The Big Fall (Nick Seven Book 7)
by Tim Smith (Author)
Just when you think life can’t get much better, a crashing wave wipes out your sandcastle. Former spies Nick Seven and Felicia Hagens are taking a break from Key Largo to visit a casino owned by Nick’s friend, Rock Bianco. An unexpected, nasty encounter with one of Nick’s former lovers turns disastrous when she’s killed shortly afterward. The police and the girl’s wealthy father are convinced that Nick did it, despite the lack of hard evidence. The billionaire industrialist wages an online smear campaign to make Nick look guilty, including sordid details from his past career in the CIA. The stakes become more personal when the fallout impacts Felicia, testing their relationship. Nick fights back, but why is the man determined to hold him responsible for his daughter’s murder? Who really killed her, and why is their identity being shielded? Can Nick and Felicia resolve this crisis and reclaim their idyllic life in paradise?
· Paperback: 201 pages
eXtasy Books Inc (September 21, 2020)
6 x 0.46 x 9 inches
Tell us your latest news?
In addition to my new novel “The Big Fall,” this month my publisher is releasing an e-book bundle containing the first three books in the Nick Seven series—“Memories Die Last,” “Never Look Back,” and “Warning Shot.” I also have a Christmas romance, “One Lonely Christmas Eve,” slated for release on December 18.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After my first book was released in 2002, and it began getting good reviews. I think what really drove it home was after I wrote two more in the series, and did a book signing tour in the Florida Keys, where they take place. I walked into one of the bookstores, and when I saw my books on the shelf alongside Florida authors whose work I admired, I thought, “Smith, you have arrived!”
What inspired you to write The Big Fall?
I wanted to put my hero into a difficult situation that disrupts his peaceful life, to see how he’d handle it. I also wanted to show how it affects the relationship he has with his girlfriend, and what he’s willing to do to preserve that. I was inspired by current events, as readers will see when they get into the story. This may be a sign that I’ve been writing this series too long, if I drop my most popular character into predicaments that Houdini couldn’t wriggle out of.
Do you have a specific writing style?
My style is a cross between Raymond Chandler and Donald E. Westlake, with a dash of Mickey Spillane. I’ve always been a fan of the pulp fiction crime capers from the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s, and those influenced me. I try to write atmospheric settings with brevity while drawing the reader in, and I write dialogue that’s snappy and to the point. I also manage to infuse some humor into even the most dramatic situations, because it lightens the mood.
How did you come up with the title?
That was probably the biggest challenge. At one point, I had ten possible titles, and I just couldn’t decide which one to use. Each one had some relationship to the plot. I finally chose “The Big Fall” because it reflects what eventually happens to the villain and what the other characters go through during the story. I like old-style pulp fiction crime novels, and I had wanted to use “The Big…” something or other in a title for a long time.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I typically don’t go in for messages in my books, but if there is one in “The Big Fall,” it’s how social media can be manipulated to negatively impact people’s lives. My hero encounters this when his nemesis starts an online smear campaign, posting things that may or may not be factual to apply psychological pressure. An editor once gave me some great advice about this: “If you want to tell a story, write it. If you want to send a message, use email.”
What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading a new mystery, “Nine Tenths of the Law,” by Claudia H. Long. I’m also catching up on a few books by one of my favorite writers, James W. Hall. I recently finished Michael Cohen’s memoir “Disloyal,” and thought it was a fascinating work of fiction.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My interest in writing the kinds of stories I do was inspired by watching classic movies when I was a kid. I liked film noir crime capers from the ‘40s and ‘50s, and if one of them was based on a book, I’d get it from the library. If it was good, I’d seek out more titles by the same author. It came a point where I thought I’d like to write one of my own, just to see if I could do it. My mother was an avid reader and could usually suggest writers I might enjoy.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
It’s always a challenge to develop a unique plot because everything has already been done. The trick is to put a new slant on it to make it interesting. There are times when I find it difficult to write about the relationship aspect to make it authentic and believable. When you’re a male author who includes romance as an integral part of the story, it’s challenging to capture both sides accurately.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
This story has a lot of moving parts, which presented a challenge in maintaining the fast pace I like to use. There are colorful supporting characters, and it was hard to decide how much attention to give them. Some legal aspects required extra research. I really had a tough time keeping it non-political because Nick’s adversary is reminiscent of a well-known public figure. And no, I won’t say who.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you have a story in your soul that you have a burning desire to tell, just do it. Along with that goes a word of caution: don’t expect that the world is eagerly awaiting your book as the next big thing to hit literature because you’ll be disappointed. Just have fun with it.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope you enjoy “The Big Fall” and have as much fun reading it as I had writing it. If you like this one, there are six others in the series, along with a lot of other books on my backlist.