In the latest of his acclaimed novels featuring Dismas Hardy, John Lescroart skillfully and subtly weaves together a story of a privileged youth on trial for murder, and an entire city on the brink of panic, taking this popular series to new heights of stylish suspense. r this hardworking novelist, who has been writing all his adult life but who only started to chart big around the mid-1990s. Lescroart (pronounced les-KWA) grew up with an equal interest in music and writing. After college, he concentrated his energies on the former, performing alone and in bands around the San Francisco Bay area and scribbling in whatever spare time he could find.
But he set a deadline for himself, and when he had not made it by age 30, he quit music to focus on writing. Within weeks he finished up a novel-in-progress based on his experiences living in Spain. He submitted it to a former high school teacher who was less than dazzled; but the mans wife loved it and entered the manuscript in a local competition.
Although it would not formally see print for another four years, Sunburn won the prestigious Joseph Henry Jackson Award, beating out Anne Rices Interview with a Vampire for the best novel by a California author. To support his art, Lescroart held down a dizzying succession of jobs from house painting and bartending to working as a legal secretary. At one point, just as he was ready to enroll in the creative writing program at Amherst, he was offered a lucrative gig he could not afford to pass up, and graduate school fell by the wayside.
As the years passed, some of his books were published, but he never felt financially secure enough to write full-time. Then, in 1989, he contracted spinal meningitis after body-surfing in contaminated seawater. He emerged from his life-threatening ordeal with a new resolve, quit the last of his day jobs, and became a real working novelist.
It took a few tries for Dismas Hardy to become the fully realized character Lescroarts fans have come to know and love. Debuting in 1989s Dead Irish, Hardy began life as an ex-copex-attorney turned bartender and did not return to the practice of law until his third appearance in Hard Evidence (1993). From then on, interest grew in the series, which has snowballed into a lucrative franchise for the author.
In 2006, Lescroart introduced another San Francisco-based dynamic duo, private investigator Wyatt Hunt and homicide detective Devin Juhle, in The Hunt Club. Slightly younger than Hardy and Glitsky but drawn with the same humanizing brush, the protagonists of this series have proved immensely popular with readers. Incidentally, Lescroarts writing success has allowed him to return to his other love He has founded his own independent label, CrowArt Records, which showcases some of his own music and produces CDs by a number of artistfriends.
At long last, John Lescroart is able to enjoy the best of both worlds. Good To Know In our exclusive interview, Lescroart let us in on some fun and fascinating insights about himself and his life as a writer First, its Less-KWAH. Heres a tip dont have that name.
Get a pen name that people can pronounce and remember. Just this Saturday, I gave a talk at a well-attended writers conference. There were probably a hundred people in the room, and the talk went very well.
Five minutes later, I was in the bathroom washing my hands and around the corner, I heard a guy tell another that hed just heard the greatest talk by John le Carré. You know, The Tailor of Panama and the Smiley books? Good stuff.
Im going to go buy all his books. Second, I didnt have to quit the day job to keep writing. One of the most productive times in my early writing life was while I had a full-time job as a word processor in a law firm and also worked part-time at night, often working until 1100 p. m.
How did I do any writing, you might ask? Well, I did it between 600 and 800 in the morning, four pages a day, and published five books in six years. But because a) I was making some money doing regular work and didnt have to be scrounging for coin and b) I was panic-stricken at the little time that was left in the day to write, I wound up becoming more efficient.
Third, I dont wait on inspiration, and I refuse to acknowledge writers block. I simply sit down and put words on the paper. Its like being a carpenter writers build things.
Carpenters dont wake up and say, Hmm, Im not in the mood to drive nails today. No, they go to work and do the job. Its not very romantic, but thats how I approach writing.
If you have a good relationship, nurture it. The great god of Writing with a capital W isnt the only thing in life. It can be a great part and a big part, but it shouldnt consume you on a daily basis and shouldnt make your life miserable all the time.
Try not to get nuts about the greater success of other writers were really not in competition with other writers. Were only trying to outdo ourselves, to get better at our jobs. Go on dates.
Spend some time outside (fishing is good, so is skiing, hiking, swimming, jogging). Stay in shape writing is a marathon. Dont drink too much.
Have as much fun as you can. Lescroart used to perform as Johnny Capo in a group called Johnny Capo and His Real Good Band. Although he no longer performs with that outfit, he still pursues music as the founder of his very own independent label called CrowArt Records.
The first project on the label was Date Night, a CD of his own compositions performed by master pianist Antonio Castillo de la Gala. Followers of Lescroarts writing may recognize the in-joke in the albums title. As he explains on his web site, Fans of Dismas Hardy will know that Diz and Frannie (Dismass wife) set aside every Wednesday night for some time alone together its their date night.