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Author Interview | Meet Jack Conlan and his new release #authorinterview #mystery #bookish #mustread

Hi readers! It’s time for another author interview. I love these because I crave to know about the creators behind the books I adore. It’s like peeling back the curtain and seeing what’s inside. It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Jack Conlan. He’s written a debut mystery that will grip you. Trust me, you’ll love his book. I asked him for an interview, and he agreed. So, grab your favorite hot beverage and join us. Jack, take it away…


Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you?


I am a huge Michael Connelly fan and always have been. As far as crime fiction writers go, I think he’s among the best. James Lee Burke has also been a huge influence on me since he writes about the South where I live and where my novel is set. Both Connelly and Burke write about tortured investigators, and I always found that captivating. These are the people charged with finding justice and dealing with terrible things and they all have their own problems. That dual dynamic really intrigues me. Unsurprisingly, my investigators tend to have their own problems as well. Finally, Dennis Lehane is another literary hero. I love the way he writes characters and dialogue. Reading all of these writers (and re-reading them) over the years inspired me to try my hand at my own crime fiction novel.


How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?


Character names are super important to me. I spend a good amount of time trying to find a name that I like and one that sounds like it goes with that character. I feel like I have to get the name right, especially if it’s a major character since I’ll be writing the name all the time. But I like to give even smaller characters names that seem to fit them. To me, it adds to the realism of the book. If I am reading a novel and there is a name in there that doesn’t sound like a real name it throws me off and distracts me. I never want that to happen to one of my readers. I want a name they read to sound like a name they could read in a news story, or meet at a Waffle House, or run into at the store. I also enjoy giving some character names a “wink” to a something specific about them. In my book, the Chief of the Nashville Police is Kelvin Wright. His last name is not an accident.


Have you always liked to write?


Absolutely. Writing has always been a way to escape and relax for me. I started writing stories when I was a kid, but I never let anyone read them. They were for me. I still have stories and characters like that. For me, I loved to write but I was very reticent to let anyone read my writing. I still write under a pen name for that reason.


What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?


As a debut novelist I don’t know that I’m truly qualified to give advice to anyone. But having gone through writing my first novel and self-publishing it, I would tell anyone: just do the damn thing. If you want to write a novel, write it! Don’t let anyone stop you. For me, the biggest thing that lifts me is that I love to write, and I think it’s cool to see something I wrote that’s available for others to read. I’ve defined success internally and not by how many books I sell - though you should buy my book!


What are you working on now? What is your next project?


I’m already writing the sequel to The Killer Chorus which brings back a lot of the same characters. I have a ton of ideas for future Jed Hatcher investigations, and I’m really excited about the case he’s into that I’m writing about now. It involves the murder of a prosecutor and the investigation takes some turns. I’ve outlined it but I’ve still got to get in and write it; it will be fun to see how much the outline changes once I get into the writing process. With The Killer Chorus, I had some sense of where I wanted to go but when I was writing it I would be moved to just take a scene or a character in an unplanned direction. I’d say to myself: “just write it and see what happens”. Some of those flourishes made it into the book, some of them didn’t work and I cut them. But letting my mind wander in the world that I’d created was huge part of the fun. I’m already excited to see where Jed goes next and what trouble he gets into along the way.


Do you write naked?


I can honestly say I’ve never even thought about it. But now that you’ve mentioned it, I’m going to have to try it. It sounds…freeing.


Do you drink? Smoke? What’s your vice?


I am a huge football fan. I will yell and scream at the television like I am insane. My mood on Saturdays is routinely linked to the ability (or inability) of twenty-year-olds to catch a ball. Which is damn near pathological. My wife routinely reminds me that I am not a coach or employee of any of the teams that drive me so bonkers. Her advice is noted and promptly ignored.


What literary character is most like you?


Jake Brigance from A Time To Kill, Sycamore Row, and A Time for Mercy by John Grisham. Just a good-hearted Southern lawyer who isn’t perfect but cares about people and about doing the right thing. His wife bosses him around and he’s not at all bad in the courtroom. That seems about right for me.


If you were an animal, what would you be and why?


I would be one of my dogs. We have several rescue dogs, and they are all wonderfully loyal and just love to be in our presence. They are treated like royalty, sleep in our bed, and lay on the couch all day while we are at work or school. It’s a good thing to be a Conlan dog. An easy life full of pets, treats, and no responsibilities.


What’s on your bucket list (things to do before you die)?


I want to travel more. I have a list of places I want to go and see. Right now, my top choice is the Scandinavian countries. I really want to go to Sweden. I am a huge fan of the late Stieg Larsson and of the late Henning Mankell who are both incredible Swedish mystery writers. The way they write makes me want to go experience their landscapes firsthand. Also, crime fiction is huge in Scandinavia and Iceland, I have learned. I just need to decide if I want to go during the summer when I understand it’s beautiful or try to experience the winter where I understand it is also beautiful (if very cold). I may have to go twice.


Title The Killer Chorus

Author Jack Conlan

Genre Mystery/Crime

Publisher Conlan Books, LLC


Book Blurb


In Nashville, the hits aren’t just found on the country music charts.

When a country music legend is brutally killed, Detective Jed Hatcher is tasked with solving the case. But as he delves deeper into the investigation, he must also battle his own personal demons. With pressure mounting and his career on the line, Hatcher must race against time to catch the killer before it's too late.

Set against the backdrop of Nashville, a city filled with bright lights and dark secrets, The Killer Chorus follows Hatcher's relentless pursuit of the truth. But as he gets closer to the killer, he realizes the price he may have to pay for justice. Will Hatcher be able to solve the case and save his career, or will his own secrets destroy him?

For fans of fast-paced thrillers and gritty mysteries, The Killer Chorus is a must-read.




Henrietta “Bird” Tompkins concentrated on what her last thought should be before she was murdered. The time that Loretta Lynn gave her a Grammy Award was a good thought, she grimly determined. A sufficiently happy thought that would have to do for when the final curtain descended. She was going to die tonight. The men in her house were determined to make sure of that.


She was called Bird because of old Charlie Harris. She could see him now in her mind’s eye: he was a pot-bellied grift of a man with his gray hair slicked into a razor-sharp part over his left eye and two bushy, mutton-chop sideburns shaved into fine points that seemed to cut into his cheeks. He had been the owner, proprietor and bartender of The Starlight Lounge in Jackson, Tennessee and he had been the first person to see her, just this side of seventeen, unleash her powerful voice on the public. He had watched the crowd be transported. “They flew to some other place, girl,” old Charlie had said. “You’re like a goddam bird up there.” It had certainly sounded better than Henrietta, Bird had to admit.


They were talking in the other room, the men who would murder her. She pushed it from her mind to focus on happy thoughts. The sound of a chord – full and glorious – wafting over the hushed crowd on the sweltering July night when she first played the Ryman Auditorium. Her lover’s beautiful face.


Then everything went black.


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Author Biography


Jack Conlan is a licensed attorney who has practiced as both a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney in courtrooms across Tennessee. He lives in Nashville with his family which includes several rescue dogs. The Killer Chorus is his debut novel.


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1 Comment

N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Apr 05

Thank you, Jack, for the wonderful interview!

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