Interview de Cody McFadyen – VO

Onirik : I read in your website that you are a very big reader (as I am!) and that you like Stephen King. What are the reasons that make you like the thriller genre? Is that why you chose to write thrillers? Do you only read thrillers or other kinds of literature?

Cody McFadyen : Growing up, I read primarily fantasy, horror, and science fiction, with the occasional historical novel. When Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow came out, I read that and was immediately hooked on the thriller genre. I enjoy the genre because it really lets you engage with all the facets of humanity. You have good and evil and the things in between. You have the excitement, a little bit (or a lot) of scare, and the examination of the frailty of the character of man.

I read primarily thrillers now, but since I hit 40 and decided to get all nostalgic (I just bought a phonograph player and some albums, for example) I’m revisiting some of my favourite novels of the past.

O : You have also said that characters are the most important thing in a novel. How did you imagine Smoky Barrett, your principal character? Why did you choose to tell the story from her point of view?

C.M : Smoky came into my mind fully formed. I’m not sure exactly where she came from, or maybe I just don’t want to understand…

O : As your character of Shadowman, are you interested in Jack the Ripper? Why did you choose this serial killer in particular?

C.M : I chose him because he is iconic, and thus was a realistic object of obsession for the killer in the novel.

O : Did you do a lot of research about FBI operating, murderers and psychological aspects for your novels?

C.M. : I did quite a bit of research. I use the internet heavily, but I also read Mind Hunter by John Douglas. I additionally purchased Techniques of Crime Scene Investigation, a textbook, and Practical Homicide Investigation, a textbook. And I’m always inquiring… I like to collect little factoids.

O : When you are writing, have you a fixed planning or do you write when the inspiration comes? How is your mood during your work? Does your family help you?

C.M : When I’m writing, I need to try and write something every day, and I generally try to give myself a goal of pages written. Writing is work, and I’ve found you can’t push it quite like some things (at least I can’t) but you also can’t sit around waiting for the muse to visit. For me, getting started is always the hardest part. When I wake up, writing is usually the last thing I want to do. I’d rather read, or watch TV or work on the house,or, or, or… but I find if I force myself to start writing, the ball starts rolling and I get caught up in it.

I’d say my mood does affect my work. I’ve pretty level-headed, but I have bad days like anyone else, and I do find it difficult to work when I get distracted. My family helps me by tolerating my distance and inaccessibility when I am on a writing binge. 🙂

O : What was your first feeling when you knew that you would be published and then, when you had your first book in your hands?

C.M : My first feeling was : « Ha ha, fooled them, they think I’m a writer! » I thought they’d figure out I was a fraud who didn’t deserve to be called an author sooner or later. My second feeling was pure ecstasy. When I first saw my book, it was another moment of total unreality. I remember being in London and seeing someone looking at my novel in a bookstore and feeling as though I were watching a fiction movie. Completely unreal.

O : You had very different jobs. Do you have any regrets to have stopped writing during these years or do you think that you needed these experiences to find your way?

C.M. : Regret is easy. I choose to think that I started writing when I was ready to start writing. That might just be self-serving bullshit, but I can’t deny that how I write now is influenced by my understanding of life to date.

O : We don’t yet have the good fortune to read The Face of Death in France. Can you tell us more about this novel?

C.M : The Face of Death examines the following idea: instead of a serial killer who chooses many victims of the same body type, and kills them, we have a killer who chooses to alter the course of a young girl’s future by following her through her life and killing anyone she loves, or who loves her. We meet her at the age of 16. She’s in a house surrounded by the bodies of her foster family, and she has a gun to her head. She says : « I want to speak to Smoky Barrett, or I’ll shoot myself ». And things develop from there…

O : Why did you write a follow-up to Shadowman with the same characters? Will we know more details about Smoky’s team members: Callie, James and Alan?

C.M : I had always intended for this to be a series. I like the characters, and I’m curious to see how they all develop. And yes, of course, we’ll all learn more about these characters as time goes on and the series progresses.

O : Can you tell us your projects? Have you begun a new book? Will you write a following with Smoky again?

C.M : I have actually finished a third novel featuring Smoky and her team, currently titled The Darker Side. I’m mid editing it, but I think readers of the series will be happy with the result. It’s all about secrets, and how keeping them can become a prison, and can have deadly results.

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