Please welcome our October featured
Linwood Barclay as he discusses his new suspense novel, No Time for
Goodbye, and more!
synopsis of No Time for Goodbye:
Milford, Connecticut high school teacher Terry Archer
has always known about his wife's mysterious past involving the sudden
disappearance of her parents and teenaged brother when she was only 14 in a case
that was never solved. But now, 25 years later, troubling events related to the
unanswered questions begin to occur with increased frequency. And while the
cryptic emails, his wife's suspicion that she and their daughter are being
followed and watched, and familiar objects from his wife's past appearing out of
nowhere all seem to point to the return of one intent on finishing the job,
Terry can't help but begin to question just how deeply his wife is and was
involved. So with a danger that seems to be coming only closer with each day,
Terry will be forced to face the possibility that he might not know those
closest to him as he once thought.
Almost unbearably suspenseful, the biggest challenge in
reading this latest from Barclay lies in stopping yourself from rushing to the
last chapter to see how it all turns out. A word of advice - don't, you'll miss
one hell of a ride if you do. Not only does Barclay infuse the read with
engagingly realistic characters and a guessing game of the highest magnitude,
but also with a sly sense of humor that ultimately balances perfectly with the
ever growing sense of alarm. And just in case you think you have it all figured
out about halfway through, you might want to think again, there's plenty more
bombshells waiting at the end of the line. An almost flawless read, this one
shouldn't be missed.
Publisher: Bantam ISBN-10: 055380555X
(Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader)
1. So tell us a bit about
your new title, especially, without revealing too
much, what sparked the initial idea behind this fascinating plot.
-- I woke up one morning around five thinking about a true story of a child
who was abducted from her home in the middle of the night, and thought, what if
you turned it around? What if a young girl woke up one morning, and
everyone in her family was gone?
2. One of the more compelling aspects of your story is
the indelible mark
the past can leave on a person, particularly when the past is shrouded in
unanswered questions. So, compelling fictional mystery aside, what would be
the best advice you'd give to someone faced with such past trauma and
questions in "real life?" Let sleeping dogs lie, or face the beast and
somehow find closure, if such a thing exists?
-- "Hey, get over it!" Okay, maybe not that. I'm hardly qualified to give
advice. From the perspective of a novelist, confronting past secrets opens
up a gold mine of opportunities. But in real life, we often have to put our
past behind us, and not allow ourselves to be held hostage to it.
3. Another provocative subject your story focuses on
is just how well we
really know those closest to us, and how most of us, even when confronted
with overwhelming evidence of guilt, would still choose to think the best of
a loved one. With that in mind, was it difficult for you to determine at
which point it was realistic for your main character to really begin to
question those around him? Is this sooner or later than most might do?
-- I think authors nudge their characters along toward doubt a little more
quickly than they might like to get there on their own. We all have blind
spots where our loved ones are concerned. Perhaps to acknowledge faults in
those we love means we must acknowledge faults in ourselves. What did I do
wrong? What did I miss? How could I have allowed my son/daughter/spouse to take
4. Your story appeals to readers because it is such a
forced to confront the seemingly impossible. Just how immersed do you get
when writing such a story; do you ever find yourself looking at your
neighbors and third cousins with a bit of suspicion at what they might
possibly be hiding?
-- It's not so much that I'm viewing my neighbors with suspicion. I'm more
intrigued by how ordinary events can lead to catastrophe. A letter delivered
to the wrong address. A set of keys left hanging from a front door. A sharp,
upturned knife in a dishwasher cutlery rack. I see those things and think,
"Something really bad could come from that."
5. Just curious, why did you give your main character
the profession of a
high school teacher?
-- Perhaps part of it is the fact that my wife teaches, and even though I do
not teach, it's a profession I think I have a feel for. Plus, I wanted my
main characters to have jobs that a reader could identify with. The people
in my books are not KGB agents or presidents or forensic scientists. They're
just the people you run into at the coffee shop. I like those people.
6. Now a bit about the world of writing and
publishing; how difficult is it
to let go of your characters when all is said and done?
-- Not that difficult, really, because when I'm finished writing a book I
start thinking about the next one. It's a bit more difficult to let go of a
series character, which I think leads into your next question.
7. Your bio indicates you did at one time attempt a
series; is this
something you might be interested in doing again?
-- It's quite recent, actually. My latest novel about Zack Walker, called
Stone Rain, came out in May of this year. This was Zack's fourth outing (the
previous ones were Bad Move, Bad Guys and Lone Wolf), and I think there's
been some interesting progression through those books. They started out very
funny, but things get a bit darker with each book. I like Zack and those
around him very much, and hope someday to write about these characters
again. I think his return will depend largely on whether my standalone
thrillers draw a new audience to those four books. I hope so. As far as
another series, my next book, while intended as a standalone, does feature a
character I think could make a return.
8. What do you see as the positive, as well as the
negative, aspects of
such a possible endeavor?
-- The one negative about a popular series may be that when you decide to
do something different, your readers are afraid to go there with you. But
the flip side of that is that with a good series, you have a built-in audience.
9. When considering your next story idea, do you find
it's harder to settle
on just one, or is it just difficult to think of one at all?
-- It's not that it's difficult to think of one, it's whether it's THE one.
There are a million book ideas floating out there in the ether, and when one
hits you, you have to stop a moment and think, is this the one I want to
devote the next six months to?
10. Who is right more often, you or your editor?
-- I was a newspaper editor for 13 years before becoming a columnist, and
later, a novelist, so I appreciate how helpful editors can be. When you're
writing a book, you're so close to it you lose your perspective. Editors
provide that perspective, and more often than not, when they have a
suggestion, it's a good one. This is also true, by the way, of my agent
Helen Heller, whose instincts about what works and what doesn't are dead on.
11. If you had your choice between being the next
late-night talk show host
or an astronaut, which would you choose? Why?
-- I think the odds of tossing your cookies are significantly lower when
working as a talk-show host, so I'd opt for that. Having worked in the
media, and as a public speaker, I think that would be a fun job.
12. And of course, what's next?
-- I've just finished writing Too Close to Home, which will come out in
2008, and am now starting to plot out my next book, which I expect to start
actually writing either late this year or in January. I'm currently on a
one-year leave of absence from my column-writing duties at the Toronto Star,
so I'm going to be able to devote myself to working on books in a way I've
not been able to before.
Linwood Barclay is a popular newspaper columnist,
acclaimed author, and in-demand public speaker.
After spending his formative years helping run a
cottage resort and trailer park after his father died when Linwood was 16, he
got his first newspaper job at the Peterborough Examiner, a small Ontario daily.
After spending two years in Peterborough, Linwood went to a small suburban paper
outside Toronto for another couple of years, and then joined the Toronto Star,
Canada’s largest circulation newspaper, in 1981.
He held such positions as assistant city editor, chief
copy editor, news editor, and Life section editor, before becoming a columnist
in 1993. It’s a humour column, although Linwood’s hesitant to call it that. If
you write a column about baseball, and it stinks, it’s still a sports column.
But if you write a humour column and no one finds it funny, what is it, really?
Since 1993, Linwood’s been writing three pieces a
week, and become one of the paper’s most popular writers. His most recent
columns are available online at thestar.com, and many of them are also offered
His first book, Father Knows Zilch: A Guide for
Dumbfounded Dads, was published in 1996, and was followed a year later by a
collection of family columns, This House Is Nuts! In 1998, he published his
satirical attack on the Ontario premier of the day, Mike Harris Made Me Eat My
In 2000, his memoir about growing up in cottage
country, Last Resort, was published to critical acclaim and was shortlisted for
the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.
In 2004, he launched his mystery series about an
anxiety-ridden, know-it-all, pain-in-the-butt father by the name of Zack Walker.
Bad Move, the first book, has since been followed by Bad Guys, Lone Wolf,
and Stone Rain.
He’s also very busy on the speaking circuit, using his
keen insights to spot what’s funny in our everyday lives, and making sport of
the shenanigans of our elected officials.
Linwood was born in the United States but moved to
Canada just before turning four years old when his father, a commercial artist
whose illustrations of cars appeared in Life, Look and Saturday Evening Post
before photography took over, accepted a position with an advertising agency
north of the border.
Linwood first became interested in writing around the
time he was in Grade 3, and can recall, in Grade 6, when the principal took him
aside and suggested that if he spent a little less time dreaming up stories, he
might do a little bit better in arithmetic.
He attended Trent University, in Peterborough,
Ontario, where he obtained an Honours B.A. in English by reading the Coles Notes
(Cliffs Notes for U.S. readers) on some of the greatest literary works ever
He was fortunate to have some very fine mentors; in
particular, the celebrated Canadian author Margaret Laurence, whom Linwood first
met when she served as writer-in-residence at Trent, and Kenneth Millar, who,
under the name Ross Macdonald, wrote the acclaimed series of mystery novels
featuring detective Lew Archer.
It was at Trent that he met the woman who would become
his wife. He and Neetha, who teaches kindergarten, have been married for more
than 25 years. They have two children, Spencer and Paige.