Guest Post by John Carenen
"Stephen King writes that he starts his novels with the question, "What if?" and goes from there. What if some guy wakes up in his Montana village and everyone is dead - except him? What if a little girl gets lost in the Maine woods and is being tracked by something dangerous? What if a politician were honest? (I just made that one up.) Mostly.
So for my debut novel, Signs of Struggle, I ventured into that general area and asked myself the question, "What is the absolutely worst thing that could happen to me?" It didn't take long to come up with the answer. The answer was that the absolutely worst thing that could happen to me would be to lose my wife and daughters. I took that scenario and then asked myself what would I do if that happened? And that answer came pretty quickly, too. I would question my faith, I would drink a lot, and I would have a lot of anger seeking an outlet. Also, I would probably relocate from Georgia and move back to Iowa, where I am from. I would take my Bulldog with me in my pickup truck after I had sold everything, and just retreat into familiar territory, similar to Nick Adams in the short stories by Hemingway. End of story.
But that wouldn't be all that interesting once I had moved back. So I began to embroider the situation. What if, while driving therapeutically in the lovely Iowa countryside, my protagonist comes upon a beautiful, bloody woman running down a country lane, screaming for help? And thus the story was on. The rest of the story began to take shape. There were secondary, quirky characters: Lunatic Mooning, Ojibwe owner of The Grain o' Truth Bar & Grill; Bunza Steele, barmaid/wrestler wannabe; Sheriff Harmon Payne, irritable keeper of the peace; and others. I began to like my characters, who took on surprising twists of their own, and I began to write faster and faster to see what Thomas O'Shea, my protagonist, would do next, given his penchant for drinking and violence.
The story ended after 296 pages and that was that. But it wasn't. My publisher and several readers wanted to know more about Thomas. More about his background, more about his love life, more about Lunatic and Bunza and others. I meant Signs of Struggle to be a one and done novel, but that was not going to happen. So I have followed up with the sequel, A Far Gone Night where Thomas runs into more nefarious charactes and grim situations, with new characters emerging here and there, where more of his past is revealed, where more of his future is still uncertain.
Now I'm into the third Thomas O'Shea mystery, without even a working title, and I hope to have it finished in time for release next autumn. I'm halfway in, and I don't know for sure how it's going to turn out. So what else is new?"
About the book
A FAR GONE NIGHT
Author: John Carenen
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Series: A Thomas O’Shea Mystery (Book Two)
Suffering from insomnia, wise-cracking tough guy Thomas O’Shea goes for a late-night stroll through the peaceful streets of Rockbluff, Iowa, and finds himself pausing downtown on the bridge that spans the Whitetail River. When he glances downstream, something catches his eye…something that looks like a body. He scrambles down to the riverbank, pulling the body of a young girl from the water. The girl is naked, with two bullet holes in the back of her head. Ever suspicious of law enforcement, O’Shea chooses not mention the bullet holes when Deputy Stephen Doltch, on routine patrol, discovers him at the river’s edge. When the coroner’s report lists the cause of death as “drowning,” Thomas goes into action.
Confronting the coroner, he is met with hostility. But then the coroner and his wife disappear, along with the body of the dead girl. Once again, Thomas gears up to find answers that will reveal who put the bullets in the girl’s head, why she was killed, and her identity, which may hit a little too close to home.
Teaming up with his friend Lunatic Mooning and Clancy Dominguez, an old buddy from his Navy SEAL days, Thomas and the other two men join together to bring justice to the dead girl, a quest that takes them to the Chalaka Reservation in Minnesota, seedy businesses adjacent to the Chalaka Casino, and straight into the world of organized crime.
A fast-paced story, laugh-out-loud moments and familiar, quirky characters from Carenen’s debut novel, Signs of Struggle, contribute once again to the complex world of Thomas O’Shea. Enter…if you dare.
About the Author
John Carenen, a native of Clinton, Iowa, graduated with an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from the prestigious University of Iowa Writers Workshop and has been writing ever since. His work has appeared in numerous popular and literary magazines, and he has been a featured columnist in newspapers in North and South Carolina. A novel, Son-up, Son-down was published by the National Institute of Mental Health.
His debut Thomas O’Shea mystery novel, Signs of Struggle, was published in October of 2012. A Far Gone Night, the long- anticipated sequel, continues the exploits of the enigmatic protagonist and the quirky characters of Rockbluff, Iowa.
John is currently an English professor at Newberry College in Newberry, South Carolina. He and his wife live in their cozy cottage down a quiet lane in northern Greenville, South Carolina. He is a big fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes and Boston Red Sox.
For more information please visit John Carenen’s blog. You can also connect with him on Facebook and Goodreads.
A Far Gone Night Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, November 3
Spotlight & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, November 7
Spotlight at Layered Pages
Monday, November 10
Review at The Discerning Reader
Wednesday, November 12
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Friday, November 14
Guest Post at Mina’s Bookshelf
Wednesday, November 19
Spotlight at The Bibliophilic Book Blog
Thursday, November 20
Review at Book Nerd
Tuesday, November 25
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Wednesday, November 26
Interview at Boom Baby Reviews
Thursday, November 27
Spotlight at Girl Lost in a Book
Friday, November 28
Review at A Book Geek
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book