I’ve been a fan of mysteries since I first learned to read. For me there’s nothing like sitting down with a good cup of tea and a mystery that keeps me on the edge of my seat. If you share my enthusiasm for the genre or thinking about writing your own suspense novel, you’ll definitely be interested in today’s interviewees. They are Robert and Patricia Gussin, founders and owners of Oceanview Publishing http://www.oceanviewpub.com/
Susan Palmquist (SP)-Tell us about the company and how it got started.
Robert and Patricia Gussin (R&P G)-At writers’ meetings we talked with many talented writers who were either unable to get published or who were not happy with their publisher. Our hope was to help a limited number of talented authors become famous.
SP-I recently read that mysteries/suspense stories are for the first time outselling romance novels. Why do you think there’s been a change and why now?
R &P G-We think that in today’s fast paced world readers are looking for entertainment that excites and keeps them enthralled. Also, with the poor economy and other serious world problems, people look for an escape from their reality. Nothing does that better than a good thriller, mystery or suspense novel.
SP-The mystery genre seems to be dominated by male writers. Do you think it’s because more men read mysteries than any other genre?
R & P G-Although far more women read this genre than men, when men do read, the mystery/thriller genre is ideal. Bigger than life heroes are usually men, making it natural for the male reader to bond with the male author and his hero. But women thriller authors, too, create strong male characters that attract male readers.
SP-If you had to describe a mystery versus a suspense novel what you would say?
R & P G-In a mystery the reader does not find out who the bad guys are until near the end. In suspense the reader may know early on who the bad guys are but not know when, how and if they will succeed in their evil mission. In either case, the good guys are in peril and the reader is rooting for them until the very end.
SP-What type of books are you currently looking for?
R & P G-Because we are small, we concentrate on the mystery, suspense and thriller genres. We are looking for exciting, fast-paced, well written stories with strong, memorable characters, a clever plot and a gripping story line. We want to publish books that you can’t put down until you finish them. We don’t care if you lose sleep.
SP-Do you accept stories written in the first person?
R & P G-If they are done, well we sure do.
SP-Do you ever consider romantic suspense stories?
R & P G-Yes, as long as the suspense aspect is strong. A little romance carried along never hurts.
SP-What do you think the new big hit will be within the mystery genre?
R & P G-If I knew the answer I would be a very wealthy person.
SP-What are common reasons for you rejecting a manuscript?
R & P G-Immature writing, shallow characters, a weak plot, or an ending that doesn’t seem to bring it all together.
SP-I recently read an article in Publisher’s Weekly that your company has teamed up with Amber Entertainment to turn your books into movies? Will this be all your books or more a book by book decision?
R & P G-We sure wish it could be all our books but, realistically, some just don’t fit the movie medium. We are also looking at our books for TV movies, TV series, DVD or any other popular entertainment media. But, as you can imagine, making a movie is a major undertaking and it takes time. So there is a limitation in the number that can be taken on.
SP-Can you tell us about the submission process? I know writers just can’t send manuscripts to you so maybe you can explain how we get a manuscript onto your desk?
R & P G-First of all, we recommend that authors go to our website, http://www.oceanviewpub.com/ and look at our submission guidelines. We ask for the first 30 pages of the novel and a synopsis of about 750 words electronically. If these pass our screeners, we request the entire manuscript. Unfortunately, we recently tightened our guidelines because of the huge volume of submissions. We now require either agent representation or introduction to us through one of our associates or authors or through personal contact at a writers or book meeting. One of the best ways to network with us is to attend the annual International Thriller Writers meeting. See www.thrillerwriters.org
SP-Any upcoming releases you’re especially excited about?
R & P G-We are excited about all of them. The latest book under contract is THE BLACK STILETTO by Raymond Benson. Benson gained his fame through his James Bond stories, and now we have female James Bond-like character to look forward to.
SP-If you could pick one book to show us what makes the perfect novel for Oceanview what would that be?
R & P G-We would have to say THE PERFECT ASSASSIN by Ward Larsen since it is our first book signed for a major international motion picture. For an embarrassment of riches and a wealth of content beyond your most vivid imagination, we are proud to recommend THRILLERS; 100 MUST READS, edited by David Morrell and Hank Wagner. Here you will find fascinating analytical essays written by today’s top thriller writers about the 100 most impactful thrillers of all times. And, yes, Ward Larsen is a contributor with his essay on the HIGH AND THE MIGHTY.