Below is a brief excerpt of an interview between Autumn House author Andrew Bourelle and Thriller Magazine. To read the full review, visit their site here.
Are there any professions or experiences you have had that have helped you as a writer?
I was a newspaper reporter for about six years after I graduated from college. Writing fiction is very different from writing journalistically. However, the experience helped me tremendously. I learned to write quickly. I learned to write even when I don’t feel like it. It made me a disciplined writer. I don’t sit in front of a blank computer screen and wait for inspiration to strike. I know the only way to make the words come easier is to put them down even when the writing is difficult.
Being a reporter also gave me a lot of interesting life experiences to draw from: sitting in a courtroom for a murder trial, taking a tour of a maximum-security prison, doing a ride-along with paramedics, learning about how local government works, covering a wildfire and being on scene to feel the heat of flames and see ash falling from the gray sky like snowflakes. There were all kinds of things I did as a newspaper reporter that I’ll be drawing from as a writer for the rest of my life.
What project have you enjoyed working on the most?
I’ll describe two (because I couldn’t decide on just one):
The first is my novel Heavy Metal, which was published in 2017 by Autumn House Press. This was my first attempt at writing a novel. I’d been writing short stories for years, and Heavy Metal was very much an experiment to see if I could write something longer. I didn’t think about marketing or audience or if I could get it published—I just wrote the book I wanted to write. I wanted it to be a character study that showed a week in the life of a depressed teenager, but I also wanted to build and maintain suspense. I think of the book as a literary thriller. I’m heartened when I read that people call it a “page-turner” or say it was “impossible to put down.” And I was beyond thrilled to win the Autumn House Fiction Prize. I’ve read several of the winners of the prize, and I’m humbled to be in the same company as these fantastic literary authors.
The second project was Texas Ranger, which I coauthored with James Patterson. Jim selected one of my short stories, “Cowboy Justice,” for The Best American Mystery Stories 2015, and afterward he asked if I wanted to collaborate with him. Our first project was a novella called The Pretender, which was a lot of fun to work on. To coauthor a full-length novel with him was an even bigger thrill. He’s a master of the mystery/thriller genre, and I learned so much from working with him. Texas Ranger comes out Aug. 13, and I can’t wait to see it in bookstores!