The Inside Scoop!
and his Coffey & Hill thriller
I grew up in…Norman, Oklahoma, where I learned to love college football and what a Boomer and a Sooner were.
I was inspired to write my first suspense novel by… Insomnia. I couldn’t sleep, so I started imagining movie scenes in my head. Finally I wrote one of them down. My wife liked it, so it became the first chapter in a novel.
The books that have most influenced my life are… Comic books. Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Julius Schwartz, Bill Finger, Joe Simon, Jerry Siegel—those legendary comic book creators taught me to love reading and how to “see” a story in my mind.
My biggest challenge when writing is… Patience. I feel a lot of pressure to write, but I can’t write anything worth reading until I’ve spent weeks and months just thinking about writing. I have to be patient to let my brain work through the “thinking” part of writing before I get to the “writing” part of writing. But I am an impatient soul, so I struggle with that, and that means I’m often writing pages today that I know I’ll probably throw away tomorrow. Maybe someday I’ll learn how to fix that flaw in my personality.
One of my favourite authors is… Stan Lee. He makes the most absurd idea (a guy with spider powers? a woman who turns invisible?) seem not only plausible, but exciting and rewarding. And he creates people who remain memorable and viable for generations—who have inspired literally thousands of stories and millions of fans.
If I wasn’t a writer, I would be… A youth pastor. In fact, my undergraduate degree is in Christian Education, with a minor in Bible theology, and I worked as a youth pastor for several years in my 20s. I loved it, but there was a point where I was out of work and unable to get hired by a church, so I had to go into writing and editing to pay the bills. I ended up staying in publishing, though I’ve often wondered what it might have been like if I’d kept youth ministry as my career.
The superhero talent I would love to have is… The ability to grant wishes. That would just be so cool.
Fourteen miles east of Peachtree, Alabama, a secret is hidden. That secret’s name is Annabel Lee Truckson, and even she doesn’t know why her mysterious uncle has stowed her deep underground in a military-style bunker. He’s left her with a few German words, a barely-controlled guard dog, and a single command: “Don’t open that door for anybody, you got it? Not even me.”
Above ground, a former Army sniper called The Mute and an enigmatic “Dr. Smith” know about the girl. As the race begins to find her, the tension builds. Who wants to set her free? Why does the other want to keep her captive forever? Who will reach her first?
Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill need to piece together the clues and stay alive long enough to retrieve the girl–before it’s too late.
My latest novel can be described by these 5 adjectives… Lost. Girl. Scary. Dog. Help! (Ok, so those aren’t all adjectives, but you get the idea!)
My main character is… Annabel Lee Truckson, an brilliant eleven-year-old girl who’s spent her life in rural Alabama…and who doesn’t know all the secrets that are hidden in her own little life.
My main characters resemble…. Let’s see. If I were casting the movie, Annabel would be played by Talitha Bateman, Trudi Coffey would be played by Evangeline Lilly, Samuel Hill would be played by Channing Tatum, and The Mute would be played by Michael B. Jordan. Although he passed away recently, I would have loved to see Dr. Smith played by the late Alan Rickman. Samir would be played by Eric Balfour.
A previously unknown fact about this novel is… My wife has beautiful green eyes, so every novel I write—including Annabel Lee—describes at least one character who has striking “emerald eyes.” This is just a little secret message from me to my wife to remind her that I think she is stunning and I love her.
My story’s spiritual theme is… The Pearl of Great Price (Matthew 13:45-46). But sshh! That’s a secret.
While writing this novel I learned… I have a scary imagination. Some scenes I wrote in this book kept me awake at night!
The title was chosen by… Me, because I’m fascinated by Edgar Allan Poe’s life and writings. Poe’s “Annabel Lee” is my favorite poem of all time.
As an author, the hardest scenes for me to write are… Why? I have a hard time writing “romantic” scenes, I think because I don’t know the formula for those. But if I could ever figure that out, I could make millions…
The story I’m currently working on is…Book 3 in the Coffey & Hill series. It’s about a mild-mannered art forger who may or may not also be a brutal murderer.
You may not know this about me, but I… Collect Captain America comic books. In fact, I own every Captain America comic published in my lifetime. I know, it’s a colossal waste of time and money, but it brings me joy so I’m OK with it.
If I could be a character in any novel, I would want to be… Hm. Today’s choice would be Auguste Dupin, the brilliant detective created by Edgar Allan Poe. But I reserve the right to change my mind tomorrow!
Mike Nappa is an entertainment journalist at FamilyFans.com, as well as a bestselling and award-winning author with more than one million books sold worldwide. When he was a kid, the stories of Edgar Allan Poe scared him silly. Today he owns everything Poe ever wrote. A former fiction acquisitions editor, Mike earned his MA in English literature and now writes full time.