Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Interview with Jason Starr on "The Pack"

Over at Spinetingler, I have an interview with Jason Starr about his new novel, The Pack.

Here is an excerpt:

Both The Pack and your previous novel, Panic Attack, had a lot to do with the financial and emotional pressures of the modern nuclear family, as opposed to the singles scene as presented in The Follower. Was this shift deliberate?

I wrote an earlier novel, Nothing Personal, which was also about a family with a kid, but I wanted to take The Pack in a different direction than my recent crime fiction. So, I was trying to move away from Panic Attack. After I wrote Lights Out, The Follower and Panic Attack all in order I wanted to do something a little different, more of a post-9/11 type of suspense novel where it starts off in the real world and where weirdness slowly intrudes, but with very real, viable characters. That’s what I was going for here. I don’t think I’m tying to write “family” novels, but I see that now that you point it out.

Like in many of your novels, New York City plays a crucial role in The Pack. How did you pick the locations?

I try to find the neighborhood that would be best to tell the story. So, for Simon, he starts out as a high-paid advertising executive, so I knew I had to put him in a somewhat affluent area. I chose 89th and Columbus because I used to live there on that corner, so I knew it very well from my own experience. On a side note, the building that Martin Scorsese filmed in Taxi Driver—where Robert DeNiro’s character lived and did the famous “You Talkin’ To Me?” scene—was on 89th and Columbus, the same corner where I lived, but it’s a different building now. It was a tenement, but it was torn down. The condo where I lived there in my 20s is still there. So, I knew the building very well. I’ve done that before—I’ll choose a location because I have personally spent a lot of time there. It saves having to do research, but it also keeps it personal for me in my head. I felt like I wanted the reader to identify with Simon, and I wanted to pretend I was like Simon in that situation, so thinking in an area that’s familiar to me helped me accomplish that as a writer.

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