Interview with John Pearce, author of Finding Pegasus
30 Jul 2018
What can you tell us about your new release, Finding Pegasus?
Like everything I’ve written recently, Finding Pegasus is a showcase for Paris and my main characters, Eddie Grant and Aurélie Cabillaud, who have been together since Treasure of Saint-Lazare but now are married and living the life of the wealthy in a penthouse atop the hotel Eddie bought years ago.
It’s also an opportunity for me to introduce two important new characters, Kate Hall and Mark McGinley. Kate is an ex-Navy officer who left the service because of friction with her paranoid husband and joined Mark’s little engineering firm in Miami. There they completed work on Pegasus and Icarus, respectively a miniature submarine and helicopter drone, both completely autonomous. Just as they get a strong buying signal from their main customer, the CIA, their sailboat blows up on their first overnight sail on Biscayne Bay, and at the same time, someone tears down the wall of their shop and steals their crown jewels.
They narrowly escape with their lives, and the crimes send them to Paris and then on to the caves of northern Hungary.
Kate is going to be a very important character in future books.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
John Le Carré, like a lot of young writers of my generation. I was a journalist with novelist ambitions, living in Europe and writing about banking and finance. Careers got in the way, but years later I was able to retire early and turn to Treasure of Saint-Lazare.
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
Alan Furst, no question. I admire his between-the-wars tales of espionage and adventure. He’s a master of scene-setting, and his character development is peerless. My question would be: When will the next one be ready?
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
I like building worlds, then creating the people who inhabit them. There’s nothing more satisfying than starting the day with a blank page and ending it with a couple of thousand words, some of which may even survive through the final draft.
What is a typical day like for you?
I started out in journalism working for morning newspapers, so it feels natural to do my main work in the afternoon. I take a walk of three-plus miles every morning, then I tackle business stuff, catch up on email, transcribe any notes I have dictated, and deal with marketing.
After lunch, I sit down to write and try to spend at least four hours at it. In the evening, I’ll come back to plot development, interviews like this one, and catching up with what happened in the world that day.
What scene in Finding Pegasus was your favorite to write?
That’s a tough one to answer, but I think it’s the second chapter, when Sophie Leroux picks up her son Lucas at the bus after school. She is walking him home down the Seine when they witness the murder of a Hungarian politician that kicks off the action.
It shows one of the most beautiful parts of Paris in all its color and diversity and gives them two opportunities to walk across the beautiful Seine.
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