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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Writing the Historical Thriller

I have written two books that might be termed historical thrillers, Tobacco Sticks and Jack Pine. Both books required a lot of research and both required me to go to the actual location. Lets take the first one Tobacco Sticks. This book began with stories my father used to tell me about his family in Virginia and his father who was a lawyer and who ran a Senators campaign in 1946. I began by recording my dad and gathering all the scrapbooks and pictures he had. Then I went to Virginia.

In Virginia I lugged around a video camera and interviewed people who knew my grandfather in 1946. Then I went and videotaped where he lived and where he worked and then finally where he was buried. I then returned to Chicago and went to the library to do some legal research on court cases. Then I made outlines and arranged the pictures I had of my fathers family on the table. This was how I got into that world every day and five years later I published Tobacco Sticks which was my break out book and hit the National Bestseller List.

Now we come to Jack Pine. This began by going to the Boundary Waters on a family vacation and becoming interested in the way of life in this remote wilderness that struck me as the way the country used to be. Then I found out about the logging issues associated with the area and again talked to a lot of people. Finally I rode around with a Deputy Sherriff and asked a lot of inane questions about police procedures. Then I returned to Chicago and got out lots of books on logging and did my outlines again.

Ten years later I published Jack Pine which is due out (the paperback) this month. The story of a way of life that is vanishing and the struggle between the enviromentalists and loggers with a psychopath thrown in to get things going. I would love to write another set in the early twentieth century but I need to settle down and go into that world. Something that his harder and harder to do these days.

Jack Pine...a thriller of the North Woods


Books by William Hazelgrove