Author: Harris Tobias
Page count: 175
Harris Tobias lives and writes in Charlottesville, Virginia. He is the author of several novels and hundreds of short stories. His fiction has appeared in Ray Gun Revival, The Calliope Nerve, Literal Translations, FriedFiction and other obscure publications. You can find links to his fiction at: http://harristobias.blogspot.com/
Tell us about your book:
The Greer Agency is a gritty detective fiction presented in 15 separate, but connected stories. The reader follows the development of private detective Mike Greer, the only PI in the Altoona, PA phone book. It’s tough to make a living in a decaying old railroad town, but with the help of an anonymous benefactor, Greer lands some interesting cases-cases that he solves with grit and determination. Greer might not be the sharpest pencil in the box but he’s got guts and heart. Throughout the stories, his budding romance with Susan grows. Eventually, they realize they are right for each other. Readers will find Mike Greer an accessible everyman with luck, pluck, smarts and a host of interesting friends. He finds his way into and out of problems large and small. Greer narrates the stories in a refreshing and original voice. Each story has its own plot and can stand on its own, but as the book progresses, the mysteries pile up and the plots get more complex until the explosive last story.
How long did it take to write the book?
1 year. Writing 15 separate short stories with separate plots is in some ways harder than writing a novel with only one plot.
What inspired you to write the book?
I switched to short stories after writing three novels in a row. I found a character I liked and a setting I found comfortable. Then I stood aside and let the characters tell their stories.
Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
I try to write 1,000 words a day. Sometimes it’s detective fiction, sometimes it’s sci-fi. I write in several genres to keep from getting burnt out in one. For this book I researched Altoona, PA, some but mostly it’s all made up. My apologies to Altoona residents for any inaccuracies.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
A feeling of having read some pretty good stories and wanting to hear more.
Where can we go to buy your book?
Any other links or info you’d like to share?
Excerpt from book:
The name’s Greer, Morgan M. Greer private eye. The M’s for Michael which was my father’s name and the reason my friends call me Mike. I’m not one of those glamour puss gumshoes working high profile cases for wealthy clients. I work shit cases on the bottom of the barrel. Divorce stuff mostly, some skip trace and a little repo work when I can get it. It’s a crappy life but what can you do? At least I don’t have to punch a clock.
I keep a small office in the back of a strip mall church called Church of the Rising Son. My landlord, Pastor Alphonse Brown, owns the whole mall. Pastor Al is a good guy and I respect him. He has his racket and I have mine. His does a lot better.
I used to have a girl answer the phones but I had to let her go. I replaced her with an answering machine. Now when you call the Greer Agency you get a recording that tells you how important your call is to us. I always get a kick out of that word “us”.
On most mornings, Pastor Al runs AA meetings, weight watchers meetings,, group therapy sessions and other kinds of socially relevant crap. I don’t know how he does it but he manages to make money out of the great well of unhappiness that fills most people’s lives. In the evenings, the church fills up with lost souls from the neighborhood. Poor slobs looking for something I’m sure Pastor Al is totally unable to provide— a religious experience without the hassle of actually believing in anything.
One thing I can attest to is that Pastor Al sure knows how to show them a good time. The few times I’d had to work late or had to meet a client after hours, I had to adjourn to the coffee shop next door because of all the noise. What with the band, the choir and the speaking in tongues, I couldn’t hear myself think.