If you haven't yet checked out the dark, intense thrillers of Shamus award-winning FOFO, Daniel Judson, you really should. His latest, THE WATERS EDGE lives up to its gorgeous, compelling cover image... a bridge in the Hamptons that winds up the site of a horrific crime. Publishers Weekly called THE WATER'S EDGE "gripping" and "perfect for a stormy night's entertainment." And we're sure you'll agree. Dan's not much of a blogger, but did gamely allow us to throw the following questions at him, and for that, we're eternally grateful...
FO: Your new book, the thriller THE WATER'S EDGE, takes place over a 24 hour period, with every hour accounted for. Did you find this more challenging as a writer than your other books and if so, why?
DJ: Let's just say that's not something I'm going to try again for a long time. All of my books have a confined time-span -- in fact, the time-spans, I recently realized, have gotten shorter with each book I've written. 24 hours was the natural culmination of that, I suppose. Once I got from sunset to midnight I knew I'd be okay, that I could pull this off, but till that point I kept asking myself, "What the hell am I doing? This is madness."
FO: When you were writing it, did you ever feel just a little like Keiffer Sutherland?
DJ: Yes, but Keiffer Sutherland from THE LOST BOYS, so it didn't really help.
FO: The book is narrated by two troubled men: Tommy Miller (who was also in THE DARKEST PLACE) and Jake Bechet (who wasn't.) Can you decribe these two narrators? Which one is most like you?
DJ: Any troubled character is automatically like me in some way, wouldn't you agree? But I tend to give my heroes traits and set-ups I wish I possessed -- Bechet is capable and stable and tireless, does what needs to be done and lives with a woman for whom he cares deeply, while Miller has given up on his need to prove himself and lives alone but is financially secure. I'd love to be tireless and not need to prove myself and have a degree of financial security. Add a woman like Gabrielle, Bechet's lover, and I'd never complain about anything again.
FO: All your characters tend to get the crap kicked out of them. A lot. What kind of research have you done -- and can you show us the scars?
DJ: The more a hero suffers, the sweeter his or her victory. I have an extensive mixed-martial arts background, and while I was writing Bechet, a former boxer, I did a boxer's workout. I'm a frustrated method actor. As for my scars, they are all emotional -- deep gouges that just don't freaking heal, man.
FO: Besides winning the Shamus Award and being interviewed for First Offenders, what do you consider the high point of your career thusfar?
DJ: Finding out that my first published novel, THE BONE ORCHARD, was assigned reading at Southampton High School.
FO: You've written both series books and standalones. Do you have a preference, and if so, why?
DJ: I'm doing a complete standalone now -- my previous books, even the ones not part of a traditional series, are all related because a minor character from one book turns out to be a major character in the next, and vice versa. I have to say I enjoy series work more; I like to build on previous relationships. It allows for an author to, as Melville said, "mine deep."
FO: You live in Connecticut, yet all your books are set in Southhampton. What is it about that area that intrigues you most?
DJ: I lived out there during my "impressionalble years" -- 17 to 24. I have a bond with that place that probably won't ever go away.
FO: Who are some of your favorite writers of all time?
DJ: Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Updike (short stories), John Gardner, William Goldman, Leonard Cohen, James Lee Burke, Martin Cruz Smith, Henning Mankell, Donna Leon. And, of course, the First Offenders.
FO: Ah yes, the classics... If you could write a book in any genre other than crime fiction, what would it be?
DJ: Hungarian Porn. No, actually, I'd love to try a spy novel. Or a coming-of-age novel. Something where no one dies might a nice change of pace.
FO: Enough with this trivial crap. How many damn tattoos do you have, anyway?
DJ: Not enough, never enough! Give me more!