Age is no deterrent to this writer

Author Gene Masters

Most writers start writing at an early age;  I can remember writing a poem in the sixth grade.  However, occasionally an individual will get “the calling” at a more advanced age, like in his 70s.  One such author is my guest today, Gene Masters.  We just published Gene’s sixth novel, True Believers: A Rich Vitelli Mystery, and it is my pleasure to  interview him today.

Joe: Gene, you’ve run a successful business, and been retired for some time now.  What in the world inspired you to take up writing?

Gene: Well, Joe, as you know, I served a brief period in the Navy, and then went on to a career as a professional engineer, in practice for more years than I care to admit.  I was always the guy who prepared the marketing proposals for the business, and really enjoyed doing that.  I’ve always been a story teller—making up tales to amuse my kids.  Writing a book seemed to be a fun thing to do when I finally retired.  They say to write what you know, so I started with something I was very familiar with: WWII submarines.   I began writing Silent Warriors: Submarine Warfare in the Pacific.  I would write a chapter, and then send it off to a submarine buddy I served with aboard USS Angler (SS 240), the late Lt. Cmdr. Tom Burke.  He would read and critique, and I would rewrite as necessary, based on his comments. I  finished the book in late 2016, and shopped around for a publisher.  No one was interested in publishing it, until I discovered Escarpment Press.  We published it in May, 2018, and by then I was hooked.  The print edition and audio book continue to sell well.  

Joe: True Believers is the second book you’ve written featuring Metro Police Detective Rich Vitelli as main character.  I’m guessing there will be others in the pipeline.  Why this particular character?

Gene: Because, Joe, like you and me, he’s an Italian-American, and it seems that all the books about Italian-Americans give us a bad rep!  If you remember, in The Dry Cleaner [the first Rich Vitelli mystery] it’s Vitelli who takes down the Italian mob in the mythical city where he lives and works.

Joe: I do remember.  But, as I recall, Vitelli is somewhat of a flawed individual.

Gene: As we all are, Joe.  Vitelli struggles with some personal demons, but he is, at heart, a good man, and a really smart cop.  I really enjoy having Vitelli wrestle with the elements in a case that just don’t add up, and then mulling over the facts in his mind until they actually do make sense.  And, of course, he has to be smart, because he gets pitted against some really nasty villains.

Joe: That he does!  And in True Believers he comes up against some more real beauties!  Do you particularly like writing about villains?

Gene: I think every writer does—just as every actor will tell you he would almost rather play the villain than the hero in a movie.  It’s only with the bad guys that an author can get creative, and let his imagination run wild.  Take Sheldon Hertz, for example; this guy has all the money he ever needs or wants, and he’s got this idea that he can use his fortune to make the world over in his own idealistic image.  And, in order to make his dream come true, he’s more than willing to commit the occasional murder when his victims won’t cooperate.  You’ve got to love writing about a guy like that.  Then there’s Anubis Cline . . .

Joe: Yeah, the criminal mastermind, who helps carry out Hertz’s orders.  But let’s not give away your entire plot!  One thing I did notice, though, is that not all your villains are brought to justice in the end, which really surprised me.  Why is that?

Gene: Because, Joe, that’s how the world actually works.  True, there are a lot of bad actors in the world who are brought to justice, but we both can think of a lot of people who should be in jail, but aren’t.  And, as in True Believers, the main villain doesn’t hesitate to resort to murder to eliminate anyone whose possible testimony might actually bring him to justice.  We both know those people exist.  On the other hand, we also know there a lot of really good people, honest, hard-working men and women in law enforcement, who are doing their best to protect the general public.  I write about some of those people too!

Joe: You do indeed!  Okay, enough about your book!  What are you doing for enjoyment these days?

Gene: Not a whole lot, actually.  My beautiful wife of  54 years, Ruth, and I live in a lovely little condo community in east Tennessee, and I try to walk the entire complex every day for exercise.  I’m still pretty active in the church, and we do have some excellent friends to spend time with.  Like you, old man, I’ve gotten a little too long in the tooth for fly fishing, and, while I can never claim to have been expert in the sport, I did enjoy it, and I do miss it.

Joe: Me too!  I still remember the day we had on the Green River back in North Carolina.  But, back to your writing.  You’ve written five others books—all published, by the way, by Escarpment Press.  Where can we find them?

Gene: The easy answer is Amazon, of course.  But they are also available from other outlets online, like Barnes & Noble and Apple Books.  I hope your blog readers who are not necessarily mystery fans will also check out my WWII historical novels, Silent Warriors: Submarine Warfare in the Pacific and The Laconia Incident, or my more modern military themed thriller Operation Exodus.  All three of them are also available as audiobooks. Then there’s The Wounds of Jonas Clark, which refuses genre classification, and my first Rich Vitelli mystery, The Dry Cleaner.

Joe: Is there a “next project,” or has the well run dry?

Gene: Absolutely not!  Actually, I’m already working on another Rich Vitelli mystery.  After all, I couldn’t just let a great villain like Anubis Cline go un-resurrected, now, could I?

Joe: I would hope not.  And, by the way, I love that name!!  I, for one, will be looking forward to it!  Thanks so much, Gene, for taking time to spend with us.

Gene: My pleasure, Joe.

About AuthorJoePerroneJr

I am a former professional fly-fishing guide, and I write the Matt Davis Mystery Series, which presently consists of five books: As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day, Twice Bitten, Broken Promises and Deadly Ransom. The series is set in the real town of Roscoe, NY, in the Catskill Mountains, where I guided for ten years. I love fly fishing, movies, cooking (and eating), and music. To learn more about me and my writing, please visit my website at:
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3 Responses to Age is no deterrent to this writer

  1. Enjoyed meeting Gene and sharing his story!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. He’s a very interesting man. We fly fished together about five years ago, and had a great time. He’s also one heck of a good writer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bill Ramsey says:

    Joe, Your interviews of authors are focused and interesting. Your support of the challenges authors face is appreciated. Bill

    Liked by 1 person

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