Interview by Michael Connelly for Barnes & Noble: Meet the Writers on 25 July 2011.
Video is available at youtube.
MICHAEL CONNELLY: My favorite authors who influenced me – who really kind of influenced Harry Bosch in particular &nadsh; are probably the big three: Raymond Chandler, who wrote the, Philip Marlowe novels; Ross Macdonald, who wrote the Lew Archer novels; and then there’s Joseph Wambaugh, who’s still writing, but is really a writer of Los Angeles stories. He was an LAPD detective and he wrote about his experiences, and those were very influential on me.
Any plans to write another book about Pierce from Chasing the Dime – or integrate him into Bosch of Haller books?Edit
CONNELLY: Boy, Henry Pierce, from Chasing the Dime. I haven't thought about him in a long time. I like the idea of all my books moving on one plane, one big mosaic, and everything is interconnected, and characters can come in and out and so forth. And I've done that with almost all my characters, except...Henry Pierce I have not, um, gone back to, not even– even in a, um, cameo form. So I guess I've got to take a look at that, and maybe see what Henry's up to. It's been almost ten years. See what he's up to, and, uh, maybe bring him into a story.
Harry Bosch is the perfect combinaton of strength and vulnerability. How did you create such a perfect character?Edit
CONNELLY: I think the greatest teacher of writing is reading. And so Harry Bosch is a guy who, uh, came out of my reading. Sure: I took creative writing classes, and I got the degrees and all that kind of stuff, but the best thing, um, that I went through was, uh, to immerse myself into the reading of all kinds of, uh, crime novels, across the genre. and from that, I came to realize that the best stuff is stuff that's lead by character as opposed to plot. And so when I started to put together this character of Harry Bosch, um– or the first novel that would have Harry Bosch in it, I realized that it's going to be character, character, character, and I spent a lot of time, uh, picking out his vulnerabilities, his strengths: everything about him.
And, you know, you're just trying to make a mirror reflection of a real person, whether it's– you're drawing from yourself or someone you know or someone you've read about or even a fictional detective that has inspired you, you draw from all that. Um, you put it all into the blender. You know, eveything that ever– has ever influenced you, you throw it all int he blender, turn it on, and, uh, you pour out something that you hope is unique, that– and to me that was Harry Bosch, and hopefully he's unique, and hopefully he's unique enough to stick around for a while.
I probably get two things, uh, related, asked the most. One is, uh: will Harry Bosch ever make it to the, uh, silver screen, and if so, uh, who's going to play him. And, unfortunately, I get asked that the most and I don't have an answer. Um, I don't know if he'll ever make it to the screen. There's been a lot of efforts and they're on-going. Um, there's people who would like to make, uh, a movie out of Harry Bosch, and, um, I hope they're successful. Um, they haven't gotten to the point, yet, of who would play him, and I can't answer it myself because I– I've built Harry's image in my head. I started writing about Harry almost twenty-five years ago, and I built him in my head, and I've had him in my head for twenty-five years. And so it's a really rock-solid image, and it's not a movie star that I know of. So it's very hard for me to jump off of that image and go, like, "oh, George Clooney," or something like that. I just– uh, um, I'm sticking with the image I have in my head.
What did you think of the movie version of The Lincoln Lawyer?Edit
CONNELLY: With the Lincoln Lawyer film project, I really could not be happier. I think the final film, um, is so loyal to the book and to the character of Mickey Haller. Um, the filmmakers just did a wonderful job in my opinion, and, um, that&ndah; that's everybody across the board, but particularly Matthew McConaughey's, uh, portrayal of Mickey, I thought, was just spot-on. He really did his homework. I mean, he contacted me, um, almost a year before they started filming, `cause he was trying to get into this character, learn about the character, wanted to know where the character came from, so he reached out to me.
And that was really the extent of my, um, involvement in the project. I wish I could say, you know, this thing is a good film all because of me, but really, I was on the sideline. I was there as a support– part of the support network when, um, McCaonaughey had questions or the director had questions, they could call me, and they didn't do it all that much, but, um, I was there when– when they needed me.
When is your next book coming out?Edit
CONNELLY: My next book is out in the end of November. It's called The Drop; it's a Harry Bosch novel, and I'm looking forward to that coming out. I had a lot of g– um, fun, you know, writing that book. Coming back to Harry after a Mickey Haller book.