From all the
books you have written, do you have a favorite?
Well, with only two books out there, I reckon
it would be kind of harsh to single out one as the "Do Bee."
Sleep with the Fishes is so different from PIPSQUEAK that
comparing the two is difficult. And of course, an author's
judgment gets clouded. After promoting Sleep with the Fishes
for a whole year, I'm really hyped to talk about PIPSQUEAK if only
because it's new. Ultimately, I'd have to say my favorite book
is always the one I'm writing now, which is called DIRT NAP, but it
won't be out until 2003.
At what point in time did you realize that
writing was "the thing for you"?
Probably when I realized it was the cheapest way to export my
creativity. And a lot less messy than throwing
advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a writer?
I'm absolutely certain
that I'm way down the list of authors qualified to answer that
question, but I'll put in my one cent:
trite, but so many people dodge around the PC shuffling paper and
index cards and hoping for divine inspiration. Do not expect
your first novel to be the breakthrough - it'll break your heart if
you hang it all on the first one or two. This is a learning
process, and experience will make you better.
What is the
name of your favorite mystery movie?
I'd have to answer that by sub-genre. British: a
tie - "Kind Hearts and Coronets" and "Lady Killers." Caper:
"Hot Rock" Mob: "Goodfellas" Detective: "Blade
other authors do you enjoy reading?
I'm partial to my comic sub-genre: Donald
Westlake, Janet Evanovich, Harlan Coben and Bill Fitzhugh.
Superb. But I'm a sucker for Lee Child and Steve Hamilton, and
have been known to delve into Chris Niles and Lauren
Henderson. I also have a passion for the Fraser "Flashman"
books - can't put `em down.
Do you normally do a lot of research when
writing a book?
rely on it: it's fiction, after all. As a matter of
course, I don't write the kinds of books that rely on copious
factual detail - God bless those that have the fortitude to do
other types of jobs have you had?
Most Humble: Grounds crew, hauling garbage.
Enlightening: Tri-Plex Projectionist ("Shining", "Caddyshack",
"Herbie Goes Bananas" etc.)
Most Potential: Selling
newspapers at the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. Hey, you never know
who's going to die and make red headlines that'll sell out your
Most Officious: Postage Meter Inspector
Do you attend conventions and signings?
Bouchercon every year,
and locally here and there.
Is there anyone, in particular, who
What led you
to write mysteries?
mention Westlake? When I read his Dortmunder books, there's a
smile inside that lasts long after I finish the book.
Do you read
reviews of your books?
Always. Of course, I've been fortunate to have
mainly favorable reviews thus far.
How would you like to be remembered?
What do you believe is the
highlight of your writing career so far?
Do you write on a fixed schedule or do you
wait until thoughts come to you?
As with exercise, a regimen is essential to making good
progress. I write in the evenings. But I don't claim to
be highly regimented. I often work for months at a time, 4
nights a week, and then suddenly procrastinate for a month or so.
How did you
get started in writing?
I'm an NYU grad with a degree in Film and TV. I was
trying to get in on the creative end, writing screenplays, and
thought maybe I could write a novel and get a screenplay sold that
way. Haven't written a screenplay in 15 years. I
still think my last, "Zombie Beavers", would make a great
you come up with plots?
don't. My characters do. I only put the characters in a
premise, with the other characters, and the rest they take care
of. As anybody who has read my work will attest, the
plots run all sorts of different directions and in unexpected
ways. To be frank, I prefer the word "story" over "plot,"
which for me infers a character-rich novel.
ask, "OK, smart guy: I say "plot" you say "premise." So
where do I get your premise?" Use "What If." An example:
Take the three old men sitting on the park bench you see every
day. Now name them Frank, Ted and Charlie. Doesn't seem like
much of a story there, kind of dull looking at the face of it.
Now ask yourself "What If?" What if Charlie didn't show up one
day, and Frank and Ted go looking for him? What might they
find? Charlie wasn't his real name, he never fought in the war
and it turns out he was a bank robber on the lamb for thirty
years. The story might end there except that some mobsters who
were still looking for the loot from that robbery think these two
bench sitters might know where Charlie disappeared to. Did
Charlie disappear to go to recover the money? Did he leave any
clues for Frank and Ted so that they might find him? Off the
two duffers go to Alaska on a bus, then a stolen car, horseback,
chased by the mobsters. Bingo: a premise, snow-balling, the
seedling of a story. From there it's on to characterization,
incentive, pathos and catharsis, the ingredients that will make it a
Did you take any classes on how to write?
Only at NYU undergrad,
and that was for screen writing.
Do you ever get writer's block?
I usually get stuck
somewhere in the middle of a book as a bunch of story lines are
converging. "What the characters want" is the nexus of writing
fiction for me - it's what drives the whole book, and when the story
lines come together, it's more difficult to decipher the characters
motivations, to understand where they are going so I can guide
What are your hobbies and interests?
Aside from writing novels, I also write for
fishing magazines on fly fishing and fly tying. I also own a
vintage car - a 1963 Comet convertible - that's both transportation
and hobby. My website www.wiprud.com covers both in detail, as
well as my books.
How do you spend your free time?
Do you have a message you would like to give
to all the readers out there?
Enough with the serial killers! Read more comic