Westword: Is Trigger Point your first novel?
Sean Eads: Trigger Point is the first book I’ve published through Hex Publishers, but it isn’t my first one. I’ve published two others: The Survivors and Lord Byron’s Prophecy, which was a finalist for both the Shirley Jackson Awards and the Colorado Book Awards. I also have a short story collection coming out in June called Seventeen Stitches.
Without giving too much away, tell us a little more about Trigger Point.
The book opens with a massage therapist being killed by her client. The client, it turns out, is a serial killer, and the brother of the woman who is killed ends up going to my main character, Cathy, for help. Cathy is a massage therapist who runs a school for massage therapy. She reluctantly gets involved, and it’s a good thing she does: Cathy practices reiki, and the killer is leaving behind reiki symbols printed on the walls in blood.
Sounds pretty intriguing. Are all of your books this suspenseful?
Actually, Trigger Point is my first mystery/suspense novel. The Survivors was a dark comedy with science-fiction elements, and I’d describe Lord Byron’s Prophecy as literary fantasy. My short stories are all over the place: horror, weird Western, straight up non-genre literary. About the only thing you won’t find from me is romance.
So how did you end up writing a mystery?
I wanted to write a suspense novel aimed to the tastes of the people I serve. In my professional life, I’m a reference librarian with the Jefferson County Public Library. I'm an author who happens to be tied into the reading community in a unique way through librarianship. As I was doing reader's advisory – helping people to discover their next cherished book – I felt I was hearing frustration from people who couldn't find a book with just the right elements of humor, suspense, and romance. So I wrote Trigger Point with those requirements in mind.
We’re always interested in how writers find their inspiration. How’d you land on a massage therapist for your protagonist?
As I was developing the idea for a mystery, I was also doing freelance work for Massage & Bodywork magazine. That job had me interviewing a lot of massage therapists. Around this same time, in Boston, the saga of the Craigslist Killer was unfolding. Remember that? The killer was soliciting prostitutes on Craigslist, and those prostitutes were using massage therapy as a cover for what they were doing. Everything came together, and I had the idea for Trigger Point.
How long have you been writing?
A long time. I’m from Kentucky originally. I got my bachelor's and master's degrees in English lit, and I’ve never taken a creative-writing class of any sort. I’m 43 now, and I’ve been writing since I was thirteen. I got into writing by keeping at it for thirty years. About ten years ago I got involved in a writers' group led by Ed Bryant, who recently passed away. Feedback from other writers and camaraderie — that has really helped me a lot.
See Sean Eads at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, Tattered Cover, 2526 East Colfax Avenue, 303-322-7727.