Friday, December 16, 2011

Interview Friday with Frank Scully

Frank Scully was born and raised in a small town in North Dakota and received a Bachelor’s degree in History with Phi Beta Kappa Honors and a Juris Doctor degree in Law from the University of North Dakota.  He then served more than five years as a Judge Advocate General Corps Officer in the U.S. Army in the U.S., Vietnam, and Thailand. After that he attended the prestigious Thunderbird School and received a Masters in Business Administration with honors. In his professional career he has worked as an executive with large aerospace and defense manufacturers and also owned his own small business. 
Depending on the vagaries of the universe he has been well off at times and broke, but never broken at other times. Blessed with an understanding wife who gave him twin sons, he has remained through it all a dreamer whose passion is writing stories that will entertain readers. 
Empty Time is his latest release.

VS: I want to thank you, Frank for being my guest here on The Writing Mama today. What do you do to help balance your writing life with your family life?

Frank: I don’t know that it can truly be balanced. I have a full time job as well so I am stealing time wherever possible to write or do the promotion work necessary. I don’t have enough time in the day to do everything that I schedule. My only rule in life is family first.

VS: How long have you been writing?

Frank: I have been writing since I graduated from college years ago. For most of that time, my writing was of the professional business or legal variety.  I first started to write books for publication almost 20 years ago. Of course, the first attempts were not ready for prime time and it took several years of practice to get it right so my work was ready for publication.

VS: What inspired you to write?

Frank: I have wanted to write since I was a freshman in college. I had a professor who told me I had some talent and said I should do something with it. However, it was a long time later before I actually got started. My wife was the catalyst. She finally got tired of me saying someday and bought me a word processor and told me to sit down and do it.

VS: What was the first thing you ever had published?

Frank: The first novel I had published was RESURRECTION GARDEN, which came out in January 2011. It is a mystery set in 1904 pioneer North Dakota. Jake Turner, a scarred veteran of the charge up San Juan Hill, has been a lone drifter through much of the settling of the west.  Opportunity was growing out of the newly turned sod of the North Dakota prairie in 1904 when he stopped to take a part time job as a Deputy Sheriff, expecting to move on again when the dark parts of his past catch up to him. He becomes a target for ruthless killers who want to stop him from solving a murder.  And that’s the least of his problems. It was a fun book to write and incorporates several personal aspects since my grandparents settled in North Dakota in the 1880s and my father was born there in 1904.

VS: Can you share with us a little about your current book and other books?

Frank: EMPTY TIME, my most recent released novel, is set in recent time and is a mystery thriller. Jim Lang is a corporate bureaucrat who sold his soul for a salary and the promise of promotion. Lang’s life sputtered into a workaholic rut on a middle rung of the corporate ladder while his colleagues, using his business plan, became the international business titans he once aspired to be.

Bad memories of busted marriages and broken promises are all that keep him company in his personal hours so he is more than willing to sacrifice that empty time to his job to make the corporation grow.  His bosses have one more sacrifice in mind for him.  To die for them.

Deceived, betrayed and framed for murder and massive stock fraud, his bosses plan for him to die and disappear.  Disappear, he does; die, he doesn’t.

Lang must face and conquer his old fears and guilt, and live up to the potential within. To save the people he loves he must put his life on the line to turn the tables on his former colleagues in an inter-continental, multi-billion dollar, fast paced and lethal game of corporate intrigue and treachery with bloody traps and deadly counter traps.

In DEAD MAN’S GAMBIT, detective-turned-Assistant DA, Mike Johnson finds himself living in a comfortable rut. That is, until Warren Rogga, a friend he helped convict is murdered in prison, leaving only a last request: Protect his family.

Mike owes Warren more than he can repay but is about to find out what it will cost him.  It had been an ugly case and is going to get uglier as it draws Mike back into its tangled web of sex, politics, greed, big money and cold hearted killers.

The evidence against Warren, a rich and powerful man, was overwhelming.  His mistress and illegitimate child were murdered.  He was there that night.  They had argued.  The murder weapon was found hidden on his property.  An open and shut case.  Mike couldn’t ignore the evidence he had collected and Warren went to prison.

When he starts to look into the case again, the justice system turns on him.  Forced out of his job as a DA, investigated by the police, hounded by the media, and manipulated by powerful people, Mike and his family and friends find their lives in danger as Mike becomes a player in the elaborate game of real life Monopoly played by a masquerade ball coterie of rich men, political power brokers, and an assortment of other crooks and criminals.  There is only one rule in the game.  Winner lives, loser dies.

Coming soon is BLOOD SINS set in 1958.  Bob Johnson, a decorated World War II veteran, former schoolteacher, and now Police Chief of Plainfield, and his family are enjoying a pretty idyllic life in the Fabulous Fifties except for the threat of nuclear war. The economy is booming, cars have fins, and television has three channels of news and entertainment.  Crimes are mostly relegated to the other side of the tracks. A long-buried secret pulls Bob into a bloody battle as he unravels a knot of clues to new and old crimes. Someone will have to pay in blood for those long dead sins.

VS: What do you enjoy most about writing?

Frank: The most enjoyable part of writing is the creation of characters and plot. Using my imagination to put these characters I have created into a situation and then working through how things turn out. Once I get into a story, it is almost like I am witnessing the events live and my job is to get it down on paper.

VS: What is the most difficult part of writing?

Frank: Sometimes dead ends occur in writing. What once looked like a promising story line turns out to go nowhere or into an alley from which there is no escape. Then you have to back up and completely wipe out that part of the book and begin again. It can be difficult to get going again because you don’t want to give up the investment you made in those chapters that no longer exist.

VS: What is the best writing advice you ever received?

Frank: Just to keep writing. You can’t get better at it without constant practice and work.

VS: Do you have any other works in progress? Can you share a little about them?

Frank: I have two more mystery novels under contract with MuseItUp. GRAVEDIGGER’S OPEN HOUSE BRINGS BACK Mike Johnson from DEAD MAN’S GAMBIT. Mike is at one of life’s crossroads and doesn’t have a map.  While doing a few favors for the little old lady next door, he ends up cooking in a boiling, murderous stew of racism, blackmail, revenge and greed.  Fortunately, for Mike, he likes it spicy.

In VACATION MAN Jack Decker thought life sucked when he lost all his money, but that was before the bombs and the bullets started coming his way.

I am working on a seventh novel tentatively entitled DIGITAL DEATH that involves missing persons, software piracy, terrorists, spies and murder.

VS: What do you think are the basic ingredients of a good book?

Frank: There are many elements necessary for a good book but three essential ones are a great plot, strong characters and proper pacing. The plot is the skeleton around which you structure the book. Each bone is important and without the plot developed right the book will fail. The characters both good and bad, main and supporting have to fill out their role and be believable or the reader will lose interest. Pacing is vital to keep the reader turning the pages with anticipation. Don’t jerk around corners and lose the reader or bore them to sleep with endless needless detail.

VS: It has been wonderful to have you here. Frank, you have shared some great advice and getting to know you better has been a blast. I wish you much success and look forward to your upcoming books as well.

You can visit Frank’s website at


  1. Thanks for hosting Frank on the final day of his virtual book tour. I've had a chance to read some of his work, and he definitely knows how to put together a page-turner.

    Wishing you and your readers a wonderful holiday season,


  2. Hi
    This was a very enjoyable interview. I would really like to have you on one of my blog talk radio shows to discuss your books and writing style. My show is A GOOD STORY IS A GOOD STORY- WORLD OF INK NETWORK.
    Good luck with your book tour.