October is here and do i have an intense, thrilling novel for you. If you haven't heard of The Chain yet then you are in for a terrifying treat. This book, written by Mr. Adrian McKinty, has receive praises from Dennis Lehane, Tana French, and even Stephen King. Don Winslow, however, has the best line for this thrilling novel: "This book is Jaws for Parents."
So, I hope you take this time to know this author and how his latest novel came to be.
1. What is the genesis of your novel The Chain?
I wrote the first draft of The Chain in Mexico City in 2012 after learning about the Mexican concept of exchange kidnappings whereby a family member offers him- or herself as a replacement hostage for a more vulnerable kidnap victim. I tied that idea to an event from the late 1970s—the era of poisonous chain letters. The part of Ireland I grew up in was very superstitious and we completely believed in the power of written enchantments. My fifth-grade teacher told the class to bring in any of these letters that were upsetting us, and I gave her a chain letter that was worrying me. She destroyed it along with the others, defying the author’s promises of jinxes, disasters, and bad luck and effectively breaking the chain. This incident deeply impressed me as a kid and it stayed with me.
2. What research did you do when writing The Chain?
I did a lot of research on kidnappings for money, both historic kidnappings and current trends. The FBI has a database on kidnappings in the United States and very up to date stats.
3. What was your writing schedule when you wrote The Chain?
I wrote the book over about a year. Usually I would make the kids breakfast and get them to school in the mornings and then I would work in the afternoons before picking them up again. I tend to work best in daylight although sometimes when I have a deadline I will work late at night or even pull an all nighter.
4. Do you ever get writer’s block when writing The Chain? How did you get back on track?
I've had writers block in the past several times but not on this book. Once I had set up the logical elements of the premise it all flowed pretty logically from that. The book more or less wrote itself once the internal logic and clockwork was in place.
5. Which fictional character (besides yours) would you like to sit down and chat with?
I would love to talk to Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. I kind of fell in love with her when I did that book in school when I was 12 and I'm still a bit in love with her!
6. What was your favorite book when you were a kid? Do you have a favorite book now?
No question The Lord of the Rings when I was a kid. I read it four times. Now I don't really have a favourite book I have favourite writers: Don Winslow, James Ellroy, Jim Thompson, Dashiell Hammett, David Peace, Val McDermid, Lou Berney, Alicia Stallings, William Gibson, Jesmyn Ward, Stephen King, Cormac McCarthy, Steve Hamilton et al.
7. Congrats on your novel being made into a film by Paramount. Would you like to make a cameo?
It would have be a VERY small cameo. I am not a good actor!
8. Silly-Game question: From The Chain novel, could you please leaf through the pages and point at a random place. What is the full sentence? And what is the page number of this random sentence?
"The Google map making its own zodiac."
This is at the beginning of chapter 39 page 224 of the PDF (I'm in a coffee shop and dont have the book on me but its the beginning of chapter 39 a third of the way down the page)
9. How did you celebrate when your first novel "Dead I well May Be" got published?
I remember it very well. I was living in Denver and I took the wife and my daughter Arwynn (my daughter Sophie wasnt born yet) to a restaurant called Racines and we had a fantastic meal.
10. If you had to describe Mr. Don Winslow using three words, they would be?
Mensch. Genius. Mensch.
11. In your experience, what would you say it takes to be a successful author?
Dedication. 80% of everything is hanging on in there when the odds are against you. Eventually the Earth will spin on its ellipse and spring will come.
12. What’s the best advice you have ever received about writing?
Write every day even when you don't want to.
13. Have you ever considered writing a screenplay?
I love the screenplay form for its concision and haiku like beauty and would definitely like to write a screenplay or two.
14. Of the novellas you wrote, which one do you think would make a great movie or TV series and why?
I think my first book Dead I Well May Be has a lot of potential.
15. What is your favorite TV show that is currently on air?
I have loved all the seasons of Fargo and am looking forward to S4.
16. What do you love the most about Northern Ireland?
17. Last question, which historical figure would you like to have tea with?
Without any doubt at all Socrates. What a brilliant, curious, inquiring mind.
So there you have it. A wonderful interview with a fantastic writer. I hope you go and check out The Chain and see what the fanfare is all about. It's the idyllic read for the October season. I would like to give my appreciation to Mr. Adrian Mckinty for giving up his time to answer my questions. I would also like to extend my gratitude to the readers for reading this and coming to my blog as well. I hope each and everyone of you have a joyful and happy October season. Take care.
Check out his CBS This Morning interview as well, if you will: