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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Nickie's Ten Questions to Richard Montanari

Do you love fast-paced thrillers, set in a brooding atmosphere? Then Richard Montanari is your man. He writes page-turners set in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balsano are his main characters.
The novels have a deep psychological insight, which I love in a book. Ever tried to find out who the culprit is, from the start of the book? I always try, but I can vouch that Montanari makes it hard for you!

Following are the questions I asked him:

1) When did you realize you wanted to be an author?
I was always a storyteller, even as a child. I was also an amateur magician, so the art of misdirection and flourish has always been important to me. The idea of writing a novel came while I was starving as a freelance writer.

2) How long did it take you to write your first novel, 'Deviant Way'?
Deviant Way took about a year, which is average for me. I was very fortunate to have an agent as I was writing the book, and she didn’t let me go too far astray.

3) Was it easy to find a publisher for it?
I know a few writers who would like to beat me up for this, but it sold very quickly. There was a brief bidding war for the book, and it came down to Putnam and Simon & Schuster. Simon & Schuster published Deviant Way in hardcover in 1995.

4) How did it feel to be rewarded with the OLMA for the Best First Mystery for that debut thriller?
That was great, not to mention a huge surprise. I actually found out that I had won the award by noticing a post on a newsgroup. A few days later a very nice plaque arrived in the mail. When I learned that Jeffrey Deaver won best novel that year, I felt even more validated. Mr. Deaver is good company.

5) Any special reason why you prefer to write thrillers?
I love suspense. I am a very big fan of Alfred Hitchcock, and I’ve always loved the notion of things not being quite what they appear to be. Add to that my fear of the dark, and I don’t think I ever had a choice.

6) Are you planning to use your experiences of living in Europe in one of your coming novels?
That is hard to say. I have two more novels coming up in my Philadelphia crime series. After that, anything can happen.

7) Do you work full-time as an author, or do you still have another job?
I am very lucky to be able to do this full time. I’ve had a lot of jobs, including working construction in the dead of winter. I’d rather do this.

8) How do you deal with criticism?
I pout for days, eat German chocolate cake, and stay in bed.

9) How important are reader's reactions to you?
Reader reactions are far more important than “formal” reviews. When a reader sends an email about one of my books it is quite gratifying. I am a reader myself, and I like nothing more than discovering a new author, or reading a new book by one of my favorites. The fact that someone takes the time to write me a letter means the world.

10) And lastly... who are your favorite authors, or books?
There are so many. Shirley Jackson, James M. Cain, Charles Willeford, Ray Bradbury, James Ellroy, Richard Price, Dennis Lehane, Shane Stevens, Russell Banks, Thomas H. Cook, William Trevor, many others. I admire anyone who can show me a door, coax me through it, and surprise me with what’s on the other side.

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