Thursday, October 30, 2008

David Hewson

From a Q & A with David Hewson about his first Nic Costa novel, A Season for the Dead:

A Season for the Dead crosses several genres. It is a novel of suspense, as the Italian police attempt to stop a serial killer. It is a psychological novel that slowly gives up clues as to the killer's motivation. It is, in some ways, a historical novel, as the reader is given a guided tour through the Roman churches and the paintings within which motivate and inspire the killer. It is a love story about the bittersweet romance between policeman Nic Costa and the enigmatic Sara Farnese. What was your inspiration for this novel? Did you know where it was headed from the start? Or how it would twist and turn?

The idea for A Season for the Dead came into my head when I was in Rome one very hot August editing the final draft of my Venice novel, Lucifer's Shadow. When I wasn’t sweating – literally – over the computer, I wandered around the very local part of Rome where I was staying and was struck by the very vivid – ghoulish frankly – depictions of martyrdoms on some of the small, early churches there. It prompted the question: Why does a religion based around love need such violent images? And with the success of Mel Gibson’s "Passion" I guess it’s not an entirely historical question either. I also wanted to write another cop story, this time with a cop who was totally against type: good, young, fit, optimistic, and trying to do the right thing. The two married up somewhere. For me, the core of the novel is Nic’s attempt to define what it is to lead a good life, at a time when he’s dreading the loss of his father and facing the horrors of these crimes and his destructive relationship with Sara. I always know the eventual destination of a novel but the journey there is a little like a ride on London Transport: You're aware of where you’re headed but you’re never quite sure how or when you’re going to get there. Writing has to be a journey of discovery for me too, one in which the characters dictate some of the moves, otherwise I’d be bored stiff.
Read the complete Q & A.

Learn more about the author and his work at David Hewson's website.

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