While Pari’s away, the mice are playing…
One of the greatest aspects of being a member of the crime
fiction community is the chance to meet other writers. As many of you know,
we’ve got a group of debut writers called Killer Year, and through that organization,
I met a phenomenal writer named Gregg Olsen. Any true crime aficionado is
familiar with Gregg’s work – seven non-fiction titles, New York Times
television personality, expert is all things criminal.
For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of getting
to know Gregg, I thought I’d introduce him to you. He’s written a fiction novel
called A WICKED SNOW that is garnering rave reviews. Publisher’s Weekly says
Gregg “brings complex mystery and crackling authenticity to bear on a cold case
police procedural.” Not so bad.
Gregg has several lives, as many of us do. In addition to
being a lauded true crime author, and now a fiction author, he is the
proprietor of one of the most entertaining, intriguing and disturbing blogs on
the net. CRIME RANT caught my attention months ago. It’s a gritty, no nonsense
look at the crime permeating our society, the stories that make headlines, and
those that just create a ripple or two. The site is one of the most active in
the crime fiction community, and if you spend any time watching the bleeding headlines, you
can be sure Gregg and his co-blogger Matt Phelps (another spectacular true
crime writer) will be covering the story.
Without further ado, meet Gregg Olsen.
How did Crime Rant get started?
I’d been thinking about blogging for quite some time. The problem wasn’t
topical. Plenty of things to say about true crime. But I really didn’t want to
do it alone. Blogs are like hungry, make that starving, animals and you’ve got
to feed them often. Everyday is best. I hooked up with my partner in
crime, Matt Phelps, and that made the prospect of doing something every day go
down a little easier. I told him when we started we’d have to give it a year to
see where it takes us. So far, so good. We’ve been linked to by ABC News, Court
TV, Wired Magazine, and USA Today. Not bad for a couple of upstarts.
What’s your favorite aspect of blogging?
There are so many things that I love about it. Of course, interaction with
readers is at the top of the list. But I have to admit my favorite part is
seeing which topics are really sticky. Sometimes we’re right on the money,
other times, the post goes flat. And it doesn’t matter how much effort you put
into a post. I put up an item that was only a paragraph long and we’ve had
almost 300 comments.
Tell us about your new book, A WICKED SNOW.
I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of infamy. I’ve written about people
like Mary Kay Letourneau who have become famous and celebrated for a bad act. I
wondered what would it be like if there was a female serial killer who got away
with a major crime? You know there would be anniversary stories in the media,
songs written, TV shows….that’s what A WICKED SNOW is about. A woman
disappears after a grisly crime and her daughter and the FBI agent who
originally investigated the case team up to catch her.
What inspired you to try your hand at fiction?
Curiosity mainly. I just wanted to see if I could do it. It wasn’t like I
thought I had some fantastic novel that I just had to get out to the world. For
me, fiction was an adventure in the process of writing. No rules. Just a good
story to tell.
What is it like to switch between true crime and fiction? Which do you find
Like I’ve said, I’m not saying I’m some great novelist. I’m still learning. But
fiction is easier. No question. In a lot of ways, I’m sure I’m not suited to
write true crime as I care deeply about the people I’m writing about. They —
and their stories — never leave me. With fiction, my characters are an
invention and I don’t have to worry about them after I type the last sentence
of a book. I enjoy both genres and switching between the two seems pretty
natural right now. But ask me later — because its what the readers think that
What is your favorite unsolved crime?
The JonBenet Ramsey case, or as those of us in the true crime world call her,
JBR. I was elated with John Mark Karr confessed and similarly crestfallen when
it turned out to be a hoax.
If you could tell the criminals of the world one thing, what would it be?
You’re so vain; you probably think this novel is about you.
What’s next for Gregg Olsen?
Too much. I’m finishing up my next TC for St. Martins, my first hardcover in
the genre. It is about a local pastor convicted of murdering his wife. It has
all the elements of a great true crime — sex, religion, and murder. Also, I’m
polishing the next novel, A COLD DARK PLACE for Kensington.
New York Times bestselling author Gregg Olsen is the
author of eight books, including the Western Writers of America Spur Award
finalist, The Deep Dark: Disaster and
Redemption in America’s Richest Silver Mine (Crown Publishers).
As a journalist and true crime author, Olsen has been a guest on Good Morning
America, CBS Early Show, Entertainment Tonight, CNN, Fox News, 48 Hours, and
other national and international programs. The Seattle native lives in rural
Washington with his wife, twin daughters, five chickens, and obedience school
dropout cocker spaniel Milo. A Wicked
Snow is his fiction debut, coming from Kensington in March.
Great interview. I guess he didnt tell you about Suri heh?
Gregg, it sounds like the empathy you have for the true crime folks you write about is what makes you a great fiction writer as well. You can get into the characters’ heads.
Thanks for the intro, Pari. But Gregg, I want to know more about those tattoos.
You go Gregg. And uh… looking quite buff in that shirt… and yeah…. what ABOUT those tattoos. I think you need to put that picture on CrimeRant!!! Best, as always and looking forward to the new books!!
Alas, Typepad was down for much of the day – so a tardy welcome to you, Gregg!
Hope you’ll come back again – and best wishes for A Wicked Snow.
Grr… Typepad was down FOREVER!Thanks for stopping by, all. Glad to see you home safe from LCC!
Hi, Gregg! Just between you and me, I think you’re a great novelist!
Best-ever Gregg Olsen quote:
“You’re so vain;you probably think this novel is about you.”
We love Gregg! He’s an incredible author, with the ability to tell the story as no other. I look forward to reading his fiction book “A Wicked Snow”. If it’s even half as good as his non-fiction books, it’s sure to be a hit.
Thank you for this interview. Gregg & Matt’s CrimeRant is a fantastic blog.
Bloo said it- we love Gregg! I’ll be buying ABANDONED PRAYERS this week and A WICKED SNOW (wicked pissah!) when it is available.