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Evil E, Jr., here…Gracie - also known as “Mom” &/or ”Evil E” is taking a little break (no pun intended…really, lol) and she’s also hopped up on morphine just now.  See - she was coming downstairs from her office, into the kitchen, slipped, and broke her back.  Yes.  You read that correctly.  Broke her effing back!  Consequently - the column’s a tad compressed (see, another bad pun.  She’s gonna beat me sensless…just as soon as she can catch me!) this month.

However, we have one hell of an interview for you & some great pics from ThrillerFest  ;-)  …

What needs to be said about Michael Connelly?  If you don’t know who he is, you’ve probably been living under a rock for the past decade.  You certainly haven’t been in a bookstore or read a bestseller list, where his brilliant novels have appeared in considerable numbers.

While working as a journalist for the Los Angeles Times, Connelly created one of the mystery world’s most compelling and popular characters: LAPD detective Hieronymous “Harry” Bosch.  Through thirteen novels featuring Bosch, Connelly has won legions of fans with his unforgettable characters, crisp plotting and evocative prose.

Those aren’t the only books Connelly has written, though.  His other memorable creations include reporter Jack McEvoy in “The Poet,” ex-FBI agent Terry McCaleb in “Blood Work,” and small-time attorney Mickey Haller in “The Lincoln Lawyer.”  Does this man ever sleep?

Harry Bosch will return later this year, along with Mickey Haller, in “The Brass Verdict” (a book which our own David J.  Montgomery reports is terrific!).  Let’s all give a hearty Evil E welcome to Michael Connelly!

                              Michael Connelly - Photo Credit: Robert Azmitia                                         

ALI KARIM:

#1 - Your breakout book in the UK was THE POET. Why do you think that book appealed to so many readers?

MICHAEL CONNELLY:

I’m not sure but I think it had a lot of velocity built into it because there was a lot of velocity in the writing. The writing process was different because I was writing about a character who was a police reporter and I had that job for 14 years. So as I was writing The Poet there was never a pause in the writing to consider what a detective would do or what the procedure would be. I just simply wrote what I would do and so there was no pause. The story just came out. I wrote that book faster than anything before or since. I used to keep quiet about that, thinking people would equate a fast write with something that was sort of mailed in. But I have come to realize over the years that when it flows like that it usually means you are onto something that could be pretty good. I have learned that velocity in the writing process means velocity in the reading process, and that’s always a good thing.  

ALI KARIM: 

#2 - Your novel, THE LINCOLN LAWYER was short-listed in the UK as Richard and Judy selection, so can you tell us what affect that had on your sales?   (*Michael- I have no idea what Ali means by ‘Richard & Judy’- if you don’t either, and would like to contact him -here’s his email:  AKarim1462@aol.com

MICHAEL CONNELLY: 

I can’t quantify it off hand but it sure helped the book. I believe The Lincoln Lawyer ended up being my most popular book so far in the UK.
 

 JASON STARR:

You’ve said that you’re a big fan of Charles Willeford.  What is it about Willeford’s novels that you find so compelling, and could you ever see writing a novel in the Willefordesque style?

I think they were mostly small stories writ large but kept small and he had the unique ability to create subtle humor and pathos with the small details of his characters’ lives. The way Hoke dealt with his daughters, the way he set up his life. I read these books with a little smile on my face the whole time. 

ALLISON BRENNAN:

While I enjoyed the Harry Bosch novels, Mickey Haller really captured my interest and I am beyond thrilled to see Mickey and Harry together in your next book.  Can you give us a sneak peak?  Maybe a little about how Mickey developed as a character? Will you bring him back after THE BRASS VERDICT?

MICHAEL CONNELLY:

I hope Mickey keeps coming back but as with every character it comes down to whether I come up with the right combination of story and character advancement or development. The Brass Verdict is a Mickey Haller book. Harry Bosch is in it but only in a supporting role, you could say. And I think its a story about Mickey moving to the next step in his life. As far as the plot goes, it starts with Mickey more or less inheriting an entire law practice after a colleague is murdered. The good news is he suddenly has a couple dozen paying clients. The bad news is that one of them is likely behind the killing of his predecessor. He has to figure out — with the help of Harry Bosch — who that is. 

DOUG LYLE:

You are definitely a master of the series character.  How do you keep Harry growing and changing without making him so altered as to be unrecognizable?

MICHAEL CONNELLY: 

I really don’t know. I just sort of write by instinct. One thing I did quite by accident was decide at the start to have him age in real time. That. of course, means I am going to run out of time with him fairly soon, but along the way I’ve been able to explore his evolution and sort of show this person changing along with his city. I think that has kept me interested in Bosch and of course what happens in the writing process happens in the reading process too. So i think that if I am staying interested the readers hopefully will as well.

DAVID MONTGOMERY:

#1 - You’re probably tired of hearing this question, but I’ll ask it anyway…  Do you foresee an end to the Harry Bosch series?  He’s aging in real time, so we know he can’t last forever.  But I’d sure be sad to see him go.  How much more life does he have in him?

MICHAEL CONNELLY:

Well, I certainly see the need to end the forward progression of the series with Harry as a cop. He’s 58 this year and the reality is I have maybe 4 or 5 years before it starts bending reality. But I can always go backwards. There are a lot years in his life I haven’t written about. I could also extend the series with his life after LAPD. So it will all come down to whether or not I continue to be interested in him. If that continues then i think Harry will continue in some way.

DAVID J. MONTGOMERY: 

#2 - So many of the best crime writers are former journalists…Robert Ferrigno, Laura Lippman, Jon King, Denise Hamilton, etc.  What is it about being a reporter that lends itself to writing great crime fiction?

MICHAEL CONNELLY: 

I can only guess at it, and of course there are so many great crime writers who were not journalists. But the one thing I think has helped me is the process of journalism. No matter what the story is, you never get enough space to say what you want to say. So you learn to make every sentence count. You make them short and to the point. You look for the one telling detail rather than 50 details that don’t get to the point of what you are communicating. You try to have every quote carry information the reader needs. So in a perfect news story nothing is wasted. It creates a certain velocity in the story. I have tried to carry that over to my fiction, even though now I don’t have the same constraints in terms of space and length. 

PAUL GUYOT:

What do you enjoy most about working in television - if anything - and what about it drives you insane?

MICHAEL CONNELLY: 

I don’t do a lot in TV anymore but I find that when I do work in an alternate storytelling medium that its a good break from writing the books. There are lots of frustrations built into any creative form that has many contributors. So those frustrations tend to eventually send me running back to my books. But I am a child of TV. I love good television and so I am like everybody else in the game; willing to roll the dice on the long shot chance that I might create something good and that I can be proud of, whether that is a full television series or just one episode.

LOUISE URE:

Tell us about the first time you talked to Philip Spitzer about becoming your agent.  Wasn’t there a good story in there?

MICHAEL CONNELLY: 

Well it was one of those stories like everybody has about waiting forever to sell your first book or get your first agent. I had my manuscript out to Philip and was waiting. I was home alone on a Saturday because my wife had gone out. My mother in law usually called every Saturday so when the phone rang i didn’t answer it because I was writing and didn’t want the interruption. So I let the machine pick up but it wasn’t my mother in law’s voice I heard but a man saying it was Philip Spitzer and that he finished reading my manuscript and wanted to talk to me. So I had to be cool. I decided I would call back in fifteen minutes and not tell him I had screened his call. It was the longest fifteen minutes of my life! Luckily, when I called him back he said he wanted to represent the book to publishers and I was in business.

NICK STONE:

What was the extent of your involvement in the film of BLOOD WORK?  Did you work closely with Clint Eastwood, or did you “Do a Deaver”, and take the money and run?

MICHAEL CONNELLY: 

It was more of a Deaver but not by choice. I would have gladly been involved but Eastwood told me he had his own team and they would go off and make the movie with little help from me. He said that up front and gave me the opportunity to walk away with my book if I didn’t like that. I chose not to walk away. Five years later and about a month before shooting began I got the script in the mail and I thought that was just a courtesy. But a couple days later Eastwood called up and asked me for notes. I had a few pages of notes and he acted on some and not on others. After that, I showed up a few times on the set to watch them film it. I brought my friend who had inspired the story to meet Clint and that was cool, too.

KEN BRUEN:

Have you written your best book or your own personal favorite of your work, when you feel you got it bang to rights?

MICHAEL CONNELLY: 

I hope I still have my best book in me. But I have a personal favorite that is my favorite for a variety of reasons that include things outside the book. It was my fourth book, The Last Coyote, and its my favorite because it was the first book I wrote as a full time novelist. I had been able to quit my day job and concentrate fully on my fiction. It was a wonderful year, I think my writing improved noticeably — at least to me — and the story itself is Harry Bosch’s core story. Its about what makes him tick as a cop and a man. So all those things sort of added up to being my favorite book and favorite year as a writer. Getting bang to rights is another sort of question. I set an ideal or goal for myself with every book. It usually takes a few years for me to go back and look at the book and decide how close I got to that goal. A couple books I thought I got bang to rights, in my opinion. One was Last Coyote and one was a book called Angels Flight. 

And now for something completely different…pics from THRILLERFEST!!

First up are pics from Allison Brennan

 

Dave Morrell & Gayle Lynds at Jeff Ayers review workshop, ThrillerFest

Brent Ghelfi (only male), ITW Thriller Award Nominee for Best First Book with Kelly Stanley (right), 2008 Debut Author (in the hat), and Wilda Williams from Library Journal (with the Starbucks)…and the woman on the left?  Hmmmm….. :-)

James Rollins, ITW Vice President and Thriller Awards Guru (left center) along with Karen Dionne (left of Jim), debut author (FREEZING POINT, Berkley, 9/30/08) and ITW Debut Author Scholarship winner.

Lee Child, MC, of the 2008 Debut Author Breakfast

Help!!! Lee Child, Mentor to the 2008 Debut Authors, with painting of Lee Child, desperate, drained by the demands of mentoring the 2008 Debut Authors.

Next -

We have a slew of pics sent in by Alex, and credit to JT Ellison…

 

 

That’s it for this month!  See you all back here in September - stay safe and stay away from rogue and sinister stairwells! 

Evil E

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