My Interview with Douglas Corleone
Who is Douglas Corleone?
DOUGLAS CORLEONE is the author of the Kevin Corvelli crime novels set in Honolulu. His debut novel ONE MAN’S PARADISE was a finalist for the 2010 Shamus Award for Best First Novel and won the 2009 Minotaur Books / Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award. A former New York City criminal defense attorney, Doug now resides on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, where he is currently at work on his next novel.
Mr. Corleone, thank you for this opportunity to interview you for my blog. Your new crime thriller, Last Lawyer Standing, comes out today. Who is Kevin Corvelli, the main character of Last Lawyer Standing, and how did you go about creating his personality?
Like myself, Kevin Corvelli is a former New York City criminal defense attorney who moved to Honolulu. There’s a lot of me in Kevin but it’s not autobiographical. There are things he’s struggling with now that I struggled with in the past. When I started the series with One Man’s Paradise, I set out to create a flawed character, a true anti-hero, which can be tough to find in legal thrillers.
How did it happen that you changed careers from a former New York City criminal defense attorney to a crime thriller writer in Oahu, Hawaii?
After several years of practicing law, I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I felt I needed to get out while I was still young enough to begin an entirely new career, so I moved as far away from New York as I could, so that I wouldn’t be tempted to give up and return to my practice. I’d always wanted to be a novelist, I think. But I knew how difficult it was. I wasn’t sure I had the patience and persistence that’s required to become a published novelist. Hawaii helped with the patience aspect, and I eventually realized I could be pretty persistent when I want something. Ultimately, it was lots of risk, lots of hard work, and probably a little luck.
How is Last Lawyer Standing unique and what distinguishes it from thousands of thrillers that are published each year?
Last Lawyer Standing is the third and final book in the Kevin Corvelli trilogy. I like to say, this book and its two predecessors aren’t your father’s legal thrillers. They edgy and hard-boiled, yet funny. Honolulu is a great setting for a former NYC defense attorney. Watching Kevin adapt to the culture and laidback island pace over the course of three books has been a lot of fun.
When did you know that you wanted to become a writer and what steps did you take toward that goal?
I’m pretty sure I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer. I remember walking around the mall as a child, reading the Hardy Boys books, walking into clothes racks and other people and not really caring, because I was in another world. I’d always been told that writing was a hobby, not a career, so I never really considered writing a novel until after I graduated law school. That’s when I realized I was being lied to all those years.
A word of advice for new writers?
Persistence is key. Genuine success in writing doesn’t happen overnight. Rejection is inevitable – and it can be useful. If being a novelist weren’t so challenging, I wouldn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I do.
What is your typical writing day?
I typically rise with the sun, eat breakfast, then begin writing and/or revising. I write until I’m hungry again, then take a brief lunch watching CNN. After lunch, I go back to writing or head to the beach. I try to take a long afternoon walk but often that ends my workday, so I put it off as long as possible, sometimes entirely. At night, I generally either read or watch a movie or both. Once I get to bed, I read for pleasure until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore.
What other books are you working on at the moment?
I have an international thriller being released by St. Martin’s Minotaur next spring. I recently completed the final edits for that manuscript, and I couldn’t be more excited. The novel, which is currently titled GOOD AS GONE, is my first “big book.” My publisher is really getting behind this book and I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes my career.
What do you like to read and what are you reading now?
As I write this, I’m reading Jeff Abbott’s second Sam Capra novel The Last Minute. I’m also reading Jon Krakauer’s nonfiction book Under the Banner of Heaven. Both books are outstanding in such different ways. I read just about everything, but I truly enjoy thrillers. Joseph Finder, Gregg Hurwitz, and David Ellis are a few of my current favorites.
What can readers expect to find in Last Lawyer Standing?
A fun yet complex thriller featuring a brash young lawyer who’s finally beginning to understand what life’s all about. Written by a 36-year-old author who’s also finally beginning to understand what life’s all about…