Q: How long does it take you to write your books?
A: I’m on pretty strict deadlines, so usually it takes about 4-6 months to write, then another 2 months or so to edit. Thankfully I have a wonderful editor who’s easy to work with and makes every book better
Q: How did you decide on the names for the characters?
A: This is a question I’m asked surprisingly often, since the answer is “I made them all up.” With one notable exception. Choosing Henry’s name was very deliberate. I wanted my protagonist, a younger man, to have a name not possessed by many young men to illustrate the tension between his generation and that of Jack O’Donnell, his mentor and an elder statesman for the newspaper industry. I’ve never met anyone under the age of forty named Henry; it just felt like an unusual name for an idiosyncratic character.
I have also auctioned off several character names for charity, one of the most rewarding aspects of my entire career.
Q: Where do you get your ideas?
A: From a variety of places. My ideas usually start with the characters--what would make an interesting story that would not only captivate the reader, but force my characters to change themselves? To me, the most interesting thing in a thriller is not the action done but who is doing it. If I can come up with a plot that engages my characters as well as the reader, that’s what I aim to do. I have taken cues from some real-life stories, and enjoy playing around with history to ask ‘What if?’ questions.
Q: Are there any plans to turn any of your books into a movie?
A: THE MARK has been optioned to be a feature film--I’ll certainly let you know where the project is headed as I learn more.
Q: Where did you get the idea for THE MARK?
A: I wrote a short essay about the inspiration for the plot, the characters and the setting which you can read here.
Q: When does your next novel come out?
A: I have a two-part series that will be out this Fall. THE FURY hits shelves on October 1st, 2009, and THE DARKNESS will be released on December 1st 2009. I’m hard at work on the next book after that.
Q: Are your books available in audio or ebook?
A: All of my books are available as ebooks, and can be purchased from any number of places, including www.mirabooks.com (search for my name) as well as on the Amazon Kindle and other e-readers. THE MARK is available as an audiobook on audible and on iTunes. It’s a terrific production, check it out!
Q: How many books will be in the Henry Parker series?
A: I’m contracted through seven books, and hopefully there will be many more. I love writing Henry, and feel he still has many stories left to tell. If you keep reading them, I’ll keep writing them!
Q: Are you related to Harold Pinter?
A: No. In fact I think he’d be embarrassed to know I exist.
Q: Seriously? Not even like fourth cousins or something?
Q: Would you tell us if you were?
Q: Are any characters in your books based on people you know?
A: No characters I’ve written are based directly on someone I know or have met. Though I am guilty of taking some of the more amusing and peculiar traits from my friends and family and shamelessly giving them to inhabitants of my books.
Q: When do you write?
A: My favorite time to write is late at night, usually around 10 or 11pm. By that time I’ve washed the day off me, taken care of any personal and family matters, and can dissolve into my characters’ worlds. I don’t have a defined word count or time period to write in, I just write until I feel that the day’s work is done.
Q: In what order should your novels be read?
A: I try to write my books so that a reader can jump in at any point with any book and enjoy it without having read the others. That said, I do think readers should read THE FURY before they read THE DARKNESS, as the stories are linked together.
Q: Who are your influences as a writer?
A: I will go to my grave wishing I’d written MYSTIC RIVER, and I’d have to say if I could model my career after only one writer, it would be Dennis Lehane. He started out writing terrific mystery novels starring private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro. Then he wrote MYSTIC RIVER, a work of art that, in my opinion, stands up there with the best novels of the quarter century, genre be damned. Also Stephen King as far as his brilliant good vs. evil epics, countless hours of my childhood were spent with my nose stuck in between a King novel. There are two books I want to write at some point in my career: a crime novel with the searing emotional depth of MYSTIC RIVER, and an epic with a scope like THE STAND. At least I’m setting the bar high.. And long.
Q: If you could recommend one novel to a reader, what would it be?
A: If you’re a mystery fan, read MYSTIC RIVER.
Q: If you could recommend one book for an aspiring writer…
A: Let me stop you right there. ON WRITING by Stephen King. Other than the novels I grew up loving, this was the one book that made me want to stop dawdling and write my own. Insightful, honest, and inspirational. If after reading this book you aren’t inspired to go write your own stuff, you don’t want to be a writer.