Interview: Alan Cupp

Alan Cupp 2I’m really happy to welcome Alan Cupp today to Literary, etc! His book, Malicious Masquerade is released tomorrow. If you’ve never read a mystery or are thinking of trying a new genre, do look into Malicious Masquerade. I reviewed it here.


Q. Tell me something about Alan Cupp other than the standard bio on your website.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and Heath.

Q. When writing, do you create a detailed plot outline and write from that, or do you allow the story to play out as you write?
I don’t do outlines. Typically, I get a concept for a story and usually have a rough idea of how I want it to start and how I want it to end. Then it’s a matter of connecting the two points.

Q. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know if I have one.

Q. What sort of books do you enjoy as a reader? Are those any different from the books you enjoy as an author?
I like books that don’t bog me down with extreme details unrelated to the story. Also, I prefer shorter chapters. If I read fifty pages divided up into four or five chapters as opposed to two chapters, I have a greater sense of accomplishment. Plus I’m more likely to start another chapter if I know it’s short. I guess I have a short attention span. I try to write the same way.

Q. You wrote the children’s short, Hatter’s Creek Rescue. How difficult was it to put yourself in JT’s shoes?
I didn’t find it difficult at all. Having two boys of my own and typically spending a lot of time around kids in general, I really never thought about putting myself in JT’s shoes as a challenge.

Q. What compelled you to write crime fiction in the first place?
Usually, a story idea comes to mind and I start writing. I really don’t think about the genre until after I’m well into writing it.

Q. If you could describe Malicious Masquerade in 3 words, what would they be?
Struggle for truth

Q. Carter Mays is an ex-police officer turned private investigator. Why did you choose this profession, and how did you prepare to write about it?
I needed someone qualified to help put the pieces together. As an ex-policeman, Carter had the necessary training. Yet, I wanted someone who wasn’t quite as tied to policies and procedures of law enforcement. He could bend the rules a little if needed. As far as preparing, I went by my own perceptions of private investigators formed from other books, TV shows, and movies.

Q. There’s a lot of money to be made in real estate. Without spoilers, let’s talk about Jasper’s side business. Was it inspired by a real event? Or is it completely fictional?
It was completely fictional.

Q. Darlene is probably the most miserable character in Malicious Masquerade. Is it fair to criticize her actions towards Cindy or is there more to her that we don’t know about?
I think it’s fair to criticize her. Regardless of circumstances, she makes her own choices.

Q. As I read, I found myself wondering how could Cindy be blind to Jasper’s hired “help.” Does that go hand in hand with the initial description we’re given of “dumb blonde,” or is it one of those moments where we’re blind to a person’s true character and motives?
I think it’s a combination of being self-absorbed and naïve. Her focus has mostly been on herself, and outside of that, she didn’t really care or even notice until if affected her directly.

Q. Do you have a favorite line Malicious Masquerade? If so, what is it?
That’s a tough question. I can’t narrow it down to one line and a lot of the lines I like the most might be spoilers for those who haven’t read it yet.

Q. If Malicious Masquerade were made into a movie, who do you picture playing each characters part?
Carter – Ryan Reynolds
Cindy – Maggie Grace
Jasper – Jeff Bridges
Darlene – Joan Allen
Tyler – Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Tate – Joe Pantoliano

Q. What’s next for Carter? Will we see him in another book?
As of right now, I don’t have anything in mind for Carter. But I like him as a character and wouldn’t rule out another book, provided I thought it was a good story idea.

Q. What fears are you facing with the upcoming release of Malicious Masquerade?
I’m really not much of a fearful person. My biggest concern is keeping track of the promotional schedule.

Q. Did you learn anything about yourself while writing Malicious Masquerade?
During the editing process I learned that I use the word “just” too much. Had to cut a bunch of them out. Just saying. 🙂

Q. Finally, are you working on anything on new?
Yes, I am. Well, at least I should be. I’m over halfway through a story right now, but I hit a creative wall and have kind of slacked off lately. Plus, I’ve been pretty busy getting ready for Malicious Masquerade to release.

Epilogue

01. Superpower you wish you had?
Teleporting

02. E-book or print book?
Print

03. Favorite city?
Lahaina, Maui

04. Favorite sport to watch?
UFC

05. Cookies or muffins?
Cookies

06. Beach or Mountain?
Beach

07. Favorite TV show?
The Walking Dead

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Book Review: Alan Cupp’s Malicious Masquerade

17132951Title: Malicious Masquerade
Author: Alan Cupp
Genre: Mystery
Series: No
Rating: 4 out of 5
My Copy: Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley courtesy of Henery Press

Where is Tyler Moore? That’s the question Alan Cupp has us asking in Malicious Masquerade. When Jasper Bedford’s daughter, Cindy, is jilted at the altar, Jasper begins to wonder if something may have happened to Tyler. Jasper quickly assembles a search team and the results surprise him, yet yield little information as to Tyler’s whereabouts. Unbeknownst to Jasper, Cindy hires a private investigator to find Tyler because she believes something must have happened to him. Jasper tries to convince Cindy of the truth: Tyler used her for monetary gain; despite showing her evidence of his guilt, she doesn’t believe it. When she meets with Carter Mays, the Chicago PI she hires, she’s convinced he can find Tyler within days and Carter is unsure if he wants to take this case. He has a reason to be suspicious: the authorities haven’t been alerted to Tyler’s disappearance. The deeper Carter digs, the more he uncovers and soon he’s questioning who he can trust.

Character development is strong and yet we don’t really get to know Carter. It was almost as if Cupp focused primarily on the Bedfords with Carter being secondary. Don’t get me wrong, it works, but at times I wanted to know more about him. In the end, this is about finding Tyler and uncovering his motives and as I mentioned, the set up works. I really liked how Cupp shows us how much Cindy has grown. At the end, she’s no longer this spoiled rich girl and when she realizes her father’s true business dealings, she’s conflicted on what to do. I’m not saying what she decides, but it is definitely in keeping with her personality. I’m not surprised at how Jasper and Darlene turn out. I admit feeling sorry for Darlene at times, but it’s apparent she likes to be miserable; she and Jasper are made for each other.

There are a lot of hidden agendas in Malicious Masquerade and Cupp does a terrific job keeping the reader on the edge of their seat. The plot was well executed with a few minor hiccups (explained further down), but he slowly feeds you information. Based on the clues we’re given it’s up to us to decipher them. I was thrown off course a few times, but felt vindicated in the end when it all came together. I still feel as if I had no idea what to expect and I love when writers do that. Now in terms of the secrets, wow-the business aspect of Jasper’s dealings was mindboggling. We’re told Tyler stole several millions from Jasper, but no one is sure how because Jasper and his business partner, have an intricate security system. The pieces come together at the end and everything is well placed.

I debated with the rating and it would have been solid five had a few things been cleared up. There’s an incident involving Carter’s house and it’s assumed Jasper had something to do with it, but the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced Tyler was behind it. If it was Tyler, it’s never expanded on despite the fact one of Jasper’s men is found murdered down the street from Carter’s house. There’s also the issue with several listening devices found in Carter’s office. It is assumed Jasper planted them and I most certainly can believe it, but still I can’t let go of the possibility of Tyler having something to do with it and him wanting to know how close Carter was to finding him.

The bottom line is Malicious Masquerade is a highly enjoyable read. I’m looking forward to more of Alan Cupp’s work.

Spotlight: Author Alan Cupp

17132951Title: Malicious Masquerade
Author: Alan Cupp
Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: Henery Press

Synopsis:
Chicago PI Carter Mays is thrust into a perilous masquerade when local rich girl Cindy Bedford hires him. Turns out her fiancé failed to show up on their wedding day, the same day millions of dollars are stolen from her father’s company. While Carter takes the case, Cindy’s father tries to find him his own way. With nasty secrets, hidden finances, and a trail of revenge, it’s soon apparent no one is who they say they are.

Carter searches for the truth, but the situation grows more volatile as panic collides with vulnerability. Broken relationships and blurred loyalties turn deadly, fueled by past offenses and present vendettas in a quest to reveal the truth behind the masks before no one, including Carter, gets out alive.

Alan Cupp 2About Alan
Alan Cupp loves to create and entertain, whether it’s with a captivating mystery novel or a funny promotional video for his church, he’s always anticipating his next creative endeavor. In addition to writing fiction, Alan enjoys acting, music, travel, and playing sports. His life’s motto is, “It’s better to wear out than rust out.” Alan places a high value on time spent with his beautiful wife and their two sons. He lives his life according to his 4F philosophy: Faith, Family, Friends, and Fun.

Connect with Alan
Website
Facebook Page
Twitter: alancupp
Goodreads: Author Page