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Michael Connelly on Bosch, Books, and the (Occasional) Bad Review

Michael Connelly is the author of thirty-one novels, including multiple #1 New York Times bestsellers. His books, which include the Harry Bosch series and Lincoln Lawyer series, have sold more than sixty million copies worldwide. When he isn’t writing novels, Connelly is the executive producer of Bosch, the Amazon Prime Original series starring Titus Welliver.

Michael Connelly was kind enough to share the answers to our Novel Suspects editor’s burning questions about the inspiration behind his famous character, Hieronymous “Harry” Bosch, Amazon Bosch adaptation,  and whether or not he reads reviews of his books.

 

 

Q: Why did you choose the name Hieronymus Bosch?

A: I wanted all aspects of his character, including his name, to be meaningful. I briefly studied the work of the real Hieronymus Bosch in college. He was a 15th-century painter who created richly detailed landscapes of debauchery and violence and human defilement. There is a “world gone mad” feel to many of his works, including one called Hell–of which a print hangs over the computer where I write.

I thought this would be the perfect name for my character because I saw the metaphoric possibilities of juxtaposing contemporary Los Angeles with some of the Bosch paintings.  I was casting my Bosch adrift in a hellish landscape of present-day Los Angeles. I should point out that this is a fictional conceit. I do not consider Los Angeles to be hellish. It can be in certain places and under certain circumstances–and this is where I place Harry Bosch. But overall I love Los Angeles and love writing about it.

 

Q: Is Harry Bosch based on any cop in particular? 

A: Harry is an amalgamation of several real cops I knew as a police reporter, plus aspects of fictional detectives–from both books and movies–that I have loved. I think and hope there are parts of Philip Marlowe in him, as well as Lew Archer, Dirty Harry Callahan, Frank Bullitt, and many others.

 

Q. How much of him is based on you?

A:  Starting off Harry had very little in common with me, other than left-handedness. Over the course of the books, I think that my “worldview” and his are becoming more closely aligned. This probably was inevitable. The more you write about a character, the more you look inside for attributes and thoughts to give him.

 

Q: How do your books relate to the Bosch TV series?

The show is based on the protagonist of the books, and we take plot lines from multiple books and entwine them to reveal and show everything that made Harry Bosch the man he is. I think it is a very accurate take on the character and the books, and I really hope Harry’s fans enjoy it.

 

Q: What books do you like to read?

A: I read less than I used to.  When you are writing this stuff you don’t want to read it, so I read more non-fiction now. But mysteries? Anytime I list writers whose work I enjoy I run the risk of annoying fellow writers who I forget to mention.  So, suffice it to say that I share many of the same favorites that readers of my work have.

 

Q: Do you read your reviews, good and bad, and do they make a difference to you?

A: I read them, good and bad. They rarely affect my writing because I don’t think anyone can fully understand what I am trying to do but me. Just like authors, reviewers are good and bad, and bring everything they know and have read to the plate with them. There are a lot of amateurish reviewers out there who bring personal agendas to their task and there are many who bring thoughtful and unbiased comments. I have had both types praise and slaughter me. So, in the long run, I am always curious to see reviews, but don’t get too worked up about them, good or bad.

 


Michael Connelly is the author of thirty-one novels, including multiple #1 New York Times bestsellers. His books, which include the Harry Bosch series and Lincoln Lawyer series, have sold more than sixty million copies worldwide. Connelly is a former newspaper reporter who has won numerous awards for his journalism and his novels and is the executive producer of Bosch, the Amazon Prime Original series starring Titus Welliver. He spends his time in California and Florida.