Web only: It may be a mystery


The strife and success of one mystery writer


Ronald Tierney

The Mystery Company Bookstore

233 Second Ave. along Monon Trail in Carmel

Oct. 28, 7 p.m.; free

A few setbacks and disappointments along the way did not discourage him. Although his books may be a complete mystery, he himself is fairly honest about his mistakes, accomplishments — and the power of luck — over time.

Tierney, founding editor of NUVO, will be presenting the ninth and newest addition to his mystery book series, “Bloody Palms,” at The Mystery Company on Tuesday. The book features Deets Shanahan, a pessimistic private eye who lives in Indianapolis and tackles crime among the rich and powerful. With his charming girlfriend, Maureen Smith, at his side, he stays grounded and gets the job done.

Tierney further describes his persistence as an author in an online interview:

NUVO: I know that you have just finished your ninth and newest book "Bloody  Palms." Can you explain the background of the series a little bit, and how is this book different from other books in the series?

Tierney: I thought that I was being original creating an older PI and original in setting it in Indianapolis. Unfortunately I was wrong. There were elder private detectives and Michael Z. Lewin had already created an Indianapolis-based character.

NUVO: Why did you choose to base your book series in Indianapolis? Do you feel that it helps you stay, and feel, connected to home?

Tierney: I wrote the first five books while I was living in Indianapolis and did so because it was important to me to write about what I know. After I moved to San Francisco, I continued writing the Shanahan series precisely because of what you indicated. It helped me connect. And of course, I would visit Indianapolis for family and friends and keep up. I also felt that I hadn't been in San Francisco long enough to get a feel for the setting. I have now.

NUVO: How much longer do you plan to continue the series, and are you working on anything right now?

Tierney: I'd have to talk that over with the publisher. I'd like to do one more, definitely. There are some storylines to wrap up. And I do have the plot for the next one set in mind. However, Severn House has agreed to a new series, this one set in San Francisco. It features two slightly younger private investigators, Carly Paladino and Noah Lang. The first in the series, "Death in Pacific Heights," will be out in the U.S. in April 2009. I'm working on the second now, "Death in North Beach." As you can tell, a pattern emerges. If all goes well there will be death in all sorts of San Francisco neighborhoods.

NUVO: I know that you once entered St. Martin's Press novel competition in the mid ’80s, and you once received a nomination for the Private Eye Writers of America's Shamus Award. Even though you did not win the award, you kept continuing in your career and were successful. Would you say that persistence pays off?

Tierney: Persistence and luck. There was a period of 10 years when I couldn't get published. But I kept writing because that is what I do. I have several manuscripts, in fact — non-series mysteries — available. Any publishers out there interested?

NUVO: You have a very broad background, which includes NUVO and the Indianapolis area. Why did you choose to leave, and do you ever see yourself coming back to the area permanently?

Tierney: Being part of the launch of NUVO was one of the most exciting times. People told us that we wouldn't last because so many alternative weekly publications launched and failed. There was some real talent involved in the launch, particularly the original designers — Dean Johnson Design — who were one of the best then and now.

NUVO: What can readers expect for your appearance at The Mystery Company?

Tierney: I'll do a little talk, a little reading and then open it up to discussion.

NUVO: Where can readers find your books, and besides Tuesday, do you have anymore upcoming appearances in the near future?

Tierney: Prior to the bookstore signing, I'll be at the Magnum Cum Murder Conference in Muncie as part of various panel discussions about mysteries in general. I also expect to be back next year at this time when Bouchercon Indianapolis will be held. That is the largest, most comprehensive mystery conference annually. It's held in different cities each year. And in 2009 it will be held in Indianapolis. All the major mystery writers will be there and it's open to the public.



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