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New Client Alert- Joe Clifford

Name: Joe Clifford
What you Write: Literary thrillers. (I have a lot of books out.)
Agent: James McGowan
Why BookEnds? (answered below)

What book do you wish you had written, and why?

I hate to be, in the words of my (first) ex-wife, “profoundly obvious,” but Catcher in the Rye. I mean I named my first kid Holden for chrissakes. It’s a perfect book. I can tell whom I will be friends with based on their reaction to this book. People who don’t like it or complain Holden whines too much or whatever, we’ll never be friends. I mean I may have dinner with you or something, but you’ll never be in my kitchen. Holden Caulfield sees the world as it really is, before, in the words of the Boss, “the world of adult compromise.” Now is he immature? Of course! He’s 16! But don’t mean he’s wrong. So many lines still resonate, even worse now that I’ve become the enemy. I’m 48. I can identify with Holden all I want but, Jesus, I have a wife (my third, if anyone’s counting), kids—I belong to a country club. I can’t pretend I’m still John Bender. I am Vernon. Sucks. But you either die young or live long enough to see yourself become Two-Face. First time I read that book, I was outside Syd Barrett’s house. For those who don’t know, Syd was the original singer/songwriter of Pink Floyd, patron saint band of the deeply affected. Catcher in the Rye is seeped in my veins. I’ve read it pretty much once a year since that first time (19). I could go on and on. 

But since I write crime, I also have to mention Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, which is perfect. Amy Dunne is my dream girl.

If you’re not reading or writing, what would we catch you doing?  

Being a dad and/or golfing. My crazy years are behind me. Sometimes I’ll read sections of Junkie Love (my drug-fueled memoir) and think maybe I made the whole thing up. I don’t break any laws these days. I don’t speed, don’t jaywalk. I’m in bed by 9 most nights. Like my dead friend Troy’s dad used to say, “Anyone up after midnight is up to no good.”

Where can readers find you on the web and social media?

If I were to sit around Googling myself, which would be super lame, pathetic, and sad, I could tell you I am the #1 Joe Clifford (I am. Suck on that, Joe Clifford Faust). I am, again to quote the Boss, easily found.

What’s the last book you read?

I just finished Hilary Davidson’s (love her!) One Small Sacrifice (awesome!)I am currently reading Riley Sager’s Lock Every Door. Everything he writes is brilliant. 

If money were no object, what would be your dream writing location?

It’s sorta already not. I mean, like Micah Schnabel sings, money is boring. My dream location is right where I am. In my house, high in the Berkeley Hills, looking over all three San Francisco bridges, listening to Taylor Swift’s new record and writing. I have a degenerative bone condition and chronic pain (bad motorcycle accident years ago), but I’m pretty blessed to get to do whatever the hell I want every day. 

What’s your favorite quote about reading or writing?

“Whenever someone says, ‘I love writing,’ I always think, ‘You probably suck at writing.’” Bob Odenkirk

What’s your favorite piece of writing advice you’ve received?

Before I was published I hated hearing this. But it’s proven true. “If you keep at it, and you are good enough, you will get published.”

What excites you most about joining the BookEnds family?

I’ve had a terrific run with the mid-size indies. But I am ready to take my work to the next level and reach a wider audience.

What advice would you give to other authors in the query trenches?

Quit. Do something—anything—else. Writing is a profession besieged by self-doubt and heartbreak. Find a job that pays, that you can leave behind on Friday at 5pm. To be a writer is to live in your head, surrounded by your worst company, your own demons. I implore: this is not a joke. Writing is a lousy profession. 

Now after I’ve done my good deed for the day—you can’t say you weren’t warned—if someone is like “Sorry, man, I have to write. It’s what I do, who I am.” I’ll say sorry. But if it’s in your blood and bones, nothing you can do about, except what Hemingway advised. Sit down [at your computer] and bleed. 

Category: McGowanMystery, Suspense & ThrillerWelcome to BookEnds


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