Tuesday, September 11, 2007

An interview with Jeffery Deaver (Part 1)

Our British Select Editions office also presented The Sleeping Doll to their audience recently and we'd like to share with you an interview with best-selling author Jeffery Deaver (right) they recently printed.

Did you always want to become a writer?
Jeffery Deaver: Yes. I wrote my first "book" at age eleven.

How did your first writing get into print?
JD: I was a reporter for the school newspaper and editor of my high-school literary magazine.

How do you find fresh story ideas?
JD: I'm often asked where the ideas for my books come from. To answer that I have to describe what I think is my responsibility as a thriller writer: to give my readers the most exciting roller-coaster ride of a suspense story I can possibly think of. This means that, rather than looking through newspapers or magazines for inspiration, I spend much of my time during the early stages sitting in a dark room and trying to think up a story line that features strong (though possibly flawed) heroes, sick and twisted bad guys, deadlines every few chapters, a short time frame for the entire story (eight to forty-eight hours or so), lots of surprising plot twists and turns and plenty of cliffhangers.

Does writing come easily to you?
JD: I wouldn't say it comes easily to me but I thoroughly enjoy doing it so I'm lucky in that sense. I revise a great deal. My publisher doesn't even get a peek at my manuscript until I've revised it at least twenty or thirty times (and I mean major revisions).

Where do you like to write?
JD: I write pretty much anywhere—on planes, in hotel rooms, anywhere in my house. (My office sometimes gets so cluttered I end up working in the kitchen. When the kitchen goes, it's up to my bedroom. And so on. I wish I had a bigger house.) I like the writing area to be silent, or with jazz or classical accompaniment occasionally, and either windowless or shaded. When it comes time to write the book itself I'll shut the lights out, picture the scene I'm about to write, then close my eyes and go at it.

Are there any books about writing you would recommend? Did you take writing classes?
JD: I never took classes. There aren't any books that I would recommend. The best way to learn about writing is to study the work of writers you admire.

Do you ever have "writer's block"?
JD: I've often said that there's no such thing as writer's block; the problem is "idea block." If you have a craftsman's command of the language and basic writing techniques you'll be able to write--as long as you know what you want to say. This is not to belittle the affliction, of course, because figuring out what you want to communicate can be one hell of a daunting task. When I find myself frozen it's usually because I'm trying to shoehorn an idea into a passage or story where it has no place. I ask myself: What am I trying to say? If I can't answer that, or if the answer doesn't enhance the work, I back off and try another approach. Trying to write books in a genre or style you're not familiar with is the best way to find the Big Block looming.

More of the Deaver interview tomorrow...


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