I can’t think of another place that is as much a part of my LA experience as The Mystery Bookstore. When I first moved down here in 1997 as a 24-year old, I went to my first book signing at the old location (Bill Eidson and Sparkle Hayter at dueling podiums). The next year, I had a signing of my own at the store—also my first. Stalwart bookseller Sheldon McArthur held a “World Series of Serial Killers” event which featured me and John Connelly (in person) and Thomas Harris (in absentia, on his island). Shelly sold well over a hundred copies of The Tower, in the process spoiling me for all future events. The Mystery Bookstore is one of the only stores still standing at which I’ve signed all ten of my thrillers. Going there and seeing those familiar faces—staff and loyal customers—is for me as much a part of the book launch experience as choosing a cover or signing the first new title page. Read more
I’m in Virginia beach, appearing at Symphony Fundraiser along with noted authors Mary Jane Clark and Jonna Doolittle Hoppes. I’ll be discussing research, writing, and Trust No One. VA Beach is a delightful place – check the view from my hotel room:
I’m very pleased to be here, given that VA Beach sports the base for the SEAL East Coast Teams, so in my research with the crew, I’ve heard a lot of stories about it (hi, giant Poseidon statue).
Between flights (I had a few more stops) I’ve been getting a lot of work and reading done. A few great pilots might be coming to TVs everywhere — The Event, The Cape, and No Ordinary Family. And I FINALLY started Marcus Sakey’s The Amateurs. What the hell’s wrong with me, waiting this long? Sakey is one of my favorite young writers and he’s certainly not disappointing here. (Note to aspiring writers: check out how he gets into characters quickly and smoothly and how nicely he trots out/reveals information. He’s good. Go buy some shit).
As for VA Beach, people are great, weather nice, and it sports the highest tattoo to flesh ratio of any town I’ve visited. I hooked up with a SEAL buddy last night for a few drinks and we’ll see if I can get onto a base to do some research tomorrow. The hotel I’m staying at is hosting a cheerleader convention, so everyone is quite perky and wearing T-shirts that say things like, “Those who say it can’t be done should get out of the way of those already doing it,” which strikes me as a bit too long to be T-shirt pithy. (Favorite overheard line on an elevator, from college-aged girl: “I thought cheerleaders were supposed to be good-looking”). I went to the pool this morning then for a walk on the beach, where I phone pow-wowed with the Great Steve Wacker of Marvel fame about Shadowland. The whole time we’re trying to talk Daredevil and Moon Knight, cheerleaders were doing flips and handstands and belting out slogans. I would have taken a picture of that too for you, but feared it was a bit too Humbert Humbert.
I wrote an exclusive short story for Borders.com based on Nick Horrigan, my protagonist in Trust No One. The book opens with Nick getting dragged out of bed in the middle of the night by a SWAT team and led downstairs to a waiting Black Hawk. He is told by the agent-in-charge that a terrorist has seized control of a nuclear power plant. And the man says he’ll ONLY talk to Nick. (Read the first chapter here.) But as we delve into Nick’s story, we realize that he was driven from LA as a young man, and the current catastrophe is linked to, as the back of the book declaims, secrets from his past. Well, I kept getting an itch to write another little piece of Nick’s story. When he was on the run as a young man, living in Alaska, there is a particular moment when he awakens and decides to start making his way back to Los Angeles, to his mother, to the life that was taken away from him. “The Awakening” is the story of that moment.
Finally posted to YouTube – a really fun talk with Crais about pacing, characters, plotting, and inspiration. This is one of my favorite interviews I’ve ever done.