Updated: May 31, 2019
Cary resident Charlie Donlea and his third thriller novel, “Don’t Believe It,” will be the featured guests at an upcoming event at the Barrington Area Library.
Donlea will be on hand to talk about the new novel and sign copies of the book at 7 p.m. June 13 inside the library, 505 N. Northwest Highway.
His latest novel tells the story of a filmmaker working on a crime documentary about a decade-old murder in the Caribbean. The secret she uncovers along the way may show that the woman convicted of the crime might be innocent.
Donlea recently talked with Pioneer Press about his novels and his experiences as a published author.
Q: Why did you choose crime thrillers as a writing genre?
A: I was never a reader as a child and had no aspirations to write. In college, I came across a John Grisham novel, “The Firm.” I got hooked on thrillers, and it was the first novel I had read for pleasure. I started reading more thrillers, such as by Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, Patricia Cornwell and Pat Conroy. I sat down to write my first manuscript in 2001, and no one knew I was writing and I had no deadlines.
Q: How did you get published?
A: It took me a number of years to write the manuscript. When I finished, I spent a year soliciting literary agents, but racked up 100 rejection letters. An agent finally called me back and said, “First of all, it’s not very good and it’s way too long. Plotting is terrible and pacing erratic. You have a problem with suspense because there isn’t any.” He did say my writing wasn’t bad and I knew how to write, (but) I didn’t know how to write a thriller. I took his advice and started reading thrillers not as a fan, but as a student. I wrote a second manuscript, and eventually in 2007 got a reply from an agent and ended up getting signed by the agency.
Q: How do you go about getting ideas for your novels?
A: Anything can inspire you, but then you have to build an entire story around that nugget. I have an idea folder for future books. I see an idea in the news or from a movie or book I’m reading, and I jot it down in a folder.
Shout Out is a weekly feature in which we introduce our readers to their fellow community members and local visitors throughout suburban Chicago.
By: Todd Shields Contact Reporter