The 34-year-old author has published three — soon to be four — thriller novels set in some of the world’smost exotic locations. He’s in San Francisco this month researching and writing a new book for release in two years’ time. In his latest work, tentatively titled “Cannibals and Thieves,” the Montreal resident explores the 1960s rock ’n’ roll scene in San Francisco, a city that he says remains special to him even years after he left it.
Why thrillers? In 2001, I left an overpaid dot-com job in New York and went to Montreal to do a big serious book. Just for fun, I decided to write a thriller to get started and I just never stopped. I travel a lot and have been to almost all these places, with the exception of Mexico, which I kind of had to make up.
Tell me about this new project, which seems to deviate greatly from your current literary path. It is kind of a departure from my usual. It’s about the rise and fall of rock bands in San Francisco. I don’t think anyone has gone into great depth on that subject. It’s about people creating art in various forms of music, and focuses especially on how success and failure affects the people involved. It looks at how happiness isn’t evenly allocated depending on how much success you’ve enjoyed.
Why did you pick this era in San Francisco music? I lived there in 1996 to 1997. It’s kind of a personal thing, really. I see the world differently than I did in my 20s, which is strange to think about but very exciting. So it goes back upon my own experiences a bit. The great law of literature of course is that writers write about what they think is cool, and so that’s what I did. —Tara Ramroop
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