#TuesdayTalk with Brian Harvey. His new Frank Ryan mystery, Tokyo Girl, is on shelves now!
Tell us a bit about your book.
Feckless piano tuner Frank Ryan visits Tokyo and becomes an unwitting pawn in a beautiful woman’s scheme to bring down her gangster ex-boyfriend.
What was the catalyst for your story?
Many trips to Tokyo, a place that gets more fascinating, more puzzling and more weird every time I go there.
What are the challenges of writing for or within a series?
For me the main challenge is to keep your main character (the one who appears in every book) from staying static. He has to develop with each book (“episode”), but at the same time you have to write each one so that somebody can enjoy it without reading the previous books. I suppose the other challenge would be simply getting sick of your character, but that hasn’t happened to me yet!
What was your favourite book as a child?
Stuart Little by E.B. White. At the time, I didn’t know why I loved it so much; now of course I realize it was because White was such an extraordinary writer. So, like the best children’s books, it wasn’t a children’s book at all. Just a great book, period.
In your opinion, what makes a compelling story?
You have to care about the characters. And what they do has to be believable. Not necessarily “possible”, but believable. Horses can’t fly, but a good writer will have you happily believing they can.
Does your book have a niche or specialty market?
Absolutely not!! My books are for anyone who likes a good story. They are novellas, no more and no less than short novels. What’s the best-known Chopin piece? The “Minute Waltz”!
Do you gravitate toward a certain genre or type of writing?
I do all kinds. My first book was a non-fiction book about rivers. I’ve written technical (scientific) books and reams of technical reports. Writing is writing, you just have to be crystal clear about who your audience is before you start.
What types of conversations do you hope will come out of your book?
“Hey, I just read Tokyo Girl. You should buy it. And it’s only ten bucks!”
Tell us a little known or interesting fact about yourself.
I’m no more interesting than anybody else. Or to put it another way, everybody is interesting. It’s the writer’s job to imagine that “interesting-ness” and turn it into a great character.
Brian Harvey is a scientist and writer. He holds a PhD in marine biology and specializes in conservation of aquatic biodiversity. Brian’s first nonfiction book for a general audience, The End of the River, was published in 2008. He is currently finishing a second nonfiction book about sailing around Vancouver Island and is working on several fiction projects. Brian lives in Nanaimo, British Columbia. For more information, visit www.brianharvey.org.