Today’s Mystery Thriller Week interview is of D.M. Barr, author of the psychological thriller Expired Listings
What inspired you to write a psychological thriller? It seems a departure from your everyday life.
I originally started writing this book as a warning to fellow agents to be careful as they perform their daily duties—it’s a very dangerous profession. I also wanted to demystify the BDSM scene for people who think it’s something perverted or glamorous (it’s neither but 50 Shades of Grey made it look like something it’s not and the slew of books that followed also perpetuated that myth.) So anyway, as I was writing it, I wasn’t exactly sure what it was going to be when it grew up. It’s cross-genre but my editor pressed me to push on with the mystery aspect and so I did.
You write under a pseudonym. Can you explain your reason for that?
The book is about Realtors doing very unethical things. As a Realtor (and a goody-goody one at that—I walk away from listings rather than take them overpriced and thus be lying to a seller), I didn’t want anyone to confuse the Realtor with the Author or the Author’s characters.
Expired Listings includes – according to the synopsis – kink and BDSM. How do you explain writing kink to your friends and family?
The same way I explain writing a serial killer to my family and friends. It’s fiction. It’s also important to note that there is no on-page sex in Expired Listings. There is kinky foreplay as character development. This is not erotica. My husband actually became the biggest fan of the book—and he is very vocal about the point that he doesn’t read. My kids haven’t read it—no interest.
Describe Expired Listings in 140 characters (also known as a tweet).
Glengarry Glen Ross meets 50 Shades of Grey but with a body count. Kirkus Reviews: A buoyant, commendable mystery…an exhilarating ride.”
What’s the most amusing thing that happened to you while writing or researching Expired Listings?
In a writing class/critique group where I was reading some of the kink, the one man in the group told me, “You are a very brave woman.”
Plotter or Pantser? Explain.
Both. I was Pantser up the around the halfway point. Then I made an outline, listing each next chapter, the main plot point that I expected to happen, and the approximate number of words I expected to write for each. Then I wrote one chapter every day until the book was finished. But I couldn’t get to that point before really sitting down, writing whatever came out of my fingers and then seeing what I had.
How do you react to a bad review of your book?
Because it’s cross-genre and it’s very non-formulaic, I expected a ton of bad reviews. Romance readers who were annoyed by the amount of kink (got some, one woman claimed that as a Christian, she didn’t feel she should be reading it.) Erotica readers who were annoyed that there wasn’t any on-page sex (got some). Realtors who were upset at how they were portrayed (surprisingly none.) And so on. I was amazed that with 65 reviews the book is still holding strong at 4.4 out of 5 (but that can change at any time.) But when I see a 1-star or 2-star review, where the person says, “Not my type of book.” I know it’s not a writer. No writer would pan a book that was written well, just because they didn’t read the full blurb and purchased the wrong genre by mistake. But what I do know is that it gives authenticity to the book. Gone Girl is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time and 8% of the reviewers gave it one star. When you see a book with all five-star reviews, you figure the only reviewers were the writier’s family and friends.
What are the most important attributes for remaining sane as a writer?
Keep writing. Every day. Know that the first draft is going to suck but vomit it out anyway so you know what you’re working with. Market the book but don’t obsess over it (do what I say, not what I do!) You can’t force people to read your book, you can only hope that enough people give it a chance and talk about it and it takes off via word of mouth. And pray that someone picks up the move rights.
Tell us about your next release. And when can we expect it?
The next release is Slashing Mona Lisa, contemporary women’s fiction meshed with murder. I wish I could tell you when it will be out. My agent would like to know that too. I’ve been so busy with promoting Expired Listings, I haven’t had a chance to write much. But FOCUS is my mantra for 2017 and I hope to have it completed by late summer or early fall. Then I plan to write the sequel to Expired Listings.
Thanks for the opportunity of the interview!
Happy to have you! I may just have to pick up a copy of this book!
Book title: Expired Listings
Author: D.M. Barr
Genre: Psychological Thriller (with satiric, romantic and erotic elements—not erotica)
What if people were dying around you and you weren’t absolutely sure you weren’t their murderer? Someone is ‘deactivating’ the Realtors in Rock Canyon and almost no one seems to care. Not the surviving brokers, who consider the serial killings a competitive boon. Not the town’s residents, who see the murders as a public service. In fact, the only person who’s even somewhat alarmed is Dana Black, a kinky, sharp-witted yet emotionally skittish Realtor who has no alibi for the crimes because during each, she believes she was using her empty listings for games like Bondage Bingo with her sadistic lover, Dare. And yet, mysteriously, all clues are pointing her way.
Along with clearing her name and avoiding certain death at the hands of the ‘Realtor Retaliator,’ Dana has an even bigger problem: she’s inadvertently become a person of interest in more ways than one to Aidan Cummings, the sexy albeit vanilla detective investigating the case. While his attentions are tempting, Dana is torn–does she continue her ironically ‘safe’ but sterile BDSM relationship with Dare, or risk real intimacy with Aidan?
Kink, Suspense and Satire–Expired Listings masterfully combines all three while exploring the universal need for validation and the toxic nature of revenge.
Grab a copy!
About the Author
WHO IS D.M. BARR?
By day, a mild-mannered salesperson, wife, mother, rescuer of senior shelter dogs, happily living just north of New York City. By night, an author of sex, suspense and satire.
My background includes stints in travel marketing, travel journalism, meeting planning, public relations and real estate. I was, for a long and happy time, an award-winning magazine writer and editor. Then kids happened. And I needed to actually make money. Now they’re off doing whatever it is they do (of which I have no idea since they won’t friend me on Facebook) and I can spend my spare time weaving tales of debauchery and whatever else tickles my fancy.
The main thing to remember about my work is that I am NOT one of my characters. For example, as a real estate broker, I’ve never played Bondage Bingo in one of my empty listings or offed one of my problem clients.
But that’s not to say I haven’t wanted to…
Stalk the author: