Interview with Author Stephen Kaminski by Melissa Brooks
Stephen Kaminski is the author of the Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective series and his newest Male Housekeeper Mysteries series. I interviewed him to find out more about his writing, his inspiration, and what he is working on now.
1. Have you always been interested in writing?
Definitely. As a teenager, I was devoted to reading British thrillers. Over time, I transitioned to reading mysteries, including those by P.D. James and Ruth Rendell (two more British authors). But it wasn’t until I started reading Lawrence Block that I was inspired to tackle writing a manuscript. I started when I was 25 years-old, but unfortunately didn’t have the time to devote to the process. When I picked it back up in my mid-thirties, I made sure to spend the time necessary, no matter what.
2. What is your writing process like? How does writing a story start for you?
I’m a very regimented writer. I have a demanding full time position as well as an active thirteen year-old, so I make time to write or edit every single night (and most weekend mornings). I start by plotting with handwritten notes and craft broad ideas for red herrings, twists, turns, and devious motives. I know “whodunit” before I start, along with the primary motives of each suspect, but I allow for plenty of fluidity as those motives play out while the story develops.
3. Do you get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?
Of course! When I get stuck, I go back and re-read my current draft from the beginning. I typically edit the manuscript about 15 times before sending it to my professional editor, so going back to the start allows me to edit as I go, plus get refreshed on the storyline in granular detail.
4. Has your experience as a lawyer contributed to your writing in any way?
I haven’t practiced law in a number of years, but I do believe my experience as an attorney was beneficial. Many people may not realize it, but to succeed in the legal field, an attorney must be quite creative – law is rarely cut-and-dry. Writing fiction provides a great outlet for that creativity. As for mysteries in particular, I’ve never practiced criminal law; perhaps deep down the prosecutor in me is longing to get out.
5. How did Damon Lassard’s character develop as you wrote him?
I started by taking characteristics of different people who have influenced my life – both good characteristics and those that aren’t so good. Then as I wrote, the relationships he has, for example with his mother and love interests, naturally gave Damon the personality he has today.
6. What was your inspiration for the Male Housekeeper series?
I wanted to turn gender roles on their heads and give my protagonist (a man) a position more traditionally filled by women and my lead woman (who serves as deputy police chief) a traditionally more male role.
7. Are you working on anything right now?
Yes, Book 2 of the Male Housekeeper series should be ready some time in 2020. It takes place in a funeral home! Not only will there be a neat little murder to solve, but two or three clever capers along the way. I promise it’ll be a ton of fun!