John Knoerle’s first novel, Crystal Meth Cowboys, was optioned by Fox for a TV series. His second novel, The Violin Player, won the Mayhaven Award for Fiction. His new novel, A Pure Double Cross, is Book One of the American Spy Trilogy. John will be on virtual book tour in March 2009 to promote his latest mystery thriller novel, A Pure Double Cross. We interviewed him to find out more about his wonderful new book.
Q: Thank you for this interview, John. Can we begin by having you tell us why you chose mystery thriller to write?
A: I wanted to try to combine the hardboiled mystery with the spy thriller, taking a former OSS spy and putting him in the mob underworld, having him use his espionage skills in a setting that is new to him. It worked out pretty well!
Q: Did you outline before you wrote your book or did you just go with the flow?
A: I wish I could just go with the flow. I tried that once but kept writing myself into corners. I think the author of a mystery novel needs to know the ending before he can begin.
Q: Who was your favorite character in A Pure Double Cross and why?
A: I would have to say Hal Schroeder, the lead character, because he’s a wiseass like me. And a bit of a bumbler to boot, like me as well.
Q: Who was your least favorite character?
A: I suppose Jimmy, though an author shouldn’t really dislike any of his characters. Some bad guys are fascinating but Jimmy, though cunning, is basically just a thug with a limited emotional range. As I wrote in the book, “Jimmy had two expressions, bored and angry. Bored was bored and angry covered everything else.”
Q: Can you tell us about the setting and why you chose it?
A: The setting is Cleveland in late ’45. I was born there in ’49 and I fondly remember Cleveland in all its smoke-belching glory.
Q: What was the hardest part to write?
A: The outline by far. Filling in the details later is difficult but satisfying. Getting all the plot points lined up is excruciating. And editing, once all the hard work is done, is great fun!
Q: What was the inspiration behind the story? Where were you when you came up with the idea?
A: I was watching the old movie T-Men where Treasury agents go undercover to infiltrate a mob of counterfeiters. The suspense was gripping. I stole the basic idea then added the element of a former OSS spy.
Q: Do you plan on writing more mystery thriller novels?
A: “A Pure Double Cross” is Book One of the American Spy Trilogy. In Book Two our hero travels to post-war Berlin.
Q: Thank you for this interview, John. Can you tell us where we can find out more about you and your wonderful new book?
A: I’ve got a nice page on Amazon, and the Web site is bluesteelpress.