As part of the Next Big Thing, every week a new group of writers will answer some questions about their latest work or work-in-progress. Some great writers have already participated, and it's great to be in such august company.
Hope you'll enjoy this, and please visit Andrew, Scott and Alison's blogs for their answers.
1) What’s the title or working title of your new/next book?
The tentative title is The Poor Boy's Game, and it's coming from Minotaur Books late next year.
2) Where did the idea for the book come from?
I think all writers have themes they return to over and over, and for me it's family - how our character is shaped by our history and how we struggle to define ourselves. I also set my books in the Philadelphia area and wanted to play with some local history.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
The book is hardboiled or noir crime, depending on your definition.
I actually thought more about this question while writing this book than I have before. Usually I have only a vague picture of what my charcters are like physically, but this protagonist has a very particular look - she's got red hair and a boxer's physique, though of course anyone can dye their hair.
The book's premise is that an ex-Federal Marshal has to protect a witness from her own father, an escaped convict and organized crime figure.
6) Will your book be self-published or traditionally published?
My books are all from Minotaur, a great house that specializes in crime and is a St. Martins imprint.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I've been working on the novel for about seven months and it's due in February, so it will be a relatively long gestation for this one.
8) What other books within the genre would you compare this story to?
I'm hoping that fans of Wallace Stroby's Crissa Stone books (which also feature a dark, kick-ass heroine) will enjoy my stuff. The story is about a tough woman defending her family and friends, so folks who enjoyed Girl With the Dragon Tattoo might like my lead character, the ex-Marshal Frannie Mullen.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I was drawn to the idea of a woman who was the daughter of this dangerous character but who had become a federal agent, and trying to deal with her family history and understand her own nature. I also wanted to write something rooted in the Roofer's Union scandals of the 80's, which I don't think anyone's written about other than some great newspaper coverage at the time.
I think mostly I fell in love with the idea, but I've also always relied heavily on the masters of the crime genre as a guide, guys like Lawrence Block and James Lee Burke, who I've been reading a lot of recently, particularly the excellent Hackberry Holland books.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
I think folks who know Philadelphia will recognize the landscape, and the little bits of Philadelphia crime history might make it more interesting. One of the fascinating true bits I stumbled on was that some of the guys who were movers in the corrupt union scandals of the 80's recruited guys out of local boxing gyms, and boxing plays a part in the action and history of the characters.