BBF2011: Eoin Colfer x Walter Mosley – GUMSHOES

We start with a reading of work.  First Walter Mosley reads from his forthcoming January 2012 “All I Did Was Shoot My Man”, the next Leonid Mcgill book. It was a spirited reading of chapter 1 and definitely whetted the appetite.

Before reading the first chapter of PLUGGED, Eoin Colfer begins with telling about the last time he was at a NY Church. He had just finished being on a Disney cruise with his wife and son, Finn. His son watched Pinocchio non-stop, which never got annoying he said mildly sarcastically. Their on the steps of I believe he said St. Patrick’s Cathedral and he tells his son to go stand on the steps for a picture. When Finn ran off up the steps without asking for money, Eoin should of known something was up. His son, a beautiful Irish boy with bright blond hair, standing on the steps, hands in prayer with priests and parish looking on and what prayer does Finn make?

“Dear God, please make me a real boy.”

In many of the questions, Walter tended to give non-answers, or things that weren’t very quotable, while Eoin was much more open and funnier. Walter definitely had his moments though.

When asked what it is about the crime fiction genre that compels him, Eoin stated that he’s always been a fan. It wasn’t till a friend asked him for a short story for a crime-fiction anthology that the ball got rolling though. He argued that he writes about leprechauns and fairies and his friend pointed out him that you take out those and his work is basically crime fiction.

Eoin is also really excited that he can be invited to Bouchercon now, it’s a dream come true.

Walter Mosley stated that crime fiction is a very important style of writing, it allows one to look into existentialism. Question what is right and what is wrong, invites you into the view of this unlike other genres which builds readers. Gives example of a story about an undocumented laborer in California, if written well, this story will get read, but if written from the viewpoint of a Chicano detective figuring out who killed the worker’s bosses you get a better audience and way to explore the setting.

The moderator asked about story flow and Eoin stated that at least for crime fiction he tries to base the story in places he’s been in enough to get a feel for the voice and demeanor of the people, which is why PLUGGED took place in New Jersey. For an example of being pulled out of a story he chose highly criticize Tom Cruise’s accent in Far and Away in completely pulling you out of the film as you got the impression that Cruise had never been anywhere near Ireland.

Colfer plans to write a book about a bum in Barbados who lays in a hammock all the time, so he’ll have to go there for the next three years for research and live that life.

In speaking about the fact that he has written all types of fiction, Mosley was quick to point out he had also written erotica. He brought up the book Blue Light as a book that he could’ve written as a mystery, but chose to tackle speculative style because of its format and that the book was about the soul. The crux of a story helps him decide what genre he will write in. Later he also brought up his young adult book 47 in relation to Eoin’s long career in that field.

Eoin stated on writing for different audiences that leprechaun fiction and pixie fiction are different. He’s also tried writing unicorn fiction. When he’s on to something he states “Oh Christ” and then “apologizes” for blurting out that statement because the panel is taking place inside of a church to accommodate the large audience.

“You can never have too many Leprechauns” Colfer also states.

When asked if PLUGGED was always planned as an adult book, Colfer goes into comedian mode once again and says that it was the editor who called him and said that the word “motherfucker” is in the book too much to be considered young adult.

He also stated that if PLUGGED sells, it’ll be a trilogy and that working on a series is akin to the building of show like Star Trek.

I got to ask one question during the Q & A and asked about name development and choosing names you hope will stick with an audience.

In terms of Daniel in PLUGGED he was originally called Lincoln, but Eoin changed because of Jeffrey Deemers. He then said Daniel was in recognition of Colin Bateman, but realized that didn’t actually work because his main guy was Daniel as well and there was a fault, but by then it was too late and “what can you do?”

Walter stated he never really thought about, but he did notice how the names he did pick ended up actually being descriptive of the characters and their lives or actually not being indicative as “Easy” Rawlins life is anything but easy.

Eoin added one joke into this question by stating he tries to use names in children’s/YA books that are great jokes for adults, but will go over kids heads. For example in an upcoming Artemis Fowl he’ll introduce Colin Scoppy.

The final question of the panel pertained to films.

Mosley stated he felt Devil in a Blue Dress was a good adaptation, but much closer of course was the adaptation/teleplay he wrote himself  “Always Outnumbered” starring Laurence Fishburne.

Eoin stated he had one TV adaption done of his work which he enjoyed. I had to look up to discover that adaptation was a still uncollected and never aired in the US,  CBBC series based on “Half Moon Investigations”.

Eoin got to end the panel jokingly stating that hopefully Tom Cruise will end up working on the adaptation of Artemis Fowl.

The way Hollywood works, we’ll get Tom trying to do an Irish accent for the film version of PLUGGED. One can only hope the book does that well in the end.

It’s All About Hair Transplants

Novel: PLUGGED

Author: Eoin Colfer

Publication Date: September 1, 2011 in the US (already out in the UK)

Best known for the crazy and wild antics of boy genius ARTEMIS FOWL, as well as what is concidered the sixth book in Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Trilogy, …AND ANOTHER THING, Eoin Colfer’s first tackle at crime noir drama is painstakingly brutal, humorous and nail biting.

Before I approach my scattered, possibly altered thoughts on the awesome PLUGGED I want to address the concept of ...AND ANOTHER THING being titled the SIXTH book. In essence this is untrue and discounts Doug’s unfinished, but still published posthumously SALMON OF DOUBT. Originally constructed to be the third book in the Dirky Gently series and indeed pretty much published as such, it is fairly known that Adams intended for it to become the “final” chapter in Hitchhiker’s. While …AND ANOTHER THING is a cleverly written book in which Eoin proves his stellar writing abilities, it really should be titled NOT REALLY, BUT KIND THE SOXTH BOOK, NOT THAT ANYONE”S COUNTING PER SE (or something akin to that).

In PLUGGED, Eoin brings us into a very bleak, troubled world, one that is cloistered, hidden, almost like a darkened stranglehold. It’s a place few would venture and even fewer would even consider. Yet it is also bitingly funny. There is an intense amount of dark humour (sic) in this book. It is mozzenfocking crazy I’m telling you. It is also pure modern noir and while reading it I could not help but envision it as a film. Although my cast isn’t completely not locked down. While it seems a perfect vehicle for say Vinnie Jones or Jason Statham, I also envision it being something Colin Farrell could bite his teeth into. Possibly Stuart Townsend, or maybe even Cillian Murphy. If it was 10-15 years ago it would easily be something Gabriel Byrne, Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson would be fighting each other for. While all those actors are very different, they all have a few things in common. They’re Irish, they can pull off being creepy badasses, and they have the acting talent to be a leading man who is serious, cynical, slightly crazy and amazingly charming all in one breath.

That is exactly what lead character in PLUGGED is. In my Unrevised and Unppublished edition I have for the use of this review his name is Dan McEvoy, but marketing on Amazon.com suggests this was changed Linc, which is short for Lincoln. I’m really hoping this is wrong, as Daniel just works way better. At least in my opinion.

On top of Daniel, the book is filled with amazing characters, all of them also larger than life, full of grit, and feeling all like they’ve stepped out of a 1930’s Dashiell Hammett novel, read a primer on the last 70 years of history and jumped right back into modern times. You got a wacky unlicensed doctor, a slimy sleazeball lawyer with mafia ties, a smalltime gangster who’s the big fish in a little pond, the crazy broad upstairs, the dyke like cop with sex appeal. Plus you have all the plot twists one would expect, conspiracy, murder, betrayal, coverups, drugs, smuggling, etc.

Is this starting to sound more like hype than a book review? That tends to happen when I really enjoyed something. I start overselling it. Maybe I want it to be mine and no one elses, but that wouldn’t be fair. People who enjoy a good detective mystery crime drama noir with messed jokes and crazy surrealism shouldn’t miss this one.