Tuesday, October 23, 2012

John Worsley Simpson - Missing Rebecca - Author Interview

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
The Rebecca part is obvious. She's the one who's missing. The title is meant to be a double entendre. Rebecca is missing and she's being missed by one of the principal characters.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Nothing profound, just the idea that things and people are often not what they appear to be, even to those in close proximity.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
All the details are "real," the geography is accurate, historical references are correct. In short, I always keep the supporting framework of my work within the bounds of possibility. My books don't reflect actual events as they occurred, but on more than one occasion, something similar to a plot of mine has transpired after or at about the same time as the book is published -- not that one was a cause of the other, it's just that my accounts are of things that might happen.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I might make it longer, flesh out some of the characters more.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part of writing is writing, which really means rewriting. Getting the details right, doing the required research is easy. Getting the tone right, getting the rhythm right, getting the words right is challenging. And the really tough part is putting together a plot that is entertaining and interesting and exciting and believable.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I always learn a lot from writing -- apart from the nuts and bolts of background details. The characters I create take on lives of their own and offer insights into human behaviour, quirks, foibles and morality, that broaden my knowledge of my fellow creatures.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Yes, it originated with storybooks that my parents read to me as a child. I think that from the first, I knew that telling those sort of stories, creating worlds in my head, painting magic pictures with words was what I would do, what I had to do, what defined my purpose in life.

8. Who is your favorite (or favourite) author and what is it that really strikes you about his or her work?
I don't have one favourite author, but among my favourites are William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Morley Callaghan, Alice Munro, Eric Ambler, John le Carre, Graham Greene, Elmore Leonard, Rex Stout, Colin Dexter, John Mortimer, Charles Dickens and Gustave Flaubert. I could go on -- and on. There are many, many more and many of those left out are not lesser than the ones in this list. What strikes me about the work of all of these is that they use language so skillfully to tell wonderful, magical stories. They present a world that's better than the one we live in: the world of the imagination. What's the key difference between these and the thousands of others whose works fill the bookstore and library shelves? They could/can write. Their writing is like music, it sings, it resonates, it makes the soul dance and the heart throb.

9. Tell us your latest news.
Not much to tell at the moment beyond the fact that I have a redesigned website: johnworsleysimpson.ca

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope you enjoy my new book and if you do, please have a look at my earlier books, and if you like any or all of them, please tell your friends. I don't have a big publicity budget, so word of mouth is what I rely on. Thanks.

About the Book

John's latest book, his fifth novel, Missing Rebecca, is a story of death and deception. After a whirlwind romance, Liam and Rebecca marry, knowing almost nothing of each other's backgrounds. Only months later, on an afternoon shopping trip to a mall in the Buffalo, New York, suburb of Cheektowaga, Rebecca vanishes, seemingly abducted. Or did she make herself disappear? Was the marriage a sham? Was Liam a dupe? This is a novel of high crimes and dark shadows, involving the immensely profitable drug industry in which exclusive access to the market for a medication can mean billions of dollars, and holding on to that exclusivity might lead to lies, deceit, corruption, payoffs, and even murder.

Publisher: Kindle, Create Space
Release date: May 29, 2012
ISBN: 9781475266603
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 217
Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble


“Okay.” The detective moved the computer mouse on the table and the screen lit up. He clicked on a folder and a video player opened; another click and the video began to play. The first scene was inside one of the mall’s entrances. In a moment, Liam and Rebecca entered the frame from the bottom of the screen, their backs to the camera.

“Is that you and your wife?” Welburn asked.

“It is, yes. It was a cold day, like today, so Rebecca wore her red, quilted ski jacket. I wore my pea coat and watch cap—hello, sailor,” Peters said, grinning vacuously, and immediately felt stupid.

“Sure. And right away you split up.”

“Rebecca likes to shop alone, which is great. As men, you must appreciate that.”

The detectives exchanged a glance and then nodded politely.

They ran the video for about an hour, various cameras picking up Rebecca in her bright red coat and ink-black hair. One scene showed Rebecca heading past the camera toward the mall exit, carrying a Lord & Taylor bag. The next scene showed Peters carrying a huge Hugo Boss bag, passing Rebecca as she re-entered the mall empty handed. He waved to her as he passed, and she turned down a side corridor that led to the restrooms.

“I took the jacket and pants I’d bought out to the car,” Peters explained. “Rebecca had a couple of outfits in her bag. She left them in the car, too. I found them later.”

Almost instantly, because of the truncating of the video by the technician, a man wearing a long, black overcoat, its collar turned up, and a sloping-brim, Irish-style, tweed hat appeared from the bottom of the screen, his back to the camera, as if he had just entered the mall. He was carrying a duffel bag. His shoulders were hunched and he walked with long, quick strides, so that he was around the corner and in the restroom corridor in a few seconds.

Welburn paused the video.

“Let me explain. I’ve watched the video before, a few times. The original showed this corner of the hall for some time. There is an emergency exit at the end of the corridor to the restrooms, and there are a couple of utility rooms. If the exit door had been opened, an alarm would have sounded, and a signal flashed in the security room. It wasn’t opened. There’s no camera in the restroom hallway, by the way. It’s only a short hall, fully visible from the main hall. Anyway, you’ll see when I start the video again that two people—the guy in the long coat—and a woman in a long coat and a wide scarf covering her hair and most of her face come out of the restroom hallway. The guy is holding the woman’s elbow. Okay, watch.”

As soon as the detective restarted the video, the couple he had described came hurrying around the corner in the direction of the camera. The hat and collar of the man concealed his face, as did the woman’s scarf cover hers. He seemed almost to be pushing her. He wasn’t carrying the duffel bag.

“Now, the entire rest of the video shows no one in a red ski jacket, or even anyone roughly resembling your wife come out of that corridor, or from straight down the hall.”

“That must have been her.”

“With the long-overcoat guy? Yeah we think so. The height looks about right, for instance. And—I’m sorry about this, but we checked with the lost-and-found at the mall, and they had a red ski jacket that looks exactly like the one your wife was wearing. It was found in the ladies washroom in the hallway we’re looking at. And the duffel bag the guy was carrying was in the hallway.”

About the Author

JOHN WORSLEY SIMPSON is a crime-fiction writer. John was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, England, emigrated to Canada at the age of four and grew up in Toronto, He has been a reporter and editor in major newspapers and news services in North America, England and Ireland. He is married and lives in Newmarket, Ontario.

Links to connect with John:
Web site


  1. Great interview. Thank you for sharing.

  2. No problem, Cheryl! Thanks for allowing us to be a part of the tour.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Great post! Love the explanation of the title...good idea and it works with the message he was delivering to readers. I can only imagine how much research goes into the historical accuracy part of a novel but it goes a long way in broadening your horizons as well. KUDOS for taking something from the experience! Thanks for sharing...and happy reading.

  5. Gina, thanks for stopping by with such an insightful comment. Appreciate it! :)