Ask the Author: Linwood Barclay
“At long last, I'm getting up to speed on Goodreads, not just to answer your questions about what I might be working on, but to tell you about some of the great books I've read recently. ” Linwood Barclay
Answered Questions (117)
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Hi, my mother and I adore your work. It's been just about a month since we started and I've already gobbled up 3 books and bought a few more! Your writing style is epic and what sets you apart from other authors is the emphasis you put on the protagonist and her emotions and not on the ancillary characters. Well, the question is who is your favorite author from the crime & psychological thriller genre?
Linwood Barclay Hi! Thanks for your very kind note and please pass on my best wishes to your mother, Charru. Sorry for the late reply. I have been out of the country, and now that I'm back, I'm packing, as we are moving to a new house. My favourite author, ever, would have to be Ross Macdonald, whose novels I discovered about 1970. He made a huge impression on me. Also around that time a very famous Canadian author named Margaret Laurence took an interest in me and was very encouraging. There are many authors today that I love and I hate to single out one. Okay, maybe Stephen King. All the best!
Linwood Barclay Parting Shot just might be my last Promise Falls book. The first one since, A Noise Downstairs, is set elsewhere, as it next year's, Elevator Pitch. But who knows? There are some efforts underway to turn PF into a TV series. If that happened, and if the series were a hit, maybe.... Thanks for the kind words.
Dear Mr. Barclay, I emailed you once several years back to inquire whether there would be any further Zack Walker books and was told there would not be. Seems like there are A LOT of ZW fans so maybe that will change? I really just wanted to comment on the amount of fans for that series and to tell you that I STILL laugh whenever I recall the scene in book 2 when he faked the fall down the stairs, with the backpack.
Linwood Barclay If you've not read Parting Shot, that is a kind of fourth book to the Promise Falls trilogy. Not linked in plot, but the events of the trilogy are referenced. I think that may be my last PF book. The latest, A Noise Downstairs, is a complete standalone, as will next year's, Elevator Pitch. Thanks for the kind words.
Hi, Mr. Barclay, I hope you remember me! You signed my copy of Bad Guys a while back (paperback edition.) I am a huge Zack Walker fan. We also e-mailed back and forth a bit. My question is, did you ever release Lone Wolf and Stone Rain in hardcover format? I have searched Amazon and Ebay without success. I did find Bad Move and Bad Guys though. If you can help me with this, i would appreciate it.
Okay, I'm cheating, this isn't a question. Just wanted to say I've been reading your work - both your column and your books - for years and it's always a great read. I enjoyed the article in the Globe today about your early writing forays. Didn't realize you live in Oakville. Hope to see you around town? (Apparently a question mark is a requirement).
Linwood Barclay If you live anywhere near Toronto, you can come see the premiere of Never Saw it Coming, a movie based on that novel, on Friday. I also wrote the screenplay for it. It stars, among others, Eric Roberts. The Accident has been made into six-part series in France and is available on iTunes in many markets (French subtitles). And we are currently working on a series based on my Promise Falls trilogy. Thanks for the kind words!
I am currently on the first of the promise falls trilogy and I have already listened to no time for goodbye and too close to home (I listen to the audio books) which I really enjoyed. My usual interests lean toward the supernatural/horror genre so I wondered if you have already or ever been tempted to include elements of those genres in your books?
Linwood Barclay My latest novel, A Noise Downstairs, has hints of the supernatural, but I can't say much more about it without spoiling it. I like to stick to down-to-earth stories. I think there are a lot of authors writing in that genre who do a much better job than I could, so I'm going to stay in my lane.
Linwood Barclay I was going to call it The Typewriter, but my editors overruled me. A third of the audience won't know what it is, and it's not "thrillerish" enough. So I gave them A Noise Downstairs as an option. A note, the movie is in Picton not Belleville. Hope to see you there!
Linwood Barclay Parting Shot is very much a standalone novel. But because it is set in Promise Falls, and comes a year after the events of the trilogy (which were HUGE) I felt it wouldn't be realistic to think everyone had forgotten about what happened. It couldn't be ignored. But I tried to write Parting Shot without any spoilers for those who'd not read the trilogy. Hope that helps.
Linwood Barclay With Tap I had the original idea of how one hitchhiker turned into another. That was the starting point. But before I start writing, I need to know what set of circumstances brought us to that point. Once I know the underpinnings, and have a good idea where I will end up, I start writing. But what's funny is, with that book, I ended up doing a massive rewrite and changed all those underpinnings. (That book nearly killed me.) But the opening chapter never changed.
Linwood Barclay That's a tough one. There are so many factors. I was a newspaper columnist before I started doing books, so some people knew me already. I had a great agent, who had lots of great advice. There was an element of luck, when a TV book club in England picked one of my novels and turned it into a hit. So, everyone's path is different. But the one thing you can do is, write a good book. Good luck.
Linwood Barclay No short answer to that question, but I will try. I have a very good agent, who offers great advice on the books themselves. The books, I hope, are not half bad. But there is also a lot of luck, I think. Had the Richard and Judy TV Book Club in England not picked No Time for Goodbye 10 years ago, I might not be where I am now. That book went supernova, but why it and not some other book? That's the mystery. But back to my agent: I did four novels that went nowhere. She insisted I shift gears, write a different type of book. I came up with No Time. So, she played a huge part.
I don't have a question, just a comment. Am I ever glad I stumbled on the Promise Trilogy by accident. I was looking for something else when I discovered your books. I think you've just become in the top 5 as my favorite authors. The twists and turns you concoct are so entertaining. I'm beginning the Zack series and it's hilarious. Can't wait to read everything you have out there (except the children books). ??
I'm surprised at how few of these questions mention your memoir, Last Resort. It made me laugh, and sometimes cry, and I could not put it down. There were so many parallels to my own childhood. We had a trailer on Rice Lake for 10 years. There was a "make-out rock" there too! Must be mandatory;) Do you ever think of writing a sequel to Last Resort to cover the next chapters of your life?
Linwood Barclay I'm so pleased you found Last Resort. it's out of print, but available as an ebook, and perhaps that is how you discovered it. I've no plans to write a sequel. All the best stuff is there. It's the kind of story you only get to tell once, I think. My novel Lone Wolf is much inspired by my time at Green Acres, as is my thriller for kids, Chase. All the best, Linwood.
Linwood Barclay Thanks for the kind words! Contracts are wonderful inspiration! You fail to deliver your book and you have to pay back some money. But to be serious, I most often find inspiration in every day events, and how they might go horribly wrong. I think I'm basically an anxious person, so I tap into that anxiety when I am looking for plot ideas.
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