There have been a number of authors whose travels through Southeast Asia have
enriched their fiction and non-fiction. From the previous generation of English
writers such as Conrad, Maugham, Orwell and Burgess to the current generation of
Paul Theroux and Pico Iver, these writers have been mobile. These writers were
not the kind to stay at home worrying about how best to promote their books,
experiencing anxiety attacks over their writing career, obsessed at their Amazon
rankings or who received what award. None of that truly matters and at the end
of the day only gets in the way of writing. The heart of fiction is connected,
at least in part for these writers, with their wide-ranging travel experiences
gathered along the back streets of the big cities and dusty roads of rural Asia.
Writers often talk and write about the writing or publishing experience.
But there is far less about the experiences that a writer draws upon to fuel his
or her imagination. Like fossil fuel experiences can run out. New, fresh
experiences are the basis for feeding the imagination. Or one can recycle from
information in newspapers, TV, the Internet on the basis that the writer can
bring a new angle to old information. Sometimes that works. Travel is proactive.
Youre not reading about someone else having an adventure. It is happening to
you; it is in your face, not on screen. You must deal with it. ... Read More>>
I recently gave an interview to Radio Singapore International. I talk about the original idea
of a private eye series set in Southeast Asia, along with my research into the
culture and history of the settings.
They introduce the interview with a
quote from one of the Vincent Calvino novels, "I have no attachments. Next life
I will make a perfect Buddhist. But in this life I am paying off the karma of a
last life. I am an ex-lawyer from New York City. No one gets himself born in New
York City without having made some major mistake in the last life. Whatever that
mistake was it was bad enough to cause me to abandon New York City for Bangkok.
Flipped from the wok straight into the fire. For the past dozen years, I've been
solving crimes in Southeast Asia, keeping and trying not to get burnt."
There was never any golden era in publishing. Its always been tough. Lets get
that straight. But once upon a time long ago there were a few publishers who
looked beyond the bottom line, who fought for authors, struggled to bring books
to light when the authorities would have put the publisher in jail. Barney
Rosset,* perhaps more than any other living person, represents the very best of
this kind of publisher in America. He is a legend and in any other country would
be given the designation of Living Artistic Treasure. But truly literary people
are rarely so honored in America in 2008.
We live in an era of the
bottom line and MBAs with sharp pencils whose vision is the next quarterly
earning report. Barney wasnt that kind of publisher. He sought quality and
settled for nothing less. If the book sold fine, if it didnt that was fine,
too.... Read More>>
The Times Food Critic Giles Coren had an interesting piece on
how the British kill themselves by eating an English breakfast. Have a look at
the amusing attack on Coren following the article. All very
I'll tell you what's holding us back from finally getting rid
of the fried English breakfast for ever: lack of education. You never see a
person with a degree eating a fry-up, do you? Certainly not someone with a 2:1
or better in a humanities subject from a university founded before the invention
of the iPod. That's because they are smart enough to know better. ... Read More>>
Copyright law is complex. That is a sentence that few would wish to contradict.
The current lawsuit involving Harry Potter author and a fan writing an lexicon
of Harry Potter terms is a good example of the struggle between those wishing to
expand copyright protection against those who wish to see limits placed on
As a general rule, a copyright extends for the length of
the authors life and expires 70 years after his or her death. The difficulty
arises because each country has its own copyright laws and they are not always
consistent. Further, the length of copyright duration has been increasing over
time. The time expansion is no surprise in the United States where large vested
corporate industry (e.g., Disney) have successfully lobbied to extend the length
of copyright to the current 70-year period. ... Read More>>
The Nations Daily Xpress section ran a profile under the title: Hollywood beckons Moore today (Wednesday 9 April 2008). Jim
Pollards article focuses on the film option deal for the Calvino series and
background on the series set in Thailand. ... Read More>>
I delivered the 10th novel in the Vincent Calvino series to my agent and
publisher on Sunday 6th April 2008. PAYING BACK JACK, which is set in Bangkok
(with some scenes in Pattaya) is scheduled for publication at the end of 2008. ... Read More>>
This is a thought-provoking article that should be read by all writers, published and
unpublished. He starts with a word of caution:
Today I want to pass
along some advice for unpublished writers that I think is very important. I'll
warn you up-front that this is not advice that a lot of people want to hear. But
I'm going to share it anyway.
Everyone who contemplates writing a novel
dreams of publication. That's why we do it in the first place. Nobody wants to
write something just to stick it in a drawer. So when the first glimmer of
success comes along, we jump at the bait like the hungriest fish in the pond. ... Read More>>
Expatriate Authors in
Asia: Writing for a Niche Market or a Wider World?
Christopher G. Moore in opening
Last night (Wednesday 26th March)
there was a standing room only house for Dean Barrett, Stephen Leather, Colin
Cotterill, and myself. We spoke about publishing fiction in Asia and the nature
of publishing in Thailand specifically and more generally about publishing in
New York and London. After our individual presentation we had many people
queuing up to ask questions. Colin asked the audience how many had written a
novel. Id guess about 18 hands shot up, and then asked how many of the writers
had been published. There were two hands left remaining. One person asked if we
were all rich and left the clear impression that he was in writing for the
money. Stephen, at one moment, acknowledged that he was the richest person on
the panel. No one disputed him. In my opening remarks I dealt with the
probabilities of striking it rich. Less than 1% of authors actually can make a
living writing full time. Even with lottery like odds, there are those who feel
lucky and that writing is their ticket to life style of the rich and famous. ... Read More>>
In the current American financial meltdown no
one is able to come to grips with the extent or seriousness of the damage from
the subprime mortgage crisis. It is as if someone had been shot but no one is
quite certain what part of the body was hit, if vital organs are involved,
whether the patient is in ICU or still in emergency triage. The subprime
mortgage problem is the entry wound but so far no one has found the exist wound.
Meanwhile the dollar continues to bleed.
SEX IN CRIME
Crime fiction is infused with booze, sex, murder, betrayal,
and mystery. Everyone seems to approve of mystery. There is a faction that would
censor, restrict, hack out or dismember parts or all of the other elements
(except for murder which I will get to in a minute). ... Read More>>
On Wednesday 26th March 2008, at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand
(FCCT), I will be on a panel with Dean Barrett, Stephen Leather, and Colin
Cotterill. The talk is Writing for a Niche Market or a Wider World? The panel
will discuss the present sate and future state of expatriate fiction in this
part of the world. The talk starts at 8.00 p.m.
If you are in Bangkok,
please come along. Ive employed a forensic expert to assist in finding the
person at the FCCT who can tell me whether my books can be sold at the event. He
says this is a difficult assignment. Hopefully before the event, an answer will
be forthcoming. ... Read More>>
The second book in the Vincent Calvino series is Asia
Hand. It was first published by White Lotus in 1993 and reprinted by
Heaven Lake Press in 2000. A number of fans believe it is among the best in the
Grove/Atlantic had decided to publish Asia
Hand in the United States and Great Britain. This is a good news for a
couple of reasons. It means the back listed books in the series will be
published in sequence. Spirit House is due to be released in July 2008. You
can expect the trade paperback edition of Asia
Hand to be published in July 2009.
To refresh your memory,
heres a summary of Asia Hand. ... Read More>>
I have received the Atlantic Books (my UK publisher) July-December 2008
catalogue. Two of the Calvino novels are listed. The trade paperback edition of
Spirit House is scheduled for July 2008, ISBN 978184354. The cover wont
win any points from the anti-smoking lobby but personally I like it. The moody
noir feeling of the book is set by the image.
has been writing novels and travel books since 1967 when he was 25 years
old. His 1973 novel Saint Jack, set in Singapore, is classic expat literature. The Consuls File is set in Malaysia, is a collection of brilliant short
stories, which hold up well years after publication. His novel Kowloon Tong chronicled one families disintegration after the British
handover to mainland China 1997. Along with The Elephanta Suite (three novellas, 2007) is set in India. In other words,
Therouxs fiction has a long and distinguished association with Asia and his
fiction has inspired a generation of expat authors. I can personally recommend
the titles mentioned above. For anyone living in Asia, they provide a 35-year
perspective on cultural and social transformation of expat life. A good place to
start is with Saint Jack. ... Read More>>
At the end of January I gave the closing dinner talk at the East West Center
Media Conference in Bangkok. The Centre has put up a summary of the talk For
Better facts, take a tour through fiction on their website. This was a great group of journalists, academics,
NGOs from around the world. ... Read More>>
the 24th February I was in Pattaya and spoke before the Pattaya Expat Club.
Richard Ravensdale, the Clubs program director, extended an invitation some
months. There was a good turn out and lots of questions during the Q&A
period that followed by talk.
Here is a video clip of an interview with
the Club President Niels Colov for Pattaya People TV.
Writers have different ways of working. I have friends who write one draft and
send it to their editors. Its finished, done, off their plate. I envy them. My
first and second drafts arent fit to be seen by anyone except a handful of
I have just finished the third draft of the 10th Calvino novel
Paying Back Jack. But is this the finished book ready for the
publisher? Like my other novels, this one will go through another set of
revisions. Four to five drafts to finish a novel is my average. Part of the
reason, in my case, for multiple drafts, as I write a draft I find many new
possibilities to develop the story and characters. An organic development arises
from the writing process. It is at this stage, for me, where the pure joy of
writing happens. Connections, events, snippets of dialogue, and motivation
emerge from the white heat of writing inside a fictive world. I never know what
will happen next. I never know the ending. In fact, I never know the opening of
the book I feel works until I have finished the third draft. ... Read More>>
From time to time someone comes up with a list of crime fiction writers. The
purpose is to compose a Whos Who of the crime fiction world. Such lists are
inevitably controversial and, indeed, it might be said that the very idea is not
a bad way to pump up circulation. The most recent example of crime fiction list
making is the Telegraph which on 23rd February published their list under the
title: 50 Crime Writers to read before you die.
Such a list
is bound to uncork the opinion bottle in the vast crime fiction universe. Why
choose 50 writers as opposed to a 100? There is no real answer to that. There is
always a cut off. Given reader attention and space in the paper, 50 writers
apparently fit the bill.
What criteria was used by the Telegraph?
Apparently it was based on love.... Read More>>
A drawing was held in Bangkok on 19th February at 3.27 p.m. local time (a lucky
number for those wishing to buy a lotto ticket) for the grand prize winner of
the bookstore photo contest Authors are prone to wonder how well their books are
distributed. From the response to the contest as well as from emails, there is
no question that my publisher and their distributor have done an outstanding job
in getting copies of THE RISK OF INFIDELITY INDEX to bookstores
throughout the United States.
The winner of theSpecial Edition of A
Killing Smile is Chris Coles.