The Lincoln Lawyer

 , a novel by Michael Connelly

Interview with Michael Connelly by Barnes And Noble

In the spring of 2005, Michael Connelly took some time out to answer some of our questions about his favorite books, authors, and interests.

- What was the book that most influenced your life or your career as a writer - and why?

- The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler. I read it in college and immediately subscribed to the idea of the crime novel as art. The book's evocation of Los Angeles and the social commentary on the city inspired me to become a writer.

- What are your favorite books, and what makes them special to you?

- I don't like listing or ranking favorites. I would say The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler, Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, The Black Marble by Joseph Wambaugh and The Underground Man by Ross MacDonald are very important to me because they inspired me as a writer. I also have loved The Little Sister by Chandler, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Ask the Dust by John Fante, Day of the Locust by Nathaniel West, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

- What are some of your favorite films, and what makes them unforgettable to you?

- Chinatown, Bullitt, The Long Goodbye (with Elliot Gould), The Conversation, The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. I like movies where characters are put into extreme situations and we get to watch how they react.

- What types of music do you like? Is there any particular kind you like to listen to when you're writing?

- I like blues, rock and roll and jazz. I listen exclusively to jazz when writing, because it is not as intrusive as music with lyrics and its improvisational nature is inspiring to me while I do my own kind of improvisation.

- If you had a book club, what would it be reading?

- The books of George P. Pelecanos because they would be entertained at the same time they would learn the social history of a place and time.

- What are your favorite kinds of books to give - and get - as gifts?

- I like to give something that I have read and can absolutely vouch for. Lately, in nonfiction I have given Flyboys by James Bradley and in fiction, Night Fall by Nelson DeMille.

- Do you have any special writing rituals? For example, what do you have on your desk when you're writing?

- I like to control my environment and make it feel the same no matter what time of day I am writing. So I have blackout shades and write by a single lamp that is on my desk.

- What are you working on now?

- I am in the editing phase on a book called The Lincoln Lawyer, which will be out in October.

- Many writers are hardly "overnight success" stories. How long did it take for you to get where you are today? Any rejection-slip horror stories or inspirational anecdotes?

- I wrote two books as learning experiences before I wrote the book that was the first published. From the time I decided to try to write a novel until the day I held a published novel in my hands was about six years. But I don't think it was a frustrating or arduous time. I had fun writing. If you are not enjoying it, you shouldn't be doing it.

- If you could choose one new writer to be "discovered", who would it be?

- I just finished a legal thriller called The Lincoln Lawyer. I am now reading a legal thriller called Final Verdict by Joel Goldman. It will be out in January as a paperback original. As I am reading it -- I am almost finished -- I am really enjoying it but at the same time it makes me wonder at the vagaries of the publishing business. I know Lincoln Lawyer will get a lot of attention and a good ride. I think Final Verdict is in the same league, and I hope that it gets some of the same attention.

- What tips or advice do you have for writers still looking to be discovered?

- Put your efforts into the writing. Its either on the page or not and it has to be there before you can even hope to be discovered.

© Barnes And Noble

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