An Interview with Old School Mystery Author Greg Messel

Longtime BookBuzzr subscriber – Greg Messel’s books have been gradually creating a niche for themselves and finding a dedicated audience on Amazon. A reviewer recently wrote about his Sam Slater mystery novel, “I’ve read all three Sam Slater novels, and just finished San Francisco Secrets. Again, it was full of great San Francisco locations. great ‘bad guys’ and I enjoyed the story.”

Greg’s recent interview with Stu Taylor on Radio America gives a good overview of his latest book – Shadows in the Fog

Hi Greg, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Would you start by telling us a little about yourself?
Greg Messel

I’ve spent most of my adult life interested in writing, including a career in the newspaper business. I won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist and have contributed articles to various magazines. I retired from the corporate world and now live in South Jordan, Utah. I’m a widower and have three adult children who are married and have 11 grandchildren.

I’ve written eight novels including my new one “Shadows In The Fog” which is the fifth in a series of mysteries set in 1959 San Francisco. “Fog City Strangler,” “San Francisco Secrets,” “Deadly Plunge” are sequels to the first book in the series “Last of the Seals.” There are three more novels: “Sunbreaks,” “Expiation” and “The Illusion of Certainty.”

I’m currently working on my ninth novel–the sixth in the mystery series–“Cable Car Mystery”–which will be published in late 2015.

Why did you become a writer?

I worked for my high school newspaper and fell in love with writing. I won a couple of writing contests and then I began writing sports and movie reviews for my local hometown newspaper in Concord, California in the San Francisco Bay Area. I supported myself in high school and college writing. I didn’t start serious novel writing until I had the time after my retirement.

How do you go about your writing process? Is there a method to the way you produce your books? Do you use an editor? Do you work with beta readers?

I begin working on the outline of the story and putting together chapters. I don’t necessarily work in order. If I have an idea for a chapter I go ahead and write it and then weave it into the finished product. I first want to get the story out of my head and onto the paper. I then will spent a few months polishing it and sometimes making major changes. I then turn it over to an editor and we usually make three detailed passes at the manuscript, not only refining the grammar and sentence structure but also making changes in the plot.

How do you design your book covers?

I work with my publishing coach who has someone on his team who designs my covers. I receive a lot of compliments about the book covers. I think they are vital to attracting readers. Book covers give a real strong first impression. I think some book covers, particularly for some self published authors, really screams “Amateur.”

Whats the best part about your job as an author?

The actual writing and creating is wonderful. While you are writing you escape into a different world. It’s thrilling. I love to talk to people who have read the books and enjoyed them.

Whats the most tedious part about your profession?

Marketing is hard. I think most authors will tell you that whether they are self published or working for a publishing house. It is extremely difficult to get noticed in the fast paced new world of eBooks and a shrinking number of book stores. I sometimes smile to myself at eBooks titled something like “How To Write a Best Seller.” Generally it involves several thousand people giving you a few dollars to read your eBook. That’s how “they” write a best seller but I’m not sure it helps you. I’ve noticed that there are very few ground breaking ideas to market. It comes down to execution and maximizing the exposures for your book. That’s something that BookBuzzr helps provide.

Your book-trailers invoke a sense of nostalgia. How do you get these book-trailers made?

I have a contractor, I work with who specializes in trailers. He has done all the trailers on the Sam Slater mystery series. I love his work.

What are some of the activities that you do to promote and market your book?

I do virtual book tours and try to be active on Goodreads. I also used Twitter and Facebook to promote my books. I’ve had some book signings which are always a thrill. I’m very proud of my web page. Check it out at

How does BookBuzzr help you with your book promotion?

It increases my contact with readers and potential readers. I’ve received messages from all over the United States and some from Canada. The contests seem to generate a lot of activity.

Note: Most of Greg’s books are set in San Francisco in the 1950’s. Check out this quiz created by Greg using BookBuzzr’s quiz-builder and test your knowledge about the history of this city.

If you are looking for a page turning whodunnit mystery, you can get a review copy of most of Greg’s books including his popular first book in the Sam Slater series – Last of the Seals here –

Vikram Narayan is the founder of BookBuzzr Book Marketing Technologies. Follow him on Twitter
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