Interview with J.R. Ripley, Author of Five More Minutes

10 Dec 2019

What can you tell us about your new release, Five More Minutes?

Five More Minutes is a follow-up but not a sequel to Five Minutes. I originally wrote Five Minutes some years ago and it was published under another of my pen names, Nick Lucas. It was well-received, with Booklist comparing it to the works of other Florida crime writers like Carl Hiassen, Lawrence Shames and Tim Dorsey. They even stated that “further adventures would be most welcome!”

After all these years and at the urging of readers, I decided it was time for Todd Jones to have another adventure. I had a lot of fun visiting with Todd and his quirky assortment of friends once again. I expect to write more books revolving around them. As one reviewer put it, Todd’s a bit of a lovable loser and he is rather unscrupulous. All of this makes him fun to write about.

Here is the official what’s-it-about promo copy:

Five more minutes. That was all the woman standing outside his floundering business, Todd Jones Realty, wanted. Just five minutes. What could go wrong? Surprisingly, everything. And that’s what Todd Jones is about to learn when he allows the enigmatic Caterina Kadlec to enter his office. He’s hoping that her wealthy client, and the big fat commission he’ll earn, will be the answer to his prayers. Unfortunately, Caterina has other plans and those plans include grand larceny. As for the murder, well, sometimes things don’t go as planned, do they?

Nope, they sure don’t. And that’s what Todd is also about to learn and learn the hard way. No matter, Todd always has plans of his own and has no qualms about implementing them. Because when it comes to ethics and morality, it’s all a gray area as far as Todd is concerned. To complicate matters, his girlfriend has left him. Again. And his live-in mother, who already insists on keeping an annoying pet pig named Mr. Squeals, has invited a homeless Russian woman to take up residence, thus kicking him out of his home office. If it wasn’t for downhill, it seems Todd’s life would have nowhere to go. And he’s going to have to do something about that…

What or who inspired you to become an author?

Absolutely nothing and no one. I’ve been writing and making music pretty much my entire life. Well, maybe not so much when I was in the womb, but that’s only because there wasn’t room for a typewriter and/or musical instruments.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

This is impossible to answer. I really don’t think in terms of best. Each book and author is a unique. Plus, it depends on the sort of mood I am in at the moment. So I don’t like to make comparisons. I grew up being drawn to authors like Vonnegut, Dumas, Huxley, Hesse and a lot of sci-fi. These days, I read in many genres and usually have more than one novel going at a time. I just read a novel by Ovidia Yu called The Paper Bark Tree Mystery. Ovidia is one of Singapore’s most acclaimed author and playwright. She recently surprised me by including me as a character in this, her latest novel! It’s a terrific historical crime novel.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

What would you want to ask? Hmm, I guess I’d say Alexander Dumas since I just mentioned him above, a wonderful adventure writer who lived in a very interesting time. Plus, I could brush up on my French. Of course, being a 150-year-old corpse, Alex might not have a lot to contribute to the conversation…That’s okay, I won’t have to share that bottle of Bordeaux.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

I love creating something new every day and every day I am surprised to see where my stories take me. And it beats having to get a real job.

What is a typical day like for you?

Rise and shine early, work out in the home gym, shower, head to my desk with my coffee and apple. From there, I’m at my desk writing and throughout the day I am either writing, reading, playing the guitar or piano or chilling with the cat. Jeez, I sound terribly spoiled, don’t I?

What scene in Five More Minutes was your favorite to write?

Yikes, I can barely remember the book! I write quite a few novels each year. Let me think (by which I mean cheat and look at the book)…[insert final Jeopardy theme here]. Okay, I’m back. First off, some of my favorites are the scenes in which Todd interacts with his pal, Nick Durham, a Ft. Lauderdale cop with dubious scruples. I also really enjoy the scenes between Todd and Surfer Steve, the son of a wealthy Russian arms and ammo maker, who lives in his own quirky version of reality. My absolute favorite scene in Five More Minutes is the last scene in which Todd interacts with his housekeeper. It includes a twist that even I didn’t see coming!

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

Life will be better if you buy all my books. Life will be better if you buy all your friends and family copies of my books. Last but not least, life will be better if you buy copies of my books for each of your pets. They may not be able to read them, but dogs love to chew on the covers and the interior pages (once you run them through the shredder) make nice, ecofriendly recyclable cat litter. Other than that, I’m a live and let live kind of guy. We’re only here once. Let’s enjoy it and each other and not take ourselves too seriously.

J.R. Ripley is the author of the new book Five More Minutes.

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