Yesterday, I had the privilege of being part of a BlogTalk Radio Show with Michael Connelly. This half hour show was hosted by Little Brown/Hachette Book Group USA; and I got to ask the first question! I can't tell you how excited (and nervous) I was because Michael Connelly is one of my all-time favorite authors -- he's like a rock star to me.
He was extremely nice and thoroughly answered all of our questions. I asked him some questions about his writing process -- does he know the entire plot before you begin writing and does he write using an outline? He answered that he does not use an outline because it would be "like a boss." He thinks that the way he writes is more risky (he once wasted six weeks of writing), but he feels it's much more fulfilling to write this way. He also told us that he starts a novel with two things -- an A and a Z -- the start (or the crime) and the resolution (whodunnit.)
I also got to ask him about his favorite authors/favorite books. He gave quite a few names, but the main three writers that inspired his mystery novels are: Raymond Chandler, Ross McDonald, and Joseph Wambaugh. Chandler was an early inspiration because he wrote about characters who are outsiders; and then Wambaugh was an ex-cop who wrote about solving mysteries from the cop viewpoint or the inside. As a result, Mr. Connelly wanted to create a character (Harry Bosch) who was an "outsider with an insider job."
And finally, I asked how long it took him to write THE BRASS VERDICT. He answered that this book was his longest novel to date at around 120,000 words (his usual books are about 100,000 words.) In addition, he spent about 15-16 months working on this story whereas his usual time is about 11-12 months (except for his first book which took three years.)
One thing I particularly enjoyed about the chat was his explanation of why he dedicated one of his books to the librarian who introduced him to TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. I also found it very interesting that he told us that "he writes for one person only -- himself." We also got a sneak preview into his next novel THE SCARECROW which comes out in May. You can listen to the entire radio show here!
I will be reading his newest novel THE BRASS VERDICT in the very near future, and I'll let you know what I think of it. If past history is any indication, I'm sure I will love it!