Owen Laukkanen is the author of The Professionals. ("Four friends, recent college graduates, caught in a terrible job market, joke about turning to kidnapping to survive. And then, suddenly, it's no joke. For two years, the strategy they devise-quick, efficient, low risk-works like a charm. Until they kidnap the wrong man.")
From his Q & A with The Rap Sheet's J. Kingston Pierce:
J. Kingston Pierce: Did you find it difficult to relate to the motives of your quartet of kidnappers? Could you imagine yourself in their shoes?Visit Owen Laukkanen's website.
Owen Laukkanen: I’m not sure I could ever imagine myself turning to crime to pay the bills, but I did give Pender and his gang a motive to which I could relate. I think there are a lot of young people out there who get out of college and realize the jobs they’d always imagined would be waiting for them aren’t there. They’re taught that a university degree is going to mean financial security, and when they get out into the real world there’s a lot of desperation and disillusionment. What pushes Pender and his gang isn’t unique among members of their generation; their reaction is just a little beyond the norm.
JKP: Having read The Professionals, my guess is you came up with your four abductors before you filled out the rest of your cast. Is that the way it worked?
OL: Pretty much. The book developed ... pretty organically; I created characters on the fly, as the situation warranted. In Pender’s case, that was chapter two, when it came time to give a face to the kidnappers. Certainly, I wrote the first draft with Pender and his gang as my protagonists.
JKP: And then how did you choose your two principal crime-solvers, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator Kirk Stevens and law school grad-turned-FBI agent Carla Windermere? What...[read on]