Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

Home · Articles · News · Books · Night Work
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Night Work

Glen Young - October 25th, 2007
Way out East, in Cottekill, New York, author Steve Hamilton is likely sitting down, even tonight, to begin his new novel.
Hamilton, a Michigan native who has called New York’s Catskills Mountain region home since his 1983 graduation from U of M, is well known to Michigan mystery fans. Since the early success of 1998’s “A Cold Day in Paradise,” Hamilton has penned six other novels starring retired Detroit policeman Alex McKnight. But his most recent success finds Hamilton leaving McKnight and Paradise behind for his adopted home of New York.
“Night Work” marks a breakout for Hamilton; a first commercial departure from his tried and tested fictional series. This time, instead of the slushy confines of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in winter, Hamilton’s story takes place in the Hudson River valley region of New York, near his own home. It’s a murder mystery in which the main character struggles both to exonerate himself and catch the killer.
Hamilton, who earned an Edgar Award for his first McKnight effort, says the new book required him to rethink the lessons he has learned writing about Michigan. “I learned a lot about how to write, I hope, but I was really trying to forget about it,” he says. “I wanted to put it aside for awhile, to prove to myself I could do it,” he says about breaking away from McKnight.
McKnight and the new novel’s protagonist, Joe Trumbull, are different characters, Hamilton believes, though they do share some similarities. “Circumstances have isolated them,” he believes. “Alex lives in a cabin, and Joe dives into his work in response to the isolation.” For Hamilton, however, the primary difference seems to come down to something more elusive. “Joe just sounds different in my head. Alex is a solid rock of a guy. Joe is a little more out there, a little more high strung,” he says.
“Night Work,” released recently by Hamilton’s long time publisher Thomas Dunne Books, may mark a departure, but don’t look for Hamilton to forego a return to Alex McKnight and the Paradise series. In fact, Hamilton hopes to be in the Upper Peninsula this winter, helping to bring McKnight to theaters. He has been collaborating with independent filmmaker Nick Childs on an adaptation of the second Alex McKnight mystery, “Winter of the Wolf Moon.” Childs’ film “The Shovel,” based on one of Hamilton’s short stories, earned the Best Narrative Short award at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival.
Childs had never visited the U.P. before, but after Hamilton helped him scout locations, the director decided he wants to film at least some of the film in the region. Filming could take place soon after the first snowfall.
“This is not a Holly-wood studio taking it away from you,” Hamilton says. He says that he and Childs have worked on the screenplay together, and that while this is the first time he has worked with a collaborator, the process has been completely “egoless.”
Collaborating or not, Hamilton has found a successful formula for writing. When working out a new book, Hamilton gives small portions to two long-time associates from his original writer’s group. “They don’t care if I’ve published books or won awards,” he says. If the work is not up to acceptable standards, his two friends will “pre-destroy everything I do,” he laughs, “If it gets through them, it will work for anybody.”
This formula has definitely worked for Hamilton. In addition to the early Edgar Award, he received a 2006 Michigan Author Award. “It was like the whole state was calling me back to tell me I was doing something good,” he remembers.
His recent barnstorming promotional tour included a few Michigan stops, where Hamilton says he always finds he is appreciated, though it was not always so. “It took Michigan a while to catch on,” he says of the early feedback on the McKnight characters. Michigan readers are now among his most loyal.
Hamilton says it will not be long before he begins his next book, though he admits he is not sure what the new novel will be.
“It won’t be another Joe,” he says, “and Alex is not ready to come back yet, either,” he continues. In fact, Hamilton is considering a totally different approach at some point in the foreseeable future. “I might be ready to write about a criminal,” he says. He thinks he might try writing one book featuring “a guy who’s not necessarily someone you’d want to be like.”
Regardless of what the next book turns out to be, Hamilton is certain he will eventually return to his first Paradise and McKnight. “I want to find out what (Alex) is going to do next,” he admits.

Find out where to get “Night Work,” and find out more about Hamilton’s other works at www.authorstevehamilton.com.




 
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