Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Q & A with Matt Coyle

Matt Coyle is one of the hottest new crime writers so I just had to interview him...

Q: What makes Rick Cahill different from other hardboiled characters?
      I think Rick is a bit more introspective than other hardbolied protagonists and carries around more guilt than most. He also doubts himself more than other hardboiled characters.

Q: What inspired the character?
     I think all first novels are a bit autobiographical, particularly ones written in first person, so there's a bit of me in Rick. However, the more drafts I wrote, the less of me was left in him. I really started to get the character when I came up with a line that ended up being the opening sentence to the book:
The first time I saw her, she made me remember and she made me forget.
This line made me ask questions about Rick that I had to answer to really know him.
What had been so bad in his life that he desperately needed to forget? And what good had been covered up by the bad that he desperately wanted to remember. Once I answered these questions, Rick's back story filled in for me and I had my protagonist.

Q: What are your thoughts on the whole eBook revolution?
     I think the eBook revolution is good for both writers and readers. It gives authors another avenue to reach readers and readers greater diversity for reading content. I do think that traditional publishing is still a way for readers to know that the book they buy has gone through a vetting process and several gatekeepers before it hit the market. This helps the author gain trust from the reader that will be rewarded should he or she chose to self-publish in the future.
     The eBook revolution has hurt brick and mortar booksellers and that is unfortunate. However, a lot of people, myself included, will always want to go into bookstores and buy printed books. Nothing can quite replace the feel of a cracking open a new book in your hands. Smart booksellers are finding ways to compete with eBooks through customer service, loyalty discounts, having their own online presence, and by holding book signings in their stores. Book signings are invaluable for new authors as it gives them an opportunity to interact personally with readers and build a fan base.

Q: What's next for you and Rick? Will he return?
     I am currently writing the next Rick Cahill crime novel that I hope will be out in 2014. Rick's life has changed and he now has a career more in keeping with his law enforcement roots.

Q: How do you promote your work?
     I've gotten a lot of help from my publisher, Oceanview Publishing, in promoting Yesterday's Echo. They sent out over 100 ARCs (advance reader copies) to booksellers and reviewers. That has really helped me garner a lot of reviews which is very helpful in getting the word out about my book. I've had some online interviews as well as one in a local newspaper. I hired a publicist in the Los Angeles who got me an interview with Connie Martinson on Talking Books. We also went around to bookstores and gave away copies to employees who were the top mystery fans. I'm currently on a self-funded book tour and I'm going to the California Crime Writers Conference and Bouchercon.

Q: What other genres besides crime do you like?
     I mainly stick to crime fiction and some non-fiction about culture and politics and some true crime.

Q: What's your idea about the psychotic sidekick in PI novels like Hawk and Joe Pike?
     I'm a huge Robert Crais fan so, of course, I like Joe Pike. I don't see him as psychotic because I don't think he commits violence for self-gratification. I think he has a set of principles he lives by and, to uphold them, he sometimes has to commit violence on people who cannot be stopped any other way.

      Rick Cahill doesn't have a sidekick. I like to keep him isolated and unable to rely on anyone else when it comes to violence. This makes him wrestle with the justifications of his actions which plays a prominent role in the book I'm now writing.

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?
     I think Robert Crais, who I just mentioned, will influence the coming generation as he has for some of us late-bloomers to this generation. As you mentioned, Dennis Lehane is also a good choice. In a broader sense of crime fiction, you'd have to include T. Jeffereson

Parker and Michael Connelly, as well as an under-recognized auther, C.J. Box.

Q: Why do you write in this genre?
     I've read crime fiction all my life. It is what I love. When I think about a story, there is a crime involved. Crime allows you to examine varous levels of society merely by having your protagonist follow a clue. I think some of the best American writing has been done in the crime genre.

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