Our March Pick Of The Month, Joe R Lansdale’s The Elephant Of Surprise, is a non stop action crime novel with his regulars Hap and Leonard trying to protect a girl with a lot of bad men after her during one of the biggest storms in East Texas. Joe will be here to talk about the book and sign at BookPeople on April 3rd. We got a few early questions in.
1. This is a little different from the normal Hap & Leonard. I couldn’t help think of siege movies like Rio Bravo or Assault On Precinct 13 when reading it. Did you have anything particular in mind when you set out?
I find Manny appealing, and I think she’s becoming more and more interesting as the series goes on. Look for her to take a larger role in the future.
4. With the exception of Manny, this is basically Hap and Leonard with the rest of the recurring cast sidelined. Did it feel different with it mainly being a boy’s night out?
It did, but that was the intent. I just wanted to get back to the guys and them handling action. They haven’t aged as much as me, but they are in their early fifties, and it’s starting to show, so I wanted to have them have this real strong, physical moment.
5. The weather is almost as much an adversary as the bad guys. What did you have do keep in mind with storm pounding down through most of the story?
It storms a lot here, so that wasn’t hard. Lot of folks think it was influenced by the terrible hurricane in Houston, but I was already writing it and had that to reinforce what I was doing. I also wanted to hint at climate change, and how things unseasonable, and it also helped deal with the storm inside the characters, as well as provide a limitation of movement to make the story more viable.
6. One thing I enjoyed about the this book is that the action is non-stop. What advice would you give about writing a great action sequence?