Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Gregg Olsen: From True Crime Writer to Mystery Man

In Cold Blog's new editor, Michelle Gray, has come up with another brilliant idea to let everyone know about a wonderful true crime author. Our good friend and true crime writer extraordinaire, Gregg Olsen, is busy celebrating the release of his second novel, A Cold Dark Place.

Hopefully, you have been taking part in the multi-blog progressive interview that Michelle has established which pairs up the very best true crime blogs with one of the very best true crime authors. I am honored you have made it this far. Be sure to keep reading the progressive interview with Gregg because their is a big surprise at the end.

If you are interested in learning even more about Gregg Olsen's new book, please head over to International Thriller Writers for an extensive interview -- after you have read all of the progressive interviews first, of course.

For now, please enjoy this quick exchange between me and my good friend, Gregg Olsen:

BOTS: How has the transition from true crime author to mystery author worked out for you, from the writing perspective and from the marketing perspective?

GO: So far so good. Here's the most interesting part of the transition. I think that for TC fans, the key is not so much the writer, but the story. With fiction, it is almost the opposite. Having a true crime background has helped me understand cops, procedures, victims, etc, in ways that a novelist conjuring all day might not get.

The marketing is vastly different. Because the market is larger, I've seen greater print runs for my novels than my nonfiction. I've seen more effort from my publisher to get me up in the front of the stores instead of being buried in the TC ghetto of red and back spines in the back of the stores. This makes sense from a business perspective, of course. But it kills you when you know how hard it is to write a good TC book and how small the market really is.

I'll never abandon my TC audience; I just hope they keep coming with me as I write more crime fiction.

Fingers crossed, Corey!

***Head on over to Gregg's own blog, CrimeRant, and take a look at what Gregg had to say to his fellow blogger, Matt Phelps, who asked Gregg, "How do you feel about non-writers (lawyers, detectives, producers, television personalities, bloggers, medical examiners, judges, etc.) writing true-crime or crime fiction?"


Melissa said...

If a Cold Dark Place is anything like A Wicked Snow - Gregg is making a great transition indeed!

Corey Mitchell said...

Hi Melissa,

I could not agree with you more. I look forward to cracking this one open very soon!

Nona said...

Buy it and read it soon!! I finished reading A Cold Dark Place last night. I loved it!!

M. William Phelps said...

Here's the thing, and I know Corey and Gregg will agree: There is no "transition" involved.

Being a true-crime author only helps the work, not the market or some sort of cross-over audience. Essentially, you are starting over with an entirely new audience. True crime readers--the loyal ones, anyway--do not read crime fiction and many even despise it.

I LOVE the TC ghetto line. Classic Olsen, yes--but so damn true it hurts!

Gregg Olsen said...

Corey, I've often chatted with M. William about it, but I wonder if you've got a novel tucked away somewhere? Have you considered giving fiction a try?

Steve Huff said...

Wow. I didn't know about TC fans not crossing over. I read both, sometimes much more fiction than fact. Do suspense/thriller fans read true crime and just not tell people? I sometimes get the impression they do.

Melissa said...

I read both. But then again I read EVERYTHING.

Just finishing the last of the last Harry Potter right now.

Corey Mitchell said...

@MWP: I remember when I was booking tour dates for my first book, HOLLYWOOD DEATH SCENES, and I tried to get into Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego. The owner of the store told me that mystery readers don't read true crime books because they are too scary. That they prefer their murders to be fake. I believe a mystery book store in Houston said the same thing.

I thought it was ridiculous back then and I still think it now.

A good book is a good book regardless of the genre.

Corey Mitchell said...

@Gregg: I have begun work on an apocalyptic horror novel set in Texas, but I am in no hurry.

Also, I find it humorous that there is a tiny minority of people in the TC field who seem to think people cannot write true crime and horror --- or even enjoy horror-related media like film, music, etc. They argue that it is disrespectful of crime victims to enjoy horror.


I guess those naysayers are incapable of compartmentalizing their interests. It gives them a headache...

Paul LaRosa said...

Just bought Gregg's book today and it's next on my list. Speaking of reading different types of genres, believe it or not, I am now reading Julia Child's bio "My Life in France" so, yeah, we all read different things -- all the time. I personally read about 30/40 books a year thanks to the subway and plane travel. If I just read true crime, I'd go out of my mind. Variety is the spice of life, right?