MysteryPeople Q&A with C. J. Box

~ Q&A by Michael

Where excited to have C. J. Box in our store Monday, the 17th at 7PM for a signing & conversation with author David Hansard. I asked him a few questions about his latest in the Joe Pickett series, Stone Cold, and his approach to the craft.

MYSTERYPEOPLE: Stone Cold had Joe involved in several side stories. Any of these could have been a book of its own. Do these stories develop together or do they come to you separately and you weave them into one book?

C. J. BOX: I like weaving several side stories into each book, and using different points of view to advance the plot.  This way, the reader is privy to more information than any of the individual characters.  I think this ratchets up the suspense and keeps the novel moving at a good pace.

MP: Do you know the end of the story before you start writing?

CJB: I do, but that doesn’t mean it won’t change.  That’s happened several times.  Although I know there are some writers who “see where the story takes them,”  I think it’s important for a writer (and for readers) to always have a conclusion in mind.

MP: Your characters, even the “bit parts,” are well defined. Do you base all of your characters on someone you know?  (If so, I hope Missy is not really your mother-in-law.)

CJB: No, my mother-in-law is much worse.  I’m kidding!  No, most of the characters are not based on people I know.  Often, I’ll make them up out of whole cloth, or take them from someone I’ve seen on the street, or on television, or in a crowd.

MP: Most stories have good guys and bad guys. Nate has his own code that allows him to do things an “average Joe” would not. Is it difficult, as a writer, to have a good guy do bad things?

CJB: It can be dangerous.  When a good person does a bad thing, there should be consequences.  Even Nate, who lives by his own code,  knows that he’ll never live a normal life because too many cops want to put him away.  Joe has crossed the line a time or two also, and he’s suffered from it.

MP: Stone Cold ends with a few open questions (Sheridan’s missing guns, Missy, April & their new beaus, Nate’s future). Do you know where Joe will be headed next?

CJB: Yup.


C. J. Box will be at BookPeople on Monday, Mar 17 at 7PM speaking & signing copies of Stone Cold. He’ll be in conversation with David Hansard (One Minute Gone). Click here for more information & to pre-order signed copies.

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