Thursday , May 23 2024
"My value-added is the twists and the surprise endings, which I spend months plotting out."

An Interview With Jeffrey Deaver, Author of Sleeping Doll

Jeffrey Deaver is one of the masters when it comes to writing good psychological thrillers. Even if, for some reason, you don't recognize his name, you probably have heard of one of his books that was made into a movie: The Bone Collector.

His most well known series features Lincoln Rhyme, a quadriplegic detective, but he has also started a series featuring Kathryn Dance, a kinesics expert. Sleeping Doll is one of the latter. He has written more than 20 novels and two short story collections.

He was nice enough, after months of pleading via email, to agree to an email interview.


Scott Butki: What did you seek to do with this book and do you think you met that goal?

Jeffrey Deaver: My goal, as always, is to give my readers a compelling, highly enjoyable roller coaster of a ride – with the addition in the Kathryn Dance books of added character development and conflict, what I call affectionately the "soap opera stuff." I think, from reader response, that I was successful.

Did you do any kind of research for this book? Who did you talk to?

This research was mostly into mind control and kinesics (body language). I did talk to some interrogators for law enforcement and security agencies but mostly I did what I always do – research online and through books.

What question do you wish interviewers would ask but they never do?

Actually, I'm very impressed with the quality of most interviewers and their questions. My one wish is that they read at least a portion of the book, if not the whole thing, before the interview. 

I read that you were alternating between this series and Lincoln Rhyme each year. Is that still the plan?

Yes, now that Kathryn has proved so popular around the world, I will be writing those books every other year, interspersed with a Lincoln Book.

Who do you prefer to write about – Rhyme or Kathryn Dance?  

I have no preference at all. Anyway, it's never about me – it's about my readers.

What has been the high point in your career as a novelist? What has been the low point?

High: I think having people come up to me, both young and old, and say they rarely (or never) read a novel until they picked up one of mine. And now they've started reading again. The low was, as for every writer, in the beginning, when I just couldn't get the attention of readers in the very crowded field. It's harder to see yourself sell only a few thousand copies than to be published at all.

What do you think sets you apart from other thriller writers? Plot twists? More psychological?

My value-added is the twists and the surprise endings, which I spend months plotting out.

What are you working on next?

My next book is a Lincoln Rhyme novel, set in Manhattan. The title is The Black and White Rainbow.

Thanks for your time and for a great book. 


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 working in mental health for the last ten 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.

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