Thursday, September 16, 2010

Interview with ALAN ORLOFF

What made you give up a life of excitement as a businessman and become a writer?

Ha! Good one. (Obviously, you’ve never toiled in the corporate world.) I guess I ditched all that “excitement” to do something I had a passion for—it’s really that simple. I’ve always been a voracious reader, and I’ve always admired the writers who could bring great stories to life. I figured I’d try my hand at it, and I’ve never regretted a minute. Believe me, sitting at my desk, pounding on my keyboard, all alone, for hours on end, is way more exciting than anything I ever did in business.

How do your past business experiences help you create characters and plots?

During my career, I had the opportunity to meet and interact with many, many people. Snips and snatches of them—how they looked, how they talked, how they reacted—stayed with me. Now when I want to portray a certain person or a certain trait, I just scan my memory banks. Same goes for interesting situations and settings. And of course, if nothing juicy sprouts from my memory, I just make something up.

Tell us about your book, Diamonds for the Dead.

In DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD, Josh Handleman returns to his boyhood home to sit shiva for his estranged father and gets the shock of his life: his frugal dad was a diamond collector worth millions! Now the gems are missing, and Josh begins to suspect his father’s death might have been murder, not an accident.

Hounded by grief and remorse, Josh resolves to find his dad’s diamond stash. His emotion-laden treasure hunt throws him into the middle of a feud between two stubborn old Russian Jews—and puts Josh squarely in the sights of his father’s killer.

You never know how a book will be received, but it’s been fortunate to get some very good reviews. Which makes me happy.

Tell us about your upcoming book, the first in the Last Laff series.

In KILLER ROUTINE, Comedian Channing Hayes has survived a tragic auto accident that claimed the life of his fiancee Lauren. Physically and emotionally scarred, he’s put his performing career on hold, resigned to getting laughs vicariously as co-owner of The Last Laff Comedy Club. There, he instructs Lauren’s sister Heather in the fine art of stand-up.

When Heather skips out on her set during the club’s comedy showcase, Channing searches for his AWOL protege. Heather’s ex-lovers start turning up dead, and Channing must fight to keep Heather from being the next hit in this deadly line-up.

Share with us some of the challenges and advantages of writing a series as opposed to stand-alone novels.

With a series, a lot of the work is already done. You’ve developed the main characters and you’ve mapped out the settings for many of the scenes. The challenge is keeping things fresh and avoiding the “been there, done that” syndrome. With stand-alones, you can enjoy the excitement of exploring new characters and new stories and new places. I enjoy writing—and reading—both types.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve gotten?

BICFOK. Butt In Chair, Fingers On Keyboard. If you’re a writer, then write. It’s too easy, especially nowadays with the constant call of the Internet, to get distracted. Writing a novel—or anything worthwhile—takes time. You need to be disciplined or you’ll never get anything accomplished. Get it down and then go back and edit.

All of the above snippets of advice boil down to the same thing: WRITE!

What are the addresses of your website, blog, and other online presences?

My website is:
My blog, A Million Blogging Monkeys is:
I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. Come follow and Friend me!

Thanks so much for having me today, Linda! It was a pleasure.


  1. I'm so pleased to find this interview with Alan, my fellow Midnight Ink author, and the nicest man in mystery writing. (And, he's funny, too!) Way to go, Alan, and nice site, Linda.
    Deborah Sharp
    Mace Bauer Mystery series

  2. Great interview, Linda and Alan!

    I loved "Diamonds for the Dead" and am looking forward to Alan's next book. Love the cover for "Killer Routine!"

  3. Thanks, Deb and Elizabeth! And thanks to you, too, Linda, for interviewing me for your blog--I had a fun time!

  4. I keep waiting for someone to say the best writing advice is to have another glass of wine and think about it, but it never happens.

    Great interview!