Blackbird, Farewell – author interview – Robert Greer

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blackbird-farewellPaperback Writer is pleased to introduce our author for today, Robert Greer, author of the mystery novel, Blackbird, Farewell (North Atlantic Books, Oct. ’08), as he virtually tours the blogosphere in November on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!


Robert is a native of Columbus, Ohio, who spent his formative years in the steel mill town of Gary, Indiana. He graduated from Miami University at Oxford, Ohio, in 1965 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and subsequently earned degrees in dentistry, medicine and pathology from Howard University and Boston University. He is a professor of pathology, medicine, surgery, and dentistry at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center where he specializes in head and neck pathology and cancer research. He also holds a masters degree in Creative Writing from Boston University and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Miami University, his alma mater. Greer has lived in Denver for thirty years. In 1986 he founded The High Plains Literary Review and continues to serve as its editor-in-chief. He is the author or co-author of three medical textbooks and over 125 scientific articles. His short stories have appeared in dozens of national literary magazines and his short story collection, ISOLATION AND OTHER STORIES, published in 2000 by The Davies Group Publishers, sold out its hardback printings and is now in trade paperback.

Greer has been involved in cancer research at the University of Colorado Health Science Center for more than thirty years. In 1983 his research group was the first in the world to report a synergistic link between smokeless tobacco use and human papillomaviruses in certain cancers of the mouth. That research foundation is the basis for the plot of THE DEVIL’S HATBAND.

In addition to writing, medicine, and research, Greer reviews books for a Denver National Public Radio affiliate, KUVO, and raises cattle on his ranch near Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

You can visit Robert on the web at


Shandell “Blackbird” Bird has everything going for him, or so he thinks. Recently selected number two overall in the NBA draft, the six foot eight, 250-pound superstar has a gleaming new ride and a salary and athletic shoe contract that make him an instant millionaire. What he doesn’t have, is the ability to bury secrets from his past.

When Shandell is found shot to death midcourt, his best friend and college teammate Damion Madrid sets out to find the killer. Damion is well-meaning but naïve; luckily his godfather is gumshoe CJ Floyd. Floyd and his partner, Flora Jean Benson, are there to watch his back as Damion stumbles down a shadowy trail that leads to Shandell’s purported peddling of steroids and big-game point shaving. When he discovers a “Blackbird” he never knew and is able to put a face on Shandell’s killer, Damion finds himself in over his head. Will CJ be there in time to preven this godson from joining Shandell? Featuring the vivid characters and streetwise dialogue that have made the CJ Floyd series a critical and commercial success, Blackbird, Farewell is a punch-packing whodunit that exposes the dark side of the pro-athlete good life.

Hi Robert Greer,

Welcome to Paperback Writer

Paperback Writer (PBW)Will you share with us how you came up with the idea for this book?

Robert Greer (RG)The idea for my novel, BLACKBIRD, FAREWELL, came from my interest in exposing the dark side of the sport’s industry.

(PBW) Do you plan your stories first with an outline or does it come to you as write it?

(RG) I outline approximately the first half of the book. I then write the book as if I am entering a new scene with each chapter. By the time I’ve written half of the book, the rest of the story has rolled around in my head so long that I know where I want to go from there.

(PBW) Do you know the end of the story at the beginning?

(RG) No, I don’t know the end of the story at the beginning of the story, although I do know largely how the characters will behave and the premise under which I’ll be writing.

(PBW) Do you have a process for developing your characters?

(RG) I do not have any set process for developing characters but I tend to enjoy writing minor characters with quirks more than I enjoy writing major characters.

(PBW) It is said that authors write themselves into their characters. Is there any part of you in your characters and what they would be?

(RG)There is a bit of me in my central character, CJ Floyd, the recurring bail bondsman hero in my mysteries. Much like me he is a loner and he is a pushover for sweet potato pie. Aside from those two characteristics I am not certain there is much more of me in my central character.

(PBW) What is your most favorite part about this book?

(RG) The favorite part of my book is always when I write the last word.

(PBW) When in the process of writing your book did you begin to look for a publisher?

(RG) I was fortunate that I knew agents prior to publishing my first novel because of my short story writing.

(PBW) What struggles have you had on the road to being published?

(RG) I haven’t had a whole lot of struggles. The most difficult time that I’ve had in my writing life is the fact that I’m a physician and I’ve had to balance my writing life with that of being a pathologist.

(PBW) What has been the best part about being published?

(RG)The best part of being published for me is what I view as a task well done.

(PBW) What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your novel?

(RG) I would like most readers to carry with them the sense that they have an opportunity through my novels to explore the west and to also see a black hero in action rather than the all-to-popular black antihero.

(PBW) Do you have plans to write another book?

(RG) I certainly do. This is my tenth novel in the CJ Floyd series and I’ll soon be working on my eleventh.

(PBW) Would you care to share with us how the virtual book tour experience with Pump Up Your Book Promotion has been for you?

(RG) My virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book has forced me to have to use the internet much more than I typically do.

(PBW) Where can readers find a copy of your book?

(RG) My book can be found in any book store, including independents, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and

( PBW ) Do you have a website for readers to go to?

Thank you, Robert for sharing your book and characters with us today. It has been a pleasure and I hope you have had a successful virtual book tour.

FAREWELL, BLACKBIRD VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ’08 began on November 3 and end on November 26. You can visit Robert’s blog stops at in November to find out more about her latest book!

As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors’ blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available. The winner(s) will be announced on November 30!

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