I researched medications and then didn’t use any of the research. I’ve known three different manic depressives in my life, and I drew Catherine’s symptoms largely from them, of course changing the details. I didn’t do much more research than that, because mostly when dealing with her I’ve been describing Cardinal’s reaction to her, and that is much easier to imagine.
What's it like to hear praise such as from Book Page, "the most chilling literary villain since Hannibal Lecter”
It’s wonderful. It may not be deserved, but I enjoyed seeing it. Lecter’s a great literary creation — a figure like Sherlock Holmes or Boo Radley who has gone into the cultural mainstream.
What are your influences?
Biggest one, bar none, is Graham Greene. After him, among crime writers anyway: John le Carre, Martin Cruz Smith, and Ruth Rendell.
Who do you most recommend readers read besides yourself?
Graham Greene. He’s brilliant at everything: plot, character, texture, setting. No English writer except Shakespeare studied the human heart from more angles with more wit and more compassion. It’s ridiculous that he didn’t win the Nobel prize.
What are you working on next?
I’m currently working on a story set in the US. It’s about a father and son who every year cross the country in a huge Winnebago, seeing the sights. They also pull robberies along the way. It’s fun, but it’s very different from the Cardinal novels.
Thanks to Mr. Blunt for the interview.