Wednesday, December 06, 2006

KILLER Q&A: SEAN CHERCOVER, PT 1

Today and Friday, we turn the spotlight on crime novelist Sean Chercover, member of the KILLER YEAR: Class of 2007. Sean's debut suspense novel, Big City, Bad Blood (William Morrow), hits shelves in January:

A disillusioned newspaper reporter turned Chicago P.I., Ray Dudgeon isn't trying to save the world. He just wants to do an honest job, and do it well. But when doing an honest job threatens society’s most powerful and corrupt, Ray’s odds for survival make for a sucker’s bet.

The worlds of Hollywood moviemaking, Chicago organized crime, and Washington power politics collide in Big City, Bad Blood.


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PART ONE.

AS A NEWBIE NOVELIST, WHAT'S SCARIEST FOR YOU?
I had shoulder surgery in June, my wife gave birth in August, my second book is soon due, and I'm organizing a tour to promote my first book, which comes out January 9. I don't really have the luxury of spending a lot of time being scared.

But I guess I'm most scared about my promotional efforts. Am I doing enough? Too much? The right things? There's a lot of advice out there, much of it contradictory. It's hard to know exactly what I should be doing, and I'm starting to suspect that this a normal way for a newbie to feel.

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO COMBAT YOUR FEARS?
I drink.

HOW HAVE YOUR "KILLER YEAR" CLASSMATES HELPED YOU THROUGH THIS CAMPAIGN?
There's a great sense of community between the Killer Year classmates. And it'll be really nice to share our newbie experiences as our debut novels come out and we all do the promotion-dance.

WHAT ARE YOUR WRITING HABITS?
Did I mention that my wife had a baby in August? Massive sleep deprivation messes with one's writing habits.

I used to be a nocturnal writer, and that seems to be the natural order of things, for me. In recent years, I've tried to convert myself to a morning writer, with mixed results. But whenever I work, I set a minimum daily word count. Unlike many writers, I don't set a maximum. When I'm on a roll, I roll. Marathon sessions, all-nighters, week-long writing binges, fueled by cocaine and Bushmills.

I'm kidding about the cocaine, but I do go on writing binges.

And I often listen to music while I write.

AS A READER, WHAT MAKES A BOOK INTRIGUING TO YOU? (WHAT DOES A BOOK NEED FOR YOU TO PICK IT UP?)
I'm usually looking for a "voice" that pulls me into a book. If there's a distinctive voice, chances are the characters will transcend type and the book will have something to say. It's not an iron-clad rule, but that's the first thing I look for.

KILLER Q&A: SEAN CHERCOVER, PT 2

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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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Related links:
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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