When first time author Crispin Nathaniel Haskins took pen to paper he combined two of his greatest passions: mysteries and the film “Jaws.” The finished product is the recently released “The JAWSFest Murders.” Haskins took time out while promoting his novel to sit down with Media Mikes.
Mike Smith: When did you come up with the idea for the book?
Crispin Haskins: I have always wanted to be a writer. As far back as I can remember I thought it would be cool. Last August, just before I went to Martha’s Vineyard for JAWSfest, I had a job interview for a sales position at work. I didn’t really want the job but I thought that I needed a change. I decided that if I didn’t get the job, I would use the time that I would have spent in the sales job finally writing my book. I thought of Paul McPhee (Artist), Jim Beller (Author) and Erik Hollander (Filmmaker), friends of mine using “Jaws” as a vehicle for their creative output. It’s the best thing to do. When people are frustrated about their life I have always said, “Follow your heart and the money will follow.” So, I did. Two of my favorite things are “Jaws” and mysteries. That’s how “The JAWSfest Murders” came to be.
MS: The book is very in-depth as to where things are on the Vineyard. Did you have to appeal to any of the islanders to use their places of business in the book?
CH: I didn’t. In fact, I didn’t even tell anyone that I was writing a book until I was about sixty pages into it. It was a very personal thing for me. It still is. As for the in-depth Vineyard descriptions, I am really happy with people saying that they really felt like they were on the island. I am really touched by that. People also say that they can tell that I really love Martha’s Vineyard and that’s true. I guess the two are part and parcel. I had just returned from JAWSfest so it was still fresh in my mind. Any gaps I had, I called friends on the island or used Google Maps. That street view feature was awesome for answering questions in my head like, “What the heck was across the street from the Edgartown bus stop??” I love the Internet. I used the Internet for a lot of my research into the history of the island too.
MS: The book has a lot of inside references to the “Jaws” film series that fans will spot. Was that an intentional tip of the hat to the readers?
CH: Absolutely!! Do you think you got them all Mike? (NOTE: I thought I did but the challenging way he asked me tells me I’m do for a second reading) Some were more obvious than others. When I was writing I thought that I may as well have some fun with it. My immediate audience would be “Jaws” fans so “Jaws” references would be a must. My main character is a fan of the film so he would obviously be thinking about “Jaws” locations as he walked or drove past them but I thought why not take it one step further? Why not put a few in there that ONLY hard core “Jaws” fans would get. Like a secret language… That was fun.
MS: As a fellow member of the “Jaws” fan community, I found that several of the characters seemed very familiar. Were any of them based possibly on someone you might know with an entertainment web site?
CH: (laughing loudly) Did you see yourself in a character or two? Well, I haven’t divulged all of the character’s identities exactly. Some are a little more obvious than others and some are amalgamations. Some are completely fictitious of course. It is a novel after all! The villainous characters are completely fictitious and one character is named after a friend who asked me to name a character after them.
MS: How has the book been received by readers?
CH: I can’t get over the positive response and reviews on Amazon! The book is selling well and the reviews have been overwhelmingly great. It really means a lot. It’s one thing to write a book but then to put it out there to be pecked by birds is quite another. It was nerve wracking. My worry seems to be for naught though. I’m very thankful for that.
MS: Is there a new book in the works?
CH: There is. Or rather, there are! I am working on two books right now. One is a follow up to “The JAWSfest Murders.” Charles is back on Martha’s Vineyard to visit Chief Laurie Knickles and it’s not long before there is blood in the water again! I’m really enjoying writing this series. The second book is a collection of horror short stories. I love reading short stories so I’m slowly working on putting a collection together. I have no idea how many stories there will be. I’m playing that one by ear. You’ll get the first copy Mike!
Check out our review of “The JAWSFest Murders”, here
To order your copy of “The JAWSFEST Murders” please visit www.marthasvineyardmysteries.com