The MX Book – The Sherlockian Interview
The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories – Volumes XXXI-XXXIII is currently running on Kickstarter and we’re interviewing the contributors. Next up is Tom Burns.
1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself, and your story.
I am Thomas A. Burns, Jr., author of the Natalie McMasters Mysteries. I will be seventy years old in July, and I spent most of my life as a scientist. I’ve always loved fiction though, Sherlock Homes in particular, ever since I read the canon as a child. When I retired, I decided to become a full time novelist and I had the good fortune to stumble upon MX Books’ call for contributions through Facebook. I sent my first Holmes story, The Horror in King Street (Vol. XIV) to editor David Marcum, and he deemed it worthy of inclusion. I’ve since written five more stories for the MX Books, three for Belanger Books and one, The Camberwell Poisoner, that was published in the Strand Magazine.
My story in Vol. XXXI of the MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes stories is entitled The Adventure of the Drunken Teetotaler. It’s set in 1883, while Watson was not living with Holmes in Baker Street, so it’s told in the third person in the form Doyle used in The Mazarin Stone and His Last Bow. I like to highlight an aspect of Victorian England that my readers may be unfamiliar with in each of my stories; in Teetotaler, it is the magistrates’ police courts. Holmes also pays a visit to Pentonville prison and gets a first hand look at what hard labour entails.
2. Why did you want to participate in this project?
Originally, I just wanted to see if I could write Sherlock Holmes stories that were good enough to be included with those of the other fine author who write for this anthology. However, knowing that my work is supporting Undershaw gives me much satisfaction.
3. What are your current and upcoming projects?
I’m currently draft the seventh book in the Natalie McMasters Mysteries series, entitled Sister! (the exclamation point is part of the title). Natalie McMasters is a detective for the new millennium, and she could not be more unlike Sherlock Holmes. She is twentysomething, bisexual, impulsive and profane. However, she does share a strong sense of justice with Holmes, as well as a desire to put miscreants where they belong (sometines under the ground). Nattie’s stories are sexy, thrilling mysteries that chronicles her life as a college student and a private detective trainee for her uncle’s 3M Detective Agency in the capital city of an unnamed southern state. The novels are known for their rapid pace and unexpected plot twists. They also highlight contemporary social issues, such as attitudes toward female sex workers, illegal immigrants, the treatment of combat veterans and gun control, to name a few.
4. Any last thoughts?
Given the poor treatment of Holmes and Watson in some contemporary works that shall remain nameless, I’m gratified to see a series that portrays them as they were meant to be that has been so successful. We need larger than life heroes in this sorry world, to give us something to aspire to, if nothing else.
You can read more on the Tom Burns Amazon Author Page.