My review of The Life We Bury is here.
Is the writing a full-time or a sideline-passion-hobby? What’s the day job?
A: Right now, writing is a sideline. With my debut novel coming out in October, I have yet to see any proceeds. The good news is that with the growing buzz surrounding THE LIFE WE BURY, and the strength of my second manuscript, I’ve just signed contracts for three more novels. With any luck, writing will be my primary occupation by the time that fourth book comes out. In the meantime, I continue making my living as a criminal defense attorney in Minnesota.
What’s been the most satisfying moment of your writing career so far?
A: The most satisfying moment has to be when I got an offer for representation from my agent, Amy Cloughley. I knew that there were countless doors that could be opened by having an agent. I also trusted that she would be best suited to find a publishing home for my work. Amy has been invaluable to me in this process.
From start to finish how long did The Life We Bury take from conception to completion?
A: I had the idea for THE LIFE WE BURY bouncing around in my head for a few years as I was working on another manuscript. I decided to put my other project away and focus on THE LIFE WE BURY and it took about a year to get a viable draft. I like to outline my work. So, that process lasted a few months in and of itself. Then writing the first draft took the rest of the year. As I queried agents, I would pick at it with revisions, but the meat of the book was on paper in about a year.
What’s your typical writing schedule?
A: I try to write at least a chapter a week. I shoot for two. I always leave a full weekend day to revise what I wrote that week. I think it’s important to thoroughly edit each chapter before moving on. I feel that when I’m editing the entire manuscript, I tend to pay less attention to the smaller details because I am distracted by the gestalt of the larger work.
Are there any subjects off limits as far as your writing is concerned?
A: I don’t think that there are any subjects off limits as long as the author deals with the subject in a thoughtful and serious manner. As a criminal defense attorney, I’ve seen things that I will probably never write about because people won’t believe me. But evil happens all the time. If it’s an honest portrayal, it should be a proper subject for a writer.
What are the last five books you’ve read?
A: The Distant Echo, by Val McDermid
Fear of Beauty, by Susan Froetschel
The Black Hour, by Lori Rader-Day
Dante’s Poison, by Lynne Raimondo
The Crypt Thief, by Mark Pryor
A: My favourite author is Dennis Lehane. I admire the way he blends great plots with a literary writing style.
Is there any one book you wish you had written?
A: To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.
Favourite activity when not working?
A: I like hanging out with my wife and pets at home. I will take in the occasional concert or poker game with my buddies.
What’s the current project in progress? How’s it going?
A: My sophomore novel is in the hand of my publisher and will be published in October of 2015. I am currently working on my third novel. I have it outlined and have a few chapters written. I prefer to write in the fall and winter, as there are fewer distractions.
If I check back in a couple of year’s time, where do you hope to be with the writing?
A: I hope to be riding the tide of four novels. I have more novels in mind, but I’ll keep my focus on these first four as they have a particular character arch. The protagonists in those novels will be Detective Max Rupert and Professor Boady Sanden, ancillary characters from THE LIFE WE BURY.
Thanks very much to Allen for his time. You can find out more about him on his website which is here.