Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Interview With Pete Morin

Today we're interviewing Pete Morin, author of Diary of a Small Fish, and the just-released Full Irish, which you can steal for 99 cents on Kindle- and it'll be the best buck you ever spent!

Q. So how did this novel come to be? Was it envisioned from the start as a bigger canvas, or did it expand organically out of an idea? Please tell us a bit about the origin.

A. This novel arose out of a new collaboration with co-author Susanne O’Leary. I have known Susanne in the virtual (and virtuous) sense since we became acquainted on the Authonomy community website in 2008. Although Susanne previously has written principally romance novels, she has the particular skill that I lack: an ability to work through a plot from beginning to end quickly. Another skill she has is handling a curmudgeon.

But really, the thing that clinched it was that Susanne is married to a former Irish diplomat; so she had had many years of exposure to the Irish political establishment, knew and understood it well. And we happen to share a virulent disdain for crooked politicians.

Anyway, having realized that two and a half years between novels wasn’t going to make it in today’s marketplace, I sent out a solicitation for a collaborator, and Susanne responded. We decided to chat about it further, and after a few Skype sessions, we’d settled on a story about dirty Irish politicians, in Ireland and in Boston.

Q. Did you start with the germ of an idea and start writing to see where it went, or did you map a good deal out in your head (or even outline) before crafting?

A. Something in between. We were both committed to a return of Paul and Shannon Fort̩, so we had our heroes. Then we had to invent a Boston-based political/legal controversy to throw Paul into. Say, a seemingly dull-sounding contract procurement Рuntil Paul learns that an ex-rep who cheats at golf is the lobbyist for the competitor.

Then we had to marry it to an event in Dublin, like, say, ohhhh…the murder of an Irish politician, which got Finola McGee, the political editor for a Dublin newspaper involved.

Then we sent Paul and Shannon to Ireland, and arranged for them to meet Finola at a castle in Kerry.

Then…well, you get the idea.

Q. What do you feel is the main theme(s)?

A. The theme is the avarice, mendacity and hubris of people in power, with a special look at Irish family feuds and rivalries along the way.

Q. Why do you feel this is important, and what would you want a reader to take away from reading this book?

A. Important? I wouldn’t be so precious. I hope readers will take away smiles.

Q. What makes a good book or engaging story?

A. Loveable characters, snappy dialogue and a different plot that isn’t predictable.

Q. Are there writers with similar themes to yours? Who are your influences (can be writers, or even artists, musicians, or others) and what is it about their work that attracts you?

A. The avarice, mendacity and hubris of politicians are not unique themes. Watch the news today? But focusing on the unique connection and bond of the Irish people with Boston (and Boston Irish with Ireland) hasn’t been done, to our knowledge. I’m a huge fan of Raymond Chandler, John D. MacDonald and Dashiell Hammett, but my more recent appreciation is for Tim Callinan, who wrote a hilarious three-book series about a professional thief named Junior Bender. Humor is what turns me on.

Q. Is storytelling mostly entertainment, or does it serve other functions? Do you have particular goals other than telling a good story?

A. It’s all about entertainment, touching the buttons of reader’s emotions. Think about your favorite movies. You laugh, you cry, you get angry, you feel vengeful, you boo, you cheer, and you clap. That’s entertainment.

Q. Any other goals you've set for yourself, professionally or personally?

A. Professionally, none whatsoever. I’ll write as long as it is the pleasure it is. Personally? Maintain a sense of humor in a world going to shit, try to prepare my children for what they’re likely to face, and enjoy good health and family.

Q. Some writers write fast and claim not to rewrite much. Do you do this, or painstakingly revise? When you send the book off to the publisher, are you happy with it, or just tired of it?

A. I write and revise as I go, but “painstaking” is not an adjective I’d use. There is very little pain involved in my process. I don’t send books to publishers, so I’d better be happy with it. On the other hand, one cannot be captive to the truth that a work can always be better. Of course it can. But there is no such thing as the perfect novel – or if there is, it’s not something I’m compelled to chase.

Q. Do you have good editors, and if so, how do they help you? Do they look for particular things? Do you have different people for different editing levels?

A. Very much a hit-or-miss thing. I tend to rely more on beta readers for the Big Picture things, and editors for the wordsmithing. I have one killer beta reader who is truly a reader’s reader. He catches everything and doesn’t hold back.

Q. If a writer came to you for advice, how would you help?

A. My advice is always this:

Don’t be in a hurry, and if you don’t have thick skin, reconsider your commitment to being a good writer.

Q. Stories can be told by using a different medium. Can you see your book as a film, audio, etc.? How would that alter the telling?

A. I don’t see my book as anything but a story in written form. I don’t dream about a movie. An audiobook is a nice proving ground for a story. If it doesn’t read well in the oral telling, it’s not going to sound good in an audiobook.

I was awfully lucky to have Diary of a Small Fish produced as anaudiobook by a superb television character actor, Keith Sellon-Wright. He did a masterful job of capturing Paul Forté’s voice, and read the highly emotional scenes in that story with incredible feeling.

Q. What's the next step in your writing world?

A. Susanne and I are committed to doing at least one more Ireland-Boston tale starring Paul and Shannon in Boston and Finola McGee in Dublin. After that, who knows? Six months is a long time in the ebook world. No sense in planning into an ever-changing world.

Q. Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

A. I play blues guitar and love to cook.

Q. Any other information you'd like to impart?

A. My golf game is going to shit. Don’t tell anyone.


Thanks, Pete.

Web page:

Where to buy:


Pete Morin has been a trial attorney, a politician, a bureaucrat, a lobbyist, and now spends his time writing legal arguments and crime fiction.

Pete's short fiction has appeared in NEEDLE, A Magazine of Noir, Words With Jam, 100 Stories for Haiti, and Words to Music.

When he is not writing crime fiction or legal mumbo jumbo, Pete plays blues guitar in Boston bars, and on increasingly rare occasion, plays a round of golf. He lives in a money pit on the seacoast south of Boston, in an area once known as the Irish Riviera.

Pete is represented by Christine Witthohn of Book Cents Literary Agency.


  1. Thanks for the opportunity to say hi to your readers, Dale. I look forward to seeing you at the next Bouchercon in Raleigh!

  2. Excellent interview Pete! I will post a review soon.

  3. I thought I'd comment as my ears were burning. Thanks for the kind words, Pete. I'd like to add that this, and the next book are a lot of fun to write.

  4. Thanks for the kind words, Pete. I must add that the book was a lot of fun to write.

  5. Great interview, can't wait to read The Full Irish.