Today, we conclude our conversation with crime novelist Sean Chercover, member of the KILLER YEAR: Class of 2007. Sean has been a private investigator in Chicago and New Orleans, and has written scripts for television documentaries and children's shows. He's also worked as a film and video editor, scuba diver, nightclub magician, car-jockey, waiter, truck driver, encyclopedia salesman and in other, less glamorous positions. These days, he splits his time between Chicago and Toronto. Sean's debut suspense novel, Big City, Bad Blood (William Morrow), has already drawn acclaim from the likes of Ken Bruen, J.D. Rhoades, and trade journal Publishers Weekly.
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WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING WRITERS?
I've met aspiring writers who seem to think that, because I've got a publishing deal with a big New York publishing house, I must know some secret. And if they just knew that secret, then they would get published too. But there is no secret.
1. Don't talk your story away in coffee houses. It may impress your friends, but it won't get the book written.
2. Don't write for 'the market'. Don't write to impress your mother. Just write the story that you would like to read. Write it honestly, trust that you have something to say, and allow yourself to go beyond your comfort zone.
3. Remember, I don't actually know anything. There is no secret.
WHAT DO YOU WISH NON-WRITERS UNDERSTOOD?
I'm not sure that there is any one thing that non-writers don't understand. I doubt that non-writers can be categorized so easily.
WHAT DO YOU WISH OTHER WRITERS UNDERSTOOD?
I wish that other writers understood trigonometry. Then one of them could explain it to me.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT PUBLISHING THROUGH THIS "KILLER YEAR" CAMPAIGN?
I've learned that crime fiction writers are an incredibly generous and supportive group. I'm constantly amazed by that. It sounds trite, but I'm serious.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF?
Nosy, aren't you?
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT YOUR CRAFT?
Though the Killer Year campaign? Nothing. We don't really talk craft. And that's something I've learned, not just from Killer Year, but from going to conferences and getting to know published writers. Aspiring writers who hang out together spend a lot of time talking about craft. Published writers don't. They talk about their experiences in the publishing business, and they talk about their personal lives. They talk about sports and politics and religion. But they don't sit around talking about the act of writing. That surprised me a bit, when I first started hanging out with them.
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Many thanks to crime fiction novelist Sean Chercover. Find him online at SeanChercover.com and his blog as part of The Outfit: A Collective of Chicago Crime Writers. He is on MySpace at myspace.com/chercover and myspace.com/bigcitybadblood.
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: SEAN CHERCOVER, PT 1
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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