Author Interview: Douglas Corleone

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Douglas Corleone was a criminal lawyer who decided to follow his passion and switch career paths. We were able to find out a little more about his life and career in this recent interview so sit back, grab a coffee and find out a bit about Good As Gone author Douglas Corleone.

Hi Douglas, thanks for talking to us and welcome to Beauty and Lace.

What inspired you to become a writer?

I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I think it was the Hardy Boys books that first tempted me to write crime fiction. As I got older, I began reading legal thrillers and decided that I wanted to be a criminal defense lawyer. But there was always that pull. When I was 29, I finally decided to ditch the Law, move to Hawaii, and try my hand at writing a novel. One Man’s Paradise was the result of that decision.

Can you tell us a little about winning the MB/MWA First Crime Novel Competition?

I’d entered the competition with my first novel One Man’s Paradise in 2008. At the time, I was living in Florida; I moved back to Hawaii in January 2009. On April 30, 2009, I received an email from Kelley Ragland, the executive editor at Minotaur Books. In the email she said she’d love to speak to me about my book. Only then did I realize I’d never updated my mailing address and phone number with the publisher. It was a good thing I was using the same email address, or they never would have been able to find me. I immediately messaged her back with my new cell number and she called me a few minutes later and made my day.

Your latest release is Good As Gone, can you tell us a little about the book?

Good As Gone introduces former U.S. Marshal Simon Fisk. Still haunted by his own daughter’s disappearance a decade earlier, Simon now works as a private contractor who specializes in retrieving children abducted by their own estranged parents. He never touches “stranger abductions” because they hit too close to home. But when Simon is cornered by French police on his way to the airport, he’s given an ultimatum: spend years in a French jail for violating their laws, or help them to retrieve a young American girl recently taken from her parents’ hotel room in Paris. Simon’s investigation takes him on a terrifying chase across Europe and ultimately offers him a chance for redemption.

Is Good As Gone a stand-alone novel or will it begin another series?

Good As Gone is the first in a series featuring former U.S. Marshal Simon Fisk. The second novel Payoff is scheduled to be released in the States next summer.

Douglas Corleone

Where do your story inspirations come from?

My inspiration for Good As Gone came from a one-page article I’d read online about a private investigator in Tampa, Florida, who specializes in retrieving children kidnapped by their estranged parents and taken overseas to countries that don’t recognize U.S. custody decisions. Fortunately, I printed the article and saved it for two years at the bottom of my filing cabinet. When my agent said that my editor would like to see something new from me, I immediately went digging and had a one-page synopsis for Good As Gone a few hours later. My earlier books, the Kevin Corvelli legal mysteries, were based largely on my experiences as a New York City criminal defense attorney and a newcomer to the Hawaiian Islands.

How do you choose your settings?

My first three novels were set in Hawaii, because I’d just moved here and I wanted to capture a New Yorker’s first experience with the islands, particularly the culture shock. But my love of travel led to my choice of settings for Good As Gone. I wanted to take Simon Fisk through some of the brightest and darkest spots on the European continent.

Do you have a favourite time of day or place you like to write?

Ideally, I’d wake up every morning just before dawn to a quiet house and sit on the living room couch with my laptop. But things are a little less predictable here. So I write every morning until the kids wake up, then I take a brief break and when I return to work it’s either in my home office or in the living room with a set of earplugs.

Is there anything you must have when you write – a certain drink, particular snack foods, peace and quiet, music etc.?

I’d love a little peace and quiet but that’s tough to find working from home with three small children (my oldest, Jack, just turned 4). So the only thing I absolutely must have is a bottle of water within reach.

Do you have a process for your writing – do you plot first or allow your characters to control the direction?

When I start a novel I have an idea of where it’s going but I don’t draft a formal outline. If I do, it’s skeletal; I like for the characters to do the hard work. I think it helps to keep the story fresh and it’s definitely more exciting for me as a writer. If I do have a specific ending in mind, I’ll leave the middle up to the characters and sit back and see how they get from point A to point B.

I’m currently working on a thriller that will be released under a pseudonym next year, and I’m awaiting an editorial letter in connection with the second Simon Fisk novel.

Thanks for your time Douglas and good luck with the launch.

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