Thursday, January 31, 2008

Background Check on One Man Dies (Jackson Donne) by Dave White


This time we get a background check on One Man Dies, Dave White's debut novel from the man himself...

1) How much time did it take you to write the novel?
--I never get this exactly right, but I think the first draft took about a year and then it took another year to rewrite it.

2) Where did you come up with the plot, what inspired you?
I used Gerry in one of Donne's short stories and wondered what would happen if I killed him. That was the beginning. The rest kind of came about organically or through fluky luck, such as working a night with Vermont State Troopers only to have them decide to tell me how to make crystal meth. Yeah, I do get lucky sometimes.

3) Was it hard to find a publisher?
Another sign of luck and/or good timing. It only took me two weeks in the middle of the summer.

4) Did you encounter a lot of problems moving from short stories to writing a full novel?
Actually, no not really. I knew the story I had in mind would only fit a novel, and it wasn't difficult extending the length. What has been difficult has been trying to go back to writing short stories. Whenever I try to write a short now it feels a little hollow to me, and I'm not sure why. But I love the short story form an can't wait to find another one that works for me.

5) Why did you decide to use another view point (Bill Martin's) next to Jackson's?
This idea came from Sarah Weinman actually. After the first draft of the novel, when Sarah and my agent Al Guthrie read it, they both felt the story was too small. Bill was in the story, but his role was minor. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought I could weave him into the narrative, and raise the stakes of the novel at the same time. I just had to figure out what he was doing while Donne was out investigating.

6) Did you do a lot of research for the novel?
Most of it was incidental. Like I mentioned the Vermont State Troopers talking about how to make drugs. Or my friends in local law enforcement talking about their guns. I like to listen to people and that's where I got a lot of my facts. The second book, The Evil That Men Do, caused me to do a fair amount of research, mostly through the internet.

7) Which scenes did you enjoy writing the most?
I really enjoyed writing the last third of the novel when things start to tie together. I was able to throw a lot of twists in there that even I didn't see coming. That was fun.

8) Who is your favorite among the characters in the novel?
I will always love Jackson Donne, but man Bill Martin was a fun character to write.

9) What are the best things people have said about the novel and which the worst?
One of the women I work with came up to me one day and said "I'm almost done with your book. But I'm not going to finish it yet. I'm enjoying it so much I'm going to slow down so it doesn't end. That's only happened to me one other time, reading Stephen King's The Stand."
As for worst? I don't know, no one's been overtly mean, though when people don't like it it's disappointing.

10) Is there anything else you'd like to say about the novel?
It was a blast to write, but I'm hoping the second is even better, because in a way that was even more fun and a much more personal novel to me

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