Steve Goble writes historical mysteries. He is the author of the Spider John Mysteries, which combines his love of swords, pirates, and murder to follow a pirate detective on water and land. Pieces of Eight (Seventh Street Books) is the fourth installment in the series.
A former journalist, Goble now works in communications for a cybersecurity firm as a digital forensics analyst. Goble helps examiners analyze evidence from computers and smartphones to help resolve a variety of civil and criminal cases.
Goble also writes fantasy, horror, science fiction, and poetry. He also serves on the board for the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter. An avid craft beer lover, he previously authored a column called “Brewologist,” which appeared on USA Today Network-Ohio, where he resides.
In this post, Goble explains his experience with publishing his next two novels, Pieces of Eight and City Problems, in the same year, why writers should surprise themselves, and more!
Name: Steve Goble
Literary agent: The Evan Marshall Agency
Book titles: Pieces of Eight and City Problems both will be released in 2021
Publishers: Pieces of Eight: A Spider John Mystery will be published by Seventh Street Books. City Problems will be published by Oceanview Publishing.
Release dates: Pieces of Eight is out March 16, 2021. City Problems is out July 6, 2021.
Genres: Pieces of Eight is an historical mystery. City Problems is a police procedural/hard-boiled detective story.
Elevator pitch for the books: Pieces of Eight: Reluctant pirate Spider John finally arrives in Nantucket in search of his beloved Em and their child — only to find his dreams beyond reach and himself accused of murder. City Problems: A sheriff’s detective in rural Ohio battles personal demons dredged up when a teen girl goes missing.
Previous titles by the author: The Bloody Black Flag, The Devil’s Wind, and A Bottle of Rum (all Spider John mysteries from Seventh Street Books).
What prompted you to write this book?
I have always been an avid reader across many genres, and I thought perhaps I could add something of my own to the vast library of work that has gone before.
How long did it take to go from idea to publication?
Pieces of Eight, the fourth installment of my Spider John series, was under contract before I wrote it, but the story was in my mind long before the third book (A Bottle of Rum) was published.
Many things about Pieces of Eight changed between conception and publication. Most of those involved my minor characters asserting themselves and forcing me to deviate from my outline and treat them with respect.
City Problems, my detective story, originated with a concept I had as a freshman at The Ohio State University back in 1980. I wrote it between Spider John novels. The published work is vastly different from the germ of an idea I had at OSU, but the essential elements—a cop battling with his own depression and demons while working a missing persons case—remain intact.
Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title?
I am always surprised by the publishing process. The main lesson I can take from getting both of these books out there is this: As a writer, I can’t control publishing schedules or COVID-19 or any of that. But if I concentrate on what I can do—write the best books I can—the rest will sort itself out and take care of itself.
The biggest surprise, honestly, was that I ended up with two novels to promote in the first half of 2021. My Spider John book ordinarily would have appeared in late 2020, but COVID put things on hold. And my detective series sold faster than I expected it to; I wrote it in between Spider John novels and thought it would take a while to find a publisher. My agent, however, got it out there quickly and the team at Oceanview Publishing thought it worthwhile, and they had a slot open on their 2021 schedule. That all worked out nicely, and I am ecstatic.
Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?
For any novel, I think there have to be surprises. If you are not surprising yourself, how can you expect to surprise your readers? My characters keep me guessing all of the time.
What do you hope readers will get out of your book?
I just hope people will enjoy reading the books and escape from their everyday pressures and stresses. I think my stories give people things to think about and apply to the real world, but primarily I am all in favor of escapism. There is enough crap in the world for us to deal with, and if a good book lets me relieve the tension for a few hours, that’s a good thing. If I can provide that for some readers out there, then I think I’ve done my job.
If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?
Write the stories that appeal to you the most, rather than chasing trends. Producing your own version of last year’s best-seller might sound like a good market strategy, but you’ll do your best, most creative work when you pursue your own dreams and write what you love the most. And it is your best work that has the best chance of finding an audience that falls in love with it. You don’t want readers to finish your novel and think, “This is sort of like Gone Girl, but not quite as engaging.” You want readers to think, “Damn! I’ve never read anything like that before!”