1. Who is your favorite character?
I really like the main character, Sam Slater. He was a longtime baseball player and fought in World War II at Omaha Beach and the Battle of the Bulge. I hope that Sam is the kind of guy you would really like to hang out with and become his friend. I think I would.
2. Why is he your favorite?
He is the anchor of the story. I think Amelia Ryan, his girlfriend and TWA stewardess, is a really interesting character and perfect match for Sam. However, Sam is a tough guy but very kind hearted. He has had a lot of tragedy in his life but still is positive. He gave up his prime years as a baseball player because he had to fight in World War II. Sam is a real man’s man which is why he appeals so much to Amelia.
3. How did you come to create him?
It was a different world in the 1950s. It was not a particularly friendly place--given our perspective now--for blacks or for women. The men were of the World War II generation and were pretty tough, macho guys. Sam exemplifies the men of that generation. Sam was a member of the San Francisco Seals pro baseball team. I got a change to spend some time with a man who was actually a member of the Seals in their last season in 1957. I got some of the flavor of the times and what the “real” Seals were like. I used him as a technical adviser on men such as Sam in 1957-58.
I also talked to a couple of men I know who were involved in the D Day landings and one of them fought in the Battle of the Bulge. They told me great stories which I used as part of Sam’s history.
4. When did he first enter your mind?
I thought began to form the character of Sam Slater in the summer of 2011 when I visited San Francisco. I had always wanted to write a private detective story in San Francisco in the 1950s. When I visited the San Francisco Giants’ ballpark, AT&T Park, there were several historical things about the Seals. I knew about the Seals but had not thought about them for a long time. Then it occurred to me that I could make my main character a member of the Seals. The team was being displaced in the fall of 1957 and I decided to make my baseball player become a private detective. It’s a great period in San Francisco and so rich in history and nostalgia. It was the perfect catalyst for my new mystery series.
5. Where was he given life in the creative process?
I started the story as the baseball season ends in 1957. Sam wonders what he will do with his life now that it appears his baseball career is over. He gets an offer to join his old Army buddy’s private investigation business. Then his friend is murdered and that sets in motion the plot that sweeps Sam away into a new life. The story was always about Sam and I kept adding layers about him. Then he meets Amelia and his character and history is slowly revealed as he gets to know her.
6. What do you like the most about him and what do you dislike the most about him?
I find very little to dislike about him. He has flaws. Sometimes when he should be vigorously pursuing his latest case he gets distracted by Amelia. I think it’s very understandable that Amelia would be a serious distraction. When Sam meets Amelia large family they instantly fall in love with him. They are big baseball fans but also they really admire Sam. I think he can be very tender and protective of innocent people or women but he has no trouble beating up a bad guy.
About the Book
Mystery, romance and baseball in 1957 San Francisco. Sam Slater is a lifetime minor league baseball player for the San Francisco Seals. The Seals have just one more season left as San Francisco is about to become a major league city. Sam has come to the end of his baseball career and is going to join the private detective agency of his best friend. When Sam's partner inadvertently sees something he shouldn't have, he is brutally murdered. Sam must go it alone and try to find out why. Along the way he is swept off of his feet by a beautiful, Elvis-obsessed TWA stewardess named Amelia Ryan. Sam and Amelia try to unravel the mystery together. On dark and foggy San Francisco nights, trouble is lurking just around the next corner.
Prices/Formats: paperback $14.99, ebook $2.99
Publisher: Sunbreaks Publishing
Release Date: April 2012
Buy Links: Amazon, Kindle
About the Author
Greg Messel has written four novels and three unpublished memoirs. He published his premiere novel “Sunbreaks” in 2009, followed by “Expiation” in 2010 and “The Illusion of Certainty” in 2011. “Last of the Seals” is the first in a series of mysteries which are set in 1957 San Francisco. The second book in the series “Deadly Plunge’ will be published around Christmas of 2012. Greg grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and has had a newspaper career as a columnist, sportswriter and news editor. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist while working for a daily newspaper in Wyoming. Greg also spent many years in the corporate world as a Financial Manager. He now devotes his energies to writing at his home in Edmonds, Washington on the Puget Sound just north of Seattle, where he lives with his wife, Carol.
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