I’m fascinated by the many roles–author, publisher, and, as he mentions below, new father–that Jason Pinter manages to juggle. A very underrated author, Pinter has written some really terrific novels, none of which are better than his latest, The Castle.
Pinter took a break from his busy schedule to participate in our Five Questions segment, providing some really thoughtful and insightful answers. See the Q&A below, then keep reading to find out more about The Castle, which is now available for purchase here.
TRBS: You wear a lot of hats. You’re a publisher, an author, a new father (congrats, by the way!), etc. When it comes to this business, what do you enjoy more–being a writer or being a publisher?
Pinter: “Well right now my infant daughter runs the business, considering she decides when I work, how much (or how little) I sleep, and how well my brain functions on any given day. Both writing and publishing each have their own joys and headaches, and are both fulfilling in very different ways. As a writer, I’m the creator, I decide the stories and the characters. As a publisher, it’s my job to help other authors bring their stories to light. I’m not the creator in that sense, but I do help my authors shape their stories, and work with them on how to publish them properly. There’s tremendous pride both when I finish one of my own books, and when I see a finished copy of a book I’m publishing. I’m very proud of The Castle. I think it’s the best book I’ve written, and thankfully people seem to agree.”
TRBS: The Castle, your latest novel, is a politically charged thriller. I can guess, but I’ll ask anyways…what was your inspiration for this book?
Pinter: “Well, it’s certainly inspired by the recent presidential election–it was such a crazy few years, and I remember thinking at one point, “What would it be like inside one of these campaigns? What if a regular Joe ended up working inside one of them?” And I knew right then I had a doozy of a thriller.
“I could take certain aspects of the election that were familiar to people, but twist them enough to hopefully write a wholly original and engaging thriller with characters that might seem recognizable, but were actually very different under the surface. Rawson Griggs might seem like a certain current president, but he’s actually quite different. And the faces he wears in public and private showcase that. I wanted to upend readers’ expectations, and nothing does that like giving them something they think is familiar, then pulling the rug out from under them.
TRBS: Interestingly, you didn’t publish this novel under Polis Books. Was there a particular reason for that?
Pinter: “I try to keep my writing career and publishing career as separate as possible, which is often difficult. But it’s very important to me that Polis never be considered a vanity press or something used for my own benefit, and had I published The Castle through Polis, it would have taken resources away from my writers, who would have (rightly) felt that the company was being used to further my own books rather than theirs.
TRBS: What’s next for you as an author, and when can readers expect another book?
Pinter: “Well, my readers will not have to wait nearly as long for a new book! There will be a new Pinter novel out in 2018. I’m currently editing a standalone novel, but considering a new Remy Stanton novel, the next Henry Parker novel (he never left), and brainstorming something very different, in a new genre for me. So stay tuned!”
TRBS: Lastly, who are a few or your favorite authors, and what books are currently on your nightstand?
Pinter: “I’m going to leave out any number of people, but some of my favorites are Dennis Lehane, James Ellroy, Zadie Smith, Laura Lippman, Don Winslow, Stephen King, Michael Connelly, and Dave Barry. I tend to always have a pile of books on my nightstand, so currently residing there are The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, A Little Life by Hanya Yanigihara, Quiet by Susan Cain, The Hike by Drew Magary, Uprooted by Naomi Novik, and Rather Be the Devil by Ian Rankin.
“My nightstand doesn’t feel complete unless there’s a stack of books high enough to potentially topple over and kill me in my sleep.”
I just finished The Castle last week (watch for my review in a few days!) and have to say that I was really taken by surprise.
Above, in our Q&A, Pinter said the following: “I wanted to upend readers’ expectations, and nothing does that like giving them something they think is familiar, then pulling the rug out from under them.”
That’s a great quote for two reasons. One, it’s absolutely true. And secondly, that’s precisely what Pinter does with The Castle. Just when you expect the story to zig, it zags. Hard!
A politically-charged thriller that’s as timely as it is entertaining, The Castle is an intoxicating blend of Joseph Finder-like conspiracies and Harlan Coben-like suspense. If you haven’t already, get your copy today.