Interview with David Chill
Author of Post Pattern
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How would you describe Post Pattern to a new reader?
- Post Pattern grabs you from the first chapter. The writing puts you on the edge of your seat and keeps you there until the climactic end of the story.
The main character, Burnside, is a private investigator, working to find out why someone is trying to kill a local college football star. As the novel unfolds, the plot becomes more complicated and the tension mounts.
Burnside is on a mission to crack the case, and it involves drugs, strippers and some pretty frightening bad guys. He is perfect in the role as a white knight to people in trouble, and he continues on with his investigation long after it seems sensible. But as he unravels a series of baffling leads, he finds himself face-to-face with a betrayal from his past, one he’s been trying to escape.
This is a great mystery with a tight plot, and is loaded with terrific characters. The writing is crisp and sharp, with snappy dialogue and action packed scenes. The influences of Raymond Chandler and Robert B. Parker are apparent in the dialogue, and some of the lines are laugh-out-loud funny. The story moves quickly in this page turner, and the writing will keep you engaged throughout the book.
A thoroughly absorbing and fantastic read!
To what extent is Post Pattern based on your own experiences?
- At its core, this is a story about siblings, and one that is deeply personal to me. My older brother was killed in a car accident when he was just 24 years old and that left an indelible mark on my life and on my writing. Oddly, I did not intentionally set out to write about my brother in Post Pattern, and it wasn't until I was finished with the first draft did I fully comprehend the personal implications of the story. In many ways, the exploration of sibling relationships in my novels is an opportunity for me to better come to grips with my brother's death. And as Joan Didion described it in The Year of Magical Thinking, a goal of understanding a loved one's death is sometimes our way of trying to bring them back to life.
Post Pattern is a good example of this genre. Who has inspired you?
- In the crime fiction genre, my influences have come primarily from the giants of the field, such as Raymond Chandler, Ross Thomas, Robert B. Parker and Dashiell Hammett. As my books are all set in Los Angeles, some local writers, Les Roberts, Gar Haywood, and of course, Robert Crais and Walter Mosley have served as inspiration as well.
You make good use of locations in the book – there’s a real sense of place. Are these locations significant for you?
- Los Angeles plays a major role in all of my books. L.A. is a fascinating city, as it is home to an extraordinary level of wealth, sin, beauty and despair. L.A. is often called the great experiment, as it brings people from many different cultures together, and we have to learn to live with all of them.
On a personal level, I earned a master’s degree from USC, and lived in the heart of downtown L.A. for a number of years. It was my love for the Trojan football team helped spur the creation of my protagonist, Burnside, a former USC football star turned LAPD officer, and ultimately a private investigator.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors? How would you advise a new author about traditional publishing versus self publishing?
- While you can't ignore the old adage to write about what you know, there are limits to that approach. We only know so much! I would submit that new authors should write about those things which they feel passionate. It's important to remember that when writing a book, you will be living with the story in a very intimate way for many months -- or possibly years. Having strong feelings about your subject matter will get you through those dark days when you are troubled by the self-doubt and writer's block that most writers have to endure at some point. Regarding traditional vs. self-publishing, that is up to the individual author. If they feel confident they have the business skills to market their own books, self-publishing is a good way to go. It has worked for me!
Which authors do you most admire? Which qualities, in particular, have influenced your writing?
- I am a fan of great writing, so that includes mainstream fiction and non-fiction. Over the years, I have loved reading the works of novelists such as John Updike, Saul Bellow, Kurt Vonnegut, Charles Bukowski, Pat Conroy, as well as non-fiction authors Studs Terkel, Joan Didion, and David Rakoff. I only dream I could write as well as they could! In the crime fiction category, it is hard to ignore Raymond Chandler and Robert B. Parker, they are the godfathers of the modern mystery.
Post Pattern is a thrilling read, a real page turner. How important was it to you to write with pace and energy?
- I did not set out to write at a fast pace -- but that's exactly what happened. I got on a roll, and at a few points, I felt as if I were taking dictation from some dark corner of my mind. Post Pattern only took me six weeks to write, and I have never written a book that quickly, before or since.
If Post Pattern were to be adapted for TV or film, who would you see in the lead role? Who did you have in your mind’s eye when you wrote him/her?
- That's easy -- I'd want to play the lead role of Burnside! He is my alter ego. And I sometimes make the point that while I am not Burnside, Burnside is me.
How have readers responded to Post Pattern?
- Post Pattern has been showered with terrific reviews from readers. One very unexpected benefit of writing Post Pattern was to have received a lot of fan mail from my readers -- who praise the book, and ask when the next novel will be published. It is a remarkable and humbling experience to get this type of response.
Where next? What are you working on now?
- I have just published the 10th book in the Burnside series. I normally take about a month to rest and let my mind wander, and at that point the ideas begin to spring forward. The 11th book is already being plotted out!
On a dark Los Angeles freeway, someone fires a gunshot at a local football star.
His family turns to Private Investigator Burnside, a former football star himself, who has recently left the LAPD. Burnside encounters beautiful girls, wayward athletes and overworked cops on his way toward finding a killer who knows he's on their trail.
Fighting his way through a baffling investigation, the body count starts to pile up and Burnside's own life is now being threatened. And as he navigates down this perilous path, Burnside also comes to grips with a betrayal from his past, one that keeps returning to him, no matter how hard he tries to avoid it.
Set against the sun drenched backdrop of a hot Los Angeles summer, the tension mounts as Burnside works feverishly towards nabbing the culprit -- before they can get to him.