Bruce DeSilva is the author of the Liam Mulligan crime novels, Cliff Walk, which has just been released, and Rogue Island, winner of the Edgar and Macavity awards. He was a journalist for 40 years, most recently for the Associated Press, before retiring to write hardboiled crime novels full time.
From his Q & A with Zoë Sharp at Murderati:
ZS: You were a journalist for many years before turning to fiction—something I believe is a great training ground for the novelist as it teaches you to write to topic, to length, deadline, and forces you not to be too precious about your work as the subs are likely to hack it to pieces anyway.Learn more about the book and author at Bruce DeSilva's website and blog.
BD: I'm not as sanguine as you are about the value of journalism as a training ground for novelists. Daily journalism is peopled by stick figures instead of flesh-and-blood characters. It is filled with quotes (words sources say to journalists) instead of dialogue (words people say to each other.) Too often, it uses street addresses in lieu of creating a sense of place. And it is filled with turgid "articles" and "reports" instead of stories with beginnings, middles, and ends. Only the rarest of journalists rise above that, writing real stories that bring people, places, and action to life on the page.
The main thing journalism does teach a future journalist is that writing is a job―something you do every day whether you feel like it or not. You do not wait to be inspired. You do not search for your muse. You are not allowed to have writer's block. Journalists know that writer's block is for sissies. You put your butt in the chair and write.
ZS: Had you always wanted to write novels? What prompted the career change?
BD: For most of my journalism career, writing a novel never occurred to me. I did start playing around with one in the 1990s, but...[read on]
The Page 69 Test: Rogue Island.
Coffee with a Canine: Bruce DeSilva and Brady.
The Page 69 Test: Cliff Walk.
Read--Coffee with a Canine: Bruce DeSilva & Rondo and Brady.