Robert Germaux, a Man with Romance in His Soul and His Latest Novel, The Backup Husband

Robert Germaux Author PhotoRobert Germaux is a romantic at heart…and he doesn’t mind letting the world know about it. That’s why he never even considered using a different (read: female) author’s name for The Backup Husband, his modern-day love story.

Although his other novels are mysteries, with either a private detective or a police detective as the main character, in both cases, that detective has a love interest who is central to the story. In fact, Mr. Germaux can’t imagine writing a book that doesn’t have a strong romantic element as part of the plot.

Just how romantic is Robert Germaux? In the mid-nineties, his wife slipped on the stairs leading down to her kindergarten classroom. Cynthia fractured several bones in her foot and ended up missing two months of school. Every morning, before he left for work, her husband would hide a little note for her someplace where she would be sure to come across it during the day— propped up against a carton of milk in the refrigerator, inside the silverware drawer, under the remote control for the TV. It’s a memory that both Bob and Cynthia cherish to this day.

Bob has a variety of other interests, including sports (he once signed a contract to pitch for a semi-pro baseball team in Pittsburgh) and travel (he and Cynthia have shared special moments everywhere from Paris to Toronto to Tahiti), but writing is among his favorite activities. The idea for The Backup Husband came while he was playing the “What if” game one day: What if a woman suddenly realized she might actually be in love with two wonderful men at the same time? He ended up writing the book in record time, enjoying every minute of the experience, and he hopes that’s the case for his readers, too.

The Backup Husband cover photo

Title: The Backup Husband

Author: Robert Germaux

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length: 305 pages

ASIN: B00QMKZ0Z2

Available on Amazon

When Samantha and Steven meet early in their senior year of college, the attraction is both immediate and powerful. And why not? She’s the kind of woman every man desires, and he’s the man at the center of every woman’s dreams. The two of them quickly forge a strong bond, creating their own little world, a world that they permit only one other person to enter: Steven’s roommate, Paul, every bit a hunk in his own right. Now two become three, forming a group dynamic that one of their friends, a sociologist, says is “almost scary, how much in sync you guys are.”

The Backup Husband follows Steven, Samantha and Paul as they finish that last year of college and enter their young adult years, the bond among them seemingly unbreakable, until the most powerful force in the world intrudes, exposing how fragile the walls of their world really are. From Pittsburgh to Paris to San Francisco and beyond, their story unfolds, with moments of unbridled joy punctuated by periods of unbearable sadness. Along the way, each of the main characters is confronted by one question: What am I willing to do, or not do, in the name of love? Their responses to that question will send them all down a path from which there can be no return, one that will dramatically alter their lives in ways that none of them could have foreseen.

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And now for a little Q&A:

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No, not at all. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but the idea of writing a book didn’t occur to me until after I retired from teaching. I tried a couple of books aimed at middle-school readers, and then my wife suggested

I write a book for adults. As usual, Cynthia’s idea was a good one.

Are there any authors whose works just grabbed you at first reading?

Three names come to mind. When I was about sixteen, my father introduced me to P.G. Wodehouse’s Bertie and Jeeves novels, and I couldn’t get enough of those characters.

Then in 1974, I came across The Beowulf Manuscript, the first Spenser novel.

I was immediately hooked on anything by Robert B. Parker.

Finally, Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes was so beautifully written, I was sure I would love anything else he wrote, which turned out to be exactly the case.

How long does it take you to write a book?

I pretty much zipped through The Backup Husband in about six months, and Small Talk, my serial killer novel which will be available on Amazon very soon, took just a bit longer. Most of my other books, however, come in at about a year or so.

Are you a disciplined writer, one who wants to write so many words or pages per day?

I’m a very organized person, but not necessarily disciplined in that way. Some days, I’ll write a whole chapter, which in my books is usually around 1200 words, but then I might not write another chapter for several days. However, one thing I’m always doing is making notes about characters, settings, dialogue, etc.

My wife is incredibly understanding about being awakened at two in the morning when I turn on the light to get something down before I forget it.

Do you always know how a book will end when you begin writing it?

Unfortunately, no. Sometimes I start out with an ending in mind, but as I get deeper into my plot, I’ll realize that that ending won’t work. Sometimes, as was the case with The Backup Husband, the ending I envisioned works, but I’ll have to change the setting. And sometimes I simply have no idea how I’ll end a book. I just start writing and trust that somewhere along the way, I’ll figure it out.

Any advice for new writers?

During the years I taught high school English, I had a poster on my classroom wall that read There is no such thing as good writing, just good rewriting. I think that’s excellent advice for all writers, new or otherwise.

Connect with Robert Germaux:

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Sandra Bolton’s “Key Witness” Weaves a Tale of Suspense in a Southwest Setting

Sandra BoltonSandra Bolton’s novels are based on her real-life experience with diverse settings and cultures. Her first novel, A Cipher in the Sand, was inspired by her work in the Peace Corps in Honduras, while Key Witness was inspired by her years spent teaching Navajo children.

She honed her writing skills under the tutelage of southwestern mystery writer Steven F. Havill, and she holds a master’s degree in guidance counseling.

Originally from California, she raised three children while traveling the globe with her military husband. She is currently at work on an anthology of short stories. She resides in Raton, New Mexico, with her cat, Fidel, and her dog, Sam.

Key Witness

A Jewish musician from New York; a female cop with the Navajo Tribal Police, her unemployed, alcoholic, and gay brother; a three-legged dog, and a “skinny, gray-haired” nurse named Sally who boasts she can “shoot the short hairs off a pig’s balls blindfolded.” These are the main characters in Sandra Bolton’s latest mystery, “Key Witness”.

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Intended Audience: Anyone interested in reading, a fast-moving, action-packed mystery with a touch of romance and a strong dose of New Mexico culture.

Not since Tony Hillerman have we seen a writer portray so well the stark beauty of the Southwest and the solitary lives of the Navajo, woven onto a background of suspense and violence.

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Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?) List other titles if applicable. 

This is my second novel. My first, A Cipher in the Sand, was self-published on Createspace in 2012. 

Where do you write?

I write from two different locations: my home office, which is right off my living room, and I have a little writing nook I set up using my old computer at an isolated cabin not terribly far from my house. I love to write there because there is no internet, no cell, and no distractions. Except nature, and the urge to get outside and enjoy it.

The cabin sounds wonderful! I’m doing the same at lake about an hour from my home. Are you a plotter or a pantster?

I am definitely a punster. I never know for sure which way the story is going until I get going with it. Though, sometimes during periods of insomnia, I do a little plotting.

A punster? Are you being punny? Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

I sometimes struggle with the sex scenes. I want to make them exciting, but not too racy, holding a little back for the imagination of the reader. My natural shyness comes out. I think I am getting over that though, since the editors told me to stop leaving out the details.

I know what you mean! How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

My original title for Key Witness was Jesus Eyes. I had come up with that name based on startling blue eyes of the protagonist, Abe Freeman, and the habit of a few people remarking on his “Jesus eyes.” This was based on actual incidents that happened with my late partner. I decided to change the name, as not to invoke a religious tone, and since the mystery in the story involves a mysterious key.

What other books/authors are similar to your own? What makes them similar?

My book has been compared to the writings of Tony Hillerman because of the setting and references to Navajo culture.

Great plug! Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

I had never thought about writing a novel until I participated in a workshop conducted by Southwest Mystery Writer, Steven Havill. He challenged the class to begin writing a novel, gave us the tools to work with, and set goals. After three more workshops with Mr. Havill, I was hooked on writing, and haven’t stopped.

That’s great! Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

I love Sally, the skinny old nurse who thinks she can take on anything. She is fearless and funny. She and Emily are both strong female characters.

How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

My least favorite character would be Corazon, just because he’s a mean sob. But he’s supposed to be.

Do you have any other talents or hobbies?

When not writing I enjoy gardening, hiking with my dog, photography, reading, and gourmet cooking. I have many interests, but no outstanding talents – a Jack of all trades, I embrace my mediocrity.

Its good to be well rounded. What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Every reader should know the best way to help a writer gain success is to write a review and spread the word. Self-promotion is tough, and I feel extremely grateful to be working with a great team now at Thomas and Mercer..

Do you have a pet or pets?

I have a big orange tabby cat named Fidel and a big black dog named Sammy.

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So adorable! What is your favorite snack food?

I’d rather eat anything salty or crunchy than sweets. Trouble is, you can’t eat just one. Right now, I’m sipping on a glass of white wine and munching on popcorn.

Interesting combination. Have you ever been in trouble with the police?

Not in the USA.

And we’ll leave it at that! Characters often find themselves in situations they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?

In the Peace Corps in Honduras, a young volunteer and I were nearly attacked by a group of drunk men. As they tried to break our door down, we waited with clubs. Finally, they passed out. We tiptoed out of the room and ran like hell to a bus stop. (This incident is included in my novel, A Cipher in the Sand.)

Scary! Do you make up your bed every morning?

I make my bed every morning because I am a bit obsessive/compulsive.

What is on your bed right now?

Right now there is an old-fashioned hand stitched quilt with a traditional wedding ring pattern.

If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

I would speak Italian perfectly. I love Italy and the Italian language, and was fortunate enough to live there for three years.

Lucky you! Do you have any scars? What are they from?

I have an old appendectomy scar, a scar near my inside right ankle that I acquired from a string ray zap that became infected with jungle rot. My latest scars, just this month, came from my cat, Fidel. I tried to rescue him from a dog that was after him, and he went crazy tearing into my face and hand. Fourteen stitches on my nose, and another dozen on my right hand.

I saw the photos of the cat scratches on Facebook! Geez! What were you like as a child?

Being the oldest of five, I was a serious and responsible child.

What was your favorite toy?

No particular toy stands out, certainly not dolls. I liked to play board games, tether ball, cards. See how old I am.

I must be old, too, because I loved tether ball! Do you recall your dreams? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares?

Since childhood, I have had a recurring dream of a large book with the pages slowly turning. Maybe it was prophetic.

What is your favorite Fiction/Non-Fiction book?

There are many books that have made a profound impression on me, but I think the first and strongest was Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.

My sons were in the theatrical production of Grapes of Wrath at Louisiana Tech. My youngest played Winfield.

VERY IMPORTANT!!!!  Please describe something (significant number of words/a character/entire scene) you “deleted” from your work and why.  Because a real writer knows when to hit THE DELETE KEY!

After the editors at Thomas and Mercer dug into my book, I needed to delete several scenes. Most gave background information into the Navajo history and culture that they thought was “interesting” but slowed down and distracted from the main action of the story. Yes, there were entire scenes I had researched and hated giving up, but they were right, of course.

You can always put that edited out information on your blog!

Website: http://www.sandraboltonwritestuff.com/

            Blog: sandrabolton.com

            Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/sandraboltonauthor

 Publisher’s Website: https://www.apub.com/imprint-detail?imprint=1

 Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_6?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=key+witness&sprefix=key+wi%2Cstripbooks%2C1195

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/

 Book Promotion Sites: https://www.facebook.com/groups/promote.your.book.here/

Other Interviews: http://visionandverse.blogspot.com/

Thank you, Sandra, for this opportunity to interview you and I wish you great success!