Saturday, 17 October 2015

Tom Savage's interview!

Today I'm hosting Tom Savage who's book Mrs John Doe came out on the 6th of October ! I'll just say that I've read his book and it's really great! There's spying, humour, a great female character, a sense of family and lots of adventure!


Hi Vanessa. Thanks for having me on your blog.


The culprit

Tom Savage is the author of six suspense novels: Precipice, Valentine, The Inheritance, Scavenger, A Penny for the Hangman, and Mrs. John Doe. He wrote two detective novels under the name T. J. Phillips, Dance of the Mongoose and Woman in the Dark. His short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and anthologies edited by Lawrence Block, Harlan Coben, and Michael Connelly. His short story, “The Method In Her Madness,” was nominated for the Barry Award. His bestselling novel, Valentine, was made into a Warner Bros. film. In his younger days he was a professional actor, and he also wrote a Broadway show, Musical Chairs.

Tom was born in New York and raised in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. He attended Point Park College and Hofstra University, majoring in drama and minoring in English. After acting and writing plays, he worked for many years at Murder Ink®, the world’s first mystery bookstore. He’s a member of Actors Equity Association, ASCAP, the Authors Guild, Mystery Writers of America, the International Association of Crime Writers, and International Thriller Writers. He has served as a director on the national board of MWA, and he’s served several times on the Best Novel committees for MWA (Edgar® Awards) and IACW (Hammett Prize). He is a founding member of MWA’s Mentor Program, assessing and encouraging new mystery writers. He lives in New York City.

He spills the beans…

Will you tell us a little bit about your book Mrs. John Doe?
An American actress in Europe stumbles on a deadly plot, and now she's running for her life. This is my eighth published novel, but it's my first spy novel. I love stories about espionage and international chases. I grew up reading Helen MacInnes, John le Carré, and Robert Ludlum, among others, and Alfred Hitchcock is my favorite filmmaker--particularly The 39 Steps, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and my all-time favorite movie, North By Northwest. I decided to try my hand at writing a story like that. I made my protagonist, Nora Baron, and actor because I was a professional actor before I began writing. I used my own theatrical knowledge to give Nora an edge, a defense against her enemies. She's up against some very dangerous people who will stop at nothing to get what they want, and she's an American on the run in two foreign countries--England and France--so she can use all the help she can get. I loved writing about Nora Baron because she's so resourceful, and I modeled my plot on my favorite classic spy thrillers. I hope readers have as much fun reading Mrs. John Doe as I had writing it!

Do you still need to work? If yes, how do you manage to combine work and writing (and mentoring and blogging...)
I still need to work, but unfortunately, I can’t. I was an actor and theatrical composer, and for twenty years I was a bookseller at Murder Ink®. I have no other marketable skills! I’m too old to get back in the theater, and there aren’t many bookstores left. I wouldn’t be able to find a job anywhere at this point, so I’m hoping people buy my books. They’re my only source of income now. Mentoring and blogging are my hobbies, so I make time for them. I love talking about mystery books, and now that I’m no longer in a bookstore every day, blogging is the next best thing. And the Mystery Writers of America’s Mentor Program is a wonderful way to meet and encourage the new generation of mystery writers.

As a man, you write clever and powerful female characters (I’m thinking about Nora Baron in Mrs. John Doe or Karen Tyler in A Penny for the Hangman). Is it thanks to your aunt, Lesley, who seems to have been such a strong and exceptional woman? 

I never called her Aunt Lesley--she was just Mom. Mom was an actor, director, and producer in the theater, and later she owned a shopping center and a real estate company in the Virgin Islands. She was a protofeminist, demanding equality for women long before the movement officially started. Nora Baron is partially based on her. All the female characters in my stories are strong because all the women I know are strong. I’m not interested in reading about weak people, male or female, so I don’t write about them.

Which events will you attend in the next months?
I have no plans to attend anything for a while. I’m writing two new stories, so no events.

What are you reading now?
THE ASSASSINS by Gayle Lynds. It’s a terrific international thriller.

What do you look for in a good book? Is there anything that will make you put a book down, unfinished?
I look for good writing, of course. That’s first and foremost on my list of ingredients. I look to be transported, to not think about the mechanics of the piece while enjoying the ride. It’s often difficult for writers to read other writers, especially mystery and suspense writers, because we all know the same tricks. My favorite mystery writers are the ones who can consistently make me forget I’m a writer while I’m reading. What makes me put a book down, unfinished? Predictability, preaching, pornography--let’s call them the Three Ps, shall we? Anything that demeans or diminishes the human spirit--I will never understand this whole SHADES OF GREY thing. What woman in her right mind would tune in to the disgusting idea that women secretly want to be dominated by any man, let alone a dull rich one? And dystopian stories: We’ve been inundated with dreary end-of-the-world scenarios lately, and they’re all the same scenario. It’s enough to send sensible readers back to BRAVE NEW WORLD and ON THE BEACH (which wouldn’t be a bad thing). I hope those trends are soon over.

If you could experience one book again for the first time, which one would it be?
That’s a dead tie, the two books I read back-to-back when I was fifteen that made me want to become a writer: GREAT EXPECTATIONS and REBECCA.

What's next for you?
Those two stories I mentioned. One is about American con artists in Europe, and the other involves a deadly impersonation. And I already have ideas for several more novels, so I should be busy for quite a while.

Why so serious questions
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
An actor. My other talent, and my other great love.

Worst writer’s habit?
Procrastination. Well, unless the writer in question is a drunk or drug addict, something like that--then I’d say controlled substances. For me it’s procrastination.

If you were a fictional hero?
Oh gosh, I’d love to be Frodo Baggins. Or James Bond. One or the other, depending on my mood. Frodo is brave and capable and loyal, the best friend you could ever have. James Bond is all that, plus everybody wants to have sex with him.

Favourite swear word while writing?
Darn. (I’m not a big swearer.)

Any question you want to ask your hero?
If you mean Nora Baron, I’d ask how those designer boots are working out for her. I had to dress her for a lot of running and action in various types of weather, and she wouldn’t have many opportunities to change clothes. At the same time, she’s a fiftyish university teacher who’s ostensibly in mourning, so I figured sweatsuits and Nikes were out. What do women wear when they want to look good and move freely at the same time? I’m a guy, so I had no idea, right? I consulted some physically active professional women I know, and they recommended pantsuits, an all-purpose trench coat, and boots. I’m sure they were right, but I worried about her in those boots.

Most ridiculous way to die in a book?
I read a mystery once where the vic was knocked unconscious while seated at a dinner table, and his face fell into a cup of coffee. Or maybe it was a bowl of soup. I forget. But imagine drowning like that! And the poor perp--he only meant to knock the guy out, and now he’s a murderer! That’s what I call bad karma.

Your main character’s favourite meal?
Considering her plight, I’d say anything she can grab quickly and wolf down while running in designer boots (see above). Sandwiches would be a good idea.

About the Book
Title: Mrs. John Doe
Author: Tom Savage
Genre: Thriller

In the adrenaline-laced new novel of suspense from Tom Savage—hailed by Michael Connelly as “a master of the high-speed thriller”—an American actress in Europe races to find the truth behind her husband’s mysterious accident. What she uncovers makes her the target of a shocking conspiracy.

Nora Baron’s life is perfect. She lives on Long Island Sound, teaches acting at a local university, and has a loving family. Then one phone call changes everything. She’s informed that her husband, Jeff, has died in a car crash while on a business trip in England. Nora flies to London to identify the body, which the police have listed as a “John Doe.” When she leaves the morgue, a man tries to steal her purse containing Jeff’s personal effects. Clearly, all is not as it seems.

At her hotel, Nora receives a cryptic message that leaves her with more questions than answers. She follows the message’s instructions to France, where a fatal encounter transforms her into a fugitive. Wanted for murder, on the run in a shadowy landscape of lies, secrets, and sudden violence, Mrs. “John Doe” must play the role of a lifetime to stay one step ahead of a ruthless enemy with deadly plans for her—and for the world.

You can follow Tom here: His Website or On Facebook

You'll find his book on Goodreads too!

And you can (should) buy the Book here:

Barnes & Noble


Google Play



  1. Thank you for the wonderful questions, Vanessa. I like your blog.

  2. Thanks a lot Tom! The pleasure was mine!