It was three a.m. in Laugarvatn, Iceland, and I couldn’t sleep. Now partly that was because it’s still light in Iceland in June, and my circadian rhythms were bouncing all over the place. But there was a much deeper problem. Here I was, two thirds of the way through the first draft of my mystery thriller Killer Story, and doubt held me in its iron grip. Had I chosen the wrong murderer?Read More
The Bust That Wasn’t
This true story was first published earlier this year in Strand Magazine, in a piece edited by Liz Alterman.
Years ago, when I was seventeen, I lived in a suburb of Cincinnati called Wyoming. One Friday night, a lot of us teenagers were at a keg party and became convinced there was a UFO in the sky.Read More
How I Came to Write Killer Story
I began writing Killer Story because I’m a huge fan of crime podcasts like Serial and Accused and crime documentaries like Making a Murderer and Jinx. At the same time, I’m a skeptic of these shows. I’m intrigued by how reporters sometimes omit key details or distort the truth in order to tell a better story. In this ultra-competitive era, getting clicks and followers can be more important than getting the truth.Read More
Every Day, From Here to There
A Short Story
The old man lay on his hospital bed. His sweet brown-haired boy, sixty now, sat on the chair beside him, ready to give him his dying wish.
The boy opened the book and began. “One fish, two fish,” he read. “Red fish, blue fish…”
The old man closed his eyes.Read More
Sociological Analysis of The Necklace From an American Studies Perspective
Robert Gross, my favorite professor at Amherst College years ago, just wrote my favorite review of The Necklace. Actually it’s a sociological analysis from an American Studies perspective, literary criticism at its finest, making me see my book in a way I’d never seen it before. Here it is:Read More
The Drive Home From the Oncologist, by Chae Ko
I’m thrilled to present this guest post from my friend Chae Ko. For years I’ve loved reading Chae’s mom-son dialogues on Facebook, and I think they should go out to a wider audience. I’m so glad Chae agreed to post one of his dialogues here. Enjoy!Read More
My Favorite College Professor Interviews Me
Last week I published my interview of my favorite college professor Bob Gross, acclaimed author of The Minutemen and Their World. That book was published in 1976, received the prestigious Bancroft Prize, and became a perennial bestseller. His next book, The Transcendentalists and Their World, will be published this fall – a full 43 years after Bob initially signed the contract for it! It’s an inspiring and moving story of four decades of perseverance.
This week I’m publishing Bob’s interview of me.Read More
A Book 43 Years In the Making
Do you sometimes feel like you’re a slow writer? Get envious of the guys who put out two novels a year? My favorite professor when I was an undergraduate at Amherst College, Bob Gross, signed a book contract in 1978 and he’s just getting it published this year! After 43 years! His first book was a big hit in the 70s, winning a major award and becoming a national bestseller; hopefully this book will be big too. It comes out this fall, and I’m excited to read it.
Recently I interviewed Bob about the 43-year process of writing this book. I found his story moving and inspiring.Read More
Why Are Crime Writers So Darn Nice?
Promoting a novel you’ve written can be nerve-wracking, so last week I called up Matt Coyle, author of the Rick Cahill private eye series, for advice about marketing my upcoming novel The Necklace. I’d never met Matt, but I was hoping he’d give me a few minutes of his time and make some general suggestions.
Instead, by the end of that day, he called a bookstore owner he knew and set up a signing for me there; offered to interview me on his podcast; and got me onto another podcast that I’d been hoping to get on, but figured I wasn’t famous enough. I was stunned by Matt’s generosity.
The thing is, as gracious as he was, he wasn’t all that unusual. A few months ago, my publisher assigned me the daunting task of getting blurbs for my book. I was given the names and email addresses of seven bestselling crime writers.
Seriously? Why would these famous authors take the time to read my book and write an advertisement for me? What was in it for them?Read More
Queen’s Gambit Meets the Pick and Roll
The other day, while watching Queen’s Gambit on Netflix and checking the latest NBA trade rumors on Twitter, my sons and I began speculating on which famous chess player is the most like LeBron. Before we knew it, we had a whole list of chess grandmasters and NBA superstars who were separated at birth. Here’s our top ten, in the order we thought of them:Read More