RARA-AVIS: Re: Question for Michael Connelly

From: michaelconnelly187 ( michaelconnelly187@yahoo.com)
Date: 31 Mar 2008

i think the thing that makes Bosch different in terms of creative origin is that he was my third swing at the pitch. I had written two novels that were never published -- never even sent out for consideration. These were private detective novels and in these I think I went through that process in which the protagonist was an idealized version of me. These were learning experiences but not good enough to be published. I put them away for good. So when I came to the third effort -- and it was going to be my last if it was not published -- I decided to go in a different direction character-wise. I wrote about a guy who was quite different from me. On almost every level I went the opposite from me and so Harry Bosch was born out of that decision. As far as a long term plan I really didn't have any -- and certainly nothing like what has happened. I just knew from my reading in the genre that character is king. So I threw as much into the character as possible, as much history as I could get in. This looks now as though I was building the foundation of a long series. I really wasn't. My idea at first was that I could write two books. The Black Echo and what would become The Last Coyote. But the response from my agent and then editor was better than I expected. They immediately started talking about it being a sustainable series and advised me to hold off the Last Coyote story because that sounded like a potential end to the series -- Harry investigating his mother's long unsolved murder. So I wrote two books that came directly and easily out of what I was doing as a news reporter at the time. I got to go to Mexico with a couple of LAPD homicide dectectives on a case and I wrote about it in the paper. I then turned that into fiction for my second book, The Black Ice. I also spent about six months covering the civil rights trial of several LAPD cops who had shot and killed three robbers at a McDonald's. I took much of the framework of the trial and used it in The Concrete Blonde, in which Bosch is sued by the family of the Dollmaker, the serial killer he killed before the series began. The series after those first three books had moderate but not impressive sales success. So I wrote The Last Coyote thinking it was the end of the series. I then wrote The Poet, a non- series thriller. It had a big jump in terms of sales and success and my leverage in publishing rose. I was able to get a deal that would allow me to write one Bosch book and one thriller. So Bosch was back in business in Trunk Music and the thriller I wrote was Blood Work. The success of Blood Work guaranteed I could write whatever I wanted for a while. So Bosch was sustained and the readers of the stand alone thrillers Poet and Blood Work started to read the series. The next Bosch book Angels Flight hit sales on the level of Blood Work and was a best seller. Harry Bosch was sort of a made man at that point and sustaining the series was not a matter of sales. It shifted completely to whether I could creatively sustain it. And by that I mean, could I spend a year writing a story about a character I had already written about a lot. Could I still be excited about writing this character? The answer was yes but there was at least one point where I thought my energy was dissapating. So with City of Bones I had Harry walk out the door at the end with the idea that once again I was ending the series. It was around this time that I made some dramatic shifts in my personal life as well and lo and behold it was Harry who was one of the only things constant in my life. So I clung to him, re-energized the creativity associated with him and continued to write about him. So far since then I have felt very good about the character and the series. Any day I get to write about Harry Bosch remains a good day for me.

--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "cptpipes2000" <cptpipes@...> wrote:
> michaelconnelly187@> wrote:
> > i don't remember thinking Donald Southerland. Maybe now Keifer. But
> > I usually sidestep that question because I have lived with the
> > imagined vision of Bosch in my head since about 1989. It makes it
> > hard to see anybody else.
> Michael, would you share more about how you came to create Bosch? It
> seems apparent that you had him thought through as a series character
> with an extensive backstory from the first page of The Black Echo and
> that you had a vision for where he would go from very early on. Is
> this assumption correct?
> Many hardboiled protagonists strike me as an idealized version of the
> author, and Bosch does not seem to fit that bill either.
> Thanks.
> Chris

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