Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Gregg Olsen: The Progressive Interview

Gregg Olsen's new one, A COLD DARK PLACE, hits the shelves today. Gregg, an upstanding member of the Hellions and of some upstart outfit called Killer Year, has already got six "true crime" books out; this is his second work of fiction. It tells the story of Emily Kenyon, a single mother and police officer whose teenage daughter gets involved in her current investigation.

In honor of the occasion, we're doing something a little off the beaten track: the "progressive interview", where a different blogger asks a different question on their blog, then after Gregg answers, tosses him like a football to the next contestant.

JD RHOADES: A COLD DARK PLACE has as two of its central characters a single mother and her teenage daughter. How do you address the challenges of writing female characters, especially younger ones?

GREGG: Good question, JD. I think the only way that I can get it right is to continue to eavesdrop on my twin daughters and their conversations with each other and their friends. Listening is the only way to get it right. My girls are 23 now, so I expect that in time I?ll lose the advantage of capturing what young women, young girls, want or say. My girls have been my own little research center, that's for sure. Morgan, my more critical twin, has told me numerous times when things I've written were stupid. She flat out says it. Not so much with a sneer, but with the kind of tone that makes me glad that she belongs to me and not some other weaker person. Marta, the sunnier of the two, thinks that I get most of it right, for sure. If I could insert a smiley face in this text, I would. I honestly, don't know how authors without kids or very close nephews or nieces can get it right. If your only view of youth is through the media, then your young characters will end up sounding like those smart aleck brats on TV.

Next up: Karen Olson delves into the question of why write a female protagonist in the first place, and how easy was it to slip into those high heels? Head for the First Offenders blog for the scoop...

And best of luck to Gregg and to A COLD DARK PLACE!

7 comments:

Bill Cameron said...

Very nicely done, folks! Go, Gregg, Go!

M. William Phelps said...

I love the way you fiction writers put so much thought into the character aspect of your work. That is what I enjoy most about Gregg's work: he spends so much time thinking about his characters and making sure to put them in real life situations in his books. There's nothing worse than a thriller author faking it. Gregg certainly takes this seriously, and applaud him for taking the leap from true-crime, where it can extremely cumbersome and soul wrenching.

I agree with Bill: Go Gregg!

Chris Pimental said...

Hey, came by to leave a comment after reading about Gregg. Cool I'll bookmark your site, too.

Nona said...

I finished reading A Cold Dark Place last night. Olsen makes the characters real. It's interesting to know that his daughters played a big part in making the characters credible. Thanks for sharing.

Gregg Olsen said...

JD, thanks a million for participating! Great questions all the way around and lots of fun.

KDuba said...

Hi, came over from CR. Great idea having us hop all over the net if we want to read more.

I have always read both TC and Crime Fiction. Gregg's TC books are great, but with his fiction he really pulls me right into the story. I am in the middle of reading A Cold Dark Place right now and also read his first fiction A Wicked Snow. Both books have really strong female characters and I often find myself thinking..."I would totally do that if that happened to me". He has the ability to make you connect with the character, almost as if you're hanging with someone you know. ( I actually fell in love with an FBI agent from his first fiction...but that's a whole other story)

Anyways, great job Gregg. I'm off to read another blog to find out what else you're saying.

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