Saturday, September 19, 2015



In Red Tide, a small research vessel masquerading as a shrimping boat has been found adrift off the Florida coast. None of the crew are on board . . . only what appears to be blood left on the deck. Private Investigator Tony Lowell is brought in by powerful maritime attorney Arthur Emerson to investigate. Soon the bodies of the crew are recovered on a nearby island but the mystery only deepens as Tony tries to discern why they were killed, the meaning of some deformed sea creatures found on board, and what are the strange chemical samples found in the region? And just why are various Federal authorities trying to stonewall the investigation? Is this simply a drug deal gone bad like the FBI claims? Or could it have much more serious, and sinister, repercussions all throughout the Gulf of Mexico?

Red Tide is the fifth of the Tony Lowell Mystery series.


How did you get started writing and when did you become an “author?”
I first began writing as a screenwriter in Hollywood, working for Hanna Barbera Productions as an animation writer, then at Universal Studios. I wrote a screenplay called Old Money that I later decided to develop into a mystery novel. That became my first book, Hour of the Manatee.

What's your favorite thing about the writing process?
The sense of creating something entirely my own.

How long is your to-be-read list?
I like to go to the library and get recommendations.

What books do you currently have published?
The Shakespeare Chronicles, R.I.P., Hour of the Manatee, Eye of the Gator, Night of the Panther, and Lair of the Lizard.

Can you share some of your marketing strategies with us?
I have always left marketing to my publishers in the past. Marketing is new to me. But I am learning to use Twitter and social media.

How long have you been a writer?
30 years.

You have a day job . . . how do you find time to write?
I make time.

If you could only watch one television station for a year, what would it be?

How often do you tweet?
Every day or so.

How do you feel about Facebook?
I like it.

For what would you like to be remembered?
As a writer who cared about the issues of his time and always worked them into his books.

What scares you the most?

Being alone.

YouTube is . . .
Something I don't use.

What five things would you never want to live without?
Companionship, intellectual stimulation, travel, a variety of cuisine, physical activity.

Who would you want to narrate a film about your life?
Tom Hanks

3D movies are . . .An interesting gimmick.

If you had a swear jar, would it be full?
It would be half empty.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Somewhat of both.

What's your relationship with your TV remote?
Ambivalent. I keep hoping it will find something worth watching and am usually let down.

Do you spend more on clothes or food?

What's your favorite treat for movie night?

What is the most daring thing you've done?
Go to China to teach for three years.

What is the stupidest thing you've ever done?
Turned down an offer on a book.

What is your most embarrassing moment?
Wearing a vest to a concert that was buttoned crooked (my wife didn't notice).

What choices in life would you like to have a redo on?
My choice to be a mediocre student.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest. -Mark Twain

What would your main character say about you?
I need to do less talking and take more action.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?
My second book, Eye of the Gator. It was under a deadline, and had to struggle to meet it.

Where is your favorite library, and what do you love about it?

I am a fan of all libraries. My favorite is whatever one nearest to me.

You can be any fictional character for one day. Who would you be?

Travis McGee


What’s the worst thing someone has said about your writing? How did you deal with it?

One critic wrote that I used too much common language in my first book, even though it was a prize winner. I became very careful about being more original in my metaphors and so on after that.

Who would you invite to a dinner party if you could invite anyone in the world?

Barack Obama.

What's your relationship with your cell phone?

Ambivalent. Call it a co-dependency.

How many hours of sleep do you get a night?


What is your favorite movie?

Charade, with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant.

Do you have a favorite book?

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

How about a favorite book that was turned into a movie? Did the movie stink?
The Great Gatsby. The movie stank.

Do you sweat the small stuff?


If you had to choose a cliche about life, what would it be?

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started." -Mark Twain

How long is your to-do list?

I try to keep it short.

What are you working on now?

Finding balance between home and work life.

Lightning round:
Cake or frosting?  Neither.

Laptop or desktop?


Chevy Chase or Bill Murray?  Bill Murray.

Emailing or texting?  Email.

Indoors or outdoors?  Alternate

Tea: sweet or unsweet?  Unsweet.

Plane, train, or automobile?

  Automobile, out of necessity. (Although I like trains, I seldom have the chance to take one.)


An award winning novelist, journalist, columnist, critic, and film and television writer/producer, Gene (E. C.) Ayres is a graduate (B.A.) of Syracuse University, worked in New York for seven years producing short films for Children's Television Workshop (Sesame Street,) ABC, and Time Life Television, then went on to write and produce for various other PBS television series at stations in Maryland, Arizona, and California. Moving to Los Angeles in the late '70s, Ayres began writing for commercial television, primarily in animation, fought unsuccessfully to reduce violence in children's entertainment, worked as a feature development writer for Jack Arnold at Universal Pictures, and was recipient of a Warner Brothers Writers Fellowship in 1982. Since leaving Hollywood in 1989 he has published seven mystery novels including winner of the St. Martin's Press/Private Eye Writers of America Best First Novel competition in 1992. He was a single parent for more than a decade prior to his nearly three years living and working in China between 2004-2007. There he served as a freelance editor, writer, and university lecturer in English at Harbin University of Commerce in northern Manchuria, where he wrote his nonfiction memoir Inside in the New China (2011). He is married to a Chinese national, and now lives in Seattle with his wife and step-daughter.

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