What: Former newsman and Fiction Editor for Anthony-nominated Spinetingler Magazine. His Austin Carr mysteries—four so far, BIG NUMBERS, BIG MONEY, BIG MOJO and BIG SHOES—are published by Down & Out Books. His short stories have appeared in A Twist of Noir, Beat to a Pulp, The Big Adios and two anthologies, DOWN, OUT AND DEAD, and LAST WORDS.
Where: New Jersey
Interview conducted by email. Some questions and answers have been edited.
Your protagonist, Austin Carr, is a Jersey Shore broker with a mobbed-up partner. How did you develop this character and the circumstances he finds himself in?
Most of BIG NUMBERS and the character Austin Carr are based on me and my life. After writing and asking questions for the newspaper since I was a teenager, a new and pregnant wife moved me from Los Angeles to New Jersey where I couldn’t find a decent writing or public relations job. I ended up turning the knowledge I’d gained as a financial news writer—and how to work the phones—into a new career as a salesman of tax-free bonds, and later all kinds of securities and money-management.
I worked most of the next two decades for a one-office Jersey securities firm run by guys who looked and talked like gangsters, although coming from L.A., everybody in Jersey sounded tough. After the first three years of cold calling and “dialing for dollars,” I’d had it. But I needed the job. Two families to support, and just like Austin, I was trapped. I took my frustrations out on a typewriter and created BIG NUMBERS, which tells of a guy desperate to change jobs, but trapped by his obligations.