Wednesday, May 19, 2004

ConnellyWatch (TM) Update 

I'm firmly esconced in the Apple, so on and so forth, and what hits the transom but a rather revealing interview of Michael Connelly that's in Thursday's Independent. Oh sure, it has all the usual biographical information, but what makes this profile different from the others is that Adam Lee-Potter actually manages to dig a little deeper and gets some insight into Connelly's family life, both present and past. The thing is, Lee-Potter does so in a way that seems vaguely admonishing, like he was trying to cast the author in a pre-conceived light and it didn't quite work. See for yourself:
Few authors happily disclose the autobiographical elements they use to shape their work, but Connelly is refreshingly transparent. He uses everything. "It all comes out of my life," he says. "Bosch is my point man, the guy in the jungle. I use him to exorcise my demons. Angels Flight, for example, where he investigates the murder of a little girl. I wrote that book when my daughter was two years old. The nightmares of parenting were just awakening in me. I wrote a book about the worst thing that could happen to a parent. I thought it would help, but it didn't. That fear can never go away."

Perhaps the simpler truth is that Connelly has to use everything because he doesn't have that much to use. He has few friends, his parents are dead and his brothers and sisters are scattered across the country, from Seattle to Boston. "We're not that close."

Add to that some comments about Connelly's "ruthless" nature in delaying having his daughter until well into his marriage to his wife Linda and some perceived surprise at the fact that he's a "loner" and an "introvert" and I have to ask: what exactly did Lee-Potter expect here? I mean, writers are a fairly solitary lot. They spend hours a day at their desks writing, or many more hours letting their imaginations roam free with characters living inside their brains. Besides, a simple search would have turned up a whole host of prior interviews where it would have been obvious that Connelly's not exactly a flashy persona.

So he's not close to his extended family, whatever there's left. Big deal. Essentially, it seems that Connelly's the Pete Sampras of crime fiction: perceived as "boring" and "uninteresting" because he's not extroverted and isn't a tortured soul. But he writes great books every time out, sells awfully well and has a huge fan base. And will probably be remembered several decades down the line as one of the greats. Capiche?

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