Hey there word nerds!
Today I have the pleasure and honor of hosting David Morrell on the show!
David is the bestselling author of numerous books including First Blood, the award-winning novel in which Rambo was created, and the classic spy novel, The Brotherhood of the Rose, which was the basis for the only television mini-series to be broadcast after a Super Bowl.
In his over forty years of writing experience David has received many well deserved awards and honors, including the Thriller Master award from the International Thriller Writers organization and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Bouchercon, the world’s largest convention of mystery and thriller enthusiasts.
He holds a Ph.D. in American literature from Penn State and was a professor in the English department at the University of Iowa. He is truly a phenomenal teacher of writing and every time I hear him teach or speak on a subject, I learn something new and different. And today he’s here to talk with us about his latest novels, the Thomas De Quincey Victorian Mysteries triad Murder as a Fine Art, Inspector of the Dead, and Ruler of the Night.
So listen in as David and I chat about these awesome books, and how to craft a novel with just enough detail to keep your readers enthralled in the story.
In this episode David and I discuss:
- How to avoid the info dump, while still keeping your readers in the story.
- Framing details around the characters to bring them to life on the page.
- How to play with point of view to create verisimilitude in your story.
- Becoming the omniscient narrator.
- Why inserting journal entries can enhance your story, and how to do it right.
Plus, David’s #1 tip for writers.
About David Morrell
David Morrell is the bestselling author of First Blood, the award-winning novel in which Rambo was created, and he holds a Ph. D. in American literature from Penn State. David was a professor in the English department at the University of Iowa, and now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
His numerous New York Times bestsellers include the classic spy novel, The Brotherhood of the Rose, the basis for the only television mini-series to be broadcast after a Super Bowl.
An Edgar and Anthony finalist as well as an Inkpot, Macavity, and Nero winner, Morrell is also the recipient of three Bram Stoker awards from the Horror Writers Association and the Thriller Master award from the International Thriller Writers organization. He also has a Lifetime Achievement Award from Bouchercon, the world’s largest convention of mystery and thriller enthusiasts.
David’s writing book, The Successful Novelist, discusses what he has learned in his four decades as an author. His latest novels the Victorian mystery/thrillers Murder as a Fine Art, Inspector of the Dead, and Ruler of the Night are now available.
To connect with David check out his website at davidmorrell.net.
Thomas De Quincey Victorian Mysteries
Murder as a Fine Art (Book 1)
Long before Jack the Ripper, the shocking Ratcliffe Highway murders of 1811 were the first publicized mass killings in English history. Never fully explained, they paralyzed London and all of England.
Forty-three years later, the equally notorious Thomas De Quincey wrote a ground-breaking essay “Postscript: On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts” in which he meticulously reproduced the Ratcliffe highway multiple murders in blood-spattered detail, making readers feel they’re both the murderer and the victims.
In Murder As a Fine Art, shortly after this terror-drenched essay is published, a family is killed in the same horrific way as the earlier murders. It seems someone is using De Quincey’s essay as an inspiration—and a blueprint. And De Quincey himself is the obvious suspect. Aided by his brilliant daughter Emily and two determined Scotland Yard detectives, he must uncover the truth before more blood is shed and London itself becomes the next victim.
In this acclaimed novel, gaslit London becomes a battleground between a literary star and a demented murderer. Their lives are linked by secrets long buried but never forgotten.
Inspector of the Dead (Book 2)
The year is 1855. The Crimean War rages. The incompetence of British commanders causes the fall of the government. The Empire teeters.
Amid this crisis comes opium-eater Thomas De Quincey, one of the most notorious and brilliant personalities of Victorian England. Along with his irrepressible daughter, Emily, and their Scotland Yard companions, Detectives Ryan and Becker, De Quincey finds himself threatened by an adversary who threatens the heart of the nation.
This killer targets members of the upper echelons of British society, leaving with each corpse the name of someone who previously attempted to assassinate Queen Victoria. The evidence indicates that the ultimate victim will be Victoria herself. As De Quincey and Emily race to protect the queen, they uncover long-buried secrets and the heartbreaking past of a man whose need for revenge has destroyed his soul.
Based on actual attempts to assassinate Queen Victoria, Inspector of the Dead brilliantly merges historical fact with fiction, bringing a bloody chapter of Victorian England to vivid, pulse-pounding life.
Ruler of the Night (Book 3)
Like Morrell’s two previous De Quincey novels, Ruler of the Night blends fact and fiction to an exceptional degree, this time focusing on an actual Victorian murder so startling that it changed the culture—in this case, the first murder on an English train, its brutality stoking fears that the newly invented railway would, as one newspaper predicted, “annihilate time and space.”
In Ruler of the Night, readers again feel they’re truly on the harrowing fogbound streets of 1855 London as the brilliant Opium-Eater, Thomas De Quincey, and his irrepressible daughter, Emily, confront their most ruthless enemy. The stakes couldn’t be greater—both the heart of Victorian society and De Quincey’s tormented soul.
The fast-paced narrative matches the speed with which the railway changed Victorian life. It brings back Scotland Yard detectives Ryan and Becker, along with Lord Palmerston, Queen Victoria, and Prince Albert, and introduces a host of new characters from this fascinating era.
Master storyteller David Morrell transports readers back in time, away from the modern world and into the dangerous shadows of the past.
On a Victorian train, no one can hear you scream.
If you decide to check out any of the books in David Morrell’s Thomas De Quincey Victorian Mysteries series—Murder as a Fine Art, Inspector of the Dead, and Ruler of the Night—we hope you’ll do so via these Amazon affiliate links, where if you choose to purchase via the link DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!
(Right-click to download.)
If you liked this episode…
Also, remember that sharing is caring so if you know anyone who might enjoy this podcast, please tell them about it or leave us a review so other listeners will want to check it out.
Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!