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September 23, 2016

Character Interview with Mac McClellan from Deadly Dunes by E. Michael Helms + Giveaway

Hi, Mac McClellan! What is Deadly Dunes about?

“Since you asked, here’s a one-liner:” ‘Mac McClellan investigates the death of a young archaeologist whose recent discovery threatens to kill a planned multi-million dollar Florida panhandle waterfront resort.’

“And here’s the long version that ‘those in the know’ insisted upon:”

Hours after hiring Mac McClellan to investigate the supposed suicide of her archaeologist brother, single-mom Jessie dies in a car accident. Jessie had just showed Mac artifacts and a copy of a map Jake found, items that indicate Hernando de Soto and his explorers might have camped on Five Mile Island during the winter of 1539-1540.

Studying the map, Mac determines the site lies in the middle of a planned resort, The Dunes. Declaring the area an historic site could shut the project down. Suspicions aroused, he forges ahead, even though he no longer has a paying client.

Everywhere Mac turns, greed abounds, and no one he interviews seems innocent, even Jessie's closest friends, the Deckers, who have adopted her teenage daughter. Ron Decker's construction company is building The Dunes, and he is heavily invested in its success. Then there is the oily son and ex-stripper wife of an old curmudgeon who won t sell the one lot the project still needs to acquire. Jake's estranged wife Laurel had plenty to gain from his death, and as Mac continues to dig, he begins to wonder if Jessie herself had more at stake than he was led to believe.

No one is happy about Mac s persistence, and someone is unhappy enough to crash his truck and frame him for yet another murder. But Mac isn't giving up, no matter what the cost.’

Book Links:

1. Who would play you in a movie?

“Matt Damon would be a good choice. We’re both what I’d call ‘ruggedly handsome’ (or so I’ve been told, in my case heavy on the rugged) and in good shape for early 40s. Give him sandy hair showing a little frost around the edges, and a trimmed auburn beard, and I’m pretty much looking in the mirror."

2. What is your job?

“I’d hoped to be retired for a while after a twenty-four year career in the Marine Corps. I came to the Florida panhandle looking for fun and relaxation, but hooking a dead body one morning while fishing took care of that. Now, I’m a private investigator, by hook and by crook.”

3. What do you do for fun?

“I love to fish, although fishing altered my career choice. But I still enjoy wetting a line whenever I get the chance.”

4. What is your biggest pet peeve?

“Dishonesty and disloyalty. A man or woman should be a person of their word. If you say you’re going to do something, then you better do your damnedest to do it. Semper Fidelis is my watchword.”

5. How did you meet Kate Bell?

“Ah, Kate, the love of my life and my very own ‘Girl Friday.’ Kate works at the local marina. When I first arrived in St. George she sold me the tackle I’d need for going after speckled trout. Later, when finding that body put the heat on me, she was a big help in clearing my name and bringing the real perps to justice.”

6. What was your first impression of Kate?

“Well, I am a guy. Kate’s shoulder-length auburn hair, those cute freckles, and that body grabbed my attention the moment I walked through the marina’s front door. Then she impressed me with her knowledge of fishing, and I quickly learned she didn’t take any crap from anybody. I could tell she was trustworthy. That sold me.”

7. What kind of trouble do the two of you get into?

“Like I said before, I stepped into deep crapola when I snagged that corpse. When the local law tried to implicate me for murder and a related drug charge, Kate stood by my side and was instrumental in clearing my name. Since then, we’ve been an item. For whatever reason, I seem to me a trouble-magnet. And Kate continues to help me on my cases, despite my objections. I don’t want her getting hurt, but she’s one strong-willed lady with a mind of her own. Who can argue with that?”  

8. What moment of Deadly Dunes was your favorite?

“Wrapping up the case. It was a complicated one with enough intertwined suspects for a handful of cases. It was a ‘don’t turn your back on anybody or you risked getting stabbed’-type situation. When it finally unfolded I think I knew how Atlas felt carrying the world on his shoulders.”

9. What moment caused you the most fear?

“Fear?” Me? This big, bad Marine doesn’t fear anything. Okay, I jest. It was probably when I was tied up in the perps’ house and about to become worm bait in the next few minutes. Having my big .357 Magnum staring me in the face held by a shaky-handed woman didn’t help matters either. If I hadn’t managed to work that rope loose, we might not be having this conversation. Yeah, that was scary.”

10. Is there anything you did in Deadly Dunes that you would change if you could?

“Yeah. I should’ve walked away and not taken the case. By my forcing the issue, a couple of people died who would probably still be alive. Justice was served, but the price was high.”

Hyper Round:

*If you don’t know something about your character, that’s fine. Leave it blank and I’ll only use the ones you answer.

Food: “The seafood platter they serve at the Green Parrot, St. George’s favorite beachside hangout. Fried. Kate doesn’t approve. She’s on a health kick.”

Drink: “Scotch, single malt. ‘The Dalmore,’ in particular.”

Movie: “I’m an old movie buff. Anything hardboiled or noir. Black and white only or it ruins the mood.”

Band: “Early Beatles. They were brilliant. Not so much their later stuff.”

Book: “Anything and everything by Ross Macdonald. Let’s go with The Galton Case. Layered beautifully.”

Animal: “Bacon. Okay, I’ll go with dogs. Loyal and trustworthy. More so than most people I’ve known.”

Color: “Sage green. There’s just something about it.”

Parting Shot: “Thanks for having me on Write with Fey!, Chrys. It was a real pleasure being had!”  :)


I was born in Georgia way back in the last century but grew up and lived most of my life in Panama City, Florida. In 2004 my wife and I moved to the Upstate region of South Carolina in the shadows of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, a land of stunning vistas and numerous waterfalls.

I’ve been traditionally published since 1990 when my Vietnam War memoir, The Proud Bastards, was published.  It’s about my tour of duty as a combat U.S. Marine in 1967-68. It’s still in print after all these years, currently with Simon & Schuster/Pocket. I’ve since written a few novels in different genres. I’m currently writing the Mac McClellan Mystery series which is set along the coast of the Florida Panhandle where I grew up.

Author Links:


$25 Amazon gift certificate! 


The winner is...Sheena-kay Graham!

Thank you, Mac and Michael for entertaining us!

Please leave a comment for Mac and Michael. :)


Deniz Bevan said...

Fun interview! Ooh, love Scotch, but haven't tasted The Dalmore. Will look for that one next time... said...

Ah, a fellow(ette) Scotch aficionado! Try The Dalmore. I'm sure you'll like it. The "basic" is a 12-year-old. Not cheap, but worth the money. Yum! Thanks Deniz, and good luck!

nashvillecats2 said...

What a wonderful preciew of this outstanding book.
A good storyline and also the interview with the author was most enlightening.
Yvonne. said...

Thanks, Yvonne. Not to brag, but I think you'd like the Mac McClellan Mystery series. Mac's a Southern gentleman (at times) and has a great sense of humor. He can be your best friend, or your worst enemy. He and Kate have a good thing going!
Best of luck! --Michael

Pat Hatt said...

That is very true, people who don't do what they say annoy me big time. said...

Yep, a man's word should be his bond. Thanks, Pat. Good luck in the drawing!

Liz A. said...

Sounds like a good mystery. said...

Thank you, Liz. I happen to think so. :-) Thanks for joining us, and good luck in the drawing!

Sheena-kay Graham said...

This was a fun interview. Fishing is really adventurous in this book. said...

Hi, Sheena-kay! Yeah, you never know what Mac might catch when he goes fishing. Both literal fishing, and figuratively! Thanks for joining in, and best of luck!

Kait said...

Just want to say, "Hey." I have read every single Mac book and love them all. They keep getting better and better. said...

Thanks for the high praise, Kait! (The check's in the mail.) Kait Carson writes wonderful mysteries herself. Check her out at Amazon! :-)

Rachna Chhabria said...

Nice to meet Michael and Mac. I loved the blurb and the title, it sounds super intriguing. I have never gone fishing in my life :( said...

Welcome, Rachna! Thank you for the nice comments. The reviews have been very good for Mac's third mystery, so I'm sure you would enjoy it. Never been fishing? Wow, I practically grew up with a fishing pole in my hands. It's never to late, as they say. Best of luck! --Michael

Nas said...

I liked this interview and the story sounds interesting and intriguing.

Sherry said...

I loved the interview and think this will be a very good book.
sstrode at scrtc dot com said...

Hi Olivia Rose! (Such a pretty name!) Mac is quite a guy, and he does get himself into some tight situations while pursuing a case. I think you would enjoy his escapades.
Best of luck! --Michael said...

Thanks Sherry! Yep, Mac's (usually) fun to hang out with. He's a good man and can be trusted. He can play rough and tumble, but he has a streak of teddy bear inside! I'm sure you'd like him. Wishing you much luck! --Michael

diedre Knight said...

Speaking of beautifully layered, the plot sounds intricate and fantastically interesting! Great interview too;-) said...

Thank you, Diedre--I appreciate the nice comments! There are a lot of twists and turns and suspects in this one. It was fun writing Mac out of so many corners! Good luck! --Michael

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

What a fun interview. I enjoyed meeting you and your new book. Congratulations. said...

Thank you so much, Beverly. It's Mac's and my pleasure! We both hope you'll get to know us better by delving into the Mac McClellan Mystery series. Best of luck! --Michael (and Mac)

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Mac sounds like a fun guy with a serious side. I enjoyed his interview. Best of success with your book, Michael. said...

Thank you, Joylene. You pretty much nailed Mac's personality. Loves to have fun, but when it's "crunch" time, he's all business. Good luck!