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Sunday 25 October 2015

ℚ♫ Mrs John Doe - Tom Savage

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Mrs. John Doe (, Alibi, 276 pages) a Suspense Thriller.

This is a rare spy thriller, smart, beautifully written, and stay-up-all-night enjoyable!”—Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of The Assassins

It isn’t easy to blindside a fellow suspense author, but Tom Savage manages to fool me every time. A clever, compelling, and cinematic page-turner in which nothing is as it seems, Mrs. John Doe opens with a twist I didn’t see coming and closes with a satisfying bang. This longtime Savage fan ranks Mrs. John Doe right up there with Precipice.”—Wendy Corsi Staub, New York Times bestselling author of The Black Widow

Tom Savage’s Mrs. John Doe races a fictional path somewhere between Alfred Hitchcock and Agatha Christie, a modern heroine-on-the-run spy thriller dealing with some of our time’s deadliest challenges.”—James Grady, New York Times bestselling author of Last Days of the Condor

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

A very warm welcome to Tom Savage, thank you for joining us today.

Here at BooksChatter we love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in Mrs. John Doe, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?

"Don’t laugh, but I’m a lifelong fan of film scores.  Sometimes while writing Mrs. John Doe, I played an album of jazz variations on themes from 12 famous mystery movies called Sax and Violence (Varese Sarabande, VSD-5562).  Of course, the music that actually inspired me to write the novel was the soundtrack album of Bernard Herrmann’s score for North By Northwest, which has recently been beautifully remastered on CD (Intrada/WaterTower, 2012)."
What was the inspiration for Mrs. John Doe?
"Mrs. John Doe was inspired by two things: recent world news, and my abiding love for the spy thriller authors of my youth--John le Carré, Helen MacInnes, Robert Ludlum, etc.--and the films of Alfred Hitchcock.  I decided to try to bring that classic style of storytelling up to date with current events.  I have an innocent bystander inadvertently involved in deadly global affairs, and soon she’s running for her life.  North By Northwest is my all-time favorite film--that should be obvious to anyone reading Mrs. John Doe."

How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?

"I knew little about international espionage, but I learned a good deal about it while researching this novel.  Since it was such a new world for me, I decided to make my protagonist as familiar as possible.  I majored in drama in college, and I was a professional actor for a while before I started writing, so I made my hero, Nora Baron, an actor and acting teacher.  This gave her a set of special skills I understand on a playing field that is unfamiliar to me.  Nora is an amateur in a dangerous environment, but she’s a professional actor, so she can be as deceptive as a real spy when necessary.  I was glad to have the theatre details to help get her through her ordeal."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for Mrs. John Doe - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"You’d have to ask the people at Penguin Random House.  This is my second title for their new Alibi line of ebook-only mysteries and thrillers, and I love the “look” they’ve given me.  The covers for A Penny For The Hangman and Mrs. John Doe were designed by Caroline Teagle, and they both convey imminent looming danger, which is the main theme of both novels. HANGMAN has a boat approaching a creepy-lookimg Caribbean island in a thunderstorm, and Mrs. John Doe has Nora running away from us with a huge rifle scope crosshairs zeroing in on her back.  Perfect!"
Why should we read Mrs. John Doe and what sets it apart from the rest?   What makes your book unique?
"I’m an old-fashioned storyteller.  I’ve always believed that the classic stories are the best ones. I don’t think that makes me unique (far from it!), but it’s what my readers always mention first when they talk about my books.  That, and my surprise plot twists--I love to surprise my readers!  Does that answer your question?  I hope so."
I think it does!  :-)

Can you tell us something quirky about Mrs. John Doe, its story and characters?

"Mrs. John Doe is my eighth novel, but it’s the first to be set outside America.  I’ve traveled a lot, mostly in Europe, and I used a lot of memorable locales from my travels--mainly London and Paris, but also the British and French countrysides.  I don’t know if you’d call that “quirky,” but it’s as close as I’ve ever come to a travelogue.  With this novel, readers will get a lot of scenery with their nonstop action."
Who would you recommend Mrs. John Doe to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"I’d recommend Mrs. John Doe to anyone who likes spy thrillers, or anyone who likes a hero-on-the-run chase story.  It’s what a friend of mine calls a “documents novel.”  “Where are the documents?”  “Do you have the documents?”  “These documents could destroy us all!”  That sort of thing.

I have one disclaimer:  It’s fiction.  I made it all up.  I sincerely hope nothing like my plot is actually happening in the world.  If it is, we’re all in trouble."
If you could / wished to turn Mrs. John Doe into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"I already had an earlier novel, Valentine, made into a film, and it was a weird experience. They changed my New York City setting to San Francisco, and they turned all my fortyish characters into teenagers.  Moreoever, they took the title villain’s long-range revenge plan--one murder on each successive Valentine’s Day until his entire list is dead--and telescoped it into one single Valentine’s Day.  My, he was busy!  And he was now a kid instead of a forty-year-old.  And he wore a Cupid mask!  So you’ll forgive me if I don’t even want to contemplate what Hollywood might do with Mrs. John Doe.

Fantasy Hollywood casting:
Julianne Neeson as Mrs. John Doe
My title character--a fiftyish wife and mother from Long Island--could end up being played by Liam Neeson. I’d prefer Cate Blanchett or Julianne Moore, but I’m okay with Liam Neeson if they pay me for the film rights.  I invite them to do whatever they want with it.  WER"
Sorry.  I am actually laughing out loud here.  I can completely imagine what you are talking about.  I actually dread watching a film if I have read the book it is supposedly based on.  I haven't been watching TV or keeping up with the latest movies in a while, hence my last experience of this was The Hunger Games - I was literally screaming at the screen.  Whilst everyone loved that first film, I loathed it.  Come on!  They could not even be bothered to keep Buttercup, the ginger cat, ginger!... they used a black one!!!! ...  However, Buttercup did become a ginger tom in later instalments...

Of course our question is more fantasy-land, to give us a visual of your characters, and it assumes you would have full control of everything and the film would actually be a representation of your book!  :-D  ... and now I am going to have to watch Valentine and THEN read your book for full appreciation!

What do you like to write and read about?  Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?

"I write mysteries and thrillers because that’s what I read.  I started out with the Hardy Boys and Agatha Christie, and I’ve never stopped.  I occasionally read mainstream fiction, but I’m always waiting for the murder to arrive, or for something to explode.  I’m disappointed when it doesn’t.  Maybe I have a short attention span.  But I’ll stick with suspense, thank you very much."
What is your writing process?
"Seat of the pants in seat of the chair.  No kidding--that’s my process.  If you can sit down every day and concentrate, then you can write.  My body tells me how much to write at any given time, then I stop and come back the next day, and the next, until I’m finished.  That’s the only process any writer needs."
What is in store next?
"I’m working on a new novel about con artists in Europe. These are deadly con artists, based on my love of Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley books.  I don’t talk much about works in progress, so that’s all I can say now."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"My co-op has a no-pets policy, but I have an old bathrobe and a pair of fuzzy slippers that are very special to me.  They’re my writing clothes.  And no, you can’t have a picture of me in them.  Sorry.  But here’s a picture of me with my family in St. Thomas in 1967 (I was 11 years old).  There’s a pet in this picture--my sister’s dog, Bosun.  We’re on a suspended porch on a cliff 70 feet above the Caribbean, with Charlotte Amalie across the harbor behind us . This is the house where I grew up."

LOL  You nearly described my current work attire to a tee, except mine is a dressing gown with boot slippers, and no, I am not sharing a picture of that either!
Thank you so much for the great picture you did share with us.  I take it you were the boy in the far right.  And what a fantastic location! :-)

Mrs. John Doe - available NOW!

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1 comment:

Dianne Emley said...

Great interview. MRS. JOHN DOE sounds like my kind of suspense novel. I've downloaded it and I'm looking forward to reading it!