Books (for teens):
- The Last Thing I Remember
- The Long Way Home (Feb. 2010)
- The Truth of the Matter (Nov. 2010)
Charlie West is a good kid. He studies hard, trains in martial arts, has just gotten the number of the prettiest girl in his class, and wants to join the air force after graduation. At least, that's the last thing he can remember.
But he has woken up in a nightmare. He's strapped to a chair, and someone outside the door just ordered his death. By calling on his deepest reserves of strength and focus, Charlie manages a desperate escape . . . only to find out that this nightmare isn't ending. There's a whole year of his life that he can't remember--a year in which he was convicted of murdering his best friend and working with terrorists.
Now, with the police hunting him and a band of killers on his trail, he's got to find the answers to some of the deepest questions there are: Who am I? What do I stand for? And how am I going to stay alive?
Describe your book in five words or less.
Five words??? Okay: "A face-full of flaming Awesome!"
When and why did you begin writing?
Ever since I stopped wanting to be a cowboy or an astronaut - or a cowboy astronaut; how cool would that be? - I've wanted to write. The books that captured my imagination as a kid were hardboiled detective stories by great American writers like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. They were stories with wonderful prose, terrific characters, a clear sense of good and evil and, in the immortal words of Neo, "guns, lots of guns." I wanted to grow up to write stories like that. And I did.
What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Are there daily writing goals you set?
I work a long day, basically from about 730 in the morning till about ten at night, with a long break in the middle. Most of my actual writing though is done in the morning before lunch. The rest of the day is research, phone calls and meetings. I work in a little shed in my backyard. I don't set writing goals but every story has a natural rhythm where you can feel how many good pages you're going to be able to produce in a day and once I establish that, I usually come in close to the mark.
Is there anything in particular that you find challenging in your writing?
I love my work - really love it - but it's hard, dude. I don't like to let anything go until it's just right so there are times I work for hours and hours over some sentence someone is going to read in half a second.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that you really like about their work?
Well, Shakespeare is the boring but true answer: he's my favorite because no one else understands the human condition as deeply as he does or writes about it so beautifully. I love Dostoevsky too for his insight into man's spiritual search. More modern writers? Patrick O'Brien for his brilliant sea stories. And Tom Wolfe for reinventing the old-fashioned novel for the modern age.
What are some of your favorite books?
Well, let's give a quick mention to the Bible and Shakespeare because every other work I love stands on those. Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky changed my life as well. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. Studs Lonigan by James T. Farrell. There are so many. Someone once told me, "A book is a friend in the daytime and a friend in the night," and that's the truth, sure enough.
Thanks so much Andrew!