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An Interview With Jeffrey Deaver About His New Book The Burning Wire

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My respect with Jeffrey Deaver grows as I read more of his books: Each is intricately plotted and has some of those great twists he's famous for.

I first read and got into Mr. Deaver while interviewing him for his book Sleeping Doll. 

I did not realize until doing this interview just how much work he puts in to these books. As he says below some of his outlines are nearly 200 pages, which is longer than some novels!

In this novel Lincoln Rhyme and his partner Amelia Sachs are trying to stop a man who is using the electric grid to terrorize and kill people in Manhattan. This is one of those books that are hard to stop down, so I quickly learned to set aside a few hours each time I picked it up because once I started reading I wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.

Here is my email interview with Mr. Deaver. Thanks to Gregg and a few other friends for suggesting specific questions for this interview

I read here that you are going to be writing some James Bond books. How did that come about and how exciting is that?

I was absolutely delighted when approached by the Ian Fleming estate to write the next James Bond novel. I grew up reading Bond — I was about eight or nine when I read the first one — and I loved the stories. The estate sponsors an award for a thriller novel, and I won that a few years ago and spoke admiringly about Fleming.  That caught their attention, and they were kind enough to approach me about writing a new book. It will feature Bond in the present day, still doing what he does best.

I understand you are alternating between books about Lincoln Rhyme and Kathryn Dance, both compelling but very different types. You introduced Kathryn in The Cold Moon, one of the best of the Lincoln Rhyme series. Now, in The Burning Wire, you bring the two back together, along with the Watchmaker whom you've called a Moriarty to Lincoln's Holmes. Will we be seeing more collaborations between the two characters in the future?

I like to create what I call "Deaver World," so that characters jump back and forth a bit from one book to the other. There's even a Lincoln Rhyme/Amelia Sachs connection in my historical thriller, Garden of Beasts, set in 1936. I do this because fans fall in love with characters, and my job is to give them what they want.

Should readers new to you start with this book or an earlier one?

I make certain that readers can start anywhere. There's plenty of background so readers know exactly what went on before.

Will Lincoln Rhyme ever walk again? Will he ever marry and will his butler stay with him? Or do you not plan that far ahead?

Well, first, Lincoln will not walk again in the near future, since I stay true to medical science, though his condition can certainly improve. As for marrying, well, I haven't decided that yet, but you have to remember that it's vital to me to keep the tension boiling. I think he and Amelia will just be dating for a while (unless they break up!).

I've read that you always outline your books. How detailed do those outlines get? Are we talking ten or more pages?

Thrillers of the sort I write must be structured very carefully (actually all books must be structured). You can't sit down and start the story and let it go where it will, without a huge amount of wasted time and rewriting late on. The author has to be an architect or engineer and construct it carefully. My outlines are typically 150 pages. The outline for the new James Bond novel just hit 182 pages (short margins, but single spaced.)

Did your talent for writing help you be a better lawyer? Did law school and being a lawyer improve your writing?

Good question and you're exactly right. Law is about clear communication, and writing briefs and business deals and court documents came easily to me. As for law helping me, that's true too. It taught me how to research and how to structure my books — which is just what you have to do with a trial or a business deal.

I understand you are a soap opera fan. What do you think of the current state of soap operas? Many long running series have ended in the last five years — do you think there will always be soap operas or will the number of people watching them continue to shrink?

What I like about soaps is that the writers keep multiple stories going at once and manage to maintain emotional tension consistently. All writers of fiction should do that. I don't think in an absolute sense people are less interested in soap operas, but the demographics are changing. More people are working and at home less frequently during the day. Also, dramatic shows are very expensive. Game and reality shows are cheap.

When you introduced Lincoln Rhyme he was getting help so he could commit suicide, and once he realized he could still do something that engaged his mind and in the process have better relationships with more friends, he was no longer suicidal. Is that a metaphor for anyone that has ever been suicidal?

I hadn't thought about making a broader statement, but that's a very good point. Yes, I suppose it is a good metaphor. I know I get depressed when I'm bored, and, though I have a few ailments, I don't suffer anything nearly as severe as Lincoln Rhyme.

How long did you live in New York City? Have you researched any other subject more than New York City history?

JD: I lived in NY for nearly 20 years. I think the only subject I've researched more than the city itself is forensic science and police procedure.

What question do you wish you would get asked that interviewers rarely, if ever ask? This is my version of a freebie

Question: What's your philosophy of writing?

And my answer is that professional novelists (literary or genre) have to keep in mind that we must craft a product for our audience.  This isn't about us; it's all about the reader.

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About Scott Butki

Scott Butki was a newspaper reporter for more than 10 years before making a career change into education... then into special education. He has been doing special education work for about five years He lives in Austin. He reads at least 50 books a year and has about 15 author interviews each year and, yes, unlike tv hosts he actually reads each one. He is an in-house media critic, a recovering Tetris addict and a proud uncle. He has written articles on practically all topics from zoos to apples and almost everything in between.
  • s.r.

    I am a great fan of Deaver and all his characters. I am reviewing one of his books with my book club today, The Broken Window. I hope to encourage others to become fans of Deaver also.

  • http://www.sbutki.newsvine.com scott butki

    Glad to hear it – he’s a great, clever writer

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