Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Interview with #1 NYT Bestselling author Nelson DeMille-The Quest

I'm honored and privileged to bring back to The Reading Frenzy Nelson DeMille who's chatting today about his revised and updated novel from 1975 The Quest. When I asked him why he so graciously gave his time to bloggers like me and readers he said– "Thank you. Sounds like a trick question. Well, in my forty plus years of writing, I’ve seen too many bestselling authors who’ve lost touch with their readers, and who take bestsellerdom for granted. I take nothing for granted, and I work hard on my novels, and I work hard to keep up my relationship with my readers..."
See the rest of that answer and all the others below.

  • ISBN-13: 9781455576425
  • Publisher: Center Street
  • Publication date: 9/17/2013
  • Pages: 464

From the locked archives of the Vatican to the overgrown jungles of Ethiopia, an unlikely trio begins a deadly search for the Holy Grail. Two journalists and a beautiful photographer are traveling together in a broken down Jeep while covering the 1975 Ethiopian civil war. Both men fall in love with the woman and that complicates things.

Please welcome back to The Reading Frenzy #1 New York Times, USA and International Best Seller Nelson DeMille who on his last visit here chatted about his novel The Panther. And makes a return visit to talk about his revised and updated novel from 1975 The Quest.

Mr. DeMille first thank you for your generosity in taking the time to answer some questions.
Thanks for having me back.

Could you please give us a short summary of The Quest?
The Quest is about a search for the Holy Grail, set in the jungles of Ethiopia at the time of the Ethiopian Revolution which deposed the emperor, Haile Selassie.  To put it succinctly, it is Indiana Jones meets The Da Vinci Code.

According to your interview at BEA, Publisher’s Weekly said that this is a revisit that you’ve thought about for awhile.
Why did you want to bring it back?
The Quest was published as a paperback original in 1975, before I became a bestselling author.  I think about only 2,000 copies were sold, and most of the people who read The Quest are probably dead by now.  I always liked the story, which is timeless, and I wanted to make it available to a larger audience.

In that interview it was also indicated that this was not a quick edit, but in principle became a whole new book.
Why did you feel this intense rewrite was necessary?
Yes, it is a complete rewrite.  The original book was about 75,000 words, and the rewritten book is about 140,000 words, so I nearly doubled the size.  Also, my writing has improved a bit in the last forty years so I was happy for the opportunity to straighten out some of my grammar, syntax, punctuation, and dialogue.  Additionally, I gave The Quest a happier ending than it originally had.  This made my wife and my editor happy.

Is this the first time you’ve returned to a previous work in this way?
Is there another one in your future?
Yes, I’ve never done this before, and it’s rare that an author rewrites a previous work.  It turned out to be more challenging than I thought, so I’ll leave well enough alone.

When you went back and revisited and reacquainted yourself with characters and scenes from The Quest.
What most surprised you about the original novel?
Good question.  First, I was surprised at how much I’d grown as a writer.  But I also saw that even as a young writer, I knew how to tell a story.  The plot and premise of the original was very good, and the characters were intriguing.  What was lacking was my distinctive style and my sharp dialogue, and that’s what I concentrated on.  Plus, of course, I fleshed out many of the scenes, and that’s how I came up with another 70,000 words.

Mr. DeMille you’re very generous with your time to readers/bloggers etc… (thank you)
Why do you choose to be when you could easily ignore us all and we’d still line up to buy your books?
Thank you.  Sounds like a trick question.  Well, in my forty plus years of writing, I’ve seen too many bestselling authors who’ve lost touch with their readers, and who take bestsellerdom for granted.  I take nothing for granted, and I work hard on my novels, and I work hard to keep up my relationship with my readers.  When you lose your readers, you lose your job.

This will also release as an audio book and will be narrated by Scott Brick who also narrated all of your previous John Corey novels.
What is your opinion of the wide variety of reading mediums today?
I love the fact that readers can instantly download all my novels on their ereader, and that readers can also become listeners with audio.  And I’m happy that readers who prefer the physical book can choose between the hardcover, trade paperback, and mass market paperback.  There’s something for everyone.  The ultimate reading experience would be an ereader that also talks to you (if you want) and is capable of printing out any pages you want.  And why not add graphics and sound effects?  I’m encouraged that people are still reading (or listening to) novels.

Mr. DeMille do you follow a strict writing schedule or do you just write when the muse hits?
I can’t wait for my muse to show up – I need to summon her everyday.  And she comes when I call.  Unless I call in the morning.  I’m mostly a late afternoon and night writer.  Not good for home life or social activities, but my writing brain doesn’t click in until about four pm.  I’ve written until dawn on some occasions, and I rarely become fatigued once I’ve begun to write – writing energizes me.  So does coffee.

Speaking of the muse, where is she currently leading you?
I’m returning to the John Corey series for my next book.  The Quest was a nice break for me, and hopefully for my readers.  Corey’s next adventure, with his wife Kate Mayfield, diverges from the war on Islamic terrorism and has as its villains the new bad guys – the Russians.  So, in a way, I’ve returned to the Cold War, and this, I think, is a reflection of what’s happening in the world.

Mr. DeMille, once again thank you for your time in answering my questions and may the muse be with you always.
And thank you.  Great questions and hopefully good answers.

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