The Big Thrill:Have you received any comments from the military or the alphabet agencies regarding your stories being too close to reality?
Ralph Pezzullo:Don has a lot of friends on SEAL teams and I have quite a few in the intelligence community and State Department. So we hear a lot about what is going on around the world in terms of clandestine operations. Our goal is to keep the series as current and real as possible. I get a lot of emails from people in the security area who read the books and ask: how did you know that? Or where did you get that information? It’s amazing what you can find out if you know the right people.
If you’re reading S., then you have everything you need to decode Doug Dorst’s cipher. What’s in it for you? Oh, just lunch with J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst in New York City! Click on the link above to enter, and act fast: this contest ends at midnight.
Donato Carrisi shares the story of a mysterious conversation with a Roman priest that inspired his forthcoming novel, The Lost Girls of Rome. And if your interest is piqued, head on over to SF Signal, where they’re giving away five copies!
“I came up with the idea for Bombproof not long after July 2005 London transport bombings, where three explosive devices were detonated on the Underground and a fourth on a double-decker bus. I visited London soon afterwards and the sense of fear and suspicion was everywhere. I often travel on the Underground with a small rucksack containing water and notebooks. I noticed how people would glance at the bag between my feet and I realized how easily someone could become a terrorist suspect if you refused to open a bag for inspection… . I wanted to explore the sense of fear and hysteria, which is why I created Sami Macbeth—an accidental terrorist and the world’s unluckiest man.”—Michael Robotham on his motivation for writing Bombproof, which we’ve made available as an eBook for $2.99.
Josh Kendall:Where did such an idea as V.M. Straka—this author who’s part Camus and part Keyser Soze—come from?
Doug Dorst:I knew I wanted to work with an authorship controversy. I’d been reading about the Shakespeare question, and that had in turn sent me down one of those intoxicating Internet rabbit holes. Well, more than one.
“The most exciting thing for me, and the one with the most lasting value, is to have a chance to research subjects in which I’m deeply interested. These subjects make me a fuller person because they require me to explore topics for my fiction which allows me to understand myself and the world more fully. It helps me move forward as a human being. Writing fiction—researching and then exploring the story, its emotions and ideas—is the payoff. Hopefully, I become a fuller, better person through these projects.”—David Morrell, author of Murder as a Fine Art
“All that ink, all that pigment, all that desperate action to preserve that which had been created—it is valuable because story is a fragile and ephemeral thing on its own, a thing that is easily effaced or disappeared or destroyed, and it is worth preserving.”—S. created by J.J. Abrams and written by Doug Dorst.
“Yes, please, give me a book that makes me work. Give me a book that makes me think not just about the story, but about how I’m reading and interpreting the story. Yes, please, give me S.”—BookPeople in Austin, Doug Dorst’s hometown indie bookstore, blogs about S. They say, “Holy pajamas.”
“There’s this great letter from Jen and you realize there’s no other way it would really fit in the book. It’s a funny thing because when you’re reading a book you’re a little bit of a voyeur because you’re entering into the author’s world. The whole experience of “S.” to me is literally almost reading someone’s diary; it’s actually two people’s diaries. There are moments in the book that feel very personal and intimate. What I love about Doug’s writing is those moments are earned.”—J.J. Abrams on S.
“I can’t tell which is more incredible: how Stephen King can grab you by the throat in whatever damn genre he’s writing in, or that as soon as you’ve finished his latest novel, he’s published another one. His skill and prolificacy is otherworldly. Like, maybe literally.”—J.J. Abrams on books, books, and more books in the New York Times Book Review. The novel he created with Doug Dorst, S., is going on sale next Tuesday. [hyperventilates] [shares link for you to read more about the book]
“He is tracing his fingertips over the lines drawn between the stars, transfixed. Big Dipper. Little Dipper. Ursa Major. Orion with his belt and sword. But they could just as easily be something else if you connected the dots differently. And who is to say that is a bear or a warrior at all? It damn well doesn’t look that way to him. There are patterns because we try to find them. A desperate attempt at order because we can’t face the terror that it might all be random. He feels undone by the revelation. He has the sensation of losing his footing, as if the whole damn world is stuttering.”—Lauren Beukes, “The Shining Girls” (via quoted-books)
In a way, this is 2 separate reviews for The Thicket - one for folks who haven’t read Joe Lansdale before and another for those who are familiar with the man. If you’re among those who fall into the first group, you couldn’t have arrived at a better jumping off point than right here with his latest work.
A wonderful review from a true Joe Lansdale fan. Thank you.
“The book itself, the story itself, is a character. It is a character unto itself. It is more than a tool by which you transfer information about the characters to the reader. It itself becomes a character.”—Joe Lansdale, author of the The Thicket
“The terrible truth that began to dawn in the 1980s was that MI5—whose job it was to catch spies that threatened Britain—had never by its own devices caught a spy in its entire history.”—Adam Curtis. The full article on the BBC’s website is recommended reading.