChickenBone Mystery Series
with former baseball player turned PI Jake Eliam
Frequently Asked Questions from ChickenBone Readers
Q: Why did you decide to make all your books about sports, baseball or old music?
A: Because after extensive research, I determined too many books on BioPhysics and NueroBiology had already been published.
A: No. It’s about failure. A lot of really BAD musicians make GOOD cash playing in dive bars and baseball, well…baseball IS a game of FAILURE. You get 10 at bats and if you fail 7 times, you hit .300 and become an All-Star. My goal is Failure. Embrace it.
Q: How do you come up with all the oddball characters in your books?
A: I disguise my relatives just enough so they can’t recognize themselves.
Q: What about all the nicknames? You got some crazy ones, like SweetThang, Polecat, RoadKill, GreaseFire and more. Do you make those up?
A: I have to. All the good ones are taken up by the folks I grew up around. Everybody had nicknames. It’s a rite of passage growing up in the South.
Even today, you can head down where I grew up and you will meet up with guys named Snake, Jumpy, SkilletHead and such. And none of them are drug dealers or idiots…except maybe one of them, who is a United States Senator...which might qualify him as an Idiot.
Q: So, the nicknames stick with you?
A: Absolutely. My older brother is an accomplished Lawyer type, but among us, he is known just as THE BRAIN…Not only was he the smart one, but if he didn’t know the answer to a question…he could just make something up and convince you it was correct.
One late night in a college dorm room, we phoned him up at 4am with a very pressing important question…“What was the name of the dog in the Jetsons?” He let out some unlawerly words and answered…“Astro.” Then hung up. He was Google before Google.
Q: Do you have a Nickname?
A: I do. Bestowed upon me in the dark of night in a motel room in Myrtle Beach, SC by the leader of the Rock N’ Roll Band I played in at the time. They still call me by that name, but only those few guys in the circle of THE FABULOUS VICTORS know it and use it.
I would tell you, but I think the FBI case is still pending.
Q: Your career has been in broadcasting. What was your first job?
A: Local Radio in my hometown. WSGC 250 watts of power at night…which meant less than a mile. They let me do a triple header, two nights a week of Little League Baseball Play-By-Play. Paid me five bucks a night. I thought I was Vin Scully. Turns out I sounded a lot more like Jiminy Cricket.
Q: You spent a bunch of years traveling around the country covering the Baltimore Orioles. What was the best thing about that experience?
A: Nice hotels and free food in the press box.
Q: Seriously…there’s got to be more?
A: Okay. I got to watch about a thousand of Cal Ripkens' 2,632 games. Got to see Eddie Murray play every day, the best switch-hitter EVER in baseball. Witnessed Catcher Rick Dempsey catch a fish with his mouth…Got yelled at by a buck-naked Earl Weaver and saw a member of the Detroit Tigers eat 25 hot dogs in 25 minutes.
Q: How did you decide to start writing Fiction along with being a Journalist?
A: In Journalism, facts kept getting in the way of a good story.
Q: Did you ever take any writing courses for Fiction?
A: I did. Took one class at Johns Hopkins University. 12 folks in the class. 11 of them wrote poems and classy short stories. I wrote a silly story about a drunken ballplayer who killed his Manager over a case of malt liquor…Got a D-Minus.
Q: Your books are a SERIES, but not numbered, Can you start with any book?
A: Wait? I was supposed to add numbers to them?
Q: But do you have to start from the beginning or can you read each book as a stand alone?
A: You can start anywhere. I've known folks who started on Page 195. Some are longer than the others, but you can finish any of them before the end of the 3rd quarter of a College Football game and still keep up with the score. You ain't reading Tolstoy.
Q: Do you write every day?
A: I THINK about writing every day…then some baseball game comes on TV and I FORGET I was thinking about it.
Q: So, what gets you in gear and gets you inspired to write?
A: Whiskey. Good, aged Tennessee Sipping Whiskey…and maybe a couple of chicken-fried biscuits & gravy.