Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tim Hallinan

Tim Hallinan's novels include The Bone Polisher.

From his Q & A with Jochem Steen at Sons of Spade:

Where did you come up with the plot [of The Bone Polisher], what inspired you?

I was arrested for drunk driving in 1994 and sentenced to attend meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous. This curdled my blood. When I thought of Alcoholics Anonymous, I imagined dingy rooms with curling linoleum floors in which a bunch of unshaven, toothless men in raincoats chain-smoked and gummed uninteresting confessions at each other. Sort of like bad film noir, but a lifetime long and without a plot.

But that was not to be. I lived in West Hollywood, which even then had a demographically anomalous number of gay people. When I walked into my first AA meeting, I was expecting a budget production of “The Lower Depths,” but what I got was more like the moment in “The Wizard of Oz” when Dorothy opens the door to reveal that Oz is in color. The room was full of the best-looking group of men I'd ever seen, although some of them were painfully thin. It soon became apparent that quite a few of them were there because they were determined to die sober—AIDS was in full rage then—and others had come to support them. I saw more grace and courage in that first hour than I'd ever seen in such a concentrated period in my entire life. And I learned I was definitely an alcoholic, and that I was in good company.

A lot of the guys in those meetings are gone now. When I started The Bone Polisher, I was thinking of them.

Which scenes did you enjoy writing the most?

The book's climax is a three-chapter-long party, a combination West Hollywood Halloween celebration and a wake. It's got...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Timothy Hallinan's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: A Nail Through the Heart.

The Page 69 Test: The Fourth Watcher.

My Book, The Movie: The Fourth Watcher.

The Page 69 Test: Breathing Water.

Writers Read: Timothy Hallinan.

--Marshal Zeringue