Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Q&A: THOMAS O'CALLAGHAN, PT 1

In the current issue of the Thriller Readers Newsletter, I profile novelist and fellow International Thriller Writers member Thomas O'Callaghan. His debut thriller, Bone Thief (Pinnacle Books), introduces grieving Lieutenant John W. Driscoll, a New York City cop who must guide a troubled team to hunt a bizarre serial killer.

Thomas and had such a great correspondence that I am running the "extended cut" of our conversation over the next three days ...

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PART ONE.

One thing you and I have in common: Our characters are dealing with "parent issues." Your protagonist and your antagonist both seem emotionally damaged by the way their parents treated them as children, yet each deals with it differently ...
I believe most people want to see good conquer evil. I certainly do. It's a sedative for an unsettled world. As children, we have little, if any, control over how we are raised. It's how we allow harsh upbringing to control us as adults that makes the difference.

Both Driscoll and Pierce were victims, yet Driscoll managed to distance himself from his past and lead a civilized life, despite the maltreatment. By choice. Whereas Pierce, who was much more traumatized, remained a victim. By choice? I doubt it.


Your essay "Recipe For Getting Your Book Published" says it took TWELVE YEARS between the time you started writing this book and the time it became published! How much did the story change during that period?
The story pretty much remained the same, although the original ending was modified. The changes were seen in the character development. Each one became more distinct, more true to life, during the course of the twelve years.


What came first for you, the story or the characters?

The story. I sort of cast the characters as the story unfolded.


Was there anything specific that inspired this novel?

My appreciation for the writing talents of such notables as Thomas Harris, John Sanford, Dean Koontz and Ed McBain. I challenged myself to write as good as they did.


Your 2007 novel also stars Lt. John W. Driscoll ... did you start out with him in mind as a "series" character?

Yes. There's a lot of crime, both imagined and real. NYC makes a great setting for it, and who better to deal with it than a resourceful career cop such as Driscoll?


Is this an open-ended series, or do you have an arc in mind that you are working toward?

Open-ended for now. I'll see how his character evolves to know when I've reached the arc.


Bone Thief is certainly an intense thriller—how surprised were your family and friends to read how brutal this bad guy is?
Very. I have a choir-boy face and a reserved, friendly personality. I'm even a lector at my local church! I'm bracing myself my pastor's reaction.

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Come back tomorrow for the second part of our Q&A. In the meantime, find Thomas online at www.ThomasOCallaghan.com. You can purchase Bone Thief at Amazon or any other fine bookseller. Subscribe to the FREE Thriller Readers Newsletter and be eligible to win free thrillers!

Related links:
THOMAS O'CALLAGHAN, PT 2
THOMAS O'CALLAGHAN, PT 3
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