Crime Thriller novelist Marcus Sakey’s third book will be in stores this Thursday, August 14th. GOOD PEOPLE is about a couple who ends up putting themselves deeply into terrible financial and emotional debt when they unsuccessfully go through multiple infertility treatments. When they think that all hope is lost, they discover a large sum of money in their dead tenant’s apartment. What happens next is far from a fairy tale ending. A nightmare of drug dealers, cops and harrowing experiences intend to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Based on the great reviews GOOD PEOPLE continues to receive, I can’t wait till it arrives in my mail box and I can dig in.
Marcus Sakey has taken time out of his busy schedule to join us here at Planet Books and answer a few questions I was curious about. Where did he get this idea? What is going on with him now and what does he like so much about those hectic book tours?
First off, thanks for having me—it’s an honor to be here. What you don’t know is that I’m not leaving…
Normally I’d just ramble on about whatever came to my head. Luckily, Karen spared you all that by providing some questions. If you have more, please don’t hesitate to post them here, or to email me HERE.
PB: Can you tell us a little about your new novel, GOOD PEOPLE?
Marcus: It’s about, well, good people, specifically a married couple that’s been trying to have a baby. They haven’t had any luck, and are being crushed by debt from fertility treatments, and that’s straining their marriage and their hope.
Then their tenant, a recluse whose rent had been barely keeping them afloat, dies unexpectedly. And in his apartment they find almost four hundred thousand dollars in cash. It seems like the answer to a prayer, a fairy tale ending. But as they soon discover, fairy tales never come cheap…
PB: Did you experience fertility treatment and financial woes or was it just a topic that is just too common right now that grabbed your attention?
Marcus: I haven’t, and I really feel for those that have.
The basis for that portion came as I was dodging starting the book. I was just surfing, the way people don’t often do anymore. A click here led to an article there that led to a personal page. And somewhere along the way I came on a community site designed for people who were trying to have children.
It was an incredibly intimate experience.
For a lot of people, having children isn’t the simple prospect it’s “supposed” to be. For a lot of people, millions, it’s a lot more challenging. It involves doctor visits and calendars and daily temperature readings and shots and procedures. It can cost an enormous amount of money and be a brutal experience.
The sites I found were incredible. Normal people posted regularly, supporting one another through this difficult process. They wrote about their frustration and pain, about their dreams, about what the process was doing to their marriage. They wrote about it with a simple honest that was heartbreaking. It certainly broke mine.
And as I read more—and I scoured these things for days—I realized that this was something I needed to write about. It was hard, and terrible, and real.
PB: When you write, do you have a specific process you go by like laptop..check, study…check, office hours… check? Or is there no rhyme or reason to your ways?
Marcus: I’m reasonably organized. If you want to write for a living, you have to treat it like a job. I write five days a week, and I have daily word counts.
Well, that’s not perfectly true anymore. It used to be that I wouldn’t get out of the chair without having written 1,000 words that I intended to keep. But lately, I’ve changed it to 5,000 words a week. Some days I just stare at the wall and hate myself. I’ve come to realize that’s part of my process. But I still need to make up the word count.
PB: What are you looking forward to happening when people read your book?
Marcus: First, always, is that I wrote something that keeps people up at night and makes them blow their train stops. I think of myself as a storyteller first.
But if I was really successful, hopefully people also feel the characters and the situation linger with them, maybe even let them think about something differently.
PB: Are you going on a book tour? What are you looking forward to most about the experience?
Marcus: I am. In the weeks following the release, I’ll be in Chicago, Phoenix, Houston, Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Portland. Later in the year I’ll be hitting Atlanta, New York, Springfield, Ann Arbor, Birmingham, and probably a few other places.
I love touring, because it gives me a chance to hang out with other book people. I hope some of your readers will drop by—it’s casual, just a chance to chat. I’m even throwing parties in Chicago, Austin, and Portland. Free booze! How can you lose?
You can find my complete schedule HERE.
PB: What do you like to read in your spare time?
Marcus:In a word? Everything. I read a lot of crime fiction, since that’s my genre, but I also read piles of literary fiction, some sci-fi, some fantasy. I could go on all day if you let me. I don’t know any novelists who aren’t first and foremost addicts of the written word. That’s half the reason we write.
PB: What are you working on now?
Marcus: Well, I can’t give away too much, because I’m only halfway through it. But I will say that my wife says it’s my best ever. God bless her.
Thanks so much to Marcus Sakey for his great insight and I wish him great success with his latest novel, GOOD PEOPLE. Marcus is also the author of THE BLADE ITSELF which won the 2007 Strand’s Critic Award for Best First Mystery Novel. His second novel is AT THE CITY’S EDGE. You can check out his website at http://MarcusSakey.com for more information. You can also find a list of Marcus’s favorite books on his site HERE. Check out a great pic of Marcus and his new book GOOD PEOPLE on MediaBistro.com HERE. (This is also just a great website full of wonderful resources.)