|John Connolly © Ayo Onatade April 2015|
On Friday 17 April 2015 I joined a room full of John Connolly fans at Waterstones Piccadilly, London as they gathered to here him launch the latest book in his Charlie Parker series A Song of Shadows. It was quite an eclectic mix of people who had come to hear him talk about the new novel.
The event started with John explaining that whilst he does not normally read from his books at events such as these what he was planning on doing was reading his new short story before talking about the new book and the background to A Song of Shadows. He explained that the short story was set in the same realm of The Book of Lost Things. He also went on to state that he found writing short stories difficult (hence the reason why did not do them that often) but that in October he will have a second collection of short stories (Nocturne 2) published. His first collection Nocturne was published over 11 years ago.
After reading the short story John went on to talk about the backstory of the new Charlie Parker book. According to John a lot of his stories start off by him sitting in a bar! This was the case with A Song of Shadows. John explained that he had been sitting in a bar and that he had been watching a programme on the television about Nazi’s who were still free and the way in which they had managed to capture some of the Nazi’s. He then began to investigate the nature and hunt for Nazi war criminals.
John pointed out that during his research that he believed that the Eichmann Trial had been the tipping point for most people as it had taken a while for the enormity to set in. He also felt that we needed to try and understand their reasoning for what they did.
John also answered questions from the audience. One of the questions he was asked was whether or not he did his writing and research in tandem of whether he did his research first followed by sitting down and writing the novel. John was also asked about Charlie Parker’s redemption. He explained that the overarching theme in all the Charlie Parker’s was redemption and that redemption requires sacrifice. In the case of A Song of Shadows John explained that at the end of the book Charlie Parker as changed quite a bit and that there is a deeper sense and content thus the reason why it is written in 3rd person.
|John Connolly & Ayo Onatade © Ayo Onatade April 2015|
John was also asked who was his favourite villain and he explained that he quite liked Mr Brightwell (The Wrath of Angels) but that Mr Pudd who can be found in The Killing Kind was his first villain. He went on to explain that he did not really have to think about villains when writing about them but that he found it a lot harder to write about good people. He wanted readers to sympathise with those being hunted.
There was of course a long queue of people waiting for John to sign their books as well and as fans have come to expect there was a collectors cd of music being given away by John. The latest collection entitled Shadows is volume V of the Soundtrack to the Novels of John Connolly and features music by Warren Zevon, Grant Lee Buffalo and the Punch Brothers to name a few.
A Song of Shadows
Still recovering from his life-threatening wounds, private detective Charlie Parker investigates a case that has its origins in a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War. Parker has retreated to the small Maine town of Boreas to regain his strength. There he befriends a widow named Ruth Winter and her young daughter, Amanda. But Ruth has her secrets. She is hiding from the past, and the forces that threaten her have their origins in the Second World War, in a town called Lubsko and a concentration camp unlike any other. Old atrocities are about to be unearthed, and old sinners will kill to hide their sins. Now Parker is about to risk his life to defend a woman he barely knows, one who fears him almost as much as she fears those who are coming for her. His enemies believe him to be vulnerable. Fearful. Solitary.
But they are wrong. Parker is far from afraid, and far from alone. For something is emerging from the shadows . . .
Chapter 1 of A Song of Shadows can be read here.