Today we sit down for a chat with mystery author E.J. Copperman, who when asked what genres he writes, answered, “Allegedly cozy, definitely humorous (we say “funny” in my house.)” Learn more about him and his books at his website and blog.
When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
When the 25th consecutive screenplay didn’t sell. I think I always wanted to write novels but didn’t believe I could until I couldn’t tame a script idea and it came out as a novel. You live and learn.
How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
Five days. I pitched the book to 150 publishers via email and got one response. The publisher there said to send him the first 10 pages “and if I laugh reading those, I’ll read the whole book.” The next email read, “I laughed on page 3.” Sold the book five days later. It’s never been that easy again.
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
I am traditionally published. I’m too bad at marketing and promotion to publish myself.
Where do you write?
In New Jersey.
Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
It can go either way. If someone in the house is doing something nearby that might distract me, I plug in the headphones and play something without lyrics. Strauss. A lot of Strauss.
How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
Since my first three books, which took my circumstances but exaggerated them shamelessly, nothing I have written has had the slightest hint of truth in it. I make stuff up. That’s what I’m good at.
Describe your process for naming your character?
I hate naming characters. I usually go by sound rather than word choices. If I think a character needs a hard consonant on the front of their name, it’ll have some bearing. Then I tell myself this is a placeholder name and I’ll change it later, but I never do.
Real settings or fictional towns?
Fake, fake, fake. Although Sandy Moss lives in Los Angeles, which is allegedly a real place. My characters will drive through real towns, but never live there.
What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
Samuel Hoenig has autism-spectrum behaviors, so he does things some people will find quirky. To best evaluate a person’s character, he’ll ask them their favorite Beatles song. And he won’t take no for an answer.
What’s your quirkiest quirk?
I write novels for a living. What’s quirkier than that?
If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Sometimes Zeppo by Joe Adamson. People think I’m kidding but I’m not. It’s a brilliantly written book on a subject I’m passionate about, and it sounds like something I’d have written, only smarter.
Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
I would have skipped the 20 years trying to sell screenplays and started writing novels sooner.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
His name’s Gizmo. He’s a beagle, and he resents you calling him a peeve.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
- My wife, because she’d see me through it.
- A luxury yacht and someone to sail it.
- A book called “How To Get Off A Deserted Island Using Only a Book.”
What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
Movie usher. They were showing an awful movie and I had absolutely nothing to do but watch it four times a day. They could have nailed the stupid uniform coat to the back wall of the theater, and I would have been able to sleep through it without anyone knowing the difference. Unless I snored, in which case someone would have to alert me that there was a person snoring in the theater and I would have had to tell myself to be quiet.
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
Oh, there’s no way you’re getting me to answer that one. I have friends who are authors. Suppose I don’t say it was one of theirs. Heck no. But the Adamson book listed above is definitely my favorite.
Ocean or mountains?
Um… see answer below.
City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
I like to visit cities. If I get too far away from buildings and movie theaters, I tend to curl up in the fetal position and whimper.
What’s on the horizon for you?
The line between the land and the sky. Why? Do you see something else?
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
You can find out anything worth knowing at www.ejcopperman.com and you can buy discounted copies of many of my books at www.cohencoppermanbooks.com. Otherwise, pick one up and see if they’re your style.
And Justice For Mall
A Jersey Girl Legal Mystery, Book 4
Sandy Moss is faced with a client who won’t let her off the hook: eleven-year-old Riley Schoenberg walks brazenly into Sandy’s office and tells her she wants Sandy to mount an appeal for her father, who is in prison after being convicted of murdering Riley’s mother. And just to make it interesting, he’s confessed to the crime.