Thursday, August 19, 2010

Peter Quinn in the WSJ

The Wall Street Journal introduced its Greater New York section earlier this year, and we've enjoyed it greatly as a companion to our other classic New York papers--the Times, the Post, the Daily News. Our author Peter Quinn always seemed like a great fit for the section, and Steve Kurutz agreed, featuring Peter and his new book, The Man Who Never Returned, in his weekly Q&A with a New York personality.

Click here to go to the site and read the full article, but a few of our favorite questions and answers below!

The book does a wonderful job of evoking mid-1950s New York, with references to Wanamaker's department store and the Herald Tribune.

That's the city I grew up in. I'm old enough to have been on the Third Avenue El. That city is gone. Of course, that's part of the magic and pain of living in New York—it's always going away.

So are New Yorkers forced to be less sentimental?

New Yorkers are incredibly sentimental. They're never quite happy in the city that is. They want the city that was. When I was a kid, my parents talked about the city at the end of the war. Now people are saying it was such a great city in the '70s. It was so alive and creative. Yes, but the crime was also so bad that you couldn't ride the subways.


How did your years as a speechwriter for two governors and five Time Warner chairmen influence your fiction?

It helped me write for the ear. I went through two mergers at Time Warner. I got to observe human behavior in extremis. It's all in my books.

You retired as a speechwriter in 2007. Without a day job, have you become more productive as a novelist?

The day I retired I took my dog down to the train station to say goodbye to the people I rode the 6:18 train with. Since then I haven't got up at 5:30 once. I get done in 12 hours what I used to get done in two. It's hard to write all day, although James Patterson seems to be very productive. He sat behind me in English class at Manhattan College. I tell people, "Jim and I together have sold 150 million books, worldwide. James Patterson has sold 149,996,000. I sold the rest."

For more information on Peter Quinn, check out our archives here on the Winged Elephant or his website, which has gotten praise from reviewers and bloggers alike. And if you're looking for a smart, fun, and unpredictable thriller, check out The Man Who Never Returned and let us know what you think!

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