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Christopher M. Lawson

Jesse Kellerman
An interview I conducted with Jesse Kellerman, national bestselling author of Sunstroke and Trouble, regarding his novel Trouble.

Jesse Kellerman

1. Can  you give us a basic summary of Trouble?

Trouble is about a medical student named Jonah Stem who saves a woman from being stabbed to death in the street. He soon learns in a very deadly way that heroism isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

2. How long did it take you  to write it from start to finish?

About a year.  Generally that’s how long I take to write a novel.  Trouble in particular took about 14 months or so, because I made so many revisions.

3. Did you do any research for this novel? If so, what kind?

Because I am not a doctor, I had to do a fair amount of research about medicine and medical education in order to achieve verisimilitude.  I did extensive reading and conducted dozens of hours’ worth of interviews.  My wife was a medical student when I wrote the book—although not a third-year, like Jonah—and her input truly made the book what it is.  Her name belongs on the cover as much as mine.

4. Are there any authors or books who  inspired you as a writer?

So many.  I love to read.  A partial list of my favorite authors would include Evelyn Waugh, Vladimir Nabokov, John Fowles, Ruth Rendell, and David Mamet.  Stephen King.  My parents.  Elmore Leonard.  So many.
5. Do you keep a strict writing schedule?

Yes.  I write every morning, take a break for lunch, and then return in the afternoon.  I find it helpful to use a page quota; I won’t finish work until I’ve written at least 10 new pages.  Sometimes I write more than that, but never less.

6. Who is your target  audience?

who reads is my audience.  When I’m writing, I try to entertain myself and my wife.  After the book comes out it’s there for everyone.

7. What are some of your favorite books?

Well, anything by the aforementioned authors. Specific titles for each of them would be Black Mischief, A Handful of Dust (Waugh); Lolita, Pale Fire, Laughter in the Dark (Nabokov); The Collector (Fowles); A Judgment in Stone (Rendell); American Buffalo (Mamet); Different Seasons (King); Billy Straight (J. Kellerman); The Quality of Mercy (F. Kellerman); City Primeval (Leonard).
8. What would you like your readers to know about you?

That I’m a pretty accessible guy, and that if you write me—and are polite—I’m so happy to correspond with you.

9. What are you working on now?

My next novel, The Genius, will be out April 10, 2008. I’m in the middle of getting that ready for publication.

10. Any tips for aspiring  writers?

Well, everyone will find his or her own way to write, but one thing I think most successful writers have in common is perseverance .  Keep writing.  The only way to do this job is to do it—and do it again, and again, and again.  And rewrite.  That’s where the real work is done.

Special thanks to Jesse Kellerman. For more information please visit his website at

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"A writer's job is to always entertain in the best sense of the word."
Sue Grafton
The Armchair Detective
(C) 2007-2008 - Christopher M. Lawson