Episode 120: Creating a Great Crime Novel — Interview with John Sandford

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there word nerds! I am so excited to share this new episode with you.

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with author John Sandford. This, of course, is the pseudonym of the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Camp and he is the author of 45 books and counting!

In case you’re curious, his writing credits include twenty-six Prey novels; four Kidd novels; nine Virgil Flowers novels; three YA novels co-authored with his wife, Michele Cook; and three standalone books, most recently Saturn Run.

In this episode John and I discuss:

  • Why he chose to create a base a series around a supporting character from his Prey novels, Virgil Flowers, and how humor plays into this spin-off series.
  • How his three series tie together by existing in the same world, and the contrast between the protagonists in each.
  • Why thrillers with a criminal as the protagonist tend to be less popular than those with sleuths or law enforcers as the focus, and where antiheroes fit into that picture.
  • How to create antiheroes who are compelling (even if they’re unlikeable) by focusing on their motivations and using humor.
  • Crafting a great heist story, and why it’s important for the target of the heist to be even more reprehensible than the thieves stealing the money.
  • Where he gets inspiration for his characters’ names, and it’s not how you would expect.

Plus, his #1 tip for writers.

Resources and Info

virgil09John Sandford is the pseudonym of the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Camp. He is the author to twenty-six Prey novels; four Kidd novels; nine Virgil Flowers novels; three YA novels co-authored with his wife, Michele Cook; and three standalone books, most recently Saturn Run. To learn more about John Sandford and his books, visit his website at www.johnsandford.org, or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

Nine years ago, he brought Virgil Flowers, a supporting character in his Prey series, to life in a new spin-off series. The result was another riveting sequence of #1 bestsellers and over the course of this Virgil Flowers series, Sandford’s novels have achieved enormous popularity, both among fans and reviewers.

The latest installment, ESCAPE CLAUSE (affiliate link), follows Virgil Flowers as he investigates a crime with unexpected twists, and introduces interesting conflict with a new character, Sparkle.

Link to Episode 120

(Right-click to download.)

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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!

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