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Q & A with Steve Brewer, author of PARTY DOLL

I've been a fan of Steve Brewer's books for eight years, since reading Lonely Street, the 1994 debut of New Mexico P.I. Bubba Mabry. A former journalist and syndicated humor columnist, Brewer now works as a writing coach and University of New Mexico lecturer. A frequent speaker at mystery conventions, he was toastmaster at Left Coast Crime in 2011.

Along with a review copy of the new Bubba Mabry ebook novella, Party Doll, Steve sent the following Q & A...

Q. Party Doll is the ninth adventure for private eye Bubba Mabry. Why bring back Bubba now?

Steve: Couple of reasons: 1) My wife and I recently moved back to Bubba's stomping grounds -- Albuquerque, NM -- after nine years in Northern California, so it felt good to get back in the swing of things here via a Bubba story, and 2) I wanted to drive traffic to the other Bubba books, which are all now available as e-books.

In Party Doll, Bubba is hired to search for a missing stripper who goes by the stage name Joy Forever. But his investigation uncovers the sort of public corruption which regularly make headlines in New Mexico.

Q. Why a novella?

Steve: I set out to write a short story, but the story kept growing and getting more complicated, and it eventually weighed in around 37,000 words. That's about half the length of a regular Bubba novel. Thanks to e-books, there's a market again for novellas, so I published it at a price of $1.99.

Q. You seem to have embraced self-publishing on e-books. Why is that?

Steve: My traditional publisher killed its mystery line not long after Cutthroat was published in late 2007. After that, it became increasingly difficult for me to find a traditional publishing outlet (though my agent continues to shop manuscripts around New York). I continued writing at my regular pace, and soon had several manuscripts ready to go, including the standalones Lost Vegas, Calabama, Firepower and The Big Wink. Meanwhile, I acquired the electronic rights on my backlist books from the original publishers. I self-published all these books (about two dozen!) as e-books over the past year, and they're doing well. The nicest thing about self-publishing, to me, is that I can write the stories I want to write without worrying about impressing some junior editor in New York.

Q. Will we ever see another movie starring Bubba?

Steve: While it was great fun (and quite profitable) to see Lonely Street made into a Hollywood comedy, I doubt that Bubba will make it to the big screen again. However, another of my books remains under film/TV option in Hollywood. That book, Boost, also is being considered for a Bollywood film in India. I don't know how that would work out -- the book is about car thieves in Albuquerque -- but I'd love to see it made into a movie, one way or the other.

Q. What are you working on now?

Steve: I've just started writing a standalone about bank robbers. They knock over an Albuquerque bank and make a huge haul because the bank holds the weekend desposits from an Indian casino. Once word gets out, the robbers are pursued not only by the FBI and the cops, but by other bad guys who want that cash.

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