Like many crime novelists I began my writing career in newspapers—the best training ground ever. After Colby College, I knocked around, including stints as a roofer, a postman, and a manuscript reader at a big New York publisher (thumbs up for the roofer gig, thumbs down on the publishing job).
My first reporting job was with a weekly in the paper mill town of Rumford, Maine. It was there that I left my sweaty mark on high-school wrestling coverage. But there was lots of small-town crime in Rumford. I would later mine my Rumford time for my first novel, DEADLINE.
After a few months it was on to the daily Waterville, Maine Morning Sentinel, where editors learned early on that I worked best when left to my own devices. They gave me a thrice-weekly column and I wrote about stuff I saw in police stations, courtrooms, in the towns and cities of Maine. I enjoyed both hanging out with cops—and sitting with inmates in prison visiting rooms. I learned that the line between upstanding citizen and outlaw is a fine one, indeed.
And all the while I was making up stories on the side, typing away on a Smith-Corona electric typewriter.
DEADLINE came out in 1993. With an assist from Robert B. Parker, I landed a top-flight literary agent and the books came steadily after that. McMorrow and I grew up together, though at different rates. (My kids are grown up, or close to it; his daughter is four). I continue to live in a small village in central Maine, making regular trips for book research. My deal with Jack: I’ll send him into some pretty dangerous places, but I’ll scout them out first. I walk point; Jack has my back. Brandon Blake and I are still feeling each other out.
More background: I also write for magazines, including Down East. And I’m the editor of the alumni magazine at Colby College, a school that is near and dear.
Personal stuff: My wife Mary is a schoolteacher and dispenser of wise counsel. We have three children, who have scattered from Maine to Ireland. They’ve grown up with these books, and helped make them what they are.