J.E. Fishman, author of The Dark Pool, is our guest today.
Welcome to Thriller Central! Give us a quick intro to you and your work.
I’m a former Doubleday editor, literary agent and ghostwriter who turned his attention a few years ago to writing fiction full-time. My first novel, Primacy, was a thriller about the animal rights movement. Cadaver Blues, a comic noir mystery, was serialized on The Nervous Breakdown website in 2010 and published last year in book form. Now I’m out with a financial thriller, The Dark Pool.
Tell us about your latest, The Dark Pool.
Shoog Clay is a successful high school football coach in the Bronx. His star player, Antwon Meeps, is about to graduate with a scholarship. All seems well on the surface, but Antwon gets falsely accused of a crime over Christmas break and then mysteriously freed. When another player on the team is found hanged in the gym, Shoog and Antwon begin to understand that events are being orchestrated around them to serve the purposes of a secret Wall Street investment market known as a “dark pool.” As the stakes escalate, they’ll find that the only way out is to risk their own lives.
I've always thought mystery was one of the toughest genres to write well. What is it that draws you to the genre?
Although Cadaver Blues is a fairly straight-up mystery, for my other books I’ve been more drawn to the thriller with a mystery element. I like the experience of reading books where ordinary people have to overcome great odds, so I thought I’d try my hand at writing some of these stories. The mystery-thriller structure reveals character pretty efficiently, because the hero is under extreme stress – psychological and physical. All books are mysteries in the sense that readers wonder what the hero will do next. The mystery-thriller form multiplies that exponentially, because taking no action is never an option for the hero. Lives are at stake.
Are there any mystery writers whom you particularly admire, either your contemporaries or from the past?
There are many. To name a few in mystery I’d say Raymond Chandler, James Crumley, Peter James, James Lee Burke – what is it about the name James? I find great entertainment in comic mystery writers like Carl Hiassen and Janet Evanovich. In mysteries that bleed into suspense, I admire Ruth Rendell, Daniel Silva, and Michael Koryta a great deal. So many more. I’m sure I left out a dozen.
You have a unique perspective on the publishing industry, having worked as an editor, an agent, and a ghostwriter. What are your thoughts about the way the industry is changing? Any predictions for the future?
It’s the best of times and the worst of times. The worst because it’s harder than ever for novelists to get attention, as people have more and more entertainment options. The best because the playing field for authors is more level than it’s been in generations. We have the tools to follow our own muse and still expose our work to readers, rather than rely solely on gatekeepers. And this freedom will usher in an era of great creativity. That’s my first prediction. As for mystery and thriller authors, the only further prediction I’d make is that bookstores will be a smaller part of their future. I’m not going out on a limb with that, I guess, as it’s already happening.
What's coming up for you? Is your next book underway? Any appearances scheduled?
Regarding appearances, I don’t do signings – which I think were invented by the devil to drain authors’ souls – but I’ll show up for any book club between Washington and Boston, and I have a couple of those on the schedule. My next book, I hope, will be three books, which I’m deep into – a series of unique police procedural thrillers. My agent doesn’t want me mentioning them yet, but I let it slip at the very end of the ebook version of The Dark Pool. Then I’ll have a new Phu Goldberg mystery, Ruby Red Dead. And after that a supernatural thriller about Typhoid Mary.
Where can readers find you online?
All the usual places. I’d recommend they start at my website: http://jefishman.com. From there they can visit all the social networks, if they go in for that. Also, I’ve begun blogging frequently for the Huffington Post.
Thanks very much for chatting with us!
The pleasure was mine.