Robert Dugoni is quickly becoming one of the most popular police procedural authors with his Tracy Crosswhite series! We were able to catch up with him to get his thoughts on the series and what he sees in the future.
- 1. What do you find most challenging/rewarding about writing?
Someone just asked me that question and I said, “Writing is like breathing. I feel better when I do it.” Yeah, I was being facetious, but it’s true. I love to write, and like all people who love something, when you’re not doing it you feel crappy. The most challenging part is making the characters come alive for the reader, to make the characters have problems and issues just like readers have. When I can do that, readers become immersed in the story and it becomes real for them. I love to receive emails from readers telling me that they stayed up very late to finish one of my novels. That means I’ve done my job.
2. The Trapped Girl is the fourth in the Tracy Crosswhite series, can we expect more? (I sure hope so)
Tracy 5, “Close to Home” is already finished and is being copy-edited. It will be out next summer. After that, I have a literary novel, “The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hill” which will be out in April 2018. Then it will be back to Tracy. I’ll keep writing them so long as they are fresh and people enjoy them.
3. Of all your novels which has been your favorite to write?
I loved My Sister’s Grave because it was challenging. I really created everything out of whole-cloth and learned my characters and my story along the way. It was scary at times, but I trusted the process. I also really enjoyed The Trapped Girl because I had this 20 year old woman talking to me the entire time I wrote and finally I just gave in and wrote her scenes in first person, as she told them to me. Little did I know that the entire book would suddenly come together.
4. Do you prefer writing legal thrillers or more of the police procedural with Tracy Crosswhite?
I love them both. There is something intriguing about courtroom dramas that pull the reader into the story. But I also love sitting down with experts in their field and asking them questions and finding scenes in my novels I had never contemplated. My friend, Chris Humphreys says your scenes are in your research and he’s right.
5. What are you working on now?
Tracy 5, Close to Home, which I’m editing with my editors. I’m also working on Tracy #6 and I suspect I’ll be editing Sam Hill here shortly.
6. Who are your favorite authors?
I don’t really have one, other than Stephen King. But he’s on another planet than the rest of us. The man is so gifted it’s scary. The Green Mile. The Shawshank Redemption. 11-22-63. The details of those stories is remarkable. Beyond that, I just love to read a good book, and I read everything. I read mysteries, thrillers, romance, literary. I read “Boy” books and “Girl” books, young adult. Anything with a good story and characters, I’ll read it.
7. What t.v. shows and movies are you currently into?
Love The Crown. Love Victoria. Loving Westworld. Beyond that, I’m a sitcom guy. I love the creation of each character with a unique quality that makes that person memorable. I also am impressed that good sitcoms can tell a story that truly moves you, makes you laugh, sometimes cry in under 30 minutes. No wasted words. It is a gift and screenwriters who get it write are remarkable.
8. What are a few of your favorite books, either already out or even coming soon?
I named a few by Stephen King. I love The Nightengale, A Man Called Ove, Blind Your Ponies. My buddy Sheldon Siegel has a new one coming out called The Felony Murder Rule, which I’m really enjoying. In Harm’s Way – The Sinking of the Indianapolis. Frozen in Time, The Boston Girl. It’s a wide variety, I know. But I’ve really enjoyed them all.
9. I know you teach about writing, (I have been to the novel writing intensive with you and Steven James and highly recommend to anyone wanting to pursue writing). What would be your number one piece of advice for aspiring writing?
Learn the craft. Writing is a job. It is a craft. People teach it because it can be taught. You wouldn’t pick up a violin and start playing it in public without lessons. You wouldn’t operate on someone unless you had been trained in medicine as a surgeon. Writing is no different. It is a craft. Take time to study it and find what works and why and what doesn’t.
10. What do you enjoy doing when not writing?
I love to travel to other countries and I love to work out. I really love watching my kids play sports, but my son is now in college and my daughter is injured so I’m going through serious withdrawals. I also work out a lot – It keeps me sane, and that’s a good thing when you listen to people in your head for a living.