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April 07, 2008



He is one of the best writers, crime or otherwise, out there.

David J. Montgomery

I absolutely agree about Price... And his career makes me wonder.

Authors are pushed to produce a book a year -- it's a mantra of the publishing industry that's almost impossible for writers to resist.

But Price has only published 3 novels over the last decade: Freedomland (1998) Samaritan (2003) and Lush Life (2008).

All 3 have been critically acclaimed bestsellers.

Would his books have been as good if he'd been forced to maintain a strict book-a-year schedule? Probably not.

So it makes me think... Would more of today's good writers become great if they worked longer on each book? Or would it make no difference?

(Obviously, there's no answer for this...But I wonder.)


Well, I've proven on this site that I have no idea what I'm talking about, but I honestly believe that most writers would produce better books if they had more time.

So many second novels stink because the writer spent two, three, five years working on that first one that sold, then suddenly they were told to have another one ready in ten months.

Someone who's never worked with a deadline in their life. How can quality come from that?

And there are more writers than you think who do not do the book-a-year thing. Yes, it's the norm, and yes, most houses are going to demand it of a new author, but there are exceptions.

I'm sure someone smarter than me will come here and say that more time = more picking apart and second guessing of one's work, but that's really not a time issue, that's a discipline issue.

Price and Tan and another big name that is escaping me right now, have all said they can't produce the kind of book they demand of themselves in a year.

And I'm one reader who's glad they don't try.

Elaine Flinn

I am so mezmerized by Price (and always have been) - and Lush Life - that I've limited myself to one chapter each evening. There are few writers (living) that I read that way...


And here I have been depressed that most of the other authors seem to work to deadlines after signing a contract on a mere sketchy proposal.
Well, I know I couldn't work that way, but it is nice to wanted.

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David J. Montgomery is a writer and critic specializing in books and publishing. He is an emeritus columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and The Daily Beast, and has also written for USA Today, the Washington Post, and other fine publications. A former professor of History, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and two daughters.

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