TROY COOK

Interview with Troy Cook

The following interview was conducted  by:  NORM GOLDMAN: Editor of Bookpleasures. To read Norm's review of the book CLICK HERE

Today Norm Goldman Editor of Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest, Troy Cook author of 47 Rules of Highly Effective Bank Robbers.


Good day Troy and thanks for agreeing to participate in our interview.

Norm:

I understand you have worked on over 80 feature films, writing and directing. How easy or difficult was it for you to try your hand at writing a novel and how long did it take you to write 47 Rules of Highly Effective Bank Robbers?

Troy:

In some ways writing the book was easier than I thought it would be. I learned a lot about storytelling from making films. A great script has the reader visualizing the story—and has great dialogue. And a great novel benefits from those same traits. So I tried to apply that set of skills to write a good book. The difficult transition was conveying internal thoughts and that’s what I spent the most time working on. The whole process took about a year. Six months for the first draft and six more polishing and making it the best I could make it.

Norm:

Why did you feel compelled to write this book?

Troy:

I’ve always loved crime fiction, especially stories with humor. So it was a natural for me to go in this direction. Balancing humor with a good crime story is incredibly difficult, but if it works, that extra layer of humor makes the story much more enjoyable. It was a challenge I wanted to take on. Some of my favorite authors—Carl Hiaasen, Donald Westlake, and Elmore Leonard—can balance that humor perfectly.

Norm:

Where did you come up with the plot for your book?

Troy:

Luckily, my work experience has led to brushes with the Russian Mafia, money launderers, and murderers. Or maybe that’s unlucky. It depends how you look at it. For me it’s perfect fodder for writing novels because they’re fascinating characters in real life. But just because they’re interesting doesn’t mean you can sympathize with them. That’s why I started off my story with a criminal you can empathize with—Tara Evans. Who doesn’t care about a young woman who’s been trained to rob banks since she was nine years old? Can she turn away from a life of crime if her father won’t let her go? To me it’s a fascinating beginning with lots of conflict, and the rest of the plot just came about naturally from that jumping off point.

Norm:

What challenges or obstacles did you encounter while writing your book? How did you overcome these challenges?

Troy:

I know this is more of a writing question, but immediately after I started 47 Rules, my brother died unexpectedly at age 31. It was devastating, and made it very difficult to even contemplate finishing my book. Especially trying to write something humorous at such a sad time. I missed my brother’s wonderful, biting wit so I decided to add some humor to the book that would’ve made him laugh. That actually ended up helping the book. Humor is so subjective you need different types of humor so there’s something for everyone.

Norm:

You have created some pretty zany characters. Did you have a hard time fleshing out these characters initially? How did you approach writing these characters? Did you plan them out or did they evolve as you wrote the book?

Troy:

I always start with a plan for both plot and characters because that makes it easier for me to write, having direction. However, if the characters want to take me in a different direction, I go with it. Stories seem to develop a life of their own and it’s usually a good idea to pay attention.

Norm:

Are there any unique ways you'll be marketing your book that is different from how others authors market their books?

Troy:

In addition to the usual avenues, I found a company that specializes in getting my book out to reader groups. That way I’ll also get to talk with the readers in a group conference call. Which is very cool. I love talking shop with readers.

Norm:

What are your hopes for your book?

Troy:

My biggest hope is to entertain people. For my book to be a bright spot in their day.

Norm:

Do you have any advice for first time authors?

Troy:

Be persistent. This is a tough business. And study your craft. There are so many books published each and every month that you need to have a darn good one to have a chance. I work with a writer critique group, attend writing conferences, and read books on writing. They all helped make me a better writer.

Norm:

What is next for Troy Cook?

Troy:

I’ve just finished my second novel, Rich Crook, Poor Crook. A similar style, but with a private investigator for the protagonist. He’s the black sheep of a political dynasty (like the Kennedy clan) and is sucked back into that world when someone tries to assassinate his brother as he runs for governor in a wild recall style election. Don’t worry, there are still plenty of wacky criminals too.

Norm:

Is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered?

Troy:

I’m doing an extensive national book signing tour and I would love to visit with readers. You can check my website for my schedule, as well as a sample chapter and reviews. Thanks. Hope to see you soon.