Meet Jeff Mariotte. Award-winning novelist, Jeff Mariotte’s work is as varied as his background. With more than 70 books published to date, he has penned acclaimed thrillers, police procedurals, historical western epics, science fiction, action-adventure, horror stories, a Young Adult series, numerous comic books, graphic novels, fantasy, and nonfiction, among other genres.
His newest tome, THE SQUAD, debuts his exciting Major Crimes Squad: Phoenix police-procedural series.
Jeff has a rigorous book release calendar to meet. “I’m currently writing a novel every three months for Wolfpack Publishing,” the energetic author explained. “Three of the Major Crimes Squad: Phoenix books are scheduled to launch this year; THE SQUAD, in September, then THE STORM, followed by THE CASTLE in November.”
Jeff delves into the subject matter of each project extensively. “A research visit to the Phoenix Police Museum turned into an introduction to (Sisters in Crime Grand Canyon Writers) chapter member Tim Moore (Detective, Ret.), whose help proved invaluable in getting the details of police work in the Phoenix Police Department right. The Major Crimes Squad: Phoenix storylines feature an ensemble cast—but center on Russ Temple, a native Phoenician whose family ranch was subdivided out from under him before he was old enough to take it over, and for whom police work is a fallback position after his lifelong dream of ranching was snatched away. I’ve described the series as Yellowstone meets Longmire, but in the cactus-studded urban setting of America’s fifth-largest city.”
His love of writing led to Jeff’s first award, and a financial return, while still a student at San Jose State University before completing his degree in Radio/TV/Film. “I earned thirty dollars in a San Francisco Bay Area short-story competition. But I missed the awards ceremony because I was out looking for a house to rent and didn’t know I had taken third place.”
“My first professionally published work was an interview with musician/producer and former band member of The Monkees, Michael Nesmith, for the Bay Area Music (BAM) Magazine.
My first actual sale of fiction didn’t happen until I sold a short story, ‘The Last Rainmaking Song’ to a prestigious science-fiction anthology (Full Spectrum ) when I was thirty-three years old, and my first novel was published eleven years after that. I’ve been trying to make up for lost time”.
Given his repertoire, he has succeeded. With work ranging from the highly-lauded
thrillers EMPTY ROOMS and THE DEVIL’S BAIT, to the historical western epic BLOOD AND GOLD: THE LEGEND OF JOAQUIN MURRIETA (with Peter Murrieta); supernatural thrillers RIVER RUNS RED, MISSING WHITE GIRL, and COLD BLACK HEARTS; horror epic THE SLAB; and the YA Year of the Wicked quartet—tocomic books and graphic novels, including the original Western series Desperadoes, the horror series Fade to Black, action-adventure series Garrison, and the original graphic novel ZOMBIE COP.
Prior to his current police procedural project, Jeff wrote the fan-favorite, Cody Cavanaugh western series, including O’MEARA’S GOLD, MCKITTRICK RANSOM, and PASSAGE TO PEDREGOSA. “It’satraditional western series about Cody Cavanaugh, a western hero who is an avid reader and runs the library in the fictional town of Pedregosa, in the Arizona Territory.”
“MEARA’S GOLD came out in January, MCKITTRICK RANSOM in February, and PASSAGE TO PEDREGOSA in March. In these books, Cody teams up with Freeman Douglas—who was born into slavery but primarily raised by a Cherokee Freedman’s family—to right wrongs and aid the helpless,” he explained. “I borrowed from my late friend Robert B. Parker and pitched the books as, imagine Spenser and Hawk in the old West, kicking butt and taking names.”
He also mastered the craft of media tie-in novels, writing books in the worlds of CSI, NCIS, Narcos, Deadlands, Star Trek, 30 Days of Night, Spider-Man, Conan, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and more.
Jeff not only writes a span of genres that earned an international following most authors dream of—he’s also garnered major awards in most of them. He received the Raven Award from the Mystery Writers of America and won the Scribe Award for Best Original Novel three separate times, which is presented by the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.
He received the Inkpot Award from the San Diego Comic-Con and has been a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association, the International Horror Guild Award, the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America, the Peacemaker Award from the Western Fictioneers—and for his comics writing, the Harvey Award and the Glyph Award.
He’s co-authored books, too. One writing partner is a clear favorite. “My wife, Marsheila (Marcy) Rockwell, is a multi-award finalist poet and author in her own right, a reconnecting Métis with roots in Canada and Montana, and the strongest woman I’ve ever known. Our first novel together was 7 SYKOS, pitting psychopaths against zombies in a fenced-in Valley of the Sun.” The talented duo also wrote MAFIA III: PLAIN OF JARS, the authorized prequel to the hit video game, as well as shorter works.
Having worked in so many aspects of the book business, from a bookstore manager to co-owner and co-founder of specialty bookstore Mysterious Galaxy, to Vice President of Marketing for Image Comics/WildStorm, and Senior Editor for DC Comics, then editor-in-chief for IDW Publishing, and as a publishing consultant for various companies–Jeff understands it takes a strong commitment to succeed. He diligently adheres to a writing schedule and his publisher’s deadlines.
His personal life has included some adventure, too. At the age of six, Jeff moved with his family from Parkhurst, Illinois to Paris, France. He subsequently lived in Virginia, then Germany, and California before making Arizona his home. When he’s not writing, reading, or editing something, he’s usually enjoying the desert landscape around the Arizona home he shares with his wife, family, and pets. “We have five children, two living in San Diego and three with us in Gilbert, Arizona,” the proud father said.
The creative writing gene is evident in the next generation, too. “Our oldest son is an editor at IDW Publishing, where I was the first editor-in-chief twenty years ago.”