Friday, October 28, 2011

Interview With # 1 New York Times Bestselling author Iris Johansen

Read the interview and then starting Wednesday November 2 through Tuesday November 8 visit

The B& Fiction General Discussion Forum

To chat with this amazing and talented author

Iris first I want to tell you what a joy it is to have one of my favorite authors visit the B&N General Fiction Forum. I have read and enjoyed you for many years first in genre romance and then on to suspense and finally collaborating with your son Roy.

Debbie - My first question is—take us back to the beginning of your career as an author, was there something particular that precipitated your wanting to write novels?


A. I was always a voracious reader even as a child. I loved the storytelling and I suppose it was natural that I eventually wanted to tell stories of my own. From the fourth grade on I was writing as well as reading. I had no ambition to make it a career. It was just an exciting and wonderful hobby. Then after I was out of school I was too busy living life and having children and trying to make a living to continue writing. I didn’t get back to it until my children were in high school and I realized that the empty nest would soon be looming. I was going to have to make a new life for myself. So I scraped the barnacles off my brain and started writing again. To my shock I found that the wonderful hobby soon became a passion.

D -My second question is about the Eve Duncan series, which I have enjoyed every one and even more so enjoyed Eve, Quinn and now Bonnie. Where did the idea for this series come from and did you plan on it being this long lasting?


A. Eve Duncan came into being one night when I was watching a documentary on forensic sculpting on television. I’d never heard of the career and it completely fascinated me. I began to think about what kind of background would cause someone to become a forensic sculptor. It’s such a dark and sad skill that it would take someone of great strength of character and purpose to make it her life’s work. Then Eve Duncan began to come alive for me. I started to write Face of Deception and became totally fascinated by both her character and her forensic sculpting career. I did in-depth research and her world slowly became my world. I never intended for there to be more than one book about Eve Duncan but when I reached the end I knew her story wasn’t finished. I thought I’d do just one more. But after Killing Game I’d introduce other characters I loved into her world and I didn’t want to leave them. The books went on and on and I never grew tired of them. But I gradually realized that there were questions that had to be answered for both me and the readers. So I brought Bonnie out of the shadows with the trilogy. It was a fascinating, heartbreaking, curiously joyful experience.

D - As I mentioned before I have enjoyed all of your novels and also enjoyed the one’s you wrote with your son Roy. I can feel the different rhythm in these novels and hear the different voice that Roy imparts even though the flow of the narrative and plot is flawless. How was working with your son? Was the process smooth or were there bumps along the way?


A. I love writing the collaborations with Roy. It’s great fun and completely different from writing my own books. I agree with you that the books are different but I think you can see the way we challenge each other. We start out with a general plot and ideas about the characters and then we go for it. Because we both write by the seat of our pants, the plot changes constantly as we trade individual chapters back and forth. Often we have to figure how to go forward and rescue a character the other one has put in jeopardy. It’s exciting and fun and an adventure to tap each other’s talents to write the very best book we can and make it totally seamless as a story. Is it difficult? Of course. It wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable if it was easy. Roy is a screenwriter who has had feature films made and written books of his own. I’ve been writing in several genres for years and I’m fairly set in my ways. We had to learn to put egos aside and do what was best for the book. He lives in L.A., I live in Atlanta, and we did most of the collaboration long distance. But we both thought it was worth any problems because the books were different and fresh and we loved doing them.

D - One of the things that I love most about your novels is the connectivity you keep with your previous protagonists. I really enjoy catching up on their lives while taking a new journey with someone else. In this respect, what’s next for Eve and her co-stars?


A. Remember Catherine Ling? I’m totally fascinated by her character and background. She’s appeared with Eve in the Trilogy and Chasing the Night but I had to give her a story of her own. What Doesn’t Kill You delves deep into her past and we get to know her better. John Gallo is also a star in that book and Hu Chang, her lethal friend, is mesmerizing. The next Eve Duncan introduces two new characters Beth Avery and Kendra Michaels and there is no way that they’ll be left behind. Kendra is so unusual…

D - Anyone who reads your novels will find a four legged friend inside many of the pages and visiting your website here can see your personal zoo as well. Has there always been animals in your home and your life?


A. I’ve had dogs in my life since childhood. I love them and I try to help them in any way I can. I have several dogs I’ve rescued and at present there are eight in my home and everyone leaves their dogs with me when they go on vacation. No problem. I have room on the farm(which also has horses and buffalo) and I’d rather they have company than be in a kennel. I also have feral cats on the property that I feed and watch over. I built a two unit Kitty condo with heat and balconies and they appear to be very happy.

D - For the last question tell us something that would surprise us to learn about you.


A. That’s difficult to answer. I’m afraid I’m fairly boring. Just your ordinary workaholic who lives on a hill and loves her family and animals. Oh, and once a year I try to get away with my best friends who are also three of the best writers in the business, Linda Howard, Catherine Coulter and Kay Hooper. We’ve known each other since we all began writing decades ago and our friendship has never faltered. In this fast paced, ever changing world perhaps that is something of a surprise.

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit with us this month I, my members and others all over the forums are looking forward to it.

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