RARA-AVIS: Re: The Hell with "Writing What You Know"

From: Richard Moore ( moorich@aol.com)
Date: 29 Feb 2008

You are right about Ross Thomas drawing on his background. On the one hand, he operated in the mixed world of public affairs and elections (for public office and for union leadership) and public relations both in the U.S. (especially Washington) and internationally. This is a world I know something about and he is quite wonderful in portraying it. Only Ward Just is his rival in having a realistic Washington as a setting. I am reasonably certain he was at times drawing "a second check" from an intelligence agency as the CIA, to name one, often utilized people with natural covers as Thomas had with his day job.

As for Woolrich, I agree that his real world experience was quite limited but he mined his internal fears and terrors very successfully. I will post more on Woolrich later today as we wrap up his month.

Richard Moore

--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "jacquesdebierue"
<jacquesdebierue@...> wrote:
> I think experience can be very useful, but what counts is the
> psychologial realism of the story. We are just wrapping up a month
> about Woolrich, a guy who surely made up stories, yet they mostly
> work psychologically and are often spellbinding.
> On the other hand, I am sure that Ross Thomas was drawing on
> first-hand experience when he wrote many of his books. I can just
> sense it as I read him. Perhaps I've been fooled... With Aarons, I
> can't tell if he draws on experience or not, though obviously he
> research.
> Best,
> mrt

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