Reading Matters

John Hart to talk about how he stumbled writing his latest thriller, ‘Redemption Road’

When they appear at bookstores, authors fall into two camps.

Those who want only to read from their latest work and do not wish to add anything personal or to answer questions.

And those who are willing to answer questions and talk about how the writing gets down.

In my experience, the writers who will talk about their lives as writers draw the most interest and sell the most books.

I have a feeling that when John Hart reads at Park Road Books at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, he’ll fall into the latter camp.

Hart attended Davidson College, lived in London and Paris, completed his law degree, practiced law and decided, after his first child was born, to write fulltime. He spent nearly a year in a carrell in the Rowan Public Library writing his debut bestseller, “The King of Lies.”

His latest crime novel, “Redemption Road,” opens with this sentence: “Gideon Strange opened his eyes to dark and heat and the sound of his father weeping.”

In an interview, Hart said his novels don’t begin with a plot outline, but with a strong sense of the person whose story I want to tell.

“To understand fully that character,” he said, “I identify two or three emotional drivers that will propel him or her through the story, whether those drivers are guilt and shame, anger and loss, or some other emotional cocktail. That will always be the core of the story – that beating heart.”

Hart admitted to an interviewer that after four bestsellers, he was overconfident. It took him a year to learn that he had no foundation for the story because he had not found the right protagonist. He realized that a bit character, Elizabeth Black, should’ve been the main character.

You’re invited to this free event. Park Road Books is in Park Road Shopping Center, Charlotte, 4139 Park Road.

Dannye: dpowell@charlotteobserver.com

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