Happy Friday! And what a way to end the week! I’m very happy to have Stuart Gustafson, author of “Missing in Mexico” on Coffee and a Keyboard today! I had the pleasure of reviewing his book in August. You can read that here. Without further ado, here’s Stuart!
When and why did you begin writing?
I’d done a little writing for a while, but it was after taking early retirement that it started to re-blossom. I now had more time, and as I was doing more travels for fun rather than for work, I decided to combine the two – writing and traveling – into a single activity. This was the genesis of my writing mystery novels set in exciting locations around the world.
What inspired you to write your latest book?
We’ve been going to the Los Cabos area of Baja California every year since 2003. It started as our winter escape for just a scheduled week in February each year and has since grown to 4-6 weeks a year. The area is such a marvelous place with warm and friendly people, and once I decided to write a novel, I knew it had to be set there. It’s a place that I would feel comfortable calling my “second home.”
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The title might not sound like it, but Cabo is actually the SAFEST place in Mexico. You have to remember that Missing in Mexico is a fictional story, so I don’t want readers to think that it’s about all the kidnappings that are in the news. Because of where Cabo is located – 300 miles from the mainland and 1100 miles down a single road from the US border – it’s isolated from the drug cartel problems that are in parts of mainland Mexico. We feel very safe there, and we felt very safe when we sent our daughter and son there for a vacation.
What book are you reading now?
I just picked up the book Sarah’s Key, certainly not light reading, but a very good story and one that makes you think and appreciate life and how things can quickly change.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Cutting it down. The initial draft had 118,000 words, and an early reviewer told me to cut, cut, cut. That’s hard to do, especially when it’s your first full-length novel. I managed to remove two complete chapters, some other text, for a total of 12,000 words. It’s probably still a little too long at 106,000 words, but writing is also a learning process, and so I’m learning as I work on my next novel.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Listen to others, but stay true to what you want to do.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Give me at least a chance to pull you into the intrigue of Missing in Mexico by reading the first 5 chapters FOR FREE. Just go to www.MissingInMexico.com and click on the link; that’s all.
What is your favorite kind of coffee?
Any dark roast Fair Trade blend works for me.
Thanks so much for the opportunity to chat with you over the virtual cup of coffee. It’s made me a little thirsty; I might need to go get a cup right now.
(VL – that sounds like a great idea!! )