Today, The Fallen, the seventh Quinn Colson novel in Ace Atkins’ bestselling series, hits bookstores. To talk about his latest book, we caught up with the king of southern crime, who participated in our Five Questions segment. Don’t miss his answers below, Atkins’ gave some thoroughly entertaining responses!
TRBS: The Fallen is really awesome! There’s so much packed into this book, with multiple compelling plot threads… What is your writing process like, do you outline first or just sit down and write?
Atkins: “Thanks very much, Ryan! Some books are more fun to write than others. I have to admit, The Fallen was a real pleasure. Maybe because I started it last year by secluding myself in Florida for a week to plan out the story. While I didn’t have the complete picture, I left the intended break from email and phone with a damn good feel for the book. As I wrote through the winter, I worked from a very loose outline as a lot changed during the process. As far as my daily process, it’s going to the office and getting down to work! Lots of coffee definitely helps.”
TRBS: The bad guys in this book, highly-trained bank robbers who hit their targets quickly with laser-like precision, are really well written. What do you think makes a compelling bad guy?
Atkins: “This is not necessarily an original statement. But I think a bad guy never thinks they are a bad guy. They think they are doing all the right things for the right reason. Some people — true sociopaths — lack any empathy and that’s what makes them dangerous. Now I wouldn’t call the lead bank robber — U.S. Marine turned thief, Rick Wilcox — a sociopath. But he’s certainly an egomaniac and a nihilist. That’s what makes him unpredictable and a lot of fun.”
TRBS: Any chance we’ll ever see Quinn Colson on the big screen, and which actor would you love to see play him?
Atkins: “I certainly hope so. I’ve been working with veteran director/producer, Jeremiah Chechik, for the last few years to make this happen. I just finished up a script with my pal, Emmy-award winner Jack Pendarvis, that everyone seems to like. Next up in the development process will be the casting. While I don’t have any personal favorites, I’d say we’re all looking for a young Burt Reynolds or Steve McQueen. How hard could that be?”
TRBS: Who are your favorite authors currently working today, and what books are on your nightstand right now?
Atkins: “Tough question! So many great writers working today. Some of my recent favorites include Megan Abbott, Lisa Unger, David Joy, Don Winslow, and Michael Farris Smith. I’m also a big fan of C.J. Box, Robert Crais, and James Lee Burke. Also, if you don’t know a new noir writer named William Boyle, check him out. Old school and gritty as hell.”
TRBS: What’s next for you — a vacation now that the book is out, or will you start working on the next one?
Atkins: “No rest for the wicked, Ryan! I’m already well into next year’s Spenser’s novel. I’m having to change my accent and drink more beer. . . life is rough!”
Like I said, Atkins provided some colorful and entertaining answers. Special thanks to him for taking the time to take part in our Q&A. Obviously, if you’ve read his books, then you know Quinn Colson is perfect for the big (or small) screen. Keep your fingers crossed that we see that happen soon — it sure sounds like that’s a real possibility!
In the meantime, head out and get The Fallen right away. It’s a captivating crime novel that’s perfect for fans of C.J. Box, William Kent Krueger, and Craig Johnson.