Douglas’ latest release is NIGHT ON FIRE. Here’s a brief synopsis of it: Kevin Corvelli---a hotshot New York defense attorney who packed up his bags and hung his shingle in Hawaii to dodge the spotlight---is deep in his mai tais at a resort when an argument erupts down at the other end of the bar. It’s a pair of newlyweds, married that very day on the beach. And since Corvelli doesn’t do divorces, he all but dismisses the argument.
That’s at least until the fire breaks out later that night, and he barely escapes his hotel room. Most weren’t so lucky, including the new husband. His wife, Erin, becomes not only the police’s prime suspect for arson and murder but also Corvelli’s newest client, and she has a lot working against her, like motive and opportunity, not to mention a history of starting fires.
The heat gets turned all the way up in Douglas Corleone’s scorching legal thriller NIGHT ON FIRE, his second following the MB/MWA's First Crime Novel Competition winner, ONE MAN’S PARADISE.
Douglas stops by to talk about the pros and cons of writing the second novel.
I’m told many authors struggle when writing the second novel in a series. After experiencing it for myself with the writing of NIGHT ON FIRE, the second novel in the Kevin Corvelli crime series, I can say there are definitely pros and cons.
One of the pros is that you already know your main characters intimately, particularly your protagonist. By the time I set out to write NIGHT ON FIRE, Honolulu defense attorney Kevin Corvelli already seemed like an old friend. I knew his voice, I knew how he thought, I knew where he worked, and what he’d probably be doing before all hell broke loose in his life. I also knew his law partner Jake Harper and his investigator Ryan Flanagan. It was a thrill coming up with subplots for them.
On the other hand, there were obvious cons. In many ways, writing a series is limiting. If, like Kevin Corvelli, your hero is an attorney, your setting must remain the same. Lawyers don’t go dashing off to practice in other jurisdictions on a regular basis. You might be able to pull it off once or twice in a series, but any more than that and you’d be stretching believability. Fortunately for me, the Kevin Corvelli series is set in Hawaii. I doubt I’ll ever tire of writing stories set in Honolulu, but if I do, there are three other major Hawaiian Islands I can move Kevin to, without him having to sit for another bar exam. (I’d never do that to the poor guy; we are old friends after all).
The author of a series is also limited by actions he took in previous books. For example, in my debut novel ONE MAN’S PARADISE, Kevin had great, edgy sense of humor. If he suddenly turned dead serious in NIGHT ON FIRE, readers who loved PARADISE because they occasionally laughed out loud, would notice and undoubtedly call me on it. As well they should.
Still, even with the limitations in place, writing NIGHT ON FIRE was a joy. Having a contract already in place gave me a sense of confidence I didn’t have when writing ONE MAN’S PARADISE. Knowing your book will reach your readers provides an enormous sense of relief, even as it adds pressure on a writer to get the story right. After all, the goal of any novelist is to get better with each book. I hope I succeeded in doing that with NIGHT ON FIRE. But that’s something I’ll gladly leave my readers to tell me.
Douglas, thanks for stopping by again. It’s interesting learning the pros and cons of series writing.
For a bit of background on Douglas. He is the author of the Kevin Corvelli crime series set in Hawaii and his debut novel ONE MAN'S PARADISE won the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award. A former New York City criminal defense attorney, Douglas now resides in the Hawaiian Islands, where he writes full-time. NIGHT ON FIRE is his second novel. For more on Douglas and his writing, check out his website at www.douglascorleone.com
Do you sometimes wish every book you read was turned into a series? If you’re a writer, do you favor writing a series?
(*Just a note to let everyone know, we made it through all 3 sets of terrible and deadly storms last night without any damage. It hit the southeastern part of the county again and did quite a bit of destruction. At the writing of this I hadn't heard if anyone was injured locally though I know 2 were killed in the northwestern corner of the state. My prayers are with those hardest hit by the storms.)