Saturday, February 18, 2006

Pro-File: Brendan DuBois

Pro-File: Brendan DuBois

Award winning mystery/suspense author Brendan DuBois is a former newspaper reporter and a lifelong resident of New Hampshire, where he lives with his wife Mona, their neurotic cat, Oreo, and one happy English Springer Spaniel named Tucker.

He is currently at work on his twelfth novel, AMERIKAN EAGLE, and a variety of new short stories, as well as other writing projects.

His most recently published novel, BURIED DREAMS, was released in July 2004 by St. Martin's Press in the United States. This fifth Lewis Cole mystery novel examines the puzzling death of an amateur archaeologist who believes that Vikings had settled along the New Hampshire coastline more than a thousand years ago.

The next Lewis Cole mystery, PRIMARY STORM, has been accepted for publication by St. Martin's Press. This sixth book in the Lewis Cole series has Lewis involved in investigating an assassination attempt of a presidential candidate during the New Hampshire presidential primary.

St. Martin's Press has also accepted his newest thriller to be published in the United States, called TWILIGHT, a first-person account of a Canadian member of a UN inspection team investigating war crimes. Publication dates for these two novels have not yet been set.

However, Time Warner UK -- in the spring of 2006 -- will publish Brendan's most expansive thriller yet, FINAL WINTER, which depicts a supposed terrorist plot to destroy the United States that involves betrayal, heartbreak, and breath-taking courage.

Prior to TWILIGHT and FINAL WINTER, his most recent thriller, BETRAYED, was published in 2003 by St. Martin's Press in the United States and by Time Warner Books UK in Great Britain. This suspense thriller took a new look -- and provided a stunning new revelation -- to the enduring mystery of the fate of nearly 2,000 servicemen missing in action during the Vietnam War.

BETRAYED followed his thriller SIX DAYS, which was published in 2001 by the British publisher, Little, Brown (now Time Warner UK). It depicts a plot to overthrow the government of the United States and was called "A well-paced, exciting 'what-if thriller' " by the newspaper, Irish Independent.

His most widely-published suspense-thriller, RESURRECTION DAY, has received world-wide acclaim. First published in 1999, it takes place in October 1972, ten years after the Cuban Missile Crisis erupted into a full-scale atomic war, destroying the Soviet Union and decimating the United States. Called "one of the most inventive novels of alternative history since Robert Harris' FATHERLAND", RESURRECTION DAY is a chilling tale of what might have been. RESURRECTION DAY was called "brilliant" in a starred review from Publisher's Weekly, which also said it was "what-if thriller fiction at its finest."

RESURRECTION DAY has also been published in Great Britain, Germany, Holland, Italy and Japan, and will also be published in Estonia and Poland. At the 58th World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago on September 2nd, 2000, RESURRECTION DAY received the Sidewise Award for Best Alternative History Novel of 1999.

DuBois' first novel, DEAD SAND, a murder mystery set in his home state, was published in 1994 by Otto Penzler Books, a division of Macmillan Books. The sequel to DEAD SAND, called BLACK TIDE, was published in 1995. Both are now available in paperback from Pocket Books. The third Lewis Cole novel, SHATTERED SHELL, was published by St. Martin's Press in 1999. The fourth Lewis Cole novel, KILLER WAVES, was published in June 2002, also by St. Martin's Press.

All these novels -- plus the latest, PRIMARY STORM -- feature Lewis Cole, a magazine writer and former Department of Defense research analyst, who investigates things mysterious in and around the New Hampshire seacoast.

DuBois has had more than 80 short stories published in such magazines as Playboy, Mary Higgins Clark Mystery Magazine, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, as well as in numerous original short fiction anthologies. In 1995, one of his short stories -- "The Necessary Brother" -- won the Shamus Award for Best Short Story of the Year from the Private Eye Writers of America, and the PWA also awarded him the Shamus in 2001 for his short story, "The Road's End." He has also been nominated three times -- most recently in 1997 -- for an Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America for his short fiction. One of his short stories in 1997 was also nominated for the Anthony Award for Best Mystery Short Story of the Year.

In 2005, he received the Al Blanchard Crime Fiction Award for Best Short Crime Fiction Story at the fourth annual New England Crime Bake, a mystery convention organized by the New England Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. This short story, "The Road's End," appeared in the Windchill crime anthology, published by Level Best Books.

His short stories have also been extensively anthologized, including the 1988, 1990, 1992 and 1995 editions of "The Year's Best Mystery & Suspense Stories," published by Walker Books, as well as the 1995 and 1997 editions of "Year's 25 Best Mystery Short Stories" and the 1997, 1999, 2001 and the 2003 editions of "Best American Mystery Stories," published by Houghton Mifflin. In addition, his short fiction has also been reprinted in the 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004 editions of "The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories," published by Forge.

An anthology of his short fiction, "The Dark Snow and other Mysteries", was published in 2001 by Crippen & Landru press of Virginia. This was followed by a second anthology, "Tales from the Dark Woods," published by Five Star.

In June 2000, DuBois was honored when one of his short stories, "The Dark Snow," was published in the anthology, "Best American Mystery Stories of the Century," from Houghton Mifflin, edited by Otto Penzler and Tony Hillerman. Other authors in that anthology included Raymond Chandler, O. Henry, Flannery O'Connor and John Steinbeck.

His stories have also appeared in two short story anthologies published in Germany as well as in South Africa and Japan.

Brendan DuBois:

1. Tell us about your current novel.

Actually, and I’m not writing this to impress anyone, for heaven’s sake, I have three novels in the pipeline, coming out in the next year or so. First up is FINAL WINTER, a thriller about a terrorist attack on the United States occurring as a result of a secret intelligence organization that has a traitor in its midst. As of this writing, this novel will be published this April by my British publisher, Time-Warner UK. Again, as of this writing, we’ve not been able to secure an American publisher, though I’m sure something will pull through.

Coming this fall from St. Martin’s Press will be the sixth novel in my Lewis Cole series, PRIMARY STORM, in which my intrepid semi-hero, Lewis Cole -- magazine columnist and ex-Department of Defense research analyst -- gets caught up in an attempted political assassination during the quadrennial circus trooping through my home state that’s called the New Hampshire presidential primary.

Third up is TWILIGHT, another thriller -- though I think a quiet thriller, if there’s such a term, is more appropriate -- which will also be published by St. Martin’s Press. This novel follows a UN war crimes inspection team as it travels through a rural area, looking for mass graves... the rural area being a county in upstate New York

2. Can you give a sense of what you're working on now?

Currently working on another alternative history thriller, tentatively called AMERIKAN EAGLE. The most successful book I’ve done in my career was RESURRECTION DAY, which depicted a world in which the United States and the Soviet Union fought a nuclear war over the Cuban Missile Crisis. That was a tough book to write but very satisfying, so I thought it would be time to pay that particular genre another visit. In AMERIKAN EAGLE, it’s 1943, and there is no FDR presidency. The president of the United States is former Louisiana Senator Huey Long, who has little interest or concern about foreign affairs. Germany has conquered Europe (including Great Britain) and is bogged down in fighting the Soviet Union, Imperial Japan is turning the Pacific into their own domain, and at home, labor camps are filling up with dissidents and opponents as the Great Depression continues to grind along.

Oh, and as a short story author who finds himself amazed that he’s approaching the three-digit number of sold and published short stories, there’s always a couple of those in the hopper as well.

3. What is the greatest pleasure of a writing career?

The greatest pleasure is that wonderful combination of being paid to do what you love, and what you love to do is create places and people and events from that gray matter between your ears, and to have these creations be read and enjoyed by others.

4. What is the greatest DISpleasure?

The greatest displeasure is when everything is dark, formless lead. When the fingers are clumsy upon the keyboard, the dialogue is trite, the characters the form and shape of fog, the plotting to simple a five-year-old can figure out, when that little hidden voice inside of you whispers that you’ve lost your mojo. Everything else -- bad reviews, poor sales, indifferent editors -- pales compared to those days when it just doesn’t work... which, of course, makes the days it *does* work so much brighter and better.

5. If you have one piece of advice for the publishing world, what is it?

Advice for the publishing world? As one who’s been published now for nearly twenty years, I still don’t have a good handle on how the publishing world operates. However, and this is a pipe dream akin to those who long for the restoration of the Romanov dynasty, it would be nice if publishing stepped back to a time when authors were supported over a number of books, when a career was nurtured and developed, as opposed to the current “sink or swim” process.

6. Are there two or three forgotten mystery writers you'd like to see in print again?

Well, three come to mind. First up is Tony Kenrick, who wrote a series of wonderful novels in the 1970s and 1980s, including A TOUGH ONE TO LOSE, STEALING LILLIAN and THE 81st SITE. He had this wonderful capability of writing humorous caper novels similar to Donald Westlake, and then crisp thrillers that really had you turning the pages as you went along. Apparently hasn’t published anything for more than twenty years, which is a pity.

Then there’s Edwin Corley, who wrote a number of thrillers, three which stand out in my mind: THE JESUS FACTOR, a thriller looking into whether or not the world’s nuclear arsenal actually works, and if the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima were a gigantic hoax; SIEGE, a novel inspired by the 1960s turmoil and involving a an African-American military plot to hold Manhattan hostage; and AIR FORCE ONE -- not the movie with Harrison Ford -- but a novel with similar (and earlier) theme of the hijacking of Air Force One.

And Alistair MacLean, whose thrillers my brothers and I devoured during the 1960s and 1970s: THE GUNS OF NAVARONE, SATAN BUG, WHERE EAGLES DARE, HMS ULYSSES.... Great stuff that I’m sure is out of print nowadays.

7. Tell us about selling your first novel. Most writers never forget that moment.

That’s right. We don’t.

September 1991. Prior to this date, I had written two suspense novels that made the usual and customary rounds of publishing houses with some sweet and polite rejections, but rejections, nonetheless. I also had written about a hundred and fifty pages of a third thriller that just died away on me.

So. Four years worth of writing novels, and nothing to show for it. In August 1990, I had an idea for a series detective, set in the home state of New Hampshire. It took about a year to write, and my agent, Jed Mattes, loved it. But he warned me that the market was still poor for new detective series.

September 1991. Working at my job at a state utility in corporate communications. I’m in the cafeteria, hear my office phone ring, and head upstairs. Our department admin aide looks at me and tells me its my agent. I go to my office, pick up the phone, and with cheer and joy in his voice, Jed tells me of a two-book offer from Pocket Books, for both hardcover and softcover, and I can hardly believe what I’m hearing.

I jot down the details of the deal and then take the rest of the day off. Go to the beach and watch the Atlantic Ocean work its wave magic, and sit there, in a sweet fog, knowing that a twenty year dream has been reached, that nothing will ever be the same again, and how wonderful it all was.

Of course... that was the high point, ha ha ha. After some bizarre twists and turns, it took nearly three years for the book to see print, and by then, it was under the Otto Penzler/Macmillan imprint but still... you never, ever forget that first wonderful moment, when you realize You’ve Done It.


Blogger Jan the Man said...

Your blog is great ##NAME##! It's hard to find blogs with good content and people talking about Sherlock Holmes, these days! I have a new blog and a new website if you want to come leave me a comment or two! May I put a link to this blog of yours on mine? My name is Jan Manzer and I'm new to blogging. Would appreciate you checking out my site at jan manzer thriller dot com. I tried a light-hearted spoof on this new site about my favourite detective, Mr. S. Holmes. I took some of the stories and did a search-and-replace on my own name. Kinda weird but kinda cool at the same time. Let me know what you think. you could try A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA first. it's located at Jan Manzer & the Scandal in Bohemia dot com. Here's a sample excerpt from that story with my name inserted: "I had seen little of Jan Manzer lately. My marriage had drifted us away from each other. My own complete happiness, and the home-centred interests which rise up around the man who first finds himself master of his own establishment, were sufficient to absorb all my attention, while Jan Manzer, who loathed every form of society with his whole Bohemian soul, remained in our lodgings in Baker Street, buried among his old books, and alternating from week to week between cocaine and ambition, the drowsiness of the drug, and the fierce energy of his own keen nature. He was still, as ever, deeply attracted by the study of crime, and occupied his immense faculties and extraordinary powers of observation in following out those clues, and clearing up those mysteries which had been abandoned as hopeless by the official police. jan manzer thriller From time to time I heard some vague account of his doings: of his summons to Odessa in the case of the Trepoff murder, of his clearing up of the singular tragedy of the Atkinson brothers at Trincomalee, and finally of the mission which he had accomplished so delicately and successfully for the reigning family of Holland. Beyond these signs of his activity, however, which I merely shared with all the readers of the daily press, I knew little of my former friend and companion."

5:57 AM  

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