Jason Pinter is a young man in a hurry. At 28-years-old, with two published (and acclaimed) mystery novels under his belt, he is anxious not to waste any time in his quest to become an established best-selling author.
"Number three is done, but I am behind eight ball and to get my career off the ground I am working hard to get books out," he says.
To many, two published novels - his second book The Guilty was released recently in the US, while his debut novel The Mark has just been released in the UK - would be viewed as a sign that a career was proceeding reasonably well at 28 years of age. But Pinter - not a bad name for a writer - doesn't look at it that way at all.
"I worked in publishing for five years and I know how tenuous a career can be," he says. "I have seen quite a few authors who get off to a good start and then tail off. You need momentum, and there’s truth in the saying that if you are not growing you are dying."
Pinter is growing. The UK edition of The Mark is adorned with the sort of endorsements a debutant author would give his right arm for: Lee Child, Jeffery Deaver, James Patterson. "The Mark is a riveting novel with characters that leap off the page, a villain that truly chills the blood, and a story that grabs you from page one and doesn't let go," says Tess Gerritsen.
"It is kind of exciting, but also terrifying," says Pinter of the praise. "A lot of them I grew up being a fan of, so the idea that Lee Child would even read my book let alone put his name on it and endorse it, is thrilling and amazing. But it also increases expectations. They put their names there so there is an expectation that it appeals to readers in the same way that those authors appeal to them. So the author has to expect more from themselves in delivery and make an effort to make the quality if not level than even greater."
Pinter's expectations of himself are also very high though, which should make living up to the praise of his idols a little easier. These expectations stem, at least in part, from the fact that his current position is the realisation of a long-held ambition and a determination to make the most of that opportunity.
"My first word was book and my mother loved to tell people that," he says, laughing. "I was reading Stephen King at 8 or 9 and writing rip-off short stories of whatever I was reading. I think I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to (write fiction). Now I have a big chance to make it as an author."
His initial determination to make it led him to contact literary agents, while he was still in college.
And before he had actually written anything.
"In my junior year I decided I wanted to be a writer, and talked to literary agents, but I hadn't written a book and they weren't exactly chomping at the bit to publish my nothing, so I thought it would be interesting to see publishing from the inside," he says.
That led to five years at Time Warner Books but also killed off a potential career as a sportswriter, as Pinter had previously spent time in vacations writing baseball recaps and articles on women's football for Associated Press.
If the overnight shifts Pinter worked at AP had one effect, it is that they appear to have made the born-and-bred New Yorker a night owl, as he now admits that his best work is done after 10 or 11pm, although perhaps that should be expected from a big Stephen King fan.
The childhood love of fantasy, science fiction and horror gradually gradually morphed into an adult interest in crime fiction, mysteries and thrillers, and decided that that was the genre he would follow, but seeking to offer something fresh and different from compatriots he cites as inspirations, such as Michael Connelly, Harlan Coben, Dennis Lehane and Laura Lippman.
"That’s the genre I knew best and I felt I could write a book appealing to traditional crime fiction fans but have something new with a character who was different a little younger more optimistic and a bit more naive," he says.
The result is Henry Parker, fledgling journalist making his way in the tough world of big city papers. The Mark joins Parker on his first day in the new job, where he initially lands the sorts of assignments familiar to all rookies - fillers, obituaries and the like - but quickly finds himself at the centre of a murder investigation, as the suspect.
Just as Pinter's enthusiasm for his craft burns through in every comment, so does his ambition for his books, citing those authors mentioned earlier as bringing something extra to their work that elevates it beyond the genre.
"The best written books not only have great plots and characters but can also speak to some aspects of our society with a motive beyond page-turning. I like to comment on those things that people see and do and offer a deeper reading experience. I tried to do that with the first and even more so with the second," he says.
"I think at this point having the third book finished and the second coming out here in a few months, with writing Henry Parker I need to keep creating stories that are fresh and it’s important to me that each story not only has interesting plot but that it is important to Henry in some way. I want them readers to have an emotional connection to the characters."
Pinter won an initial three book deal from publisher Mira and at present is determined to build his career with Parker. He mentions Connelly's Harry Bosch series as one that maintains excellence over a long period, but like Connelly, who has written regularly outside his series, he would like to turn in other directions once established.
"I'd like to keep writing Henry, and write standalones at some
point, and maybe a children's series in fantasy and write the kind
of books that I read as a kid, like the Terry Brooks and Brian Jacques series love to do something a little more fantasy oriented." . I'd really
love to do something a little more fantasy oriented." . I'd really
. I'd really
But for now Pinter is busy conquering the world. Mira has published his work in about 8 countries, and the writer arrived in London this week to do his first author tour outside the US.
"This is my first trip abroad to promote the book and it’s thrilling. I tend not to see the books in stores but a cousin saw the Aussie edition and sent me a picture on a camera phone and I saw the book at WH Smith at Heathrow and that was one of those moments for me."
The Mark was published by Mira in the UK on June 6. The Guilty will be published in the UK in December. Material Witness has a copy of the former and will publish a review soon.
"the best write books with ftera plots and character and can speak to some aspoects of our society anfd have a motive beyong page turning . I like to comment on tings that people see and have a little more fdeeper reading experience I tried to do that twith the first and even more so with the second.