Interview (conclusion) with Reed Farrel Coleman

Reed Farrel Coleman’s love of storytelling originated on the streets of Brooklyn and was nurtured by his teachers, friends, and family.

New York Times bestseller called a hard-boiled poet by NPR and the “noir poet laureate” in the Huffington Post, Reed is the author of novels, including Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone series, the acclaimed Moe Prager series, short stories, and poetry.  Reed is a three-time Edgar Award nominee.

Q. Do you believe in muses? Who or what is your “Muse” at the moment?

A. I think a “muse” is a cute concept, but I’m a professional. This is my job. Lawyers don’t need a muse. Cops don’t need a muse. I don’t need a muse. I need a contract.  (Feels as though I’m interviewing Jesse Stone, right?)

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

A. When I was 13 years old. I have always taken writing seriously. But I quite my career in 1987 to devote myself to writing. I gave up $40,000 per year, a company car, an expense account and trips to Europe. I guess you could say I was pretty serious about writing.

Q. How long after that were you published?

A. Three years.

Q. What makes a writer great?

A. When I find out I’ll tell you. I know great writing when I see it in the same way I know a great pianist or great painter, but defining one is an elusive task.

Q. You have kept Robert Parker’s Jesse Stone series alive for all of his fans. What’s the secret to writing in another voice? You do it flawlessly.

A. The secret for me is that I don’t write in Bob Parker’s voice. I stay true to his characters and to the form of the Jesse Stone novels, but it would be impossible for me to imitate Bob. When I first got the gig, I spoke to Ace Atkins (Spenser) and to my friend Tom Schreck (Duffy Dumbrowsky series). They both gave me great advice, but it was something Tom—a huge Elvis Presley fan, said to me that made a light go off in my head. He said that he had seen the very best Elvis impersonators in the world, but that they were trapped because the audience could never escape the fact that it was an imitation. And there was something that they could never do, something new. When he said that to me, I knew I wouldn’t try to imitate Bob.

Q. … and the all-important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like?

A. Funny, I don’t think about that much. 26 published books in, it’s not even a question for me. As long as I have a strong idea in mind that I think will sustain the novel, I just assume I’m capable of making it happen. I never outline, so it’s just the belief in my ability that drives me.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

A. In the mirror. Dylan Klein, my first series character, was very much an extension of me.

Q. What inspired your story/stories?

A. What doesn’t? Everything inspires me. An overheard bit of conversation, a newspaper story, a TV show, a situation in a friend’s life, a book …

Q. Have you? Or do you want to write in another genre`?

A. I write poetry. I’ve written some sci fi stories. I’ll basically write anything.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

A. That I appreciate them and owe a lot to them.

Did miss Part I with Reed?


My BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   October Author, Lisa Jackson.  November will be best selling author, Grace Burrowes and in December, Reed Farrel Coleman, contributing writer for Robert B. Parker series

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