Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Guest Post and Giveaway - David Liss - The Devil's Company


A Bookworm's World is thrilled to have author David Liss guest posting today. If you've not read Liss before you're missing a fantastic historical author. (Hint - there might be a chance to win yourself a copy at the end of this post!)

David Liss:

"Have you ever noticed that in suspense novels writers almost never depict protagonists who read, or even like, books? Yes, I am sure there are lots of exceptions out there, but these are exceptions that prove the rule. If a detective or a spy or an attorney has some down time in the novel, he or she will turn on the television, practice the harpsichord, brush up their Tagalog or indulge whatever obscure, character-developing hobbies they may have developed over the course of their unusual life. They rarely read.

Why is that? Why do writers seem so reluctant to make their heroic protagonists readers? I think part of it is the anti-intellectual stigma we have in American life that posits reading as somehow the opposite of doing. Readers are not doing anything of value, after all. If Secret Agent Jones is not busy uncovering terrorist plots, then he can working on his vintage Ferrari, because that gives him depth and makes him cool. If, on the other hand, we see him relaxing after a hard day by losing himself in Middlemarch, we can pretty much assume that it’s only a matter of time before the terrorists get the drop on him.

Several years ago I was on a panel of thriller writers, and the moderator asked us all to talk about how we researched our books. Everyone else had much to say about their exciting lives: This one spent weeks living with real smoke-jumpers; that one joined a daring smuggling venture across the heavily-guarded Freedonian border. Me? I spent a lot of time in the library. I could tell from the response of the audience that this was a let down. And sure, the library doesn’t make for great anecdotes – though there were some scary paper cuts – I think it’s a perfectly reasonable way to go. Historical novelists, of course, often have no choice but to rely on library work. Until we get that time machine working properly, and I get over the urge to go back in time and kill my own ancestors just for the fun of creating a paradox, the library is the best thing going. But somehow, many readers find this vaguely disappointing.
Books, even works of fiction, are supposed to contain some kind of authenticity. Readers expect information to be truthful. You can go to a historical film and see Vikings riding around on Segues and somehow that’s okay, because it is only a movie. If a novelist puts the wrong color sandals on Jules Cesar’s feet, there is going to be hell to pay.

I also hear this kind of thing from my readers. Just this morning received a very kind email from a man who read a galley of my new novel, which is set in England during the 1720s and, like much of what I write, focuses on a pivotal moment in financial history. “I don’t see anything about it in your biography,” he writes, “but I am sure you must have worked in business yourself, or maybe someone in your family did. I find it hard to believe that you could understand the inner workings of a corporation so well without some kind of personal experience.” Thank you, sir, for your very kind praise, but other than some office temp jobs. I’ve learned many things from my family, but not much of it is useful when writing about economic history. On the other hand, as Henry James wisely observes in “The Art of Fiction,” a mere glimpse of something, when combined with the writers experience, can be synthesized to produce the illusion of reality.

And that’s pretty much what I try to do. My research provides me with the details that cannot be obtained otherwise, and combined with the experience of the world that most human beings acquire through being alive, I can reasonably hypothesize how a particular kind of person would respond under particular circumstances. A lifetime in business would be one way to get that information, but personally I think research is better because when I’m done with one novel, I can go learn about something else and writer a different one. In any case this system has worked for me and enabled me to write about the kinds of characters I want to write about. Who often read, by the way."

David Liss is the author of five novels, with more on the way. His debut novel, A Conspiracy of Paper (2000) with its hero, the pugilist turned private investigator Benjamin Weaver, was named a New York Times Notable Book and won him the 2001 Barry, MacAvity and Edgar awards for Best First Novel. David's second novel, The Coffee Trader (2003) was also named a New York Times Notable Book and was selected by the New York Public Library as one of the year's 25 Books to Remember. His third novel A Spectacle of Corruption (2004) the sequel to A Conspiracy of Paper, became a national bestseller. David's fourth novel, The Ethical Assassin (2006) is his first full-length work that is not historical fiction. David's most recent novel, The Whiskey Rebels, is set in 1790's Philadelphia and New York. The third Benjamin Weaver novel, The Devil's Company, will be in stores in late 2009.
Born in New Jersey and raised in Florida, David is, in fact, a one-time encylopedia salesman. He received his B.A. from Syracuse University, an M.A. from Georgia State Universty and his M.Phil from Columbia University, where he left his dissertation unfinished to pursue his writing career.
David lives in San Antonio with his wife and children. You can visit his website at
www.DavidLiss.com."

Thank you so much David for stopping by! And readers, here's your chance to win and read a copy of The Devil's Company.

Synopsis:

"From the acclaimed author of The Whiskey Rebels and A Conspiracy of Paper comes a superb new historical thriller set in the splendor and squalor of eighteenth-century London. In Benjamin Weaver, David Liss has created one of fiction’s most enthralling characters.
The year is 1722. Thief-taker, ex-boxer, “ruffian for hire,” and master of disguise, Weaver finds himself caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse, pitted against Jerome Cobb, a wealthy and mysterious schemer who needs Weaver’s strength and guile for his own dark purposes.
Weaver is blackmailed into stealing documents from England’s most heavily guarded estate, the headquarters of the ruthless British East India Company, but the theft of corporate secrets is only the first move in a daring conspiracy within the 18th century’s most powerful corporation. To save his friends and family from Cobb’s reach, Weaver must infiltrate the Company, navigate its warring factions, and uncover a secret plot of corporate rivals, foreign spies and government operatives. With millions of pounds and the security of the nation in the balance, Weaver will find himself in a labyrinth of hidden agendas, daring enemies and unexpected allies. With the explosive action and scrupulous period research that are David Liss’s trademarks, The Devil’s Company depicts the birth of the modern corporation, and is the most impressive achievement yet from an author who continues to set ever higher standards for historical suspense."

Leave a comment to be entered. Open to both US and Canada. Winner will be chosen by random.org. closes Sat Aug 15, 6 pm EST.

137 comments:

Jo-Jo said...

What a great guest post. It's interesting how he shares that people get upset over inaccuracies within a novel, but they are more acceptable in a movie. I would love a chance to win this one!
joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

Wendy said...

Great post! I agree with him though in researching a novel. You wouldn't find me out there doing crazy stuff! I'd be in the library too :)

Love a chance to win please!!

wendyhines (at) hotmail (dot) com

Mack said...

I'm a librarian and am happy to see where they are an essential part of your research. I'd be interested to learn what sorts of material you have found in libraries for your research.

This post is timely since I am currently compiling a list of books to look for at my next visit to my local indi bookseller.
malundy (at) gmail (dot) com

I Heart Book Gossip said...

Great post. Please count me in.

cindyc725 at gmail dot com

Debbie said...

Very interesting post!

please enter me to win!

Thanks!
dcf_beth at verizon dot net

bermudaonion said...

A lot of books don't have characters who read and I always notice when they do. I enjoyed this post. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

Myckyee said...

I read The Whiskey Rebels and loved it. Please enter me!

persianpickle at hotmail dot com.

One Swede Read said...

Oh, please enter me - I just recently discovered A Conspiracy of Paper and really want to read more. I'm also very pleased to find out that Mr. Liss is quite funny - I approve of funny!! :)

wheresmyrain said...

oh, this looks excellent. I read the ethical assasin a while back and loved it, then you reminded me it is worth reading his other books. please enter me. would love to read this book.

Anonymous said...

thx for contest ,need a good summer read
thehighflyer3@hotmail.com

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

You know I don't say this often... go on and enter me, girlfriend! :D I'm a David Liss fan. Even e-mailed with him once, after my book club read Conspiracy of Paper. He's very nice.

And so are you! I love getting e-mails from you. I've posted this at Win a Book 'cause that's what we do. The nice comments... those are 'cause I like you.

Valorie said...

I am so particular about historical accuracy in books and movies. I think it is a marker of talent and effort, and also passion, when you take pains to make things realistic and true to their nature.

Valorie
morbidromantic@gmail.com

LoveMyCoffee said...

I really want this book! Pretty please.

I subscribe by googlereader

Dutchlvr1(at)aol(dot)com

Jenny N. said...

Thbaks for this contest. This book sounds good.

jen4777[at]hotmail.com

throuthehaze said...

Count me in please!
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Y. Bressani said...

I would like to be considered. Thank you.

shadowlord28 at gmail dot com

Pam said...

Love the cover of this book. Great post. It caught my attention that he talked about the protagonist's brushing up on their Tagalog since my husband is a Filipino.

melacan at hotmail dot com

Lee said...

Oh, I'd love to read this! Thanks for the giveaway and please count me in.

chinook92(at)gmail(dot)com

MOMFOREVERANDEVER said...

mrs.mommyyatgmaildotcom


count me in

Everyone have a great week!

traymona said...

This looks like an excellent book. I'm especially interested because of the time period it's set in.
traymona[at]aol.com

Linda said...

Lately I've been seeing David Liss books recommended on several blogs and/or reading forums. I haven't read one yet, but am anxious to try one of his novels. Thanks for the giveaway!

Cody Endres said...

This looks good. Please enter me!
cody_endres@hotmail.com

texasheartland said...

Great review and it looks like an awesome book!


texas_heartland84[at]yahoo[dot]com

5webs said...

This looks like one of those rare books that both my husband and I would enjoy.
Alicia Webster
5webs@comcast.net

AmandaK said...

Great review and it looks like a great read!

orchestratenoise0726[at]yahoo[dot]com

Patti V. said...

Enjoyed this post. I'd love to win this book!

Rita M said...

I just received A Conspiracy of Paper, and would love an opportunity to win this one!

Nicole said...

I would love to read this!!

choateorama(at)gmail(dot)com

abfantom said...

This sounds like an interesting book that I'd like to read. Please enter me in the giveaway.

abfantom (at) yahoo (dot) com

patrick m said...

well researched and i'm a fan
ppoverboard@aol.com

Pat said...

Please enter me, thanks.

linett said...

I would love to read this after reading the post, thanks

Sammie said...

I would love to be entered into your book giveawat by David Liss.

SamantharaeM at gmail dot com

Thanks for the opportunity.

Amber said...

I love historical fiction and this looks like it just may be the best of the year!
Thank you for the giveaway :)
hurdler4eva(at)gmail(dot)com

taterbug said...

Thanks for the post. Sounds like a great book. Count me in the running!

cathyandharold at gmail dot com

Sue said...

This looks great! Thanks for the giveaway~

s.mickelson at gmail dot com

Meredith said...

Oooh, count me in. Thanks.
meredycat*lycos*com

Anna said...

I haven't heard of this author, but I really enjoyed this guest post. I'd love to be entered. Thanks!

--Anna
diaryofaneccentric at hotmail dot com
Diary of an Eccentric

Brent said...

The guest post was interesting. I find it interesting that where we DO have a reader as a protagonist he is considered quirky and not a "people person".

marthajane said...

Please enter me. I love thrillers and mysteries, but not so much historical -- THIS ONE sound fascinating!
I also work in a library and love that he admits he loves libraries and likes to read.

1agordon said...

looks awesome.

clc408 said...

Interesting to see that some authors have such exciting lives. Thanks for the chance.

Deborah Wellenstein said...

I am interested in reading this book! Thanks!

stacybuckeye said...

This is a wonderful post. I've read many wonderful historical romances where books and reading featured prominently, but maybe that's because that was the main entertainment of the day.
Please enter me in the giveaway.
stacybooks at yahoo

janeh said...

An interesting man.......and I'm sure this will be a fascinating book.

Joy said...

Love reading. This one sounds great. Thanks.
magic5905@embarqmail.com

maweisberg said...

i want to win this

Neas Nuttiness said...

Please include me in your giveaway - thanks so much!
I can't begin to imagine how much time it takes to do research. A very nice interview.

libneas[at]aol[dot]com

Becca said...

If he doesn't think the library makes for good anecdotes then he obviously never worked in one. But I would love to read his book anyway so please enter me. Although I will admit that while reading it it would probably be easy for terrorist to get the drop on me. Good thing I'm not a secret agent.
thanks
rebecca.bradeen(at)verizon(dot)net

tarahsfoodreviews said...

Oh - this sounds like a great book!

Tarah
tarah716[at]ymail.com

Esme said...

Thanks for the post.

chocolateandcroissants at yahoo dot com

mmentor said...

sign me up, please

A Reader said...

Very informative post!

Please enter me.
Thanks for the giveaway!
kimspam66(at)yahoo(dot)com

Sunnyvale said...

I'd like to read this

barbara said...

That was really fascinating, since mostly what I read is thrillers. Silly me - I assumed that ALL authors sat in the library to research their books!

Marie said...

Great post, I would love to read this, it sounds so good!

marielay@gmail.com

clynsg said...

I suspect that one of the reasons people accept inaccuracies in movies more than in books is that it frequently goes by so quickly that it is almost subliminal in being noticed. But they do show up in trivia clips in later years! Anyway this book looks like one I would love to put on my TBR pile.

clynsg at yahoo.com

Andria said...

Sounds like a good book. I would love a chance to win. Thank you.

Deedles said...

I would love to add this to my library.
djeanq(at)gmail(dot)com

jbeckett said...

good post!

RE said...

I always like to find new authors. This would be great!

Rhonda said...

I would be very excited to read this book.

rhondastruthers at yahoo dot ca

David Johnson said...

Great review, please count me in, thanks.

Alyce said...

What a great post by the author! I love the part about the color of Julius Caesar's shoes. I can't imagine the amount of research the goes into writing a novel (especially historical fiction) but it seems intimidating.

Would love to be entered to win!

akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

Belinda M said...

Please include me in your giveaway.

Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Chat - join us at CoolCanucks.ca


bluebelle0367(at)hotmail(dot)com

Lady Roxi said...

Love to have this.

Thanks,

darkfyre1(at)gmail(dot)com

BUSY BEE said...

Enter me please!! This book and author are quite interesting!

bsyb100 at gmail dot com

ktgonyea said...

Great Site :)

ktgonyea at gmail.com

Miranda said...

This looks like a great book

Alicia said...

Sounds good.

Thanks for the giveaway >^..^<

bloggyig at gmail dot com

Cindy said...

I enjoyed reading the guest post. I never had thought before about how characters in suspense books don't read, but instead have other hobbies. I would love to win a copy of this book!

Cindy
Socmom213@aol.com

danosor said...

Looks like a very interesting book.I'd love to win this.

Keyomi said...

nice! count me in..
spellbound18@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

What a great post! I sure would like to win that book!

May Schultz
may041827@yahoo.com

CherylS22 said...

I've been following this blog tour & I'd love to read this book.
Please count me in - Thanks!
megalon22{at}yahoo{dot}com

Smooshy said...

enter me!

Rebecca N. said...

Very nice post! I've heard great things about David Liss and would love to read some of his work. The title of this book is quite catchy! Thanks for the great giveaway!

JoanneR said...

Have never read any of his books, but would love to give this one a try! Thanks.

Nickolay said...

This sounds like a great book to read out at the cabin. Thanks for the chance

jason(at)allworldautomotive(dot)com

Becky said...

I love how his interview went...great post.

FOKXXY said...

Thank you. Would love to be entered please.

ssummmer(at)gmail(dot)com

tatertot374 said...

I would like to read this
Thank you for the chance
tatertot374@sbcglobal.net

Stephanie said...

I really enjoyed the post. I've always wanted to read another one of his novels after reading 'The Coffee Trader'. Thanks for the opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Mary
zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

What a terrific Guest Post!!! I cannot even begin to imagine how much research authors must have to wade through when writing historical novels and such. I am really eager to read Mr. Liss's book now :)

Misusedinnocence said...

I would love to read this! :)

misusedinnocence@aol.com

Laura's Reviews said...

Great post! Please include me in this giveaway. This book looks like it would be right up my library book club's ally as well as interesting to myself!

laarlt78 at hotmail dot com.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

i love mysteries.

Nora
neneelynn@yahoo.com

Debb said...

I would love to broaden my reading ... this sounds like a really good book.. thanks debb

Patricia said...

I have a MLIS (Library & Information Studies) but have never worked as a librarian. Plied my trade as a technical writer. Librarians are special people. Please enter me in the giveaway for The Devil's Company.

Shawna said...

Shawna Lewis
weloveourdogs@juno.com

Thanks for the chance to win
your interview was amazing thanks so much for all the info!!!

Carol EL said...

This looks like an excellent book. Enter me in the giveaway. jelly15301@gmail.com

LittleEagle said...

Thank you for the thoughtful guest post. sharonaquilino(at)hotmail(Dot)com

Caffey said...

I'm so thrilled to find out about this series! I love historical mystery series especially those set in London. I'd love to be in for this!
thanks
cathiecaffey(at)gmail.com

Luvdaylilies said...

Super review! I haven't read anything by David Liss but that will change, LOL! I LOVE all things historical especially anything set in London. Thanks for an awesome giveaway=)
Luvdaylilies at bellsouth dot net

Upper West Side Writer said...

Sounds like a great book--please count me in--thanks!

lesleymfan(at)gmail(dot)com

Erica G said...

I would love to win!

egreca (at) hotmail {dot} com

remarker/fcffollower said...

I haven't read any Benjamin Weaver novels. If you can get into this one without having read the other 2 count me in please

Bcteagirl said...

I love to read accurate historical novels, would love to read this one!

Debs Desk said...

Please include me in your giveaway.
Thanks
Debbie
debdesk9(at)verizon.net

Upper West Side Writer said...

The book sounds great, and I love a chance to read it; thank you!

lesleymfan(at)gmail(dot)com

Anonymous said...

This is a really interesting post. Thank you for the opportunity of entering the giveaway.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

cqueen2 said...

sounds like a great read..thanks

wadesherry@hotmail dot com

Rhonda said...

informative....I would love to win.

rhondastruthers at yahoo dot ca

Jon_Lefkove said...

Please count me in.

yadgirl said...

Count me in.

etirv said...

I would like to be entered, thanks!

delilah0180(at)yahoo(dot)com

Shawna said...

Shawna Lewis
weloveourdogs@juno.com

Thanks you so much for this contest. I have wanted to read this book for awhile now so thanks for this chance ;o)

ossmcalc said...

A historical thriller, filled with suspense - sounds right up my alley. Please enter me.

Thank you,

Christine
womackcm@sbcglobal.net

demmi said...

interesting please enter me con5459(at)gmail(dot)com

AEKZ2 said...

Sounds like a fun read. Thanks!

Cindy said...

Great post! I like the author's honesty! I appreciate that he does spend time in the library doing research for his books.

Please enter me in the giveaway!

Cindy
Socmom213@aol.com

fitz12383 said...

Please include me in this giveaway.
Thanks!

Amanda
fitz12383 AT hotmail DOT com

cherio1 said...

Great interview. Sounds like a great book! Thanks for entering me.

erma said...

This was an interesting post.
erma.hurtt@sbcglobal.net

kngmckellar said...

You have a great post! Thanks for the entry!
kngmckellar@hotmai.com

ellie said...

Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway.
eswright18 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Happy Weekend!

theyyyguy@yahoo.com

Hotsnotty2 said...

Great, interesting post. I would love to read this, hope I win! Thanks for the chance.

Hotsnotty2@hotmail.com

Joyce said...

Great post. Thanks for the chance to win this book.
joycejacobs602 at yahoo dot com

angjfuller said...

I really enjoyed the interview. this looks like a great book and I would love to read it.

Daniel M said...

looks like a good one, really like that era - regnod(at)yahoo(d0t)com

js22 said...

This sounds like a great book!

Thanks for the giveaway!
email in blogger profile.

Aisling said...

I've often wondered, too, why characters in a book rarely read books. They watch tv, attend sporting events, exercise, cook, and do all sorts of other things. Sometimes they have books sitting around, but I always notice when they spend some downtime relaxing with a favorite beverage and a book. I'd love to read this one.

purango said...

I love the interview. The book sounds great. I would love to win it. garrettsambo@aol.com

blueviolet said...

That was really interesting! Thank you for the post and for the giveaway. I'd love to win!
doot65[at]comcast{dot}net

dvice said...

Looks like a great book

Swtlilchick said...

Nice interview!David Liss sounds
like he writes with a special
insight into his novels.I would
love to read this book.

CharlieGurl57@aol.com

Heather said...

Would love to read this! Thanks so much for the post.

plhill2000 said...

I loved reading this post. Please enter me to win this book.

kcatlin said...

I'd love to win this book!

kathy pease said...

Thank you for the AWESOME GIVEAWAY.. Please count me in :)

Maja said...

very interesting

K said...

Great post! I wouldn't be out researching either! Library, or internet for me!

Thanks


ksweeper21@gmail.com

Helen said...

Sounds like a great book!

lilyk said...

Please enter me into the contest. Thanks!

lilyk@mail2world.com

Brenda said...

Great Guest!
I would love a chance to win this one!

dancealert(at)aol(dot)com

Brenda said...

I follow you through google reader