Thursday, March 29, 2007

Richard Hawke interviewed Richard Hawke about his debut suspense novel, Speak of the Devil.

The interview opens: The opening scene of Speak of the Devil is one of the best openers we've read. We never will watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade the same way again. Did you have this plot in mind from the start, or did it evolve as you started writing?

Richard Hawke: I'll tell you how this whole thing got rolling. I was frustrated with the half-dozen false starts I'd made. I was feeling very constricted in the way I was writing, way too controlling. So just to let off steam, I scribbled down a sentence about a gunman taking aim at Mother Goose. I can't explain where the image came from, and for the next several days the sentence sat there in my notebook as a joke sentence. Finally I came to my senses and realized that the joke sentence qualified as "an inspiration." Then began the real work. Who was doing the shooting? Why was he aiming at Mother Goose? And who was the witness to the shooting who was reporting it to the reader? Omniscient or a first-person narrator? Initially, I envisioned a father with his children or an uncle with his nieces....

But when I realized that I'd want my protagonist to chase after the gunman and surely a father or uncle wouldn't leave the kids crying on a crazed sidewalk like that, I ditched the kids. And once I put the scene into a first-person narrator's voice, the guy was so clearly a New York City detective that I quite honestly had no more choice in the matter. And so, with those kernels in place (the shooting, the detective), I settled in to do the grunt work: devising the plot.
Read the entire interview.

Check out -- The Page 99 Test: Richard Hawke's Cold Day in Hell.

--Marshal Zeringue