Over the Christmas holiday I was desperate for short, fun read that would cleanse my palette between the romances. Usually, I’d use a suspense but for some reason there aren’t a ton of those that feature Christmas (go figure!).

Well, as I was scrounging around Amazon one lazy afternoon, I came upon something completely different – or should I say someone? Benjamin Sobieck. Ben, writes a series featuring Maynard Soloman, a gruff, down-on-his-luck private eye who surpassed dead broke just before his last surgery.

After laughing through the Christmas short, I grabbed a few more and begged the author to talk to me. Now, I’ll share that with you:

What was your inspiration behind Maynard Soloman? 

Considering the humor in the Maynard Soloman series, you’d think he came from a funny place. But the opposite is true. Maynard’s conception started as a way to vent my frustrations with medical bills following a kidney transplant in 2010. I was 25 and plagued with complications following the surgery. My wife was unemployed, we were dead broke, medical bills poured in and we lived in my mom’s basement.

Likewise, Maynard’s medical debt is why he runs a private detective business instead of retiring. Both of our lives were/are on hold because of fallout from medical problems. Maynard copes by being angry. My wife and I got through it using a keen sense of gallows humor we developed as crime reporters.

I tapped those feelings when Giovanni Gelati approached me about collaborating on a short story, “Who Whacked the Blogger?” Maynard was born in that story. I’m happy to say things have gotten much, much better since those days. Plus, Maynard is building a nice audience.

What is your favorite aspect of Maynard’s personality? 

I love coming up with off-the-wall things for him to say. He’s so out of touch with 21st Century culture. His mind is stuck in the early half of the 20th Century. This causes him a lot of frustration, which he expresses through colorful 1930s-influenced profanity. I spend a lot of time polishing his vernacular. His signature phrase is “gal-damn.”

Don’t get the wrong idea, Maynard isn’t a total bastard. He’s got a good heart, even if it is pickled in piss and vinegar. Part of that comes from knowing he’s dying. He’s bitter his life will likely end without getting to enjoy retirement. The other side of that coin is doing what he thinks is right regardless of what other people think. That creates a lot of problems, and it’s the soul of any Maynard story.

Again, that’s me processing that whole kidney transplant thing. Peel away the humor, and you can see Maynard obsesses with his mortality.

Do you have any books coming out in the near future? 

I’m elated to say that I’ll be collaborating with author/editor Laura Roberts for the next Maynard installment. Roberts is the editor of the “Black Heart” literary erotica magazine, and used to write the “V for Vixen” sex column for the “Montreal Hour” newspaper.

It’s not as far out a mash-up as it sounds. I’ve been a fan of Roberts ever since “Black Heart” put out its noir issue. She’s an incredible talent and a fan of the Maynard series. I can’t wait to see what we come up with. Crusty old Maynard, meet the authority on sex in Canada’s sin city.

I’m so excited to read more! Thanks for stopping by, Ben!

Learn more about Ben and Maynard:

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