Ask the Author: Douglas Preston
“Greetings to our readers! I'll be answering questions about our new book, CRIMSON SHORE, on an eccentric and unpredictable schedule, so ask away!
Doug” Douglas Preston
Doug” Douglas Preston
Answered Questions (29)
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When you write, do you have conversations in your head, first pretending to be one of the characters speaking, then the other? I'm curious about the way you get dialogue going and onto the page. I have been imagining entire "movie scenes" in my head, and trying to write from them - and wondered, do you do the same thing?
Hi! I really enjoy experiencing your books. They are thrilling! My question, and please pardon me if you have been asked this before, is who do you see in your mind's eye when you write about Agent Pendergast? Do you imagine who would play the part of Pendergast if another of your novels was made into a movie? And if you do, what actor would you like to see portray him?
Douglas Preston Thank you Kathy. Pendergast is a real person to us, more real in some ways than actual people we know. To me he looks like the young Christopher Walken. Walken is too old now but Benedict Cumberpatch might make a good Pendergast, if he can handle the New Orleans accent.
Douglas Preston Sorry for the belated answer. All our books, except for two short stories, are in printed editions. You may be referring to books put out under the fake name "Preston Child" in an attempt to deceive our readers into thinking they are books by us. Apparently this is a problem many bestselling authors are having with Amazon's self-publishing program--fake authors trying to pass of their work as being by "Stephen King" etc.
My brother and I really love the Pendergast series, so I have a question about those books: is there something you would want to go back and change about Pendergast's history and character, that you now have to work with but sort of regret? Or is there something you would like to do with the character and his history that you really can't because of the confines of the world you and Lincoln created?
Douglas Preston Every writer has a different way of working. Linc and I describe on our website how we typically work together. We do encounter writers' block but the key to that is simply to work through it without ceasing. My main advice to you is to block out a time period every day (7 days a week), shut down your phone etc., tell your loved ones to leave you alone, and write.
Thanks for the friending. Remember the book tour a few years ago when you guys went all over the Midwest in that big beautiful bus? We had our photo taken in the parking lot of Borders in Toledo, Ohio. That was wonderful. You guys really looked worn out, but I was hoping you would be coming into Ohio and Michigan on another book tour. You have a lot of fans here and it has been a long time. Still reading.
Douglas Preston Pendergast is 100 percent original, although there are bits and pieces of both real and fictional characters that went into creating him. It's hard for us to tease out exactly which pieces, because he's become such a real person to us that we don't really view him as having been created by us.
Douglas Preston Why one book is less popular than another is always a difficult and complicated question. Linc and I strive to make each book as good as we can, but with a creative endeavor, sometimes to get everything just right, and sometimes, despite all the effort and energy in the world, it doesn't quite work. We write what we like. If we were to worry about readers' reactions we would go crazy. If you've seen the Amazon reviews, you'll note that what one reader loves another reader hates.
Douglas Preston I do both. I sketch out the plot ahead of time and I always know how the novel will end, but at the same time I tweak and enlarge and elaborate as I go along. Sometimes I'll change everything, or a character will hijack the story and take it in a different and surprising direction.
Douglas Preston My apologies for the late answer -- I've been on a book tour. I read negative reviews with interest and sometimes amusement. Some negative reviews make good points, and I take them to heart. I like getting feedback from readers and reviewers, even if it is negative. Other reviews are more a public monument to the reviewer's ignorance, illiteracy, stupidity, and rotten taste. Those I find amusing and sometimes even post them on my website. Check out the "Rogue's Gallery" at www.prestonchild.com.
I've skimmed over other comments on The Kraken and a summary on the AI that goes rogue. The impression I'm getting is that some readers were expecting more of a Relic type creation with Dorothy. I take it that's not the case with this novel? Have you made her a sympathetic character? Will this start a movement for the EAI (Ethics of Artificial Intelligence) or ETAMA (Ethical Treatment of Artificial Moral Agents)?
Douglas Preston I think the way the book is advertised or presented does hint at a more RELIC like situation with Dorothy, which is not the case. I'd like to think the novel's exploration of AI was more nuanced than that and went deeper. It is still a thriller but the monsters are very human...
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