Interview with A.J. Thibault, Author of Deadly Serious

08 Jun 2021

What can you tell us about your new release, Deadly Serious?

Deadly Serious is a mystery released on May 26, 2021 by the publisher, Encircle Publications. It was selected by BookBub as one of their featured new monthly releases for June. Deadly Serious tells the story of a Los Angeles-based standup comic who witnesses a brutal murder and discovers a secret code he doesn’t know he has. He is hunted down as he tries to figure out the code and release the information to the public and along the way is compromised by a new love, who turns out is a CIA agent. 

What or who inspired you to become an author?

Before I started writing novels I had written over 20 screenplays. A UCLA film school classmate and television writer who had just been published suggested I give novel writing a try. So I did. Instead of 105 pages, it was 100,000 words. So there was a period of adjustment. But I loved it. 

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

When I read Tom Wolfe‘s, the Right Stuff, I wanted to make the movie. Other books or authors I have enjoyed include the Tale of Two Cities, Robert Ludlum, the Bourne Identity, John Le Carre the Spy Who Came in From the Cold and as a kid I read all of the Hardy Boys and James Bond books.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

Thriller writer Lee Child would be an interesting guest. He has a way of creating really interesting and dynamic scenes. I would ask him about his habits and routine because I think that gets to the essence of the work of a writer.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

To me writing is like painting. You start with a vision or simple idea and do a rough pencil sketch and then little by little, if the idea captures you, you start to fill it in and add color and textures, characters and plot. I am looking for conflict, a debate or a big idea where a main character and the opponent can battle it out. When it works it seems like there are clues, scenes and characters that pop out from your environment and you are able to incorporate them into the work. I have gotten used to the idea that you may not have the structural sequencing just right in the beginning, but like a puzzle, you keep adding and trying to fit in more pieces to complete the picture and move things around. And all of a sudden the work can become very dynamic and exciting. 

What is a typical day like for you?

As a younger writer out of college I would get up early in the morning, lock myself in my room and leave a note for my roommates not to disturb me and write for the first four hours of the day. I found that by thinking anything or writing anything and just jumping in, it spurred the flow of thoughts, words, sentences and paragraphs that would follow. I would break for lunch, swim, attend classes and then socialize in the evening. Today my routine is a little bit different since I have a busy life, am married and have teenage kids. I get up early in the morning, listen to Tchaikovsky and I’m usually captured by one or two key scenes or ideas and instead of writing them, I mostly dictate into Temi or Rev, then transcribe them and then move everything over to Scrivener. I used to use Word but that was a while ago. I still break for lunch. 

What scene from Deadly Serious was your favorite to write?

The opening scene is dynamic and brings together the main character, the opponent, the ally, and the love interest. It was intriguing to me because I wanted to capture the reader but at the same time, when you have a handful of characters in a scene, it gives you the ability to go in lots of different directions, drop clues and red herrings. Fun.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Among other things and like millions of other people, I am a fan of Tony Robbins and I love the idea of being compassionate, living a worthwhile life, and raising your standards.

A.J. Thibault is the author of the new book Deadly Serious

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rebecca