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How New York Times Bestselling Author John Connolly Found His “McGuffin”

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The Gates by John Connolly
The Gates

(Atria Books, October 2009)
ISBN: 978-1-4391-7263-6
BookBites (Audio Interview)
Length: About 18 minutes

 

An exclusive Authorlink AUDIO Interview with John Connolly, bestselling author of the The Gates
November 2009

John Connolly, betselling authors, The Gates
Play Audio Interview

After eight long years, John Connolly's twelfth novel, THE GATES, is seeing the light of day.  "I'm not sure why it took me so long to get around to writing it, "he says. "In part, I think it was because I couldn't find what Alfred Hitchcock used to call the “MacGuffin,” the crucial element that would drive the plot along.  I made at least one false start on THE GATES, and I still have those chapters on my desktop.

"Looking at them again, I can see why I grew frustrated: they had 'magic in them, and I realized that I was tired of books featuring children with magical powers, " he says.

In this Authorlink AUDIO interview, John talks with humor and honesty, about the inner struggles of the writing process. He encourages new writers to accept the emotions that are all part of being a writer. 

Connolly has more than ten million copies of his books in print. His first novel, Every Dead Thing, was published in 1999, and introduced the character of Charlie Parker, a former policeman hunting the killer of his wife and daughter. Dark Hollow followed in 2000. The Gates is his first novel for children.

In THE GATES, Samuel Johnson, an 11-year-old who is already showing signs of a distinctive personality, decides to get an early start on his trick-or-treating.  His first stop is his neighbors, The Abernathys, who live at 666 Crowley Avenue.  When he sees a flash of blue light and a shadowy image of what looks like a massive set of gates through the basement window, he knows something is definitely wrong.

It turns out that Satan, or the Great Malevolence (as he’s known to his minions), has been waiting eons to escape his Hellish prison to wreak havoc on—and destroy—humankind.  His chance comes when energy harnessed from the Large Hadron Collider in Europe manages to create a rip in the fabric of time and space.  Soon, with the help of a horde of demons leading the way, he’ll be able to wrench the Gates of Hell apart and ascend to the world of the living.

But not if Samuel can help it. 

About the Author

Born in Dublin, Ireland in 1968, John Connolly has, at various points in his life, worked as a journalist, a bartender, a local government official, a waiter and at Harrods department store in London. He studied English in Trinity College, Dublin and journalism at Dublin City University, subsequently spending five years working as a freelance journalist for The Irish Times newspaper, to which he continues to contribute occasionally. 

–Doris Booth

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