ridley pearson

Friday, April 11, 2008

Begat, Began, Begun - the genesis of Steel Trapp

JB wants me to explain the genesis of my new YA thriller, Steel Trapp, so here goes:

I originally wrote a sequel to Cut and Run, my thriller featuring a Justice Department agent, Roland Larson. The sequel was a pursuit thriller involving a young boy with a photographic memory, who discovers a briefcase on an overnight train -- a discovery that led him in a mountain of trouble. After finishing a 700 page manuscript, I moved from Hyperion to Putnam and my new publisher, whom I was thrilled to be with, did not want to continue "older" series characters, but start a new series. That resulted in Killer Weekend (2007) and the upcoming Killer View (July 2008) but left "the train book" on a shelf.

My assistant at the time, Louise Marsh, read the train book and promptly told me it would make a good YA thriller, because she loved the character of the young boy with the photographic memory. I didn't want to hear this, of course, because I'd already written that book as an adult book. But the thought had been spoken and it wouldn't go away. About six months later I approached my agent, Amy Berkhower, and later my editor at Disney, Wendy Lefkon, with the notion of recrafting the train novel as a YA novel. The next three edits brought the young boy to the front and cut 300 pages out of the original, and Steel Trapp was the result.
I see it as a PG version of my typically R thriller novels. But it is certainly not dumbed-down; no punches were held. It is a very fast, tightly plotted thriller that I hope adults will enjoy as much as younger readers.

But that's the story... and now you know.