I’d had fourteen novels and dozens of short stories published by the time I sold my first Morris Brick thriller, Deranged, to Kensington Books, and my editor, Michaela Hamilton, thought it would be a good idea to differentiate this new thriller series by using a pseudonym. It made sense. While the Julius Katz mystery stories published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine turned into an accidental series, and my ‘man out of prison’ books published by Serpent’s Tail could be looked at as a noir trilogy, this will be my first planned thriller series. The tone of these books are also going to be different than my darker crime noir novels, or my moody and supernaturally-tinged A Killer’s Essence, or my metaphysical crime thrillers Bad Thoughts and Bad Karma. My Morris Brick thrillers will be suspenseful crime thrillers with a dark edge, humor, lots of surprises and twists, and rapid-paced plots. They’re also going to be written more along the lines of the stories I write for Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine: little to no profanity, no onscreen sex, and while the violence will by horrifying and gruesome it will either take place off screen or be described with minimal detail. Also the protagonist, Morris Brick, will be someone the reader will want to root for, as will his bull terrier, Parker.
So how did I come up with the pseudonym Jacob Stone? Well, it was a team effort with Kensington Books! I also liked the symmetry between Brick and Stone, and that Stone suggests someone solid. Also, after using my long and somewhat difficult name, Zeltserman, with my other books, I liked the idea of a simple author name for these thrillers. Why Jacob for the first name? No idea. It just sounded right.