My Bookish Ways

Interview: John Lansing, author of The Devil’s Necktie

Please welcome suspense author John Lansing to the blog! John’s first novel, The Devil’s Necktie, just came out in December, and he was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.

John, you started your career as an actor and enjoyed a fifteen year writing career for television! Was writing novels a natural transition for you?
Although it wasn’t part of my life’s plan, in hindsight I do think writing books became a natural progression. My acting career helped inform the characters I wrote for, and about, and created, in my television work. The craft of acting can help one understand the emotional roadmap needed to flesh out complex characters, characters that will hopefully be compelling enough to maintain a readers interest. It also gives you an ear for dialogue that rings true.

My television work taught me discipline, writing on a schedule, collaboration, and it really hammered home the type of characters I enjoyed and wanted to invest my time with, characters that were interesting enough for me to spend a year of my life with, and again, hopefully keep an audience reading. Only you can tell me if I’ve succeeded at that.

Will you tell us a bit about The Devil’s Necktie and Jack Bertolino?
I’ve always been drawn to flawed characters that were interested in reinventing themselves, who wanted a new life. When I was growing up, people worked for the same corporation or company, had the same vocation for their entire lives. Well that doesn’t fly anymore. Men and women can look forward to experiencing three or four different careers in their lifetime. I wanted to write about a detective who was on the edge of change, who was ready to retire, leave the neighborhood he grew up in, the family he loved, and start over. Jack Bertolino chose to do all of those things; it just didn’t work out the way he planned. Twenty-five years of taking down drug dealers, money launderers and killers caught up with him. That was enough of a hook for me to write “The Devil’s Necktie.”

Did you base Jack Bertolino on anyone in particular?
Jack Bertolino is a fictional character, but he is the amalgam of all the interesting men I’ve run across, interviewed, read about, wanted to spend time with, and wanted to be in my lifetime.

What are some of your biggest literary influences?
I am a huge fan of the crime/ mystery genre. I wasn’t a big reader when I was young. I didn’t really discover novels, and get the bug, the pure joy of reading, until I went away to college. And then I picked up Raymond Chandler and I was hooked.

Drawing on your career in television, are there any TV series out now that have caught your eye in the crime/suspense category?
I don’t watch a lot of television, crime/suspense dramas, when I’m in the process of writing a book. There aren’t enough hours in the day. And I don’t want to run the risk of picking up someone else’s train of thought. I do like the mysteries on BBC. I also stay on top of the news, some sports, and my guilty pleasure, “Top Chef.” My all time favorite television shows are still “The Sopranos” and “The Wire.” Great acting and brilliant writing.

What are a few of your favorite novels or authors?
I read everything that Walter Mosley, Michael Connelly, Ian Rankin, Robert Crais, John Sandford, James Lee Burke, Patricia Cornwell, Harlan Coben and Lee Child writes. And that’s just my short list. I read all of the time. I always have a book or a Kindle in my hand. I love the feel of a book and now the accessibility of a Kindle or an iPad. It’s great to be able to download a new book anywhere on the planet. I’m never without one or the other.

When you manage to carve out some free time, how do you like to spend it?
I’m a foody who loves to cook Italian. I play a little golf. Love to travel but don’t do enough of it. I lose myself in books. And as soon as I’m finished writing this, I’m going to walk my dog. That will make him happy, and that keeps me happy.

What’s next for you?
I’m already knee deep into the second book in the Bertolino series. Jack grew up in a Staten Island neighborhood populated with “made men” and friends of the Mafia. He cut all ties with the dark side when he entered law enforcement and thought he had left his past securely behind when he moved out to California. But not so quick. Now that he’s retired, Jack finds himself owing a favor to a mob boss who may have saved his son’s life. It’s a request Jack can’t refuse.Retired inspector Jack Bertolino had strict rules when dealing with confidential informants. But Mia had the kind of beauty that could make a grown man contemplate leaving his wife, his job, and his kids. After a passionate night together, Mia is found murdered—and Jack is the lead suspect.

Facing threats from the LAPD, the 18th Street Angels, and a Colombian drug cartel, Jack delves deeper into the seedy world of drug dealers and murderers and discovers that the top players knew Mia personally. And now Jack is torn between fearing for his life and seeking revenge for his slain lover….either way, the body count will rise.
Keep up with John: Website | Twitter | Facebook

About THE DEVIL’S NECKTIE:
Retired inspector Jack Bertolino had strict rules when dealing with confidential informants. But Mia had the kind of beauty that could make a grown man contemplate leaving his wife, his job, and his kids. After a passionate night together, Mia is found murdered—and Jack is the lead suspect.

Facing threats from the LAPD, the 18th Street Angels, and a Colombian drug cartel, Jack delves deeper into the seedy world of drug dealers and murderers and discovers that the top players knew Mia personally. And now Jack is torn between fearing for his life and seeking revenge for his slain lover….either way, the body count will rise.

2 Responses to “Interview: John Lansing, author of The Devil’s Necktie”

Author comments are in a darker gray color for you to easily identify the posts author in the comments

  1. John Lansing says:

    I would like to thank My Bookish Ways for being so cool. Interesting questions and the support for my book was greatly appreciated.
    All the best,
    John

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