Kansas City Star
Brad Meltzer scrubs his brain THE INTERVIEW
Sun, Oct. 01, 2006
By SCOTT EYMAN
Meltzer Book review, G11
Everybody should hate Brad Meltzer, specializing as he does in premature achievement.
At age 36, heís written six best-selling novels and the best-selling comic book of 2004 (ďIdentity CrisisĒ), and co-created the critically acclaimed TV series ďJack and Bobby.Ē
His latest effort for DC Comics is revitalizing the venerable comic book Justice League of America.
Unfortunately Meltzer is hard to dislike; heís intelligent, funny and unpretentious. His new fall thriller, The Book of Fate (Warner) (review on Page G11), weaves the tale of an assassinated friend of the president of the United States, who seemingly comes back from the dead, and an ex-presidential aide, Wes Holloway, who must piece together the mystery.
Q . The thriller is such a stylized form. It often spins off from reality, but it usually functions as an escape from reality. Do you outline plot?
A. I know the ending when I start. Some writers can see where the day takes them, but Iím not that writer. If I donít know where Iím going in a book, itís like trying to find a house without knowing the address. Itís meandering and boring. I think every interaction in a thriller has to have a point to it.
The far more important piece of the puzzle is writing the characters before I start the book.
So the characters come first?
The characters come first, then the general premise. In this case, I wanted a former president, and I wanted to combine him with the Freemasons, and a character who comes back from the dead. And I knew Iíd want a gossip reporter. Each of these elements feeds the other.
My guess is that you write what you like to read.
Absolutely. Otherwise, why bother?
Youíve broadened out to create TV shows and graphic novels. Do all these stories come from the same creative place, or does some of it depend on your mood?
Well, Iím a novelist, and the things Iím lucky enough to do in between novels I do to scrub my brain. I was getting sick of my own voice. The only way to recapture the first thrill is to take a vacation from it. You have to go away and then come back to see what you have.