Sunday, January 27, 2008

Prodigal Sons: Terry Orr (by Jim Fusilli)

Jim Fusilli wrote four well-received novels featuring novice PI Terry Orr but since Hard, Hard City in 2004 we haven't read about him. Sons of Spade asked Jim to give us the low-down...

1) We haven't seen Terry Orr since 2004... Will he return?
I'm not sure. I enjoyed doing the four Terry Orr novels, but I'm not certain that the P.I. field is the best place for my writing.

2) Why haven't you written about Terry for some time now?
After writing "Hard, Hard City," I decided I wanted to explore new ways to tell my stories. I decided to withdraw, experiment and re-learn the craft. I wrote and published a dozen or so short stories in different voices, eras, first person, third person, dark, humorous -- just to find my own, distinctive voice. I did a non-fiction book on Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys' album "Pet Sounds" and taught creative writing to undergraduate and graduate students at the State University of New York at Binghamton. (I'm also a journalist: I'm the rock and pop music critic of The Wall Street Journal.)

Two of those short stories are related to the Terry Orr series, by the way. One, which is posted on Amazon Shorts, is a kind of locked-room tale. The other, which appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, is set in the early 1980s and features two characters from the series, Luther Addison and Sharon Knight.

3) What's up next for you?
In June, Dutton will publish my first mystery for young adults. It's entitled "Marley Z and the Bloodstained Violin." I think fans of the Terry Orr stories will recognize characters reminiscent of Bella and Daniel Wu. I've just completed the first draft of a mainstream novel set in the late 1940s in a town not unlike Hoboken, N.J., where I was born. It has elements of a crime novel, but it also incorporates my passion for music and Italian-American culture. It's very promising, I think. My "Pet Sounds" book is coming out next month in Japan, translated by Haruki Murakami, so I'm excited about that. I edited (and contributed a chapter to) the audio serial-thriller "The Chopin Manuscript," which featured Jeff Deaver, Lee Child, David Hewson, Lisa Scottoline and others. There's been discussion of a sequel that I'll edit as well.

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Anonymous said...

I definitely look forward to more work in the future from Fusilli. An excellent writer.

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