In first grade, Jeffrey Eaton wrote a letter to Dr. Seuss offering to help the renowned author create his next book, a book Eaton had already given the title, "There's A Moose on the Loose on the Chickanoose Trail." The author wrote Eaton a kind rejection letter that encouraged them to keep reading and writing books.
And that’s what Jeffrey Eaton did.
He was graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas with a degree in journalism. He formed his own free-lance writing business at age 27 and by the age of 30, had been to 45 countries on five continents.
Eaton has now returned to his first passion – writing novels. The "Murder Becomes" series featuring architect/detective Dalton Lee unites Eaton’s love for intrigue with his passion for travel.
The evening of October 1, author Jeffrey Eaton will discuss mystery writing and his “Murder Becomes” series before the Friends of the Richardson, Texas, Libraries group. Get more details on this fun, intriguing event at: https://www.richardsonfol.org/annual-meeting/
The appearance has prompted Eaton’s detective/protagonist, Dalton Lee, to impart an important message: “Libraries, and librarians, still matter.”
Librarians can guide us to the best research sources faster than most Google searches filled with ads ever will. Meanwhile, libraries have become outstanding locales for lectures, panel discussions, poetry readings and more.
Earlier this week, our VIP readers got a first glimpse at the cover for my newest mystery thriller, “Murder Becomes Mayfair.” Now, it’s your turn to see the artwork for the third installment in the “Murder Becomes” series, featuring architect/detective, Dalton Lee. (Preorder here).
I wonder if readers realize how much thought goes into a book cover. This book presented a challenge we’d not faced before.
Should the artwork reflect a well-known architectural icon of London, like Westminster Abbey or Big Ben? Or should it be true to the title and show the beautiful Georgian architecture of Mayfair?
We decided to focus on the neighborhood, believing the shot of these Georgian town homes still evokes London. Putting Big Ben on the cover of a book about Mayfair just seemed wrong to us.
Then came the question of the background color. “Murder Becomes Manhattan” has a rich black cover, while “Murder Becomes Miami” has a cover that is a deep ocean blue. For variety, we went with the color of brick for “Murder Becomes Mayfair,” lightened some so the Georgian buildings beneath would still pop through.
We hope you like the fact the cover is true to the series in its fonts and design, but unique in the color that it projects from the bookshelf. Let us know your thoughts.
Hardbacks of “Murder Becomes Mayfair” go on sale October 1. What nefarious plot has The Organization planned for London? Can Dalton Lee and his team stop it before it’s too late?
Not only do you struggle to determine who killed college football’s most successful coach (he was sure he knew after Chapter 3 but was, ahem, dead wrong). You also learn fun trivia about the Art Deco hotels on Miami Beach AND how to make the perfect vesper martini.
Magicians learned a long time ago that the best way to distract you from the legerdemain they are undertaking ‘over there,’ is to create some type of flourish, some sort of eye-catching extravaganza, ‘over here.’ Some claim today’s politicians now use this distraction technique more than magician’s do, making voters forget about some scandal ‘over here’ by focusing on some crisis or impending threat ‘over there.’
In “Murder Becomes Mayfair,” architect/detective Dalton Lee is told by his mysterious confidant that he should beware of distractions as he and his team try to deduce what terrorist plot The Organization has in store for London. And, try to understand why they felt the need to murder a seemingly humble tailor working on Savile Row.
But that mysterious confidant has also been distracted in a way that only becomes apparent near the end of the book. Seems nobody can trust anyone these days.
Fog. Electrical sprites. A haunted carnival ground. And seven identical suitcases showing up unannounced at Heathrow. These and many other mysterious elements will make “Murder Becomes Mayfair” the go-to thriller as we head into the holiday season.
Just don’t let anything distract you from purchasing this eerie mystery once September rolls around.
(Get the background about Dalton Lee and his team here)
I am a big believer that those of you who read murder mysteries are more than a bit brighter than the average person. I respect that and, as a result, I use my journalistic training to research the names, locations, etc. in my books so they are as accurate, and authentic, as possible.
Not all authors make that effort.
In a podcast interview with up-and-coming thriller writer T. Blake Braddy, I discuss the new tools and approaches out there that help me and other authors nail down the details in our books so you aren’t rolling your eyes while you are reading them.
It’s a question I’m often asked: when do you write/how do you find time to write?
Here is the answer: when I can. And I don’t beat myself up for not writing more, sooner.
As writers, we need to be kind to ourselves. In addition to creating a book, we also have to put gas in the car, compare nutritional statistics on different juice bottles, tend to a frustrated relative and/or take out the trash.
It can be overwhelming/frustrating. Especially when we have a vocation on top of our avocation.
So the trick for me is to set reasonable goals each week. I will write two chapters this week. I will also do 1 thing every other day on social media.
If I achieve all that, it’s been a stellar week. If not, I do not allow myself to get despondent. I just tweak next week’s schedule based on what else I have to do and keep putting one keystroke in front of the next.
Now and then. Here and there. One thing today, two things tomorrow. That’s the balance beam we persistent writers walk along, and don’t let anyone make deadlines or rushed expectations knock you off of it.
Most writers go to conferences hoping to pique the interest of an agent or publisher.
But Day One of Killer Nashville proved to me that the true benefit of such conferences is interacting with, and learning from, other writers.
Inspiration comes in many forms. From William Kent Krueger, I learned that his idea of a series about murder mysteries occurring in grand resort hotels throughout North America is still waiting to be done. From Hartley Stevens, I learned that a creative book launch party can involve having the places that appear in your book actually come to life at the party. And from Cheryl Hollon, I learned that a good cozy mystery should always have a pun in the title and a dog (or knitting needles) on the cover.
Over the next three days, I look forward to learning so much more both about the process of writing and how to market murder mysteries — lessons I plan to incorporate in “Murder Becomes Mayfair,” coming to booksellers in May of 2017.
Oh, and I also learned that when the writers at a particular table talk all about themselves for 5 minutes and never ask you about you or your books, it is time to move on… 😉
As I begin preliminary work this week on the third book in the “Murder Becomes” series, I am reminded of one of the biggest challenges I face – where in the book to introduce the murderer.
Should it be very near the beginning, when the reader least expects it and has lots of time throughout the book to forget them? Or should it be deeper within the book, right as the intrigue is kicking into high gear?
I also have to consider how central to the main story the murderer should be. If the murderer is always lurking along the perimeter of the tale but not too far out of sight, then the revelation of their identity can be a stunning surprise for the reader. But by planting that person as one of the central suspects, I can also give the reader the fun of playing detective along with Dalton Lee.
How do YOU like your murderer served up? On the side, as an unexpected garnish ? Or as one of several delicious morsels on the main dinner plate?