Author Interview

REGGIE NADELSON

By Chris High


Chris

Fresh Kills is a very intense novel. Do you find that writing the Artie Cohen novels in the first person narrative style helps the intensity?

Reggie

Yes, I feel that writing in the first person really does help the intensity, it's a traditional convention in crime novels, and gives, I think, a real sense of taking the reader into your (tortured) confidence.)

Chris

You have a background in journalism and documentary film-making. What made you eventually decide to put “pen to paper” and begin your first novel and why did to select Crime as a genre?

Reggie

I guess all journalists think about writing a novel, and for me it was kind of put up or shut up. So I just took the plunge, wrote a few chapters and miraculously, found a publisher.

Chris

Maxine, Artie's wife, is a 9/11 widow and there are a lot books and TV shows referencing September 11th as pivotal to their sub-plots. With the United 93 movie being so successful, do you feel it will be long before a novel based within these terrible events will be written and published?

Reggie

Well, there are already quite a few novels based on it, or in part based on it. My Disturbed Earth, the last but one Artie book was, in a sense, a 9/11 novel. I'm sure many more to come, but few as good, simple and unsentimental as United 93.

Chris

Your non-fiction book, Comrade Rockstar, is to be made into a feature film starring Tom Hanks. This must be very exciting? How much input did you have with selecting the lead role and are you happy with the choice? Who would you choose to play Artie Cohen?

Reggie

I had no input. Tom hanks liked the story and optioned the book. I'm thrilled, of course. I think Hanks is a brilliant choice for Dean Reed (Comrade Rockstar), especially since the really interesting part of his life was when he was around Hanks' current age.

Chris

Of what does a “typical” writing day consist for you? Do you have any set routines?

Reggie

Pretty ordinary. Up as early as possible, out for coffee, back to desk, write write write, avoidance usually in form of rearranging my closet, then some more work, then out again.

Chris

Fresh Kill deals with the subject of loss on many different levels. How did you research the novel and how much of the plot is based on fact?

Reggie

This one really is fiction. The only research I did was to go to Staten Island where it's set a few times. And talk to a few people about child offenders. Otherwise, mostly out of my head.

Chris

What advice do you have for aspiring authors wanting to break through?

Reggie

I think the only advice is to read and read and read. Read a lot and read everything. Learn about stuff but avoid all media and writing courses as they are just self referential, and what you want to know about is people and the world. Eavesdrop on the tube for dialogue. And only write if you can't bear not to. It ain't easy.

Chris

Which authors have had the greatest influence on your writing and whose work are you currently reading?

Reggie

I think John Updike and Phillip Roth the two greatest living American authors, for me. I'm currently rereading Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, which is a masterpiece.

Chris

What do you do when not working? Reggie

Read. Movies. Theatre, Travel, see friends, yak on the phone, hang out, shop-sadly nothing very eccentric, wish I drove a bus, or had a side-line in something exotic, but just the regular pleasures of modern urban life.

Chris

What's next for Reggie Nadelson & Artie Cohen? Are you scheduled to appear at any festivals in the UK this year?

Reggie

Next Artie will be called Foreign Body. I've just been to Hay and am doing Edinburgh end of August. I think that's about it until 2007.


ABOUT THE INTERVIEWER

Formerly a Chef, publican, shop manager, supermarket shelf-filler, library employee and deliverer of lambs, Chris High now dedicates most of his time to writing and journalism. He has successfully collaborated with singer Chris de Burgh on a collection of song based short stories available from his Website, and is currently in the process of completing his first Crime novel. Chris lives on Merseyside, England, with his cat Tigger and his dog, Duke.


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