Keith Thomson is best known for his spy thrillers, Once A Spy which became a New York Times Bestseller…
You know what’s odd? I didn’t really KNOW people said that Rock and Roll books didn’t work prior to your question. I haven’t even read any novels that I can recall that have musicians as protagonists…there is the alt-country guy in Franzen’s Freedom who’s done ok…realistically enough. But, honestly, I wasn’t even aware that there was a genre of Rock and Roll books, let alone whether they worked or not.
Good fiction is always about the particular, never about the general. The critic may tell you that Toni Morrison is writing about African American women, but she isn’t. She’s writing about Sula. Tim O’Brien isn’t writing about the Vietnam War; he’s writing about Jimmy Cross. Updike isn’t writing about New England WASPs; he’s writing about Rabbit Angstrom.
I did not attend the university, but I lived in Cambridge for three years, which was about how long it took to write the novel. Walking around the place, it is difficult to ignore the monuments to history that surround you. It is a greatly inspiring environment for someone who values the importance of learning, as I do, but it is also an overwhelming place for someone who is not an invited member of that world—the colleges are mostly walled off and unavailable to non-members, and there’s a feeling that you’ll somehow never be completely connected with it, as much as you peer in from the outside.
We’re undeniably obscure in this culture. The overwhelming majority of “famous novelists” are only really famous within the literary world; my suspicion is that a poll of the general population would report that Snooki has a higher level of name-recognition than, say, Jennifer Egan. I think of my audience as anyone who likes their fiction both literary and plot-driven.
I’d say I shopliftabout 75% of the books I read. I can run surprisingly fast for a tall person. But, when I actually do buy a book, I try to hit The Ivy Bookstore—which, for those who don’t know, is a great indie bookstore in Baltimore. My two year old single-handedly destroys their children’s book department every time she’s there.