News & Views

Mug Shot: Marco Conelli

Marco Conelli is a former NYPD detective and author of the Matthew Livingston Young Adult Mystery Series. His 2011 novel Matthew Livingston and the Politics of Death received the Silver Falchion award for best new mystery. Cry for Help, his first adult crime novel, introduces Caleb Alden and James Paul McCormack, two tenacious, fast-moving protagonists dissecting the desperate landscape of New York's forgotten borough, the Bronx. Conelli is a past vice president of MWA-NY.

Tell us about your latest work.
This is the first full venture away from Young Adult Mystery, as one of the two protagonists did appear in the short story “Borders of Morality,” in 10-Code Anthology. Cry for Help is a New York crime story that is just born out of an amalgamation of things I saw investigating crimes for more than half my life in the NYPD. It isn't just the realism of how criminals operate. It's also the departmental pressures on cops as well as the impact of the public’s hypersensitivity. All these factors are evident as we see two cops struggle to solve a heinous crime at the risk of destroying themselves. Cry for Help visits the heroin epidemic that has returned to New York and shows you some really bad guys hell bent on making sure it’s here to stay. I believe a lot of writers who are new to writing with cop protagonists or supporting characters will take a lot away from the dialogue and mannerisms of the two protagonists Caleb Alden and James Paul McCormack.

What do you feel is the best way to get the word out about your books?
Aside from the very effective social media, I advertise on a number of author sites that are geared toward getting your book in front of readers. There are a lot of these out there and the people who visit the sites are diehard readers, you just have to match them with your genre. Another way I promote my work is by traveling as a lecturer for crime writing conferences. I am a member of the teaching staff at Writer's Police Academy and have lectured at great conference's such as Love is Murder, Killer Nashville, Virginia Festival of the Book, and others. I teach a few courses, but most frequently Anatomy of an Undercover where student writers get a glimpse into crime-solving ideas based on my work as a former undercover detective. I meet lots of people and they are always interested in what I'm writing and they maintain their own writing and reading groups on social media.

When and how do you find time to write?
I don't! As much as I disapprove of them, deadlines are the only thing that motivate me. I feel challenged. I've actually gotten quite used to it.

What writers have inspired you?
I’m a big fan of reading. I was inspired by a lot of the old guard. Conan Doyle, I read and re-read him. He still fascinates me. Rex Stout, nothing like climbing into the old brownstone with Nero and Archie. Ian Fleming is a favorite of mine as well as Edgar Rice Burroughs. Their writing styles are so enjoyable. In the current market I really enjoy Ian Rankin.

In five words or less, what advice would you give to inspiring writers?
Stay the course — your way!

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