Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Featured Author: John Gaspard

About the book:

Newly-single magician Eli Marks reluctantly attends his high school reunion against his better judgment, only to become entangled in two deadly encounters with his former classmates. The first is the fatal mugging of an old crush’s husband, followed by the suspicious deaths of the victim’s business associates.

At the same time, Eli also comes to the aid of a classmate-turned-movie-star who fears that attempting The Bullet Catch in an upcoming movie may be his last performance. As the bodies begin to pile up, Eli comes to the realization that juggling these murderous situations -- while saving his own neck -- may be the greatest trick he’s ever performed.

A great book club recommendation: A murder mystery book filled with sly wit, clever magic, and a charming amateur sleuth – see which of your group figures out whodunnit first!

Praise for The Bullet Catch:

The Bullet Catch is a wonderfully engaging, delightfully tricky bit of mystery. Fans of magic will delight in John Gaspard’s artful use of the world of magicians, onstage and offstage. It’s a great story and great fun!” – Jim Steinmeyer, Author of Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear

“Gaspard's latest Eli Marks mystery, The Bullet Catch, has as many tricks up its sleeve as its likeable magician-hero. As the body count rises, so does the reading pleasure.” – Dennis Palumbo, Author of the Daniel Rinaldi Mystery Series and Co-Writer of My Favorite Year

The Bullet Catch is a real winner of magical proportions. Filled with snappy, delightful dialogue and plenty of sleight-of-hand humor, Gaspard's latest mystery in the Eli Marks series does not disappoint. Head to the bookstore and get yourself a copy now!” – Jessie Chandler, Author of the Award-Winning Shay O'Hanlon Series

“The author does a fantastic job juggling the separate plots and keeping readers’ minds thoroughly engaged...The relationships between Eli and his remarried ex are interesting, to say the least, and the pure entertainment of the industry will leave all readers hoping that there will be a ‘number three’ very soon.” – Suspense Magazine

The Bullet Catch has a quick pace and dialogue that engages the reader from the first page...Gaspard has written a great character into an original storyline...I will definitely be seeing/reading more of Eli as Gaspard expands this promising mystery series.” – Examiner.com

“Readers, get ready for your mind to expand as Eli Marks returns and uses his powers of prestidigitation, intuition and deduction to solve another mystery. If David Copperfield and Sherlock Holmes had a child, it would be Eli Marks.” – Scott Wells, The Magic Word Podcast

Interview with John Gaspard

John, your main character, Eli Marks, is a magician. Why did you come up with that profession for your main character?
I realized that I had several friends who are magicians – in fact, as a non-magician, I have a surprising number of friends who are magicians. So I’m familiar with their world and the issues that crop up in their work. And I realized that magicians – with their focus on misdirection and fooling people – would be in an ideal position to see how a criminal might be using misdirection to cover their tracks.

Why is Eli uniquely qualified to solve crimes?
On some levels, he isn’t qualified at all. In fact, he often gets things wrong. He is way too trusting and inclined to only see the best in people. However, as a magician, he is used to looking at the world a little differently and he understands how easy it is to fool people. He’s able to see the mechanics behind the trick and that helps him see the mechanics behind some crimes.

What are Eli Marks’s best qualities?

He has a sense of humor that often gets him out of tight situations. He is curious. He is very trusting.

What would you say his worst qualities are?
He has a sense of humor that often gets him into tight situations. He is curious. He is very trusting.

Very funny. Does Eli secretly pine for anyone, or is he currently involved?
It’s the classic story: In the first book, The Ambitious Card, Eli gets the girl. In this new book, he loses the girl – at least, for a while. And so the book looks not just at the struggle of how to get her back … but also at how hard it is to come to the realization that she might not be coming back at all.

What is a Bullet Catch?
The Bullet Catch is a classic trick in magic, in which the magician gives a loaded gun to an audience member, who then shoots it at the magician. If the trick is successful, the magician catches the bullet in his teeth. If not, well, that’s the end of the show.

The Bullet Catch is not often performed these days, because it truly is a dangerous trick. In fact over the years, more than a dozen magicians have died while performing The Bullet Catch.

Yikes! Are you a closet magician?
I am not now nor have ever been a magician.

However, my goal was to learn the title trick for each book in the series. So, for the first book (The Ambitious Card) I took lessons from an exceptionally talented local magician and got pretty good at performing that trick.

When I decided that the second book would use The Bullet Catch as its basis, I quickly abandoned the idea of learning and performing every title trick.

Very prudent of you.

In addition to talking to lots of magicians, I also attend magic conventions, read books and periodicals about magicians, and go to as many live performances and lectures as I can. It seems to have paid off, as I’ve heard back from many readers (including magicians) that they are amazed that the books are not written by a working magician.

The Bullet Catch involves the world of movie making, with which I believe you’re involved in real life. Can you tell us about that part of your life?
I’ve been producing and directing low-budget feature films since my late teens, using virtually every format out there (Super-8mm Sound, Three-Quarter Inch video, 16mm, and HD video). I’ve also written several books on how to create low-budget movies.

My most recent feature, Ghost Light, is available for viewing on Vimeo for free here

The current feature I’m working on, The Cookie Project, consists of seven shorts that will all tie together as a feature. You can see the shorts here.

Who would you cast as Eli Marks if you were to make a film of one of his books?
Well, I don’t work with the kinds of budgets it would take to bring any of the Eli Marks books to the screen. But if Hollywood wants to tackle it, I’ve always pictured Neil Patrick Harris. Not only does he have the chops as a magician, but he would also bring the humor, sincerity, and vulnerability that Eli needs.

Which do you like better: directing or writing?

They both have their own appeal. Writing I can do anywhere, any time. Directing takes a lot more planning and scheduling, so you can’t be particularly spontaneous. And with directing, you’re at the mercy of the elements, the budget, and the vagrancies of location and timing. Writing offers a lot more control of the finished piece.

What are you working on now?
I’m well into the third book in the Eli Marks mystery series, The Miser’s Dream, in which Eli discovers a body in the movie theater next door and is pulled into the bizarre world of high-priced movie memorabilia.

About the author:

In real life, John’s not a magician, but he has directed six low-budget features that cost very little and made even less – that’s no small trick. He's also written multiple books on the subject of low-budget filmmaking. Ironically, they’ve made more than the films.

His blog, "Fast, Cheap Movie Thoughts,” has been named "One of the 50 Best Blogs for Moviemakers" and "One of The 100 Best Blogs For Film and Theater Students.” He’s also written for TV and the stage.

John lives in Minnesota and shares his home with his lovely wife, several dogs, a few cats and a handful of pet allergies.

Connect with John:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Publisher

Buy the book:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble |