I was very honored to have the chance to ask Ridley Pearson a few questions in the midst of his book tour for Killer Summer. Unfortunately, I had to work the night he was here locally, at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore, so I didn't get the chance to meet him. Even so, I have five autographed copies of Pearson's latest book, Killer Summer, to giveaway. After the interview, look for the details. Here is the interview with Ridley Pearson.
Lesa - Thank you for taking time to answer a few questions. Ridley, you write so many types of books, everything from the thrillers featuring Sheriff Walt Fleming to paranormal to juvenile and young adult books, some with Dave Barry. You’ve written television documentaries and movie scripts. Do you find one type of writing more enjoyable than others? How did you move from one format to another?
Ridley - I'm a storyteller. This is at the root of everything I write. I try to find characters that interest me (either real life or imaginary) and place them into an extraordinary world, whether Sun Valley, Idaho or Disney World. Readers respond to stories that make sense to them and characters that interest them. The writer's job is to continually pursue that goal of balancing character issues with plot, setting and pace.
Lesa - Would you tell us about Killer Summer?
Ridley - Killer Summer is a high octane caper novel about an attempt to steal rare wine and a teenager's desire to grow up too fast. At the story's center is Sheriff Walt Fleming (based on the real life Blaine County, Idaho sheriff, Walt Femling), a down to earth cop in a community of super rich (Sun Valley, Idaho) who must juggle his own personal family matters and a demanding job. It is written in the spirit of a heist movie like Thomas Crown Affair, or The Italian Job.
Lesa - You’ve been writing for a number of years now. Is there anything that still
surprises you about the writing profession?
Ridley - The profession is always surprising: that is, book selling changes and reinvents itself constantly -- or should be doing so! That's the "business of writing" side. The actual writing is a haven for me. I start early and stop late, and love every moment in between. It's never the same, and rarely right--so the work is never done.
Lesa - I was lucky enough to see the Rock Bottom Remainders in concert in NYC at
Webster Hall. I understand you’re a founding member. Would you tell us about the group? My husband loved Mitch Albom’s version of Jailhouse Rock. What’s
your favorite number? What instrument do you play?
Ridley - I've been the bass guitarist in the Remainders since the band was formed. We are no better now than we were then, but we do it for a good cause. When you're with Amy Tan, Dave Barry, Mitch Albom, Scott Turow, Greg Iles, Kathi Goldmark--what's not to like?
Lesa - I understand you just returned from Shanghai. Can you tell us what project you were working on?
Ridley - I taught creative writing (in English) at the university level. (The first time creative writing was taught in English in China) and had a memorable and fascinating year.
Lesa - I’m a public librarian. I always end interviews with the same question. Do you have any special memories or comments about libraries?
Ridley - My writing career started thanks the Perot Library in Old Greenwich, CT, in the 1950s. My mother served on the board for 40 years. I now serve on a Friends board of the St. Louis County Library. When living full time in the Sun Valley area, I took over 80 books out of the library--some through inter-library loan--to write my first novel, Never Look Back. Libraries have played a key role in my writing career.
Thank you again, Ridley. My review of Ridley Pearson's Killer Summer appeared June 16, here.
Ridley Pearson's website is www.ridleypearson.com
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Killer Summer by Ridley Pearson. Penguin Group, ©2009. ISBN 9780399155727 (hardcover), 384p.
If you'd like to win an autographed copy of Killer Summer, email me at Email me!. If that link doesn't work for you, the email address is: email@example.com. Your subject line should read Win "Killer Summer". Your message should include your mailing address. Entrants only in the U.S. and Canada, please.
The contest will end Thursday, July 16 at 6 p.m. PT. Jim will draw the winners at that time. The 5 winners will be notified, and the books will be sent from Penguin. Good luck!