Interview with Alex Gilly, author of Devil’s Harbor
in Author Interviews, Mystery, News, Thriller
24 Aug 2015
Tell us a little bit about your new release, Devil’s Harbor.
Nick Finn is a marine interdiction agent with Customs and Border Protection. His job is to patrol the waters off Southern California in a go-fast boat, looking for smugglers. One morning before dawn, he and his patrol partner, Diego Jimenez, spot a boat creeping along the coast of Catalina Island with her lights out. They investigate, a gun battle ensues, and Finn becomes embroiled in a terrifying criminal enterprise that forces him to confront his own heart of darkness.
Who was your childhood hero?
I read and re-read all the Blueberry comics, though ‘comics’ seems too light a word for what they are. Nowadays I expect they’d be in the graphic-novel section of the bookshop. Anyway, Mike Donovan, aka Blueberry, was the man I wanted to be when I grew up.
What fictional literary world would you most like to visit?
I’d love to be aboard Patrick O’Brian’s HMS Surprise during an epic battle with the French, but I don’t think I’d last very long.
What’s your favorite scene from your book?
I’m quite proud of the hermit character who takes Finn into his cave and restores him to health after he washes ashore in the cove. It’s a quiet section, a lull after an intense series of action scenes. I remember feeling quite moved by the old man’s outlook on life.
What’s your favorite language to write in, and why?
English. It’s the one I know best.
If you had an extra hour each day, how would you spend it?
Reading. I never have enough time to read everything I want to.
If you had to pick one place to vacation for the rest of your life, where would you choose?
Samoa (not American Samoa, the other one). Samoans are the friendliest people I’ve ever met. Their island is spectacular, the water’s warm and the place is relatively protected from over-development. If all that weren’t enough, it has a literary claim to fame: Robert Louis Stevenson is buried on a mountaintop there.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The novelist John Katzenbach recently told me that no book is ever as successful as one wants, or as disastrous as one fears. I tried to keep that in mind when my debut novel DEVIL’S HARBOR was released. It helped me stay sane, I think.
What’s your favorite line from Devil’s Harbor?
When Finn asks the old man how he deals with the sharks when he’s out on the reef, the old man says, “I leave them alone.”
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
Not really, though I do collect aphorisms. A couple of favorites: “You’ll get what you want if you work hard and don’t die first” and “If you think you can or think you can’t, you’re probably right.”
Alex Gilly is the author of the new book Devil’s Harbor.
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