Thursday, July 29, 2010
Carl Deuker Interview
Tell us your latest news? Payback Time, my most recent book, comes out in September. I'm hard at work on a new story now as well.
When did you first consider yourself a writer? That feeling comes and goes. Sometimes, when I'm struggling with a story, I wonder if I am one. At other times, when things are going well, I think "I know how to do this."
What inspired you to write your first book? I had started many books and had failed to finish them. I got the (for me) great idea of stealing the plot of Dr. Faustus and changing the setting to a high school basketball team. Sounds strange, but that's what Damn Yankees did as well.
How did you come up with the title? The title was definitely a joint effort among Houghton Mifflin editors, publicity people, and me. Now that it's set, I like it, but I'd be hard pressed to tell you where it came from.
How much of the book is realistic? The "mystery" part is based on events that did take place. I read about some gang problems in Philly, and that's what got the plot going. Nothing is beyond the realm . . . I hope!
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? Payback Time is definitely based on gang events that took place in Philadelphia in the early 2000's.
What books have most influenced your life most? A book called Jason's Women gave me the idea to try Young Adult fiction, a field I hadn't considered. I don't think I'd have ever published anything if I hadn't made the switch. I love to read Moby Dick every few years. Basically, though, I'm a classic English major. I read all the time and admire many, many writers.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? John Tunis moves his stories along, and I try to do the same. He also makes sure his "sports" novels do indeed have sports action in them.
What book are you reading now? I am just finishing Vanity Fair. I've been on a long book run--Les Miserables, Hunchback of Notre Dame. I'm planning on Bleak House next.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Arthur Phillips is new to me. He writes involved mysteries from multiple perspectives for adults. I'm in awe of his talent.
What are your current projects? I'm working on a basketball book with a charismatic coach who also has dubious morals as the focal point.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members. Definitely Ann Rider, who has edited all my books. She has been wonderful.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? I'm sure there is something I'd like to change on every single page, but as for the overall structure -- I'm pleased with that.
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