Here is the second half of our conversation with crime novelist Marcus Sakey, member of the KILLER YEAR: Class of 2007. His debut suspense novel, The Blade Itself (St. Martin's Minotaur), which hits shelves in January, is already getting rave reviews.
On CBS Sunday Morning, (Dec. 17) New York Times book critic Janet Maslin glowed: "The first page-turner of 2007 is a debut novel called "The Blade Itself," by Marcus Sakey. He tells a tight, suspenseful story of old friends' star-crossed destinies. Here's a new author off to a strong start. Immortality starts that way."
Part of a major two-book deal, Sakey's debut has drawn comparisons to Dennis Lehane, Elmore Leonard, and James Ellroy. Foreign rights have sold in seven countries to date.
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WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING WRITERS?
Start at the beginning and write till the end. I’ve known so many people who shoot themselves in the foot by obsessively rewriting the first 50 pages, or who have ten projects going at once. Pick an idea, understand that there will be days when you’re sure it blows, but commit and write the sucker.
WHAT DO YOU WISH NON-WRITERS UNDERSTOOD?
That becoming part of Oprah’s book club is trickier than it sounds. Even though I live in Chicago.
WHAT DO YOU WISH OTHER WRITERS UNDERSTOOD?
Well, which writers? I wish Dennis Lehane understood that we’re all dying for his next book. I wish David Morrell would quit making it look so easy. I wish Joe Konrath understood that no means no.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT PUBLISHING THROUGH THIS "KILLER YEAR" CAMPAIGN?
That a fresh idea coupled with good people and hard work can still make waves. Killer Year has made a dramatic impact already, and we have some things coming down the pike that are pretty much unheard of. It’s refreshing, in a business where many people seem disheartened, to realize that there are always new directions.
Also, having a support group and a cheering section is a good thing.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF?
Apparently, I can survive without leaving the house for days at a stretch. My accidental record was six days. (I showered and everything. I just didn’t leave.)
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT YOUR CRAFT?
You’re never done learning it. In fact, I have a running list of things I’ve learned about my craft here. That list grew by six or eight points writing the last novel, and I expect it to grow by another six or eight on the next.
Which I find pretty cool. Who wants to do something you can master completely? Where’s the fun in that?
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Many thanks to crime fiction novelist Marcus Sakey. Find him online at MarcusSakey.com and his blog as part of The Outfit: A Collective of Chicago Crime Writers.
You can also find more at the Killer Year website, the Killer Year blog and the Killer Year MySpace page.
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KILLER Q&A: MARCUS SAKEY, PT 1
KILLER Q&A: SEAN CHERCOVER (Big City, Bad Blood)
KILLER Q&A: SANDRA RUTTAN (Suspicious Circumstances)
KILLER YEAR: Class of 2007
Adopting Killer Year
Q&A: CORNELIA READ (A Field of Darkness)
Q&A: LEE GOLDBERG (Monk, Diagnosis Murder)
Q&A: ANDREW KLAVAN (Damnation Street)
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