Indie Book Promo is happy to welcome Bob Mueller to the blog. He’s here to answer some of our questions as well as share about his book, The Sad Girl. If this book sounds like something that you would be interested in reading, please find buy links below and pick up a copy or two!
IBP – How would you describe your book in 20 words or less without using the blurb?
Bob – Parolee tries to figure out if his previously unknown daughter is still alive and how to rescue her.
IBP – If you wouldn’t be a writer, what you would be?
Bob – Looking back, probably a history teacher or a journalist. I love the story behind the facts. I would have loved to have been able to be involved in a project like Band of Brothers or The Pacific, or any of the books behind those shows. Then again, if I had been a little more mature in my younger days, I probably could have made a career out of the military, where I served as a military police specialist. Loved my time in the Army, but I had a love/hate relationship with my first unit and post. There was a brief flirtation with long-haul trucking, too…
IBP – Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?
Bob – Everywhere. I’d go back to living in an RV. Our family lived for about seven months in an RV, traveling through several states. We “landed” a little sooner than we had originally planned (not that we really had much of a plan), so I’d love to be able to travel again like that. There was a time when I’d have said “a tropical island,” but I loved the flexibility we had living in the RV. You can settle someplace for a few days, a couple of weeks, or even a few months, then pick up and leave pretty easily.
IBP – Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Bob – I’ve always been interested in the story, in the context of events. It was never enough for me to know that Gavrilo Princip shot Archduke Ferdinand, for example. I wanted to know what drove him and others to that, and why it led to World War 1. It just didn’t occur to me until the late 90s that I could be the one telling those stories.
IBP – Which scenes were the hardest to write?
Bob – The emotional ones. There’s one where Danny is talking about his parents dying that was pretty difficult, and another where he’s visiting the site where his daughter’s body was found. Those, and the climax of the book. There’s so much pain and love wrapped up in those parts that I still find myself getting a little weepy.
IBP – Did you know the title before you started writing?
Bob – Not exactly. The book came from a short story I wrote back in 2008, so I carried that title forward. But when I started the short (the prompt was “something you’d find at a police auction”), I didn’t quite know what it was going to be called until about midway through the story, when Danny first uses the words, “The Sad Girl.” I feel like titles are one of my weak points, though.
IBP – What inspired you to write? Did you take any ideas from other books, movies etc.?
Bob – I get my inspiration everywhere. My very first deliberate attempt at a book was inspired by all the post-apocalyptic stuff that popped up in the mid-to-late 80s. Then I started a story based on a role-playing game that I played that was popular at the time. After that I started a story about a college cop when I was…working as a college cop. But my first completed story was inspired by a Journey song, when I wondered what brought the small-town girl and city boy together, and what was going on with the smoky room. Those first two verses in “Don’t Stop Believin'” got stuck in my head until I had a story.
The Sad Girl came from a short story that I did while I was working on DSB. I read the prompt (“something you’d find at a police auction”), and thought, “What if someone gets a camera and it still has pictures on it?” That still wasn’t all that interesting until I discovered that the person who found the camera was an ex-con selling recovered police property.
I’m gearing up, after the Sad Girl series is wrapped, to start a police procedural series, inspired in part by “Hill Street Blues” and “COPS.” I loved getting to know the characters, and see their lives away from the station. Mick Belker was much more than the cop who bit people. He was a loving, devoted son, but if we never got to go home with him after a shift, we’d have never learned that, and he would have remained a caricature. But at the same time, there are just as many stories in places like Okay, and Wagoner, and Tullahasee as there are in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, so I want to explore that part of things.
IBP – Are there any particular books and/or authors that inspired you and continue to do so?
Bob – Among my favorite authors are Tom Clancy, Robert Parker, Michael Crichton, Joseph Wambaugh and Clive Cussler. I’m not sure what it says that three of my five favorites are dead! Parker especially had a way of making Spenser and Jesse Stone very intricate but believable characters without dumping 39 pages of information all at once. It was spread out from story to story, and each book was like peeling an onion as far as learning about them. So I’m trying to do the same. Clancy as well did something I work towards. What I call his “NPCs” or “non-player characters” – the folks who are only on screen for a few paragraphs or pages – they weren’t just cutouts. They were real people, even if they were there and gone.
Dean Wesley Smith is another writer who’s giving me a lot of inspiration and motivation. He’s done a series of posts (and now a book) on Heinlein’s Business Rules of Writing that’s helping me refocus how I work. I had set down some goals for 2016, and I’m already revising them in my head. As one example, he posted that he had written over 1.2 million words in 2015. I managed just over 165,000, and that included school assignments. My announced goal is to increase that count by 25%, up to about 205,000. My personal goal is much higher though, based on what I’m reading from Dean. Here’s hoping!
DANNY CUMBERLAND has been on parole for eighteen months. He’s staying out of trouble, trying to run a business, and trying to fit back into a world that left him behind twelve years ago. In his mind, Pierce Brosnan was still James Bond.
FIFTEEN YEARS AGO, a week-long fling produced a daughter. Three years ago, she was kidnapped and murdered. As he struggles to trust people again and piece together the life of a child he never knew, Danny begins to find problems with the investigation and has another DNA test performed. The body in the casket isn’t his daughter. Could Danielle be alive? DNA is never wrong. Is it?
SAVING HER means violating his parole and lying to people he’s come to care about. How far will an ex-con go to rescue a daughter he never knew who isn’t even supposed to be alive?
When you get right down to it, Bob Mueller writes about emotions. He finds them in his own experiences as a divorced father and family member of a sex abuse survivor, and from the people he meets. He puts himself in someone else’s shoes, and teases out their feelings. Blending that with bits and pieces of history and life experience, he crafts a story that might have been inspired by a song, or a news article. But it’s about emotions in the end.
Born in north Texas and raised in southeastern Ohio, Bob is a member of Tulsa NightWriters and Oklahoma Writer’s Federation, a father of eight, and a pastor’s husband. When he’s not writing, he enjoys reading (thrillers, historical fiction and non-fiction, and police procedurals), genealogy, and shooting.