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  • Nelson DeMille

    Tue, 09 Dec 2008 11:38

    Nelson DeMille is the author of: By the Rivers of Babylon, Cathedral, The Talbot Odyssey, Word of HonorThe Charm School, The Gold Coast, The General's Daughter, Spencerville, Plum Island, The Lion's Game, Up Country and Night Fall. He also co-authored Mayday with Thomas Block and has contributed short stories, book reviews, and articles to magazines and newspapers.

    Mark Thwaite: What gave you the idea for Wild Fire?

    Nelson DeMille: Wild Fire is a work of fiction based on a rumour, repeated on the internet, about a government plan very much like the one I call Wild Fire. The Anti-Terrorist Task Force is based primarily on the actual Joint Terrorist Task Force (with some literary license). Various acronyms in the book such as ELF, NEST and Kneecap are factual, and accurate to the best of my knowledge. Hopefully, the story I tell will play out only in the pages of the book...

    MT: How long did it take you to write it? Is that typical for you Nelson?

    ND: From concept, to outline, to finished product, it took about 18-24 months. This includes the research I did, and two to four drafts, plus final editing and proofreading of the galley (proof copy). This is typical for my books as I work to that time frame for all of them.

    MT: How do you write? Longhand or directly onto a computer, straight off or with lots and lots of editing?

    ND: I do a lot of research for all of my books. There are three ways to do research: reading; interviewing people; going on location. Usually, I begin by reading about a subject until I have enough knowledge to interview people who are in that profession or occupation that I'm writing about - policemen, FBI agents, scientists, forensic people, and so on. Then I go to the locations where my novels are set, such as Moscow (The Charm School), St. Patrick's Cathedral (Cathedral), Ohio (Spencerville), and so forth. I think you feel much better as a writer to say, 'I stood in the middle of Red Square' when you've written about it. Some day, I'd like to set a novel in Tahiti!

    To research Wild Fire I visited the Adirondacks and stayed at The Point, a pricey resort on Saranac Lake where John Corey stays in the book. I had already been in the area many times as a kid, on vacations. This time around we looked for bears. I wanted to encounter one. They're all over the place, but you never run into one when you want to. Corey makes much of looking for bears in Wild Fire.

    MTWild Fire is your twelth book -- does it get easier or harder to keep them coming?

    ND: Each of my books is quite different. They are not interchangeable. That's why I end up doing a lot of research for each one. I enjoy every one of the books I write so I wouldn't say they get easier or harder.

    MT: How do you write? Longhand or directly onto a computer, straight off or with lots and lots of editing?

    ND: First I write longhand on legal pads, using #1 (very soft tip) pencils. Then I type up the chapter onto the computer, and print it out for reading and editing. Once I've decided on the edits I alter the text on the computer and the process continues for each chapter, over and over as needed, until the novel is finished.

    MT: What do you do when you are not writing?

    ND: I have a young child so I'm enjoying fatherhood for the third time in the new home we built for ourselves. I separate my three worlds, the world of the house, the writing studio and the business office.

    MT: Do you have an idea in your mind of your "ideal" reader? Did you write specifically for them?

    ND: No I have a wide variety of readers. I often get feedback from readers through my website so I get to hear from the people who enjoy my books. My books are for everyone who like dramatic thrillers.

    MT: What are you working on now?

    ND: I'm currently working on my next novel, which is a sequel to The Gold Coast and is keeping me busy for now. I've also been working with producers and screenwriters on a television series featuring the returning protagonist Paul Brenner, who first appeared in The General's Daughter and returned in Up Country.

    MT: Who is your favourite writer? What is/are your favourite book(s)?

    ND: I tend to read dead authors, so if I like their books, I don't feel tempted or obligated to write to them. Which dead authors? Okay, mostly dead British authors - Somerset Maugham, Graham Greene, Arthur Conan Doyle, Aldous Huxley, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Eric Ambler, George Orwell, and others too numerous to mention. For dead Americans, I like Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Cheever. I also like Updike and Tom Wolfe, but they're not dead, as of this writing. I wrote to Tom Wolfe once, after he published The Bonfire of the Vanities, and he never wrote back. I wouldn't expect Hemingway or Steinbeck to write back - they're dead. But Tom Wolfe owes me a letter.

    MT: Do you have any tips for the aspiring writer?

    ND: Pick the subject which fascinates you most, do as much research as you can into that area - the history, people, location. Be prepared to spent a lot of time writing and rewriting.

    MT: Anything else you would like to say?

    ND: If you enjoy reading Wild Fire, John Corey also appears in Plum Island, The Lion's Game and Night Fall. My best wishes for a happy, healthy, and peaceful New Year.

    Posted by Mark Mark

    Categories: interviews, Blogroll, Nelson DeMille

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