Name Dennis Coslett
Where are you from
Saint Paul, Minnesota, by way of Middlesex County, England. In other words, I was born in Potters Bar, England, and came to Minnesota with my family when I was still small.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I have degrees as a journalist and a paralegal. I am the middle child of three siblings. I served in the United States Army Reserve and National Guard for 24 years, until my retirement in November of 2014. During my time in the Army Reserve, I deployed to Iraq.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My newest novel, False Witness, should be ready for publication on or about 25 April. I hope to publish several other novels in the next two years.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing during my senior year in High School. I was always imagining characters or scenes, and I decided I should write them down to get them out of my head.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have always considered myself a writer, from the first moment I decided to put words on paper.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Some years ago there was a violent rapist terrorizing Twin Cities women. One of the articles I read about the effects of his crimes mentioned that many women were defending themselves with illegal handguns. I thought, “what if a woman used an illegal handgun to kill a rapist? What would the consequences be?”
Of course, the story grew and changed over time, and that aspect of the story disappeared.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Do you mean how do I write? If so, this is how I do it. I come up with an idea, I mull it over for a while, then I write a detailed outline. I follow the outline pretty faithfully, and write the novel in chronological order, from opening chapter to closing. I do, however, give myself permission to deviate from my outline at any time if I come up with a better idea while I am writing or revising. I hope this answers your question.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It seemed appropriate for one of the main plot elements in the novel. I have kept it even though I made substantial changes to the novel because I think it’s a good title.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I am more interested in telling a good story and leaving the reader satisfied than in putting across a message. I suppose if there is a message, it is that good will win at least some of the time.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?
Most of my books are realistic, since they are mystery novels that take place in the present day, and involve no outlandish future technology. They are simply the stories of people either committing crimes, or investigating crimes.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Not really. My experience might influence items of my character’s background, for example, we have both served in the U.S. military. However, most of the actual plots come from a variety of sources, and not generally from my life.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
It’s hard to pin down one particular book that influenced my life the most. There have been many over the years.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Simón Bolivar: Liberation and Disappointment, by David Bushnell.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
None recently. I don’t feel I’ve been reading enough fiction, and when I do, I’m not finding any series or authors I want to stick with.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
My current project is the upcoming release of the second novel featuring my private detective character, Charlie Rowe. As I said above, I plan to have a new novel featuring Charlie later this month. Then I plan to spend some time getting several other projects released, some of which have sat on my hard drive for a long time.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I was in a writing group for several years, and got a great deal of support from them. In addition, my best friend is a writer, which was one of the reasons for our friendship.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
If I had the chance to write for a living, I’d take it and not look back.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I don’t think so. I think it stands well on its own.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I used to create characters, or, as I put it, I used to have people in my head. I thought if I started writing, I could get them out of my head and put them on paper where they belonged.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
It is the second novel featuring my private investigator, Charlie Rowe. He investigates the apparent stalking, and subsequent abduction, of a Twin Cities television news reporter.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Some days, just finding the discipline to sit and write is challenging. Other times, the challenging bit is making sure the quiet scenes get the attention they deserve.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My favorite mystery writers, who had a major influence on me when I was first learning to write, are Lawrence Block and the late Robert B. Parker. Both had distinctive styles and told a good story.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not really. I tend to set stories in my home state of Minnesota. I have a membership in the Minnesota Historical Society, with access to their records and research materials. And research on the internet is so very easy these days.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Jack Wallen of Adorkable Designs did the covers of my first two books. For the newest one, I have switched to Bespoke Books.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Sometimes, the hardest part of writing a book for me is just sitting down every day and putting a certain number of words on the page. For this most recent book, the hardest part was going over the edits. It took a long time.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Don’t be afraid to set a book aside for a while. Often, when you do, you will think of ways to improve the story and come up with a better book.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice for other writers is to read in your chosen genre until you internalize the knowledge of how to write a novel. And write. Don’t stop reading, and don’t stop writing.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for your patience. I know I haven’t been very productive over the last few years, and I hope to change that going forward.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
It’s been too long for me to remember the first book I read.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Good comedy makes me laugh. Life makes me cry.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Jesus. I would like to meet and talk to our Savior and see what he was really like.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Writer. Iraq War Veteran. These are the two most important things I’ve done so far.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Reading, playing computer games, learning about history.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
One of my favorite TV shows is Sledge Hammer! Otherwise, these days, I mostly watch classic comedy and British police procedurals.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food: fish and chips. Color: red. Music: Lone Justice, Joan Jett, Marcia Ball, Alannah Myles, The Rainmakers
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Not sure. Police officer, maybe. I have considered that career path more than once. I have also thought about being a fighter pilot, but, I’ve been far-sighted since birth and so that was always just a pipe dream.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?