Interview With Author Jeffrey J. Mariotte
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’ve written more than 60 books, including the police-procedural mystery series Major Crimes Squad: Phoenix, historical Western epic Blood and Gold: The Legend of Joaquin Murrieta (with Peter Murrieta), the Cody Cavanaugh traditional Western series, supernatural thrillers River Runs Red, Missing White Girl, and Cold Black Hearts, horror epic The Slab, and the teen horror quartet Year of the Wicked. Other works include the acclaimed thrillers Empty Rooms and The Devil’s Bait, and—with my wife and writing partner Marsheila (Marcy) Rockwell—the science fiction thriller 7 SYKOS and Mafia III: Plain of Jars, the authorized prequel to the hit video game, as well as shorter works.
I’ve also written novels set in the worlds of Tarzan, Deadlands, Star Trek, CSI, NCIS, Narcos, 30 Days of Night, Spider-Man, Conan, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, and more. I’m the author of many comic books and graphic novels as well, including the original weird-Western series Desperadoes, the horror series Fade to Black, action-adventure series Garrison, and the original graphic novel Zombie Cop.
Three of my novels have won Scribe Awards for Best Original Novel, presented by the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers. I’ve also won the Inkpot Award from the San Diego Comic-Con, am a co-winner of the Raven Award from the Mystery Writers of America, and have been a finalist for the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America, the Peacemaker Award from the Western Fictioneers, the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association, the International Horror Guild Award, and for my comics writing, the Harvey Award and the Glyph Award.
I’ve worked in virtually every aspect of the book business, as a bookstore manager and owner, VP of Marketing for Image Comics/WildStorm, Senior Editor for DC Comics/WildStorm, and Editor-in-Chief for IDW Publishing and a publishing consultant for various companies. When I’m not writing, reading, or editing something, I’m probably out enjoying the desert landscape around the Arizona home I share with my family and dog and cats.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book–out May 30–is BYRD’S LUCK & OTHER WESTERN STORIES. It’s a collection that includes 8 previously published stories, half traditional Western and half horror-Western. Among the stories collected are Byrd’s Luck, which was a finalist for the Spur and Peacemaker Awards, and a brand-new sequel called Byrd’s Law, which pairs Byrd up with Cody Cavanaugh, the protagonist of a trilogy of Western novels I wrote. There’s also a story based on my long-running, award-winning horror-Western comic Desperadoes–the first prose Desperadoes story ever. I’m inspired by the landscape I live in, the history of the American West (good and bad–there’s lots of both) and the heroes of my childhood: Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, Sky King, etc.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Because I’ve written so much over the years, I guess my only unusual habit is writing fairly fast and having the discipline to sit at the keyboard for long hours.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
So many. As a longtime bookseller, I’ve read widely and have come to know and be friends with many of the writers who’ve influenced me. The list is long, but has to include Stephen King, Richard Matheson, Joan Vinge, Ross Macdonald, Robert B. Parker, James Lee Burke, William Goldman, Leigh Brackett, Marsheila Rockwell… and many more.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a ghostwritten book, something I’ve only done a couple of times before–but because I’m ghostwriting it I can’t talk about it. I’m also doing research for a big crime novel, fiddling with some comics/graphic novel ideas, etc. Always busy.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I like to meet readers where they are–at conventions, book festivals, signings, etc. Being able to put my book into someone’s hand and talk about it with them can sometimes turn a casual browser into a reader for life. Of course I have my own website and various social media presences, but I’m always looking for new ways to get the word out.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Read widely, not just in your preferred genre (if you have one–I have lots). But in your preferred genre, read as much as you can so you know what’s been doing, what’s being done, and what’s coming next. When you’re not reading, be writing. Writing is a muscle, and if you don’t use it, you lose it.
What are you reading now?
Small Mercies, a thriller by the great Dennis Lehane.
What’s next for you as a writer?
After I finish the project I’m on now I need to continue polishing a crime novel I’ve written and get started on the next one. And on another Western novel.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
If it was going to be a long time before rescue? I guess, Stephen King’s The Stand (the revised edition), James Clavell’s Shogun, and some books on wilderness survival.
Author Websites and Profiles
Jeffrey J. Mariotte’s Social Media Links