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Cat Johnson Braves Doll Lil’s Word Association Challenge!

August 7, 2013 – 12:48 am | One Comment

I’m back from vacation and ready to get down and dirty finding new free and amazingly bargained books for you! But first this week I have something special. I convinced super hot and crazy talented …

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Special 3 part Interview with author Barry Eisler + GIVEAWAY! (part 1)

Submitted by on January 9, 2012 – 1:33 am21 Comments

 Barry Eisler spent three years in a covert position with the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, then worked as a technology lawyer and startup executive in Silicon Valley and Japan, earning his black belt at the Kodokan International Judo Center along the way. Eisler’s bestselling thrillers have won the Barry Award and the Gumshoe Award for Best Thriller of the Year, have been included in numerous “Best Of” lists, and have been translated into nearly twenty languages. Eisler lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and, when he’s not writing novels, blogs about torture, civil liberties, and the rule of law.

For our readers who haven’t had the opportunity to read Barry Eisler’s books, do yourself a favor in 2012 and read at least one. You don’t have to be a thriller aficionado to find yourself fascinated with his characters. Let me tell you, John Rain is hawt. Dox, too *wink*.

You can tell by his writing that Barry loves his subject matter. His sharp wit and offbeat sense of humor give added flavor to the dialogue and action. If you ever have the opportunity to sit in on any of his workshops, do so. You’ll be very glad you did…trust me, I speak from experience.

Interview with Barry Eisler Part 1

Mona: Which comes first, your character or the plot?

Barry: That’s a hard question to answer. Some of my books started with a plot idea involving a character that then needed to be fleshed out in some way. Other books have involved more of a character or characters in a certain situation, in which case the plot then needed to be fleshed out.
I guess what I’m saying is it doesn’t matter so much where you start as it matters where you wind up and what’s the process in between. You want there to be some sort of balance, and that means the story should be a combination of plot, which is ‘what’ and character, which is ‘who’ and setting, which is ‘where’ and all those things should be inextricably connected so that you can’t really pull any one of them out without the whole story unraveling. How the story started probably doesn’t matter all that much.

Mona: Where do you find your inspiration?

Barry: Again, it’s all three for me. I get plot ideas because I’m a political junkie and news junkie so I read all the time about what’s going on in the world and the country. That gives me a lot of plot ideas, which then lead to character ideas.
As an example, in my book Inside Out the story idea came from reading about these ninety-two missing CIA interrogation videos. The CIA made (they say) ninety-two tapes that depicted waterboarding of terrorist suspects and other forms of torture, and then they destroyed the tapes. This was reported in the news in December 2009. December 2007 originally.
And from that I wondered, Why would the CIA have made these tapes? And why would they have destroyed them? And then why would they then publicly acknowledge having made and destroyed them? What if these tapes weren’t actually destroyed, they were just missing? What if someone stole those tapes and used them to blackmail the U.S. government? And then I thought here’s the plot idea.
That’s what this book started with, because I was reading a lot of news about this stuff. But then the next question would be the character question. Who would have taken these tapes—what kind of person? Well, it would have to be this kind of person. And that leads to more plot questions, which is the way a story gets written. It’s actually reflective of the way a story gets read.
In other words, everything that happens in the plot should affect the character’s personality or outlook or behavior in such a way that the character’s changed behavior then turns the plot, etcetera. That’s how a good story gets written. That’s both the process and the result.

Mona: Of all the characters you write, which one is your favorite?

Barry: They’re all my babies. I love them all for different reasons. It’s a hard question to answer. Probably whichever one I’m writing at the moment feels like my favorite until I get to the next one, but I really like them all.

Mona: Which one’s been the most difficult to write—the one you really had to work at? Which one was easiest?

Barry: Dox, my former marine sniper….

Mona: I like Dox.

Barry: (laughs) Thanks, a lot of people like Dox. I don’t know why Dox is really easy. I never have to think about what he’s going to say. When I write his dialogue, it’s like I’m taking dictation. I’m just listening to him and writing it down. So, I guess Dox is my easiest character. Compared to Dox the other ones are harder, but there’s no one character that stands out on grounds of difficulty.

To be continued. . .

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Mona's first grade teacher, Mrs. Stanford, gifted her with the love of reading. For that, she'll always live in her heart. But reading took over Mona's life, eclipsing everything but playing sports, and has continued to be a huge part of her life. Although she has always written poetry and stories for her self, last year she decided to try her hand at writing fiction. She is currently editing her first urban fantasy and hopes to have it ready for the agent by summer's end. Besides reading, Mona loves speed in the form of fast cars. The faster, the better! In her next life, she plans to drive race cars (or whatever happens to be their replacement in the future) all while reading and writing. She has also taken up rune reading, and find it to be disturbingly accurate and exciting.
Doll Mona Leigh


  • erinf1 says:

    OOOOH… Thanks for the awesome interview! I’ve never read any of Mr. Eisler’s books but they sound intriguing :) Can’t wait for the next part of the interview.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Doll Day says:

    I also really love Barry’s audio books…the last one was narrated by the author himself! It is so cool to hear the creator tell the story:) Big THANKS to Barry!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Joella Elbert says:

    Thanks for the interview. I have never read any of Barry’s books, but definately now going on my TBR list!!

    Reply to this comment »
  • REGINA ROSS says:

    great interview :)

    Reply to this comment »
  • Jen W. says:

    Great interview! This is a great way to be introduced to new authors!!

    Reply to this comment »
  • says:

    The Rain series is great and I’m glad Barry decided to bring his iconic assassin back for another outing. His success with Amazon’s new imprint also shows where publishing can move to; a process that serves both author and publisher well.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Victoria Zumbrum says:

    Barry is a new author to me. I would love to read this books. They sound very good. I am a follower and email subscriber. Please enter me in contest.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Mona Leigh says:

    I happened to get a copy of Killing Rain at the RT Booklovers Convention in 2009 and it was awesome. I fell in love with John Rain and his partner, Dox. Because of that book, I took one of Barry’s workshops at the 2010 RT convention and was blown away by all the good info.

    Barry’s one of those rare people who fairly sparks with energy, and to talk with him is like trying to keep up at warp speed….he’s always three or four steps ahead of the others.

    Plus, he writes great sex scenes. ;-)

    Reply to this comment »
  • Julie Witt says:

    You sound like a very interesting person, Barry, with lots of stories to tell, I’ll bet! I would love to read some of them – thanks to the Dolls for bringing you and your books to my attention :)

    Reply to this comment »
  • Mary Preston says:

    I enjoyed the interview thank you & look forward to more.

    Reply to this comment »
  • [...] For those of you who have just stumbled upon this post, be sure to catch up on the first portion of … [...]

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  • says:

    I haven’t read anything by Barry Eisler, but I’d love to read his books – he sounds really knowledgeable!

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  • Maureen says:

    Thanks for the interview. Dox must be an interesting character.

    Reply to this comment »
    • Mona Leigh says:

      Dox is short for Paradox….and he is a walking paradox. A good ole boy assassin. LOL

      Reply to this comment »
  • [...] those of you who have just stumbled upon this post, be sure to catch up on Part 1 & Part 2 of this special interview feature with the always charming, incredibly witty, and [...]

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  • Believer9200 says:

    Cool! What a great interview! Do you ever worry about Langley keeping tabs on you? ;D

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  • Carol M says:

    This sounds like a great series! I’m looking forward to reading it!

    Reply to this comment »
  • [...] See Her – The Book PushersBarry Eisler, author of Double Tap – Paperback Dolls (Part One, Two and Three)Eileen Cook, author of Unraveling Isobel – Rex Robot ReviewsAmy Ruttan, [...]

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  • Doll Lil says:

    I love hearing how writers do what they do. Thanks Barry for sharing!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Lucy Zelazowski says:

    Hello. I haven’t read nor heard of Barry Eisler novels, which is surprising as I do like a good thiller and try to seek out new authors. I’m a big fan of James Patterson, more fiction then fact. My favourite book is The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn. I was chuffed when the book was changed into a block buster movie. Of couse, the book is a far better read then than watching the movie. I am definitely intrigued and will lookout for Barry’s books in the future (Now following him on twitter too).
    Reading is a massive part of my life, I have 2 young boys and read to them all the time, they love stories, let their imaginations run with it. I feel sad for parents who don’t read to their kids. The only down side is we have stacks of books everywhere, a kindle would save on some space! Thank you @LondonBirdLucy

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  • [...] part 1 Here Read part 2 Here Read part 3 [...]

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