Stephen Mertz Interview
By Lauren Bridges
Stephen Mertz has traveled the world as an adventurer and writer. His novels, written under a variety of pseudonyms, have been widely translated and have sold millions of copies worldwide. He currently lives in the American Southwest, and is always at work on a new novel.
Wolfpack: What genre do you find easiest to write?
Stephen Mertz: I’m a thriller writer. Of course, that takes in many sub-categories like the private eye novel, the spy story, the chase plot and so on, but I’d have to say that, as a reader, my favorite thrillers are by writers like Dan Brown and movie directors like Alfred Hitchcock who take everyday people and throw them into a life-and-death race against the clock with an interesting setting. Those are the ingredients I put into my own writing.
WP: What genre do you prefer reading?
SM: When the characters and central premise of a novel interest me, genre doesn’t matter.
WP: I know you lecture on writing from time to time, what is the most rewarding part about doing that?
SM: Many years ago, I asked a writing mentor of mine, who also happened to be a personal friend, how could I ever repay him for all of the writing guidance he’d given me. He had a great answer. ‘Someday someone will come to you looking for advice. When they do, share with them what I’m teaching you.’ Lecturing and teaching allow me to repay that debt.
WP: You’ve written quite a few novels, what has been your biggest labor of love thus far?
SM: That would have to be The Moses Deception. It’s meant to entertain first and foremost, but books that stick with us are the ones that look deeper while they’re keeping us entertained. I needed a big book to take on some big ideas, and I’m satisfied with how this one turned out.
WP: So, you’ve traveled a lot, where is your favorite place that you have visited?
SM: The road itself. I’m a blue line highway guy. Haven’t flown on an airplane since 9/11 and don’t intend to. I like open end road trips where you don’t come home until the money runs out. The journey is the destination.
WP: What are you usually doing when you’re not writing?
SM: Loafing. No other word for it. I like the outdoors.
WP: Is there a quote or advice you’ve received that you live by? What is it?
SM: Regarding writing, the best advice I ever received was to always put your absolute best into everything you write regardless of the genre or market. Even with my earliest pulp novels, I would sweat out two or three drafts even if it was a series published under a pen name. Most writers of that sort normally hack their stuff out and never look back so I was an oddity among them, believe me!
WP: Who is your biggest motivator?
SM: I humbly submit that would me. There are loved ones who have provided aid and comfort along the way, thankfully, but writing ultimately comes down to how much does the writer want to do it? I was born to write. That is my motivation.
WP: Your first book with us, The Moses Deception, comes out on May 11th, can you tell us what we can expect from that?
SM: You can expect the sort of thriller I like to read! Interesting characters. Exciting plot, romance and locales. And hopefully a few new ideas and perspectives to consider and digest after the novel’s been set aside.