Mystery Writers Key West Fest: Murder and Mayhem in Paradise!

Interview with Author Don Bruns

Ohio and Sarasota based mystery suspense writer Don Bruns will appear with nearly two-dozen crime-fiction and true crime authors at the inaugural Mystery Writers Key West Fest this June 10-12. Bruns is an award-winning author of twelve books in two different series, the “Stuff” series and the “Caribbean” series. He agreed to spill a few beans about his life and work.


Q&A with Author Don Bruns

Q: You are described on as a writer, novelist, musician, songwriter, painter, cook, advertising executive and stand up comic who has no idea what he wants to be when he grows up. Which came first, the guitar or the pen?

A: I sent my first short story to Alfred Hitchcock Magazine when I was twelve.  They promptly sent it back.  But I knew I wanted to write before I started playing guitar.

Q: Your Caribbean series follows rock and roll journalist Mick Sever as he sleuths through the seamy underbelly of the music industry. Who is Mick, and are his adventures purely fictional?

A: Sever started out as a stringer for the Chicago Tribune when he was in high school.  He covered rock concerts.  He worked for Rolling Stone, then wrote a couple of profile books and now is a highly recognized journalist. Every book in the Sever series is based on a real life situation.  I leave it to the reader to make the connection.

Q: A series of seven “Stuff” mysteries follow the Miami-based buddy team of Skip Moore and James Lessor, two 20-something underachievers whose get-rich-quick schemes propel them into a series of action misadventures. They’ve been described as the “Keystone cops of the private eye world.” When you began writing the series, did you have a comic approach in mind, or did their antics take you by surprise?

A: I wanted to explore guys who are still very naïve, new to the world of business and guys who think they’re eventually going to figure life out.  The humor is that we never figure life out.  And I believe that most guys only mature to a certain age.  Mine was about 24, the same age as Skip and James.  The best comment I had was from Booklist, who said, “Bruns has the wacky characters of a Tim Dorsey novel, with the feel and voice of Mark Twain’s Huck Finn.”

Q: Will there be more “Stuff” mysteries? Will Skip and James mature – maybe even reproduce?

A: I’m giving the boys a break at the moment.  Working on a story about a New Orleans cop and a voodoo queen who helps solve crimes.

Q: If brought to the big screen, what actors would you choose to portray Mick Server, Skip Moore and James Lessor?

A: We did a trailer about seven years ago for STUFF TO DIE FOR and used two students at U of Miami. You can find it on YOUTUBE.  They were great, but they would be a little old for the roll today. 

Appearing with Bruns at June’s Mystery Writers Key West Fest are: special guest W.E.B. Griffin, bestselling writer of military and detective fiction; New York Times bestselling author Heather Graham; novelist and bestselling true crime author Carla Norton; award winning author Sandra Balzo; Nancy Cohen, award winning author of romance and mysteries; Jeremiah Healy, author of crime fiction in two mystery series; Miriam Auerbach, author of the “Dirty Harriet” mysteries; Robert Coburn, author of “A Loose Knot,” “A Deadly Deception” and “The Pink Gun;” crime and noir fiction novelist Mike Dennis, Wayne Gales, author of “Treasure Key” and “Key West Camouflage;” Hal Howland, author of the acclaimed detective thriller “Landini Cadence;” Neil S. Plakcy, writer of mystery, adventure/romance, and gay erotica; award winning crime story writer Jonathan Woods; Michael Haskins, author of the Mad Mick Murphy Key West mystery series; and Terry Schmida, journalist and author of three Key West and Florida Keys based true crime books.

The Mystery Writers Key West Fest is produced by Key West Writers Bloc and sponsored by the Key West Citizen, Mystery Writers of America, and the Florida Keys Council of the Arts.
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Key West, Florida 33040
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