3Qs: Ace Atkins, crime writer, bestselling author

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

Ace Atkins, a former Florida newspaper crime reporter and current Oxford resident, is a New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including just-released “The Broken Places” and Robert B. Parker’s “Wonderland.” Last year, he was selected by the Robert B. Parker estate to continue the bestselling adventures of Boston’s iconic private eye, Spenser.
“The Broken Places” is part of a return to Ace’s first love: hero-driven series fiction. Quinn Colson is a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who returns home to north Mississippi to fight corruption on his home turf. The stories, contemporary tales with a dash of classic westerns and noir, are currently in development for a major television series. He answered questions from the Daily Journal’s Patsy Brumfield.

Q: What is your work process like as you handle two different styles of books a year?
A: Well, I have to focus on one book at a time. I can never overlap the writing process. And to make deadlines, I don’t have time for many book festivals, writers conferences and that kind of thing. I’m fortunate to be a full-time novelist, and I treat it with the respect and attention it deserves. My supportive readers deserve that I give them my best.

Q: Where do you get your ideas for each?
A: For the Quinn novels? The Daily Journal. My previous book, “The Lost Ones,” centered on the Barretto case in New Albany. And much of “The Broken Places” tells a story not unlike what happened in the Smithville tornado. I was also inspired by a great piece on Smithville from The Commercial Appeal. As a former newspaper reporter, news stories still inspire me. I like to write about real characters, events and places.

Q: What are your hopes for the Quinn Colson series and its Northeast Mississippi venue?
A: The terrific thing about writing about Quinn Colson, Northeast Mississippi and the Mid-South in general is the steady flow of amazing true stories. Great Southern tales that are very specific to this area. Of course, some of them are just too wild. Did you hear the one about the falsely accused Elvis impersonator? They said he tried to poison the president. I mean, who would believe that?

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