Friday, July 12, 2013


A mystery/suspense

-What book and/or experience made you want to be a writer?

When I was a kid most of my play involved imagining myself in a fantasy world—don’t ask me why—and I think writing fiction is a continuation of that. As a writer, the challenge is to create a coherent, consistent fictional world that a reader can believe in, and still tell an interesting story.

-What genre(s) do you write?

I’ve written a couple of unpublished comedies, then one mystery, Perfectly Healthy Man Drops Dead, which was published in 2008. I’ve got a couple more mysteries in the pipeline, and a couple of comedies. I also write short stories, mostly of a satirical or philosophical nature. In general my writing seems to be heading off in a philosophical direction.


A novel of madness, music — and murder.

A beautiful opera singer hangs herself on the eve of her debut at the Met. Seven years later the opera she was rehearsing—Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann—begins to take over the lives of her two schizophrenic children, the doctors who treat them and everyone else who crosses their paths, until all are enmeshed in a world of deception and delusion, of madness and ultimately of evil and death. Onto this shadowy stage steps Nicole P., a graduate student who discovers that she too has been assigned a role in the drama. What strange destiny is being worked out in their lives?


These aren’t spoilers, but I’ll give you a few more incidents that shape the story. It takes place in and around a posh private mental hospital in a small town in upstate New York.

A mental patient with no musical training or experience sits down at the piano and plays a fiendishly difficult piece of classical music…

A young doctor’s life spins out of control as he falls under the spell of three irresistible women…

A beautiful graduate student, struggling with her thesis, suspects that her psychiatrist is ruled by the fantasies of a poet who’s been dead for two hundred years…

A blackmailer stumbles on an isolated town with more crimes on its conscience than he could have imagined.

-For aspiring writers, any tips?

This isn’t practical advice, but I would say: Write the book that only you can write. The reason it’s not practical is that the whole publishing industry—including your agent if you’re lucky enough to have one—wants you to write a different book. They want you to write the book they would have written, which, no surprise, would be a lot like some recent best seller, only better. They are running a business. Still, they’re not necessarily the best judge of what will make them a lot of money. They rejected John Grisham’s first book, and Tom Clancy’s, and Dan Brown’s. So write the book that only you can write, and if they reject it, try to get as much detailed, objective criticism as you can stand before you write the next one.

-What’s your favorite book/genre to read?

I’ve read a million mysteries, but since I started writing them I don’t read many of them anymore. Now that I know how they work, I’m sort of hypercritical and can always see the ending coming at about page 25. But I’m always looking for good ones, especially if they’re funny, or quirky, or literary without being fatuous. Outside of mysteries I read a fair amount of general fiction and non-fiction, history and philosophy, including a lot of classics from earlier centuries and different cultures.

-What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?

I think my favorite thing is a story called “Kafka’s Creative Writing Teacher,” which, needless to say, nobody wants to publish.


Bruce Hartman lives with his wife in Philadelphia. He has worked as a pianist, music teacher, bookseller and attorney and has been writing fiction for many years. His first novel, Perfectly Healthy Man Drops Dead, won the Salvo Press Mystery Novel Award and was published by Salvo Press in 2008. If all goes well, a steady stream of new books will be coming out over the next few years. The first of these, The Rules of Dreaming, will be published by Swallow Tail Press in May 2013.

Check out his website/blog. Like his Amazon author page, and connect with Bruce on Goodreads.


Hey readers,

I really, really, really hope this never happens to me or anyone I know. Heh

Interested? Follow the rest of the tour here.

And don’t forget to comment for a chance at a prize.

Bruce will award a $50 Amazon or gift card (winner's choice) to one randomly drawn commenter.


  1. I always enjoy reading mysteries. The best ones are those I can't solve.


  2. I've really enjoy following the tour, thanks for sharing your novel and insights with us

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

  3. I'm looking forward to reading this wonderful book. Thank you for the tour.


  4. Well, it's the last day of the tour and I want to say I've enjoyed following you around, learning more about you and your books. So, thanks for a good time!
    kareninnc at gmail dot com

  5. Thanks for sharing! Again, I've loved following this tour around! It's been great!

    andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

  6. Thanks for the post and the giveaway!
    hense1kk (at) cmich (dot) edu

  7. Thanks for the post and the giveaway!
    hense1kk (at) cmich (dot) edu

  8. Bruce...I'm a big fan of short stories, especially satire (but not so much philosophical). Where can I find some of your stories?
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

  9. That was nice

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  10. Many thanks to Out of the Lockbox and to Goddess Fish for hosting this blog tour – and to all you commenters and followers out there (I’m starting to recognize your names!) for your loyal attendance and interesting comments. To Catherine: I write short stories but have not published them; possibly I’ll put together a collection in a year or so. In the meantime I would recommend the collection by Kelly Jameson entitled Desperate, Disturbed, Deranged and Double-Latted, and for horror fans, the collection by Emma Ennis entitled Red Wine and Words. Please visit me on my blog, for my infrequent thoughts. Another novel will be coming out this fall.

  11. It's time to announce the winner of the $50 gift card! There have been many faithful commenters and I wish I could send a prize to each of you. However, there can be only one winner - and that randomly chosen winner is Ingeborg.
    I will try to send out an email to all of you, especially Ingeborg, hoping that she will write back and tell me where to send the gift card. I will also put this announcement on my blog - - I hope that all of you will be visiting there. Yes, there is a mysterious new book coming out this fall and pretty soon you'll be finding an announcement about it on the blog. In the meantime, read THE RULES OF DREAMING! I can't publish these books faster than people can read them.
    Thanks again for your man insightful comments, and to Goddess Fish for organizing the blog tour.
    All the best,