Alan Asnen on His Frank Gould Mystery Series


Everything I do is attached to my childhood.
— Jasper Johns

Recently, when I was getting paid regularly to write on MEDIUM, I ran a series called “BUT TELL IT SLANT: The Facts Behind the Fiction.” That ran over 4000 words alone. This, therefore, is only a taste in less than 500 words of that story which began the process of writing The Frank Gould Mystery Series, currently appearing in Volume Eight, When Viewed Through Pain (along with three volumes of short stories…let’s not forget those!).

Life is a mystery and I am not being immodest to say that only by sheer accident I’ve led, on occasion, one life that others have found thrilling. Happening to be caught “in the right place at the right moment” and meeting a large number of famous people along the way. For a long time, as a result, people were asking me to write a memoir.

When the time came, being a professional writer, I put my hand to the task.

Nothing happened.

Nothing connected these incidents and people, not enough to turn it into an interesting “story,” and you have to have a story.

Rather than allowing my work to wallow in failure I decided to do what some writers have done in the past. I turned it into fiction. And I made “me” a hero. Of sorts.

Frank Gould is not Alan Asnen, and, for the most part, the other main characters in the series are not the people I’ve met along the way. But many of the incidents are the real incidents of my life and your life (or “real life”) as it happened. Or they have been “massaged” in some fashion to make them prettier—or uglier—for the sake of better (I hope!!!) fiction.

Some, at least, think it is better. Others don’t get it at all. Let’s be fair, that’s how it works. As the sages of old have said, it’s all a matter of taste buds, bud.

However, since the first few books, I’ve pretty much left the “biography” behind—except in “flashbacky” snatches—and moved on to the continuation of “new” story. But…I haven’t been able to shake the “continuing” aspect. The “family” of characters and the overarching storyline doesn’t seem to want to be left behind. This seems to have become the “cozy” and “romantic” genre aspect of the work to a great extent. As opposed to the “hard-boiled” private eye that’s taking place simultaneously. As hard-boiled as Frank Gould ever gets, which isn’t very.

You have to be there…

Ovidia Yu and many others love the guy. I’m not sure why. I know plenty of people who hate him… He’s obnoxious, cantankerous, often a bit cynical and always, let’s face it, funny.


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