My main rule when taking on a writing project is: write every day, even if just for fifteen minutes. It adds up. Also I broadcast my show from home for much of 2020 so I had no commute, and I had only two reporting trips, as opposed to the dozens I would normally have in an election year, so finding the time to write was less of an issue.
2. Seeing as this latest novel is a follow-up to your previous bestseller, The Hellfire Club, did you feel any added pressure while writing this story to live up to what was created in the first novel?
I felt the opposite pressure: to make it better. I see the flaws in everything I do, and The Hellfire Club is certainly no exception.
3. What did you learn about yourself while writing ‘The Devil May Dance’?
That I can not only write myself into a place where I feel trapped and unsure of where to go, I can create the escape.
4. What can readers expect from this book?
Readers can expect to enter the world of the Rat Pack in the early 1960s: actors, actresses, booze, Vegas, restaurants, movie sets, mobsters, groupies. They can expect to see Charlie and Margaret's relationship continue to evolve and grow. And -- hopefully -- they can expect to be caught up in a perplexing page-turning mystery.
5. What makes the late 1950s-early 1960s time period such a compelling and literary rich setting for these stories?
The era is marked by a surface romanticism that masks deeper menaces.
6. What excites you most about ‘The Devil May Dance’?
I'm frankly more nervous than excited. I hope people like it! But the era was very fun to write about and I think I've grown as a writer.
7. How will this book open the eyes of readers that don’t understand or believe in the dark and most secret side of Hollywood?
A lot of the darker material in the book is real or based on reality. I would say more but spoilers.
8. When you were writing the characters, Charlie and Margaret Marder, did you have anyone specific in mind and if not, who do they remind you of?
There are elements of lots of folks in both of them, obviously my wife and myself but beyond them other friends and figures from the era. When thinking about Charlie's time in battle, I thought about my grandfather and his brother, who went off to fight in World War II, though only my grandfather came home.
These were politicians who revered arts and science and quoted poets in their speeches, so I'm sure they would find his public persona crude. Which is not to say they wouldn't find his skills fascinating and his appetites understandable.
10. What do you miss most about covering President Trump?
11. What is your favorite Frank Sinatra song?
The Way You Look Tonight, but it changes all the time.
12. What’s the best advice you have ever received on happiness?
More of a realization than advice: once you're an adult, your happiness is in your own hands.
13. What’s your best advice for getting over writer’s block?
Write every day, even if you don't think it's any good. You can always delete it. But putting words on a page might lead you somewhere.
14. What’s the best book you have read this year?
15. Do you plan on writing more books in the future?
Absolutely, I'm having a lot of fun.
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