My guest is Steve Ulfelder who is floating up on Cloud 9 because this week it was announced Purgatory Chasm is an Edgar nominee for Best First Novel. Congratulations, Steve! It's a joy to talk writing with you today.
Anne - What activity (cause, charity, organization) consumes your time when you’re away from the keyboard?
Steve - My day job is co-owner of Flatout Motorsports Inc., a company that builds, rents, and supports race cars. This business sprang from my hobby, race driving – I campaign a Honda S2000 in Sports Car Club of America competition.
Anne - Tell us about Purgatory Chasm.
Steve – My debut mystery, Purgatory Chasm, introduces Conway Sax – a washed-up NASCAR driver and mechanic who helps out members of his renegade AA group in ways that are illegal and usually dangerous.
agrees to rescue a friend’s classic car
from a shady restoration shop, but the friend soon turns up dead – and Conway was the last to see him alive. To clear
himself he must untangle the death, which involves generations of deceit and
family tragedy. I should also note that the second Conway Sax novel, The Whole
Lie, is coming out in May 2012. Conway
Anne – Huge congrats again on the Edgar nomination. How long does it take you to write a book?
Steve - Generally speaking, 6 months for a first draft, with 2 to 4 additional months for rewriting and polishing. Call it an average of 9 months from the time I type “Chapter 1” to the time I ship it to my agent.
Anne - Do you belong to any writer’s organizations, critique groups, and/or depend on beta readers?
Steve - I’m proud to be a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. I’ve tried a few writing groups but never found one that worked for me. So far I have no beta readers, but I am looking to change that – my agent, Janet Reid, tends to be first to read my manuscripts, and I’d like to unburden her!
Anne - How long did your journey from wannabe writer to published author take?
Steve - I was a journalist for 20 years, the last six as a freelancer. One day in 2007, I informed my wife I’d like to drop that profession to focus on two things: growing Flatout Motorsports and writing mystery novels. Shockingly, my wife neither left me nor hit me with a skillet. My first manuscript landed me an agent, but the full trip to publication took four and a half years (and three completed books!).
Anne - Of all the characters you’ve created, does one hold a special place in your heart? Why?
’s girlfriend has a 12-year-old daughter,
Sophie. Conway is crazy about her, and so am I. She’s
smart, complicated, vulnerable, wise … many readers seem to enjoy the
relationship between these two, and I confess I do too. Conway
Anne - Are you a glass half-empty or half-full kind of person?
Steve - Half full! I’m a cheery optimist, often to an extent that irks my wife. I’ve spent my life expecting good things to happen to me – and so far it’s worked out that way, so why change?
Anne – I can relate to that because that’s my take on life, too! Outside of writing, what accomplishment are you most proud?
Steve - In 2011, after a decade of trying, I finally won the North Atlantic Roadrace Championship Runoffs at my favorite race track,
’s Connecticut . There is no feeling sweeter than a
long-awaited victory lap! Lime Rock Park
Anne - You may soon have another moment to savor, Steve, as the Edgar® Awards will be presented on
April 26, 2012 in Final question. Where can readers reach
you online? New York City!
Steve - At my website: www.ulfelder.com, on Twitter: @SteveUlfelder and Facebook. I’m the only Steve Ulfelder you’ll find!
Anne – Thanks so much for dropping by today, Steve. It’s been a pleasure to chat about writing and I wish you ever success with Purgatory Chasm.
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