Saturday, June 15, 2013

Author Interview with Bill Hopkins

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Bill Hopkins the author of Courting Murder a mystery novel.

1.  Tell me about yourself.

I retired after beginning my legal career in 1971 and serving as a private attorney, prosecuting attorney, an administrative law judge, and a trial court judge, all in Missouri. My poems, short stories, and non-fiction have appeared in many different publications. i've had several short plays produced. A book of collected poetry, Moving Into Forever, is available on Amazon. I'm is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Dramatists Guild, Horror Writers Association, Missouri Writers Guild, and Sisters In Crime. I'm also a photographer who has sold work in the United States, Canada, and Europe. My wife, Sharon (a mortgage banker who is also a published writer), and I live in Marble Hill, Missouri, with our dog and cats. Besides writing, we are involved in collecting and restoring Camaros. Courting Murder is my first mystery novel.

2.  When did you know you wanted to become an author?

When I was nine years old (MANY years ago), I decided I didn't like the Robin Hood episodes on television and began writing my own. I didn't sell a single episode.

3.  Is there a central theme to your books?

Sometimes you must break the law to allow justice to prevail.

4.  What books have inspired you the most in your life?

Fiction books that have inspired me the most are To Kill A Mockingbird, Moby-Dick, An American Tragedy, Catch-22, A Farewell To Arms, A Confederacy of Dunces, andTobacco Road.

5.  What’s a typical day in your writing routine like?

My home office has no windows. I designed it that way. I sit and write until my dog needs to go outside, then I go check on the weather. Afterwards, I come back in and start writing again.

6.  What is it that you do to relax?

Walk the dog.

7.  Do you use an outline or do you write organically?

I outline first so I'll know where I'm going. It's a casual outline that follows the three act structure. Every time I find something I want to change, the outline changes and the book never turns out the way I started it.

8.  Have you ever had writer’s block and what did you do to push past it?

I've had times where I couldn't find my way out of a thicket and had to talk to some of my minions. That helps. But if you mean have I ever run out of ideas, the answer is no. I won't live long enough to write all my ideas.

9.  Is there a certain time of day when you are most creative?

I'm a morning person. If I had complete control of my time, I'd start writing at four each morning.

10.  How many drafts do you usually write of a manuscript and what is your editing process like?

I don't really county my drafts. Every day when I start writing, I'll go back two or three chapters and revise, then start a new chapter. I guess that means a whole lot of drafts.

11.  What do you think of the recent changes in the publishing world?

Every change has some good and some bad. As far as self-publishing goes, I've met too many aspiring writers who don't think they need editing. My wife, Sharon Woods Hopkins (, is my toughest critic and best editor. Since she writes murder mysteries also, if she doesn't understand something I've written or tells me it needs to be changed, I revise it. I do the same for her. Not many writers are blessed as we are. Stephen King still needs editing. Need I say more?

12.  Out of all the books you’ve written do you have a favorite, and if so why?

I've got one published fiction book (Courting Murder) so it's my favorite.

13.  What are you working on now?

I finished the second book, continuing the story of Judge Rosswell Carew that I started in Courting Murder. I'm almost finished with the third.

14.  Where can we buy your books?

Courting Murder can be purchase on Amazon ( 
Barnes and Noble (
Southeast Missouri University Press ( 
Please visit my website:


  1. What a nice interview, thank you! For years I've read Judge Hopkins threads on the Sisters in Crime links. So nice to learn more about him. I'm rather surprised at your theme, Judge. Sometimes you have to break the law for justice to prevail -- flows in nicely to your love of Robin Hood -- I'm curious how frustrating loving that theme how frustrating it must have been serving on the bench all those years. Cannot wait to read Courting Murder. Off to download.

    1. Thank you, Donnell. Judge Rosswell Carew dances along the line and sometimes he steps over it.

  2. Donnell, I'm glad you liked the interview.

  3. Good interview. I definitely plan on reading COURTING MURDER. I'm intrigued.

    1. Thanks, Gail. I appreciate Bryan letting me on his blog!

  4. Very interesting interview. It seems that many lawyers enjoy writing crime fiction. The co-author of my next novel is my son Andrew who is a criminal defense attorney.

    Congrats on the publication of your first novel! Best wishes.

    1. Thanks! I'll guarantee you that Andrew has lots of stories to tell!

  5. It's always nice to learn a bit about the author behind the book. I, too, was quite a Robin Hood fan when younger. I'd still watch the Errol Flynn version any day. Justice and the law; sometimes they don't match, do they?

    1. Thanks, Claire! Sometimes Judge Rosswell Carew (who is a lot braver than I!) goes way out on a dry limb for justice. Sometimes the dry limb breaks.

  6. Enjoyed the interview, Bill. Like your recipe for relaxation. Since I currently don't have a dog to walk me, I have to walk myself. Best of luck with the book.

    1. Thanks, JR! Heavily starch a dog leash and attach it to a heavily starched dog collar in the shape of a circle. When you walk along with that, you can tell everyone you're walking your invisible dog.

  7. Bryan, thanks! This has been great fun. I really appreciate it.


  8. Good review, Bill. I enjoyed learning more about you. Like you I often go back a revise chapters as I go along.

    1. Gloria, I never keep track of what draft number I am on. As you do, I revise as I go along. I'll guess a hundred drafts!

  9. Nice interview, Bill. Thank goodness for dogs that force us to get up and stretch our legs.

  10. What a calming and refreshing interview from such a humble spirit. As far as drafts go...if we didn't use them... then we'd miss out on what the characters in our heads are trying to say...They all like to put their two-cents in...Unlike JR...I have three dogs to walk me...Dogs rule...