Bestselling and award winning author Michael Connelly passed by USF a few weeks ago on October 22. He’s written twenty eight novels and several short stories. His books Blood Work and The Lincoln Lawyer were adapted into films. He has also appeared on the show Castle as himself playing poker.
Connelly stepped out of his writing cave to enlightened USF students about his mystical writing process, sharing that he is a big re-writer, he chooses his character’s names carefully, and is an avid reader. Connelly was generous with his time and answered a few questions for Her Campus USF after he was done with his presentation. As a writer myself, I was curious about his life as a full-time writer. Here’s what he had to say:
What would you tell your nineteen-year-old self? "If I was going to go back and say something, it would be either ‘be patient, it’s going to take a long time, but it’s going to work out’ or I would take some of the lessons I learned in twenty years and go back and give them to me earlier. It took me a long time to realize it’s really about momentum and character opposed to fancy plots."
What are the pros and cons of being a full-time writer? "There are so many pros because I get to do something I’ve wanted to do since I was nineteen. I’m doing it at a level that brings me a lot of advantages in life, so I have no complaints. The cons are twofold. One is internal; it’s not an easy job. It doesn’t get easier the more you do it because it gets harder to go back to the well over and over again. The other would be at a social level. Most people have interactions at work, in the offices, and I don’t have that. I’m by myself. You really have to work at maintaining a social life."
Have you ever found yourself in a bizarre or scary situation in in the name of research? "I’ve done some interesting things. A lot of my research was when I was a reporter. I got caught in a middle of a riot when I was in Los Angeles. I had to be yanked out by somebody to safety. Since I’ve been the guy who works out of the cave and is writing full time books, I can’t think of a time that I felt that I was in danger. I’ve been in a lot of cop cars driving on patrol, but nothing adds up to that kind of fear factor."
Do you have you any writing quirks? "The main character I write about, Harry Bosch, is really into jazz, and so I usually start every day by listening to this one particular song called Lullaby by saxophonist Frank Morgan. I have this idea that that song is Harry’s anthem, and so I play that every day as though I’m raising a flag or something. I often will end the day in a middle of a sentence so the next day I can finish that sentence it kicks me off again. I never end at the end of a chapter, never end where it’s going to be hard to start to something new. Always end in the middle of a thought, if not in the middle of a sentence."
How do you define success and have you found it? "For me, success and fulfillment is the same thing. Through this character, Harry Bosch, whom I’ve been able to write about for twenty years, and through him reflect on a society’s change, a city’s change, it’s almost anthropological this evolution I’ve been able to chart in these books. And that they’re still going and that there’s still so much that I want to say about Harry Bosch, that to me defines success. I’m going to be able to keep writing about Harry Bosch for as long as I want to do it. That’s an amazing gift to have as a writer. That is success."
Photo source: Brandi Hollis, USF News and Mark Coggins, http://www.flickr.com/photos/m...