Tuesday, October 27, 2015



A casual glance out his apartment window turns Magician Eli Marks’ life upside down. After spotting a dead body in the projection booth of the movie theater next door, Eli is pulled into the hunt for the killer. As he attempts to puzzle out a solution to this classic locked room mystery, he must deal with a crisis of a more personal nature: the appearance of a rival magician who threatens not only Eli’s faith in himself as a performer, but his relationship with his girlfriend.

But the killer won’t wait and starts taking homicidal steps to bring Eli’s investigation to a quick and decisive end. Things get even worse when his magician rival offers his own plausible solution to the mystery. With all the oddball suspects gathered together, Eli must unveil the secrets to this movie-geek whodunit or find himself at the wrong end of the trick.


John, by my count, this is your eighth published book. What's your favorite thing about the writing process?

When an idea hits you out of nowhere and solves all the major problems in the book. This happens somewhat less frequently than one might like.

What books do you currently have published?
The Miser's Dream is the third book in the Eli Marks series. I have another, stand-alone novel, The Ripperologists, which has a tangential relationship with The Miser's Dream. I've also written three books on low-budget filmmaking.

Can you share some of your marketing strategies with us?

This is more of an anti-strategy: Just because a person is interested in the general subject matter of your book (whether it be, oh I don't know, magic or Jack the Ripper), don't assume that they are your target market. Interest in a subject doesn't (necessarily) translate into reading fiction about that subject.

That's not to say that you shouldn't market to that audience; just don't focus on them to the exclusion of a wider reading audience that may enjoy your book.

If you could only watch one television station for a year, what would it be?
Turner Classic Movies. Are there other stations?

How often do you tweet?
I love questions that make sense today and would have been meaningless (or vaguely suggestive) just ten years ago. This question definitely qualifies.

Who would you want to narrate a film about your life?
Morgan Freeman, because then it might sound at least vaguely interesting.

If you had a swear jar, would it be full?
Not only would it be full, but it would be a large and beautiful jar (likely an antique, certainly rare), paid for with the proceeds from a series of earlier swear jars.

Excellent idea. What's your relationship with your cell phone?
Constant. And I am frequently surprised to find that one can use it to place phone calls.

How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
One hour less than I need.

What is your favorite movie?

I've seen Harold and Maude more times than I can count, so that might qualify.

Which actor was your favorite Batman?
Adam West and Michael Keaton, each in their own, inimitable way.

I say black and white movies, you say . . .


If you had to choose a cliche about life, what would it be?
I'm not getting older, I'm getting better. (Although, in reality, I'm also getting older.)

Lightning round:
Cake or frosting? Yes please.
Chevy Chase or Bill Murray? No contest. Bill Murray. (Has Chevy Chase ever been funny?)
Indoors or outdoors? Indoors. On the couch. With Bill Murray. Eating frosted cake. Watching Harold and Maude. On TCM.
I like how you think, John!



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.

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