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Christopher M. Lawson

Jason Pinter
An interview I conducted with Jason Pinter, bestselling author of The Mark, and the upcoming novel The Guilty.

The Mark
Jason Pinter

The Guilty
Jason Pinter

1. Can you give us a brief summary of The Mark?


Young reporter Henry Parker comes to New York City in the hopes of following in the footsteps of his idol, venerated newsman Jack O'Donnell. But when Henry's first assignment goes horribly wrong, and he finds two beating being mercilessly beaten, a strange man ends up dead while Henry is holding the smoking gun. Soon Henry is wanted by the police and the FBI, while the mob unleashes a cold blooded assassin to recover a mysterious "package" they believe Henry stole. Enlisting the help of a bold woman he must shield from the truth, Henry must clear his name and uncover the true story before many more die as well.


2. Can you give us a brief summary of your upcoming novel, The Guilty?


On a dark New York night, beautiful starlet Athena Paradis is gunned down outside of the nightclub where she was performing. Henry is assigned the story, but he never dreamed this madman's story began over a hundred years ago. Suddenly another person is killed, the bullet fired from one of the deadliest guns ever made. Henry's search leads him to discover a killer with ties to the most infamous outlaw in American history, a killer who lives and kills by his own demented code of honor. When this assassin realizes Henry is getting too close to the truth, uncovering the past could jeopardize everything he cares about. Because in this killer's world there's a fine line between good and evil, and the difference between innocence and guilt depends on who's holding the gun.


3. How long did it take you to write each book?


THE MARK took about 9 months in total. Six to write the first draft, then another three months of editing. THE GUILTY took about a year, as I began writing it while editing THE MARK.


4. What kind of research did you do for your books?


I did much more research for THE GUILTY than for THE MARK. It was a more complicated story, and I had to read up on old weaponry and 19th century history. 

I wanted THE MARK to be very much a straight up, no frills thriller. Just storytelling in almost a bare bones fashion, and I wanted to write a story that could almost be seen as "The Fugitive" for a new generation. 

But in THE GUILTY I wanted to expand the universe I created in THE MARK: adding new characters, new situations, and write a more difficult book. It was a thrill, because I found out so much fascinating information and conspiracy theories that I couldn't want to share with readers.


5. What books/authors inspired you?


I grew up reading Terry Brooks, Brian Jacques and Stephen King, and it was really their visions of epic good vs. evil that inspired a lot of what I write. As far a crime fiction, I'm very much influenced by Dennis Lehane. 

What he's done, especially with masterpieces like MYSTIC RIVER, is take the crime novel and make it into literature, into poetry. I certainly don't have his chops at this point in my career, but I do aspire to write books that capture the human struggle as well as tell interesting and fast-paced stories.


6. Do you keep a strict writing schedule?


Now that I write full time, I write every day, maybe only taking a day off when I complete a manuscript. I actually tend to do a lot of my writing late at night. Something about the quiet just appeals to me. 

Probably a lot of my best work is done after midnight!


7. Who is your target audience?


First and foremost, crime fiction fans. But I purposefully made Henry Parker and Amanda Davies younger characters because I hoped to appeal to a new generation of crime fiction fans who didn't really have many protagonists their own age that they could root for. So I'm hoping to appeal to traditional mystery and thriller fans, but also hoping to appeal to a newer audience as well that can relate to my characters and their struggles.


8. What are some of your favorite books?


In no particular order: ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, THE STAND, MYSTIC RIVER, FIGHT CLUB, ON BEAUTY, WHITE OLEANDER, anything by Charlie Huston. Plus many more, but I could go on for a long time!


9. What would you like your readers to know about you?


I am in no way related to Harold Pinter. Though I guess that's more what I want readers to 'not' know about me...


10. What are you working on now?


I just finished the manuscript for my third novel, THE STOLEN, which will be out in August 2008.


11. Any advice for aspiring writers?


Read. A lot. And keep reading. I find I'm most inspired to write after reading a good book, it just gets my creative juices flowing and make me want to do better work. And if you face struggle or adversity, always turn inward first. I wrote two books before THE MARK that I couldn't find a publisher for, but each time I was rejected I swore to simply write a better book next time. And eventually an editor felt I'd done just that.


Special thanks to Jason Pinter. For more information, please see 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