Today we welcome Lee Gimenez.
Book ‘Em: Tell us about you and your life outside of writing.
Lee Gimenez: My life outside of writing is comprised of several things. I do quite a bit of traveling, some of it for research for my books, and some of it for personal enjoyment. My wife and I have been fortunate to travel throughout all of Europe, China, South and Latin America, Russia, and other countries. Besides traveling, I teach classes on writing. My hobbies are playing tennis and chess.
Book ‘Em: Which books have you written? What are they about and why did you choose to write them? Do your books have a message? Are they fiction or nonfiction?
Lee Gimenez: To date I have written and had published 13 novels. All of my books are fiction. Most of them are mystery/thrillers, although my first 5 books were science fiction. I’m best known for my John (J.T.) Ryan thriller novels, which have become very popular. My most recent books are FBI Code Red, Skyflash, The Media Murders, and The Washington Ultimatum, are based on this character. Ryan is a private investigator who does work for the FBI and other federal agencies. Several of my mystery books have been featured in the prestigious International Thriller Writers magazine. In fact my novel FBI Code Red was featured in the December 2017 issue of the magazine. My novel The Media Murders was nominated for the Georgia Author of the Year Award.
Book ‘Em: Do you have a work in progress?
Lee Gimenez: Yes, I’m currently writing my 14th novel, which is a new J.T. Ryan thriller. It will be published in mid 2018. In this new novel Ryan teams up with FBI Assistant Director Erin Welch and CIA agent Rachel West to solve the latest mystery. Erin Welch and Rachel West are also recurring characters and have been quite popular.
Book ‘Em: What was the most difficult section/piece you ever wrote? What made it difficult?
Lee Gimenez: Usually the beginning of each novel is the most difficult. Once I scope out a framework for the beginning 2 or 3 chapters, then I find the rest of the book easy to write. The key for me is to write the one/two chapter summary of the book.
Book ‘Em: What sort of research do you do for your work?
Lee Gimenez: I do quite a bit of research before I start writing. This research is of two types. The first is finding the right setting for the book. Part of my book FBI Code Red takes place in China. I spent 2 weeks there last year doing research. The second type of research relates to the topic matter. For my book The Media Murders, I spent quite a bit of time researching the news industry.
Book ‘Em: Which books and authors do you read for pleasure? Is there an author that inspires you?
Lee Gimenez: I like to read mysteries and thrillers for pleasure. I enjoy novels by Robert Parker, Lee Child, David Baldacci, Catherine Coulter, and Steve Berry. These writers inspire me.
Book ‘Em: Was there a person who encouraged you to write?
Lee Gimenez: Probably my father, who gave me my first novel to read when I was very young.
Book ‘Em: What would you say are your strengths as an author?
Lee Gimenez: I think the pacing and plotting of my novels is good. I like to write fast-paced, action-driven novels. I also enjoy writing dialogue and include humor into as many scenes as the plot allows (I write about serious topics like crime, and mysterious murders, but my main character, John Ryan, has a good sense of humor).
Book ‘Em: How often do you write, and do you write using a strict routine?
Lee Gimenez: I try to write every day, at least 3 or 4 hours a day.
Book ‘Em: Five years from now, where do you see yourself as a writer?
Lee Gimenez: I enjoy writing very much. I couldn’t conceive of giving it up since it’s such an integral part of my life. I see myself writing more crime and mystery thrillers in the next five years, and I’m sure most of them will be J.T. Ryan thrillers. Besides my Ryan character, I also have another main character: she’s Rachel West, whose stand-alone book is Killing West. I’m thinking of doing more novels about her.
Book ‘Em: If you could offer one piece of advice to a novice writer, what would it be?
Lee Gimenez: Never give up. As a writer you get a lot of rejections, especially starting out. I had to write 87 query letters to land a publishing contract for my first book. But once that was successful, I found that finding other publishers was a lot easier.
Book ‘Em: What would you consider the best compliment a reader could give your book?
Lee Gimenez: That they pick up one f my books and start reading it and don’t stop until it’s done.
Book ‘Em: Provide an excerpt of your writing that you would like to share with our members.
Lee Gimenez: FBI Field Office, Atlanta, Georgia:
“How’s my favorite Assistant Director in Charge,” J.T. Ryan said with a grin, as he walked into Erin Welch’s corner office.
The brunette looked up from her laptop, then closed its lid. “How many ADICs do you know, Ryan?”
“Besides you?” he said as they shook hands. “None.”
“Then I guess that’s not much of a compliment.”
Ryan smiled. “Just trying to brighten your day.” He sat in one of the visitor chairs that fronted her desk.
A stern look crossed her face, then her features softened. “Do you ever stop joking around?”
“Only when someone is pointing a gun at me.”
Erin suppressed a grin. “All right, smart guy. As I told you on the phone, I’ve got another case for you.”
“Probably not, J.T. We got a tip from one of our informants about a possible money-laundering operation here in Atlanta. All of my agents are slammed with active cases, so I’m giving this to you.”
Ryan gave her a mock salute. “John Taylor Ryan, private investigator and FBI contractor, at your service.”
Erin reached into a desk drawer, pulled out a file folder and handed it to him.
He scanned the contents, which were sparse. “Not much here.”
“You’ve worked a lot of cases for me. You’re a good investigator. If there’s anything to the informant’s tip, you’ll find it.”
Ryan nodded. “My usual fee?”
“Good.” He stood.
“One more thing before you go,” she said. “Try not to shoot someone this time.”
Ryan grinned. “I only discharge my weapon in self-defense.”
Erin shook her head slowly. “I know your ‘Dirty Harry’ tactics.”
“Isn’t that why you hire me?” he replied. “Because I’m not afraid to kick ass and take names?”
She folded her arms in front of her, a serious expression on her face. “I hire you because you get results.”
“And here I thought you hired me because of my charm, wit, and good looks.”
Erin pointed to the door. “Don’t let it slam on your way out.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he said, turned, and left the office.