Behind the Books at BBD

Mystery Girl and Mystery Guy take a look at all things suspense, mystery, and thriller at Ballantine Bantam Dell, an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group. Check back for author guest posts, industry insight, behind-the-scenes looks at our office, and much more.
#jack reacher #lee child #movie

Continuing our day of awesomeness with Justin Cronin…

#justin cronin #the twelve #cbs
#justin cronin #the twelve

Happy On-Sale Day to Justin Cronin!

On today’s agenda:

  • A toast in honor of JCC.

Photos of all of these things to come.

#justin cronin #the twelve

Some pictures from the Frankfurt Book Fair.

#janet evanovich #around the industry #frankfurt book fair

Justin Cronin: How I Write

You now live in Houston?
That’s true, I’ve been here for nine years. I came to Houston for a job, the reason most people move halfway across the country with a first grader and a five-week-old. I came here to teach at Rice. I had been teaching at LaSalle in Philadelphia for about a decade. I’m not teaching anymore, I’m technically a fellow—I resigned my tenure because they needed the space, so someone else could teach my classes. I’m very much a creature of the Northeast, but I’ve really grown attached to Houston. It’s a very relaxed city, every interaction is a pleasant one. If you grow up [around] New York City, well, boy is that a shock!

What is a distinctive habit or affectation of yours?
I have some habits that are distinctive to me because I rely on them. I’m a workmanlike writer. I show up every day and treat it like a job. The old rule that writing is like any other job, the first rule is that you must show up. I’m at the keyboard from 9 to 4 every day. That’s how I roll. When I’m at the keyboard is not when I’m inventing anything. My inventing time is all done under the influence of aerobic exercise. Basically, I do all my thinking while I run. That’s worked for me my entire writing life, with the added benefit that it keeps me in shape. I believe that creativity requires a form of auto-hypnosis in order to work. You need to put your mind in a state where the unconscious mind, where all the interesting connections are made, where metaphor is built, you have to be able to lift that dream state closer to your waking state. Otherwise, the book is just building an engine, not creating something interesting. My hypnotic trip is the highly oxygenated state of aerobic exercise.

Do you wind up mapping out your plot once you’re back from your jog?
I get back and I write down everything I thought of, usually sweating all over the paper. Sometimes I run with a little voice recorder. Now I do most of my running around the Rice campus, a few miles from my house, so I’ll drive there, park the car, run, and then when I’m back I write everything down in a notebook I keep in the car. I turn on the air conditioner right away, that’s the first thing you do if you live in Houston, and then I write down what I came up with. I also use a large whiteboard in my writing studio, the guest bedroom above the garage, to map things out without physical impedence. For me writing is like, if I couldn’t run I’d walk, if I couldn’t walk I’d crawl. It’s something I have to do.

What do you like to snack on while writing?
Not a thing.

Really? You abstain?
Coffee in the morning, decaf in the afternoon, water after that.

That sounds awfully healthy…
Does it? Yeah, I guess. If I started snacking while writing I’d probably end up weighing 5,000 pounds…

Tell us a funny story related to a book tour or book event.
Everybody’s got theirs, but which one is the funniest? The funniest stories, I think, always come early in our careers, when the crowds are not quite so thick. For my first novel, Mary and O’Neil, I did the miniest of mini-tours. One event was at a Barnes & Noble in Bryn Mawr, Pa. I was teaching in Philadelphia at the time, and had been for close to 10 years, but it was only the second event I’d done in the city. I go to the event and three people show up. But there’s a stack of books about a mile high, which only adds to the sense of defeated expectations. The three people are all my students. First thing I asked was if everyone was 21, so we can just go get a beer, because I feel so ridiculous. But the students said, “No, no, you’re going to read to us.” So I said, “OK, but the offer of a beer still stands after.” So I read, and it was altogether pleasant for what it was. As I approached the end of the reading, this fourth person showed up, sort of lingering at the back, but listening. When I finished the event, my students and I were chatting and the manager of the store asked me to sign some stock, so I signed some stock. But then this fourth person, a woman I did not actually know, came up to me. I said, “Hello, it’s nice to see you, would you like me to sign a book for you?” She said, “No, actually my reading group meets here on Tuesday nights, so…are you done?”


Yeah. And the only thing you can say, under those circumstances, when asked if you are done is “Yes.” Every writer I know has got a story like that, and that’s mine.

Tell us something about yourself that is unknown and perhaps surprising.
Unknown and perhaps surprising? One must be careful with those sorts of things. It’d have to be actually interesting, too, huh?

Whatever you got.

I’m a pretty open guy, that’s the problem. Here’s the answer: I’m almost impossible to embarrass. That’s why I don’t have many things that are unknown. Sometime in my 40s I just lost the embarrassment reflex, so I’m more likely to give people too much information. If someone asks how I’m doing today, I’ll tell them exactly how I’m doing.

Read more here.
#justin cronin #the twelve #the passage #the daily beast

The Passage of Justin Cronin (NY Times)

#the twelve #justin cronin #new york times

Justin Cronin’s Favorite Apocalyptic Novels

Now The Twelve is coming soon, and the wait is almost over. In the second book of this apocalyptic trilogy, three survivors of the destructive plague that threatens to end humankind forever must carry the burden of an entire species’ survival.

To herald this highly-anticipated upcoming publication, we asked Justin to send us his five favorite apocalyptic tales. His choices are eclectic and diverse, and he even threw in one extra, for good measure.

  1. Earth Abides by George Stewart (1949). The granddaddy of modern apocalyptic fiction, Stewart’s novel tells the story of a handful of survivors of a global pandemic as they join together to form a new civilization amid the ruins of the old. Its racial and sexual politics are outdated, and the whole thing has an unpleasant whiff of eugenics, but the novel’s graceful writing and keen scientific observations of a world without people more than compensate for these shortcomings. I loved it as a kid, love it still, and included a quick homage to it in The Passage.
  2. On the Beach  by Nevil Shute (1957).  Humanity’s last survivors in Australia await their demise as the radioactive cloud of a global nuclear conflict heads toward them. A book that actually changed people’s minds about the ‘winnability’ of thermonuclear war, the story would be unremittingly bleak if not for the dignity with which the survivors, including the crew of an American submarine, grapple with their fates. 
  3. The Children of Men by P.D. James (1992). The concept at the heart of James’s novel—for no discernible reason, humanity has lost the ability to reproduce—is one of the most strikingly original in apocalyptic fiction. The story’s most eerie detail: in a world without children, women heap their unrequited maternal love on large, life-like dolls. The film is also excellent, though very different and considerably darker. 
Read more on the Nook blog.
#justin cronin
How adorable would it be if everyone at Random House used these? 

House Page Markers

How adorable would it be if everyone at Random House used these? 


House Page Markers

(via literatureismyutopia)

In honor of Banned Books week.

In honor of Banned Books week.

#banned books #around the industry