Steve Trotter, author of the exciting new Adam Wolf series that starts with Ressurected was kind enough to answer my questions...
Q: What makes Adam Wolf different from other hardboiled detectives?
He is not a PI. But what really sets Wolf apart is that he is a 60-year-old retiree. Not your typical retiree, mind you. Wolf is a black ops vet with a bloody backstory he can never tell. Suffice it to say that Uncle Sam was so impressed with Wolf’s ability to neutralize physical threats that Wolf received far more than a watch when he left the shadow world of his killer career in order to resurrect himself as an author of YA novels. Something else that separates Wolf from the pack of lone wolf heroes: though more than capable and willing to take care of business himself, Wolf is not afraid to accept a helping hand from his small circle of brothers-in-arms when the shit hits the fan; the kind of brothers willing to kill and die for each other. Wolf is also not afraid to put down roots, buy a house, fix it up. Might have something to do with him being the son of three nations (he was born in the USA to a British mother and Canadian father). He also does his own laundry and changes his clothing on a regular basis. None of this thumbing rides around small town America fighting bad guys with nothing but the clothes on his back for 300 pages or so. Still, like many lone wolf heroes, Wolf is reluctant to commit to one woman. In his case it has nothing to do with the fear of not being able to play the field, or seeing pantyhose hanging like dead rats from the shower rail. It’s a simple matter of not wanting to put that woman on the endangered species list, what happens if the ghosts of your past catch up with you.
Q: How did you come up with the character?
I had a dream. Woke up wanting to write a story about a lone wolf hero whose DNA demands he stands up for justice, regardless the personal risk. Brilliant idea, save for the fact the crime fiction world is flooded with guys like this. At first, I was bummed out. A few days later, I had a flash. What if… the lone wolf in question was a boomer. Same as me. I could really relate to a hero like that. Maybe, I thought, other boomers might feel the same way. Hmmm…
I decided to call my hero, Adam Wolf. I chose Adam, because I felt the name symbolizes the initial purity and righteousness of all men. Damn that snake. Wolf embodies the strength, cunning, determination and killer instinct of a natural born predator. A predator capable of doing what the criminal justice system often fails to do: take a real bite out of crime.
Q: What are your thoughts on the whole eBook revolution?
I feel it has opened a huge door, for readers as well as writers. E-books offer writers the opportunity to publish their work without having to get past the old-school gatekeepers: literary agents, editors, sales and market departments. The e-book revolution has succeeded in giving writers total control of their product, from concept, to content, to pricing. It has also made readers the new gatekeepers. I believe this is a good thing. Publishing now comes down to a simple process: write and publish a great book that is discoverable and targets the right audience, and readers will click the buy button.
Q: What's next for you and Wolf?
I am currently busy writing the sequel to RESURRECTED, which I hope to have out by year’s end. Wolf, meanwhile, is chilling on some undisclosed island down south, waiting for me to send him a classified copy of the first draft for him to approve. I can’t get into the details of the storyline, for reasons you can well understand; Wolf is, after all, a man who values secrecy. What I can say is that book two will rock even more than RESURRECTED.
Q: How do you promote your work?
As low key as possible. I’m not into shameless self-promotion, standing on a mountaintop tweeting the world about the wonders of RESURRECTED. Nor do I believe in running paid advertisements. I have a website and blog (www.stevetrotter.com), amazon author’s page, and goodreads author page. I do interviews on select sites and I target reviewers I feel might be receptive to my style. I feel the most effective promo starts with the story, and then the cover. Both must attract positive interest for a book to succeed. If they do, curious readers might give it a shot. If they love it, they’ll spread the word: that glorious ripple effect with the power to create a tsunami.
Q: What other genres besides crime do you like?
Action thrillers, men’s adventure, horror. It all depends on the mood I’m in.
Q: What's your idea about the psychotic sidekick in PI novels like Hawk and Joe Pike?
I enjoy Hawk and Pike yet never thought of either as psycho. I consider them loyal brothers who possess the clarity of mind to distinguish right from wrong; men with the balls to do whatever it takes, regardless if it contravenes the rule of law, to protect the people they love. Or innocent civilians they don’t even know. As for the literary role of a sidekick in general, a sidekick is free to do all sorts of wonderful nasty things to the bad guys the protagonist cannot without risking the ire of readers who like their heroes squeaky clean. In my case, I did not want to dump all the dirty jobs on Wolf’s sidekicks, Night Owl and Kit. If anything, Wolf is more hands on than either of them, although all three brothers-in-arms have no qualms about getting blood on their hands to achieve a righteous result.
Q: In the last century we've seen new waves of PI writers, first influenced by Hammett, then Chandler, Macdonald, Parker, later Lehane. Who do you think will influence the coming generation?
That's a tough question. I’m a boomer, an old-school guy who relates to crime writers like Parker, MacDonald, Westlake and Leonard. I also like Vachss, Crais, Child, Hiaasen and Michael Connelly. My gut tells me the coming generation of crime writers will draw inspiration from sources both classic and contemporary. I also feel the rapid growth of indie publishing will spawn myriad fresh new voices, some powerful, profound and prolific enough to be heard high above the crowd.
Q: David Duffy came up with the following question: Do you make a living at writing and if so, how?
Hell, no! But I do live to write; and that is the real bottom line when it comes to why I write. Mind you, it would be nice to feel something more than lint when I stick my hand in the pocket of my faded jeans.
Q: What question should we ask every PI writer we interview and what is your answer?
Q: Do you live your life vicariously through your protagonist?
A: No need to. I’m Wolf.