Thursday, November 29, 2012

KINGS OF MIDNIGHT on Kirkus' Best of 2012

KINGS OF MIDNIGHT finds itself in some excellent company on Kirkus Reviews' year-end list of the Best Books of 2012. You can find the complete Fiction list here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Next Big Thing: Alison Gaylin

(NOTE: Last week, I tagged Alison Gaylin as part of this week's NEXT BIG THING blogathon – a blog-hopping collection of writers answering questions about their latest works, or works in progress. As Alison is currently blogless, I'm hosting her here. - W.).

I was thrilled to be tagged for this by the wonderful and very talented Wallace Stroby for THE NEXT BIG THING – along with great writers Andrew Nette and Scott Adlerberg, and great writer/fellow true crime enthusiast Dennis Tafoya! The one problem is, uh ... I'm between blogs at the moment. So Wallace – whose books are fantastic and should be read repeatedly – agreed to post my responses. (Right, Wallace?)

Here goes:

1.) What’s the title or working title of your new/next book?

The new book is called INTO THE DARK. The sequel to AND SHE WAS, it’s the second book in the Brenna Spector series and it’s out Jan. 29!

2.) Where did the idea for the book come from?

The idea for the whole series came from an article I read about hyperthymestic syndrome – perfect autobiographical memory. To me the most fascinating aspect of this disorder wasn’t so much the ability to remember everything, but the inability to forget. I think forgetting is one of our most important survival mechanisms. So I decided to create Brenna Spector – a detective afflicted with this syndrome that may improve her performance on the job, but wreak hell on her personal life.

The idea for this book – about Brenna’s search for a missing “performance artist”/webcam girl who talks about memories only she or her missing sister could know about – comes from a whole bunch of ideas about memories and intimacy and guilt and obsession and, uh, porn.

3.) What genre is your book?

Crime fiction. Suspense. Whatever you want to call it.

4.) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? Or TV series?

I think Rashida Jones has the right look and sensibility to play Brenna. My 11-year-old daughter says Brenna’s brilliant young douchebag assistant Trent should be played by Adam Levine – which I think is a fantastic idea. There are many other characters – and I’m open to any and all casting suggestions. (I love hearing from readers about this.)

5.) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Brenna Spector’s quest for a missing webcam girl brings her closer than ever to her long-lost sister – as she uncovers a decades-old web of deception, sex, guilt and murder. (Okay, I have to take a breath now.)

6.) Is/will your book be self-published or traditionally published?

INTO THE DARK is my sixth traditionally published book – and my second for HarperCollins.

7.) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

About five months.

8.) What other books within the genre would you compare this story to?

Hmm… Got me there. I do love what Laura Lippman has done in many of her books with the idea of memory, and if this comes remotely close, I would be honored.

10.) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

There is a long arc story to this series about Brenna’s missing sister, which this book focuses more on than the previous. Like AND SHE WAS, the plot is pretty intricate with, I hope, a lot of surprises. And there’s guilt and murder and sex in it too.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Next Big Thing blogathon

I was quite chuffed (as the Brits say) to be recruited by the lovely and talented thriller writer Alexandra Sokoloff to take part in this week's edition of The Next Big Thing blog hop, a series of brief interviews with various authors about their current book or work-in-progress.

I was even more pleased to discover the company I was in, as I'm sharing this week's theme – strong women in crime fiction – with some strong and admirable women indeed: (above, from top) Christa Faust, Michelle Gagnon and Zoe Sharp.

By way of prologue, Ms. Sokoloff explains all here. And you can read this week's entries by clicking on the links below:

Christa Faust

Michelle Gagnon

Zoe Sharp

My contribution follows:

1.) What’s the title or working title of your new/next book?

The most recent is KINGS OF MIDNIGHT, published in April by St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur. It’s the second in my series about Crissa Stone, a professional thief and career criminal.

2) Where did the idea for the book come from?

Writing a series about a fictional thief, I wanted to connect her to a famous real-life robbery, in this case the 1978 Lufthansa heist at New York’s Kennedy Airport. A crew of local gangsters walked away with $8 million from the Lufthansa cargo terminal without firing a shot. At the time, it was the largest cash robbery ever on American soil. Most of the money was never recovered. Seemed time someone found it.  

3) What genre is your book?

Crime. Hard-boiled I guess, if you go for those sort of labels.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?  Or TV series?

Writing a continuing series, I never do that because it might mess me up in writing about the characters going forward. That said, I have broken that rule a few times. I imagined Sara Cross, the single mom and sheriff’s deputy in GONE ‘TIL NOVEMBER, as looking very much like Sarah Polley,
an actress I admire a lot. I was always impressed with her determined, slightly otherworldly quality. But when I met her briefly at a New York Film Critics Circle Awards dinner a few years back, she was actually quite cheerful and girly.

For Eddie “The Saint” Santiago in COLD SHOT TO THE HEART, I always envisioned the late character actor Al Lettieri,
who brought an authentically edgy and dangerous quality to his roles in THE GODFATHER, THE GETAWAY and MR. MAJESTYK.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A female professional thief and an old-school ex-mobster team up to recover millions in stolen money from a 1978 robbery.

6) Is/will your book be self-published or traditionally published?

St. Martin’s Press has published all five of my novels to date, and I’m under contract with them for a sixth.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

My writing process is always mixed up, with different sections being rewritten multiple times before moving on, so there’s no clean chronology of drafts. Between beginning the book and submitting it to my editor though, it was exactly one year – Aug. 1, 2010-Aug. 1, 2011.  

8) What other books within the genre would you compare this story to? 9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I’ll combine these two questions. There have been a lot of influences on the Crissa Stone books, some of which I addressed last year on the legendary Ed Gorman’s blog. You can find that piece here.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

It’s the second part of proposed trilogy (or beyond). The third book, SHOOT THE WOMAN FIRST, will be published by St. Martin's next year.


For my part in keeping this ongoing blog hop extravaganza going, I've tagged first-time author Scott Adlerberg, thriller writer Alison Gaylin, Aussie novelist Andrew Nette and Philadelphia's own Dennis Tafoya. Look for their entries on their respective blogs next week.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Bucks County Herald on COLD SHOT

"A terrific story of criminals and crime ... the action never stops." The Bucks County Herald in lovely Bucks County. Pa. (home to the wonderful Farley's Bookshop on Main St. in New Hope) offers a slightly belated - but much welcome - review of COLD SHOT TO THE HEART. (Click on the image for larger version).

Thursday, November 15, 2012

From Paterson to Asbury Park

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Junot Diaz, Joyce Carole Oates, Dani Shapiro and I - as well as other N.J. authors - pick some favorite books about the Garden State. You can read the entire piece here.

My choice? "4th of July, Asbury Park: A History of the Promised Land" by Daniel Wolff (Bloomsbury USA).

Monday, November 05, 2012

NoirCon in Philadelphia Nov. 8-11

Looking forward to NoirCon in Philadelphia this weekend - Nov. 8-11 - where I'll be discussing "True Crime" Sat. morning with Megan Abbott, Alison Gaylin and Dennis Tafoya. Guests of Honor this year include the great Lawrence Block and industry legend Otto Penzler. The complete schedule can be found here.