Michael Connelly: Welcome back to the world of mystery
writing! Where the hell have you been for the last decade? Did you become a
golf pro? (Inside joke: Connelly has seen Russell golf which is not a pretty
Alan Russell: I was writing, but mostly ghostwriting to pay
the bills. I had my own secret titles for the books I wrote. There was Downstairs
Flooring, and My Son’s Expensive Liberal Arts College. Actually,
that was a trilogy, with parts I, II, and III. There was also, Dental Work,
Two Bridges and an Implant, and my classic work, Upstairs Decking.
M.C.: Someone told me you were writing movie scripts.
A.R.: True. You want to hear my Oscar speech for best
M.C.: Speaking of Hollywood, I always wondered why they
didn’t make your novel Shame
into a movie.
A.R.: It went in and out of option a few times. How was
your walk on the red carpet when Blood
Work and The
Lincoln Lawyer hit the big screen?
A.R.: Anytime Hollywood wants to ruin one of my books, I’ll
gladly let them.
M.C.: Maybe they’ll do it with Burning
Man. What’s it about?
A.R.: It’s a cop story with two protagonists: an LAPD
detective and his K-9 partner.
M.C.: Did you say LAPD?
A.R.: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?
M.C.: Which subject
did you find more interesting to research and write: humans or animals?
A.R.: I grew up with German shepherds, and currently have
three dogs, so I am clearly a dog-lover. What I most enjoyed writing was the
relationship between Gideon (cop) and Sirius (dog).
M.C.: What kind of research was needed?
A.R.: When I wrote Multiple
Wounds I was assigned to a homicide team in San Diego, but without an
LAPD resource I did all the reading and research I could and hope it came out
right. By the way, I love the videos on your website when you bring in real
M.C.: It’s fun to do. You have to be authoritative on what
you write but you can get that from many sources. For example, I get most of
what I need for Lincoln Lawyer from a couple of lawyers that practice in
A.R.: Research is important; good writing is even more
M.C.: Tell me about the title of Burning
Man. I really like it. What’s it mean?
A.R.: In the prologue Gideon and Sirius go into a canyon
fire to try and capture a notorious serial killer. They get their man, but
barely survive. The physical scars are one thing, the mental scars another. Gideon
doesn’t want to tell anyone about his PTSD from the fire. The only positive is
that his suffering brings him inexplicable insights into the cases he’s
M.C.: And what cases are those?
A.R.: The set-up for the series is that Gideon and Sirius
work the Special Cases Unit and get the unusual and different cases.
M.C.: Such as?
A.R.: In Burning
Man they investigate a modern crucifixion.
M.C.: Not your everyday homicide.
A.R.: That’s something you know more than a little bit
M.C.: You’re not going to disappear for another decade, are
A.R.: No, you won’t be that lucky. I am working on a sequel
M.C.: Don’t quote me on this, but I’m glad you’re back.
A.R.: It’s good to be back.
Learn more about Michael Connelly and browse his booklist on his author
page. Also, Check out Alan
Russell’s page featuring his titles Burning Man, Shame, and Multiple Wounds.