Edgar Award nominee Tom Piccirilli interviewed Sean Doolittle about his new novel, Safer.
The Q & A opens:
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PIC: SAFER is a grabber of a suspense novel that falls into the "dealing with a deranged neighbor" sub-genre. Why did you make the jump from crime to suspense?
SD: This will sound coy but it really wasn't a calculated move. If anything I saw it not so much a jump in subgenre as a jump in fictional property taxes. The main characters in Safer live in a different neighborhood than the main characters in my other books. They all have college degrees and kids and SUVs and lawns--which, frankly, is probably the closest I've come so far to "write what you know." The truth is I'm much closer to a suburban English teacher than I am to an arsonist or a cop.
During the writing, did the career-minded, strategy-conscious lizard part of my brain ever think, "Hey, maybe a larger percentage of the book-buying public will relate to this suburban setting and maybe reach for this one?" Hell yeah. But it was never the first thought. The first thought is always, always, "Write a book I'd want to read."
PIC: What's the biggest difference between the crime and suspense forms for you? Or is there any?
SD: That's a good question. All the books revolve around crime and I'm always going for suspense, knowing no other way to keep reader turning pages, but you're right, there is a different feel. I could try and come up with a theory, but then we'd sit around and quickly think up two dozen different books that blow my little theory out of the water. I dunno. . .I guess I personally think of "crime fiction" as ice cream, with "suspense" and "mystery" and "thriller" all being flavors. But I'm wrong about all sorts of things.
The Page 69 Test: Safer.