The Write Focus

3:37 / Interview with Derek Wheeless / Mixed Miscellany Summer Series

September 7, 2022

For debut author Derek Wheeless, writing is a fun journey of discovery. He’s planted into a niche with his YA noir novel We Planned a Murder, Sam Spade-style, the angsty detective re-invented as a teenager.


  • 1:25 Story structure entering life
  • 2:15 Derek’s novel, a YA noir; growing as a writer as the novel grws
  • 5:20 Verbosity vs. tight writing: the reason picture books are difficult to write
  • 6:50 Using a developmental editor
  • 9:18 His current work-in-progress follows the mystery style of Nick and Nora Charles; balancing two protagonists
  • 11:50 Outlining; plotter vs. pantster vs. puzzler
  • 13:53 Novel construction
  • 15:41 Hard part of writing
  • 18:30 Finding guidance with a developmental editor; finding the right editor
  • 23:27 A writing mistake
  • 25:38 Developing reader magnets
  • 26:50 Maintaining productivity
  • 30:00 Designing a cover and branding a series
  • 32:04 Writing books simultaneously
  • 34:20 Avoiding contemporary slang and references
  • 36:05 Casts of characters, the old Dell map backs, and lists of clues
  • 39:50 Writing: the journey of discovery
  • 42:25 Closing



The direct link to the book in 3 formats on Amazon is

We Planned a Murder was reviewed in a recent issue of Publisher’s Weekly. Here’s the link:

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