Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Suspense Writer's Books Slated for Film

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Suspense Writer's Books Slated for Film

Article excerpt

Military thriller and mystery author P.T. Deutermann will be at The Book Mark in Atlantic Beach tonight speaking to fans and signing copies of his latest book, Train Man (St. Martin's Press, $25.95).

Deutermann, who retired from the Navy in 1989 after 26 years, lives in Milledgeville, Ga., on a 70-acre farm where his wife breeds Dartmoor ponies. His first book, Scorpion in the Sea, was published in 1992. Five more, including the recently released Train Man, have followed.

When he's not writing, Deutermann operates the tractor, helps feed the stallions, broodmares and ponies, builds fences and keeps a watchful eye on the goats that act as lawn mowers.

Earlier this week, Deutermann took a few minutes to talk with the Times-Union.

T-U: What's it like when you make a stop on your book tour?

Deutermann: Because it's a suspense novel, I don't usually do a reading. It's so hard to just break in somewhere. The audience doesn't know what happened before the passage or what happens after.

T-U: What do you do?

Deutermann: It's pretty free form. People usually ask me a lot of questions, and we'll talk as long as people can stand it.

T-U: What are the most commonly asked questions, and how do you answer them?

Deutermann: They ask "how do you sell a book?" and "what are the particulars about how you write?" I always tell them the first thing to do is get an agent. The way you do that is get a copy of Literary Agents of North America: The Complete Guide to U.S. and Canadian Literary Agencies. [It's edited by Arthur Orrmont, published by Research Associates International, and is available in the Jacksonville Public Library.]

Do exactly what it says. Don't send a manuscript if a man wants a query letter. Send the query to an agent that has expertise in the subject you write about.

I also tell people to look up a writers' group. That provides a network of writers who have either been published or want to be published. Those contacts can help you. Suddenly, you'll realize you're not the only starving artist out there.

As for my writing, I try to write for two to three hours, seven days a week. Some people ask how I make myself do that. Well, if you have a suspense novel in your head, the joy is getting it out.

T-U: Talk about how you feel about having your books turned into movies.

Deutermann: Four of the six books have been optioned into movies. That means they might make it into production one day. Two of the books, Sweepers and Train Man, look especially promising. Sweepers is being made into a stealth pilot by Turner Network. That means it will be shopped around and possibly be made into a TV series. And I've been collaborating with the screenwriter for Train Man on technical issues. Paramount Pictures is doing that one. …

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