For the first in the Author World Tour series which I just made up now, I had a chance to interview John DeBoer about his new novel, Skeleton Run, published by Red Adept Publishing. This is a political thriller for those of you who are into political conspiracies an d a behind-the-scenes tour of how money affects the election process. I spoke with John about his debut novel:
S: Let’s start out with the inspiration for your novel, a political thriller. What made you choose Pennsylvania as the setting for much of the novel, and why?
J: Pennsylvania met the requirements I needed – reasonable proximity to the other locations, an important state electorally, and one with which I had personal experience. New York and New Jersey could have been used instead, I suppose, but their governors get a lot more national press than that of Pennsylvania, and I thought this might make my fictional governor easier to accept.
S: Was the villainous Wendell Logan modeled after any particular casino magnate? I keep thinking Sheldon Adelson, but maybe I’m wrong.
J: I kept thinking of Sheldon Adelson, too! But I wanted my Las Vegas billionaire to be younger and physically more robust.
S: Following up on Logan, why did you decide to give the reader a view into his head, as opposed to telling the story from the Doctor’s point of view?
J: One of the reasons I like to write in the Thriller genre is the freedom to get into the heads of the bad guys, to show their POVs out of the awareness of the protagonists. Nelson DeMille, Greg Iles, and John Sandford, among others use this device, which I think actually ramps up the suspense rather than mitigating it. In this particular novel, I use more POVs than my usual, but I felt I needed all of them for the story. My editor did make me eliminate one of them, though!
S: How long did it take you to write this novel?
J: More than six months, but less than a year, I think. I workshop my novels online. I write as I go, posting one chapter at a time. The back and forth reviewing/revising process this entails adds to the time, but then when it’s done, I end up with a fairly polished product – subject to my publisher’s editors’ input, of course.
S: Did you show this to anyone before submitting it for publication? What was the response to Skeleton Run?
J: Eleven other authors reviewed the novel from start to finish when I workshopped it, and all of their responses were very positive. I don’t let my wife read my novels until they’ve been published!
S: Which character was your favorite to write about, and why? Least favorite?
J: I had the most fun writing Logan’s character – ruthless, powerful, obsessive in his Machiavellian scheme – he represented evil self-fulfillment, and I enjoyed showing this. I also liked creating Granger’s character, beginning as a teenager and developing it into middle age. His personality was probably the most distasteful, but it made him the character he grew into.
Then we have the moral ambiguity of Luke Elliot, the hit man. All are characters with flaws, tarnished in ways big and small, which make them more compelling as personalities. In one of my novels, The Flame, the antagonist – a femme fatale character in the vein of Matty Walker in Body Heat – actually got more print space than my good-guy protagonist. And in Skeleton Run, the narrator and putative protagonist, Dr. Dawson, though smart and able to rise to the occasion when push came to shove, has a less interesting character overall than those he must contend with. But since he’s a little bit of an alter ego for me (as are all my physician/surgeon protagonists to one degree or another), he also has to, by definition, be one of my favorites! Tom Webster, one of the boyhood pals of Dawson, has to be my least favorite character to write, only because I knew what I had to do to him, and that wasn’t pleasant.
S: What’s next for you on tour? your next book?
J: I’m about a quarter of the way through my blog tour, which will end on July 5. I’ve got interviews, like this one, guest posts, and reviews of Skeleton Run lined up to keep me busy until then.
My next completed novel, now titled, How Little We Know, does not yet have a publication date. A woman hiding from not only the mob via Witness Protection, but an incident from her earlier past, meets Luke Elliot (the hit man from Skeleton Run) in Seattle, where he has gone to start a new life after a personal tragedy. Both have secrets to guard as they begin a relationship, in the course of which Luke has to call upon his past life to keep his love interest out of harm’s way.
My current WIP involves the ISIS threat to Americans and is tentatively titled, When the Reaper Comes.
S: Thank you for your time, John.
J: Thanks, Sam, for the interview.
I’ll post my honest review of Skeleton Run on Sunday.
Buy John’s book on Amazon by clicking HERE