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Author Interview,  Giveaway

Stephen Zimmerman: Suspense, True Crime, a Giveaway & More

I’m happy to introduce another new-to-me author this week, Stephen Zimmerman. Stephen writes clean Mystery/Crime/Thriller novels and is offering a digital copy of his book, The Missing, as a giveaway. Be sure to comment below by January 17 for a chance to win!

Welcome, Stephen! Tell us a little about yourself and your family.

I was born in Texas, spent some time in Africa as a missionary, and then joined the United States Air Force. During my 6-year tour, I deployed twice to the Middle East, and received a Commendation Medal, 7 Air Medals, and the rank of Staff Sergeant. I met my wife in the Air Force, and we now have 4 children.

Following my time in service, I completed Bible College and am currently a Pastor in Arizona.

My good friends served as missionaries in Africa for two years and I had the privilege of taking two mission trips there. What genre do you write and what inspired you to write that particular genre? 

I write primarily crime/mystery/thriller detective novels. I grew up watching Alfred Hitchcock, Murder She Wrote, and various Bogart noir films. In line with those, my novels are clean fiction, with gripping action and plot twists.

I do hope to branch out into other genres though. I’ve just completed a novel that I am very excited about that falls across the Young Adult magical realism/dystopian/time-travel romance/thriller genres and hope to begin querying it in early 2023.

Good for you! Do you have any hobbies? Have you incorporated any of them into your books?

Besides writing, I enjoy True Crime documentaries, psychology, motorcycle riding, and weight lifting.

My affinity for True Crime and psychology have definitely influenced my writing as a mystery/crime/thriller author.  

How do you incorporate Christ and hope into your writing?  

All of my books, while not specifically Christian fiction, are clean fiction and include elements of daily faith and morality in them. Sacrifices are sometimes made for the lives of others. Good triumphs evil.

Do you have any pets? Do they find their way into any of your stories?

I often joke that I’m assembling my very own zoo with: two dogs, two birds, two guinea pigs, 6 fish tanks, two toads, and a lizard. The only ones so far to make it into a book are the fish.

Oh, my, that’s quite the variety. Who was your favorite book character as a child and why?

Hands down it was Taran, Assistant Pig Keeper from the Prydain Chronicles. I just always imagined it was me on his various adventures and misfortunes. 

How did you select the names for your characters?

I’ve often observed that names in TV series are short, common, but memorable – NCIS has Gibbs, Tony, Tim, Abby, Ducky, Jimmy, etc.; Stranger Things has Mike, Dustin, Steve, El (Jane), etc.  While fantasy writing often gets a pass with eccentric names, I believe most other genres would do well to stick with the pattern of short, common, but memorable. I chose the name for my lead detective, Sam Cross, for that very reason.

Sam Cross is the perfect detective name. How do you tackle research for your novels?

Lots of Wikipedia. And as a crime author, lots of Google searches in Incognito Mode.

Do you have a favorite drink or snack you indulge in while writing?

Coffee – lots of coffee.

There are so many days I wish I was a coffee-drinker. If you wrote in a different genre than your current one, which would you choose and why? 

Probably Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I love Star Wars, Marvel, Lord of the Rings, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

A man after my husband’s heart. If you could only publish one book in your lifetime, which of your novels would you choose?

Though not published yet, I believe that my YA novel The Boy With the Blue Light is the greatest thing I’ve ever written. It’s very personal to me, so I’ll probably tinker with it for a while. I honestly believe it could be a best-seller and Netflix movie.

What is the premise of The Missing?

The Missing follows the first case of Sam Cross, a newly-promoted detective tracking a stolen sports car to a small town in western Oklahoma. Once he enters the town, his radio and cell phone quit working, and he’s told by the local sheriff he can’t leave – ever. Sam learns that the town of Hamlin has been under the control of a mysterious criminal syndicate for the last 50 years and anyone who challenges their authority goes missing.  Sam’s only hope of escape is to partner with the sheriff’s daughter Tiffany to overthrow Hive, free the town, and rescue The Missing.

Ooh, that sounds intriguing! What did God teach you through writing The Missing

In some ways Sam Cross mirrors myself – he’s confident, self-reliant, and prefers to work alone. He quickly learns that he’s better when he lets others help him – a lesson I have to often remind myself of as well.

A great lesson. Whats next from you?

I just signed a publishing contract for Detective Sam Cross book 2, The Holiday Killer, and so I’m very excited about its release sometime in 2023.

Congratulations! I wish you well in your future endeavors. Thanks for sharing on my blog.

Join the conversation. Do you like reading Crime, Mystery, and Thriller novels? Does Stephen’s book premise sound interesting to you? What questions do you have for Stephen?

Be sure to comment below by January 17 for a chance to win a digital copy of The Missing!

The Missing by Stephen Zimmerman

Click the book cover for purchase link

Newly promoted to Detective, Sam Cross wants to prove himself, but his first assignment is routine—tracking down a stolen Ferrari to a town barely a blip on a map. Once inside the city limits his GPS goes nuts, his phone and radio lose their signal, and the gruff small-town Sheriff won’t take him seriously. Before long, Sam is warned he can’t leave town and the nervous town-folk won’t tell him why.

When the Sheriff’s daughter privately approaches Sam with an outrageous story, he is skeptical. But after she tells him that the town is controlled by a mysterious organization called the Hive, that no one is supposed to be able to enter, no one is allowed to leave and if anyone breaks the rules they mysteriously go missing, he decides to investigate, leading him down a dangerous path.

Sam is left with only two choices: obey Hive’s rules and never see his wife and kids again, or try to free the town of its captors. The problem is, if he’s not careful, he might become one of THE MISSING.

Stephen Zimmerman is a disabled US Air Force veteran, pastor, author, poet, and true crime blogger currently residing in Arizona.

Stephen is married with four children and is currently assembling his very own “zoo” with two dogs, two birds, two guinea pigs, two frogs, six fish tanks, and a Chinese water dragon. When not working, Stephen enjoys documentaries, studying psychology, and motorcycle riding.

Connect with Stephen: Website / Twitter / Instagram / TikTok

Please share Stephen’s interview on social media to help spread the word about his book!

If you missed last week’s interview with Linda J. White, you can find it here.

As a Jesus girl for more than thirty years, Deena Adams understands how important hope is to daily life, which fuels her passion to inspire others through hope-filled fiction based on true to life stories. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and is a multi-award-winning writer, an active ACFW member, and ACFW Virginia president. Connect with Deena through her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.