Sean Patrick Reardon – Mindjacker

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

My debut novel is crime thriller titled Mindjacker. I guess the book jacket blurb gives a good idea of what it is about so here it is.

When wealthy Russian mobsters contract L.A. psychologist Joel Fischer to develop a device to manipulate minds, the DreemWeever exceeds all expectations. Everything is on track for delivery and a big payday, until two adventurous stoners steal his Dodge Challenger that, unknown to them, contains the DreemWeever in its trunk. Fischer and his crew have two days to get it back or he dies.

Tell us something about yourself.

I’m a crime / thriller fiction writer, who pays the bills working for a large investment company and resides in Massachusetts. When not doing that, I like to coach and play lacrosse and spend time with family and friends. I’m usually reading at least one novel on any given day. I love Rock-n-Roll and good crime / heist movies. I got into trying to write with the intention of perhaps getting others to read it in 2005. The first book I remember being exposed to, even before I could read, was the Little Golden Book, “Rootie Kazootie Detective”. My grandparents lived in East Boston and it was always a treat to stay over there. Anyway, my grandmother would read it to me and ask me me to point to certain things as she said certain words. It was a very basic system of word to picture recognition. I also got my first exposure to characters and their role in a story, as it had all the ingredients of the classic mystery story: hero, villain, femme fetale, loyal friend, cop, and informer.

What inspired you to write this book?

I had written a 4000 word short story called “Vultura Highway” in 2007 and was planning to submit it for publication. At the same time, I was reading Stephen King’s book “On Writing”. After reading it, I decided that I was going to use the core idea of the short story and try and make it novel length. The next day, on the way to work while listening to a Heart’s Greatest Hits CD, I heard the live version of “Mistral Wind” and a million ideas popped into my head, the main one being psychologist Joel Fischer, who is the antagonist of the story.

How did you choose the title?

The original title was going to be ” Vultura Highway” which is a play on words for the Ventura Highway in California where a lot of the action takes place in the story. I decided to change it to “Mindjacker because the antagonist, Joel Fisher, steals peoples minds, like a hijacker.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

The largest obstacle was finding the time to write while juggling the everyday responsibilities that come along with raising a family and working for a living. Things such as large projects and my children’s numerous activities sometimes make it hard to put time aside. I coach and play lacrosse in the spring and summer, so I tend to do to my writing September through March. I am always thinking about the story and making notes almost every day.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I have always had a great imagination and sense of adventure. As early as I can remember, I loved reading, watching television and movies, and for much of my childhood I went to be bed listening to CBS mystery Radio on WEEI. In school I loved anything that required reading or writing, especially creative writing. Math, not so much.

Do you have any writing rituals?

The writing rituals I have are simple and I learned them from Stephen King’s “On Writing” .I have a room above my garage with a nice big window in front of my desk and that is where I write. I try to write every night between 9 PM and midnight if possible and the goal is 1000 words. I don’t always meet it, but I always write something. I have a CD player and most times use music to get inspiration or get into a certain mindset.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

I come up with names all sorts of ways including people I know, websites, and the case of some of the characters in “Mindjacker”, their last names are nicknames for Satan.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

I think writing is a never ending learning process and you are always trying to learn and improve. Besides writing, I learned all I could about the publishing industry, which is really changed over the last couple years. I think I learned very quickly that a debut novelist, especially in the fiction genre has a very slim chance of being picked up by an agent, especially nowadays. I learned that my time was better spent following author blogs in my genre, than hanging around agent blogs, walking on egshells and not being myself, hoping to get noticed. Self publishing was a tremendous education for both the e-book and print versions of “Mindjacker” You will be surprised at what you can accomplish if your destiny is in your own hands. It has and continues to be a great experience.

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

Like in life, I would not do anything differently. Every experience, good or bad, happens for a reason, and I am a better person and writer for it. All the experience and learning I did associated with this novel, has made writing my second one that much easier.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?

I like to read crime and thriller novels, especially ones that focus on the ‘bad guys”, with very little focus on law enforcement, unless of course, they are corrupt. As far as classic authors are concerned, I am a huge fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, and James Joyce. Each one has their own style, which I’m sure has influenced my writing. For more contemporary writers, the list is a long one, but Stephen King, Hunter S Thompson, Ken Keasy, Chuck Pahinuik, and Bret Easton Ellis immediately come to mind I am also really impressed by Declan Burke, Adrian McKinty, and Stuart Neville. I also have also read great stuff by Richard Lange, Allan Guthrie, Colin Bateman, and Donna Moore. I’m just getting into some early Dean Koontz novels because many readers of “MIndjacker” have compared it to this. I like all of these authors for various reasons, but the main one is they write great stories.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

Yes, I’m working on a standalone crime thriller, which I’m calling “Sissy Murphy”. It is about an Irish American, pacifist, pothead, who ends up meeting a guy from Northern Ireland, and gets him involved with his crew and transforms him into a killer. I hope to have it finished in the Spring of 2011

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

As far as writing is concerned, I would like to pass along the following suggestions, which were recommended to me by writer’s I respect.
– Read Stephen King’s “On writing.” There are a lot of so-called experts willing to provide advice, but I and thousands or writer’s seem to agree that this is a must read.
– Join a writer’s discussion forum. There are many, but Absolute Write & Writer’s Digest seem to be the sites that most writer’s use. You can follow along “anonymously” and learn, or you can join and participate when your ready.
– Read, Read, Read, especially the genre you want to write in.
– Most authors have blogs. If you have a favorite author, check out and follow their blog.
-Take a peek at Elmore Leonard’s “10 Rules of Writing” It is online and again, it is hard to find a writer who has not read and endorsed these.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

“Mindjacker” best fits in the crime thriller category. The audience I had in mind when I wrote it would be adults aged thirty to fifty something, who enjoy pop culture and may not be avid readers, but are looking for an entertaining story that reads like a movie. My work contains straightforward prose, action, intriguing plot twists, an entertaining criminal element, rock-n-roll, violence, realistic dialogue and gritty characters. All of these things are ingredients of the crime thriller genre. If you like this type of stuff, I think you will enjoy ‘Mindjacker”.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

“MIndjacker” is available in both print and e-book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It’s also available in e-book at the Apple iBookstore, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, and Smashwords. You can learn more about me and a lot of other things in my life on my blog