Friday, August 3, 2018

David Carnoy Author Interview

Photo Content from David Carnoy

While David Carnoy 
lives in New York City with his wife and children, his novels take place in Silicon Valley, where he grew up and went to high school (Palo Alto). His debut novel, Knife Music (2010), was a Top-10 bestseller on the Kindle and also a bestseller on the Nook. More medical thriller than high-tech thriller, to research the novel Carnoy spent a lot of time talking with doctors, visiting trauma centers, and trailed a surgeon at a hospital in Northern California to help create the book's protagonist, Dr. Ted Cogan.

The Big Exit (2012) isn't a sequel to Knife Music per se. However, a few of the characters from Knife Music figure prominently in the story. His second novel has more of a high-tech slant and reflects Carnoy's experiences as an executive editor at, where he currently works and is trying resolve his obsession with consumer electronics products. He went to college at Wesleyan University and has an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University.

"A lot people ask me how I have time to write novels when I have a full-time job and four little kids and I just say I got a hold of some of those pills Bradley Cooper's character popped in the movie Limitless," Carnoy says. He adds that if Bradley Cooper is reading this, he'd make "an excellent Dr. Ted Cogan for the film version ofKnife Music."

Carnoy is also fan of The Big Lebowski and all Coen brothers movies except The Ladykillers.


What inspired you to pen your first novel?
My first novel -- in fact, my first two novels -- were never published. I started writing my first novel in college. It was a coming-of-age story about a kid in prep school. I think I was mildly influence by The Catcher in the Rye and A Separate Peace. You’re supposed to write what you know. I’d gone to boarding school for a year so that’s what I knew -- or thought I knew anyway. Some small parts of it were good. The rest of it not so good.

What was your favorite book as a child and why?
The Phantom Tollbooth was my favorite first book. The humorous, ironic expression of language -- and exploration of language -- made me want to write a book. Later, my favorite was Catch-22. There are some correlations.

Has reading a book ever changed your life?
I can’t say one book radically altered my world view. A good book will change you in small ways, make you see things slightly differently. In Cold Blood did make me want to to write crime novels.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Engaging characters the reader cares about. A clever, believable plot. Clean sentences. Strong dialogue. Tension. Suspense. Irony. Humor.

In your newest book, LUCIDITY (HANK MADDEN #3); can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about the novel?
The first two Madden novels were based exclusively in Silicon Valley, where I grew up (Madden is a detective in the Menlo Park Police Department), but this one takes place in Northern California and New York, where I live now. The West Coast story -- a cold case -- is loosely based on the Morrow murder case in Menlo Park. In New York, a woman is pushed in front of a car on Central Park West early one morning. She writes erotica under a pseudonym. Her book doctor is initially implicated. As you might expect, the two cases eventually cross.

What was your inspiration for the series?

It wasn’t supposed to be a series. Knife Music, my first novel, was supposed to be a standalone mystery/thriller. But the publisher wanted the detective, who was already a little old, to continue on. My books are unusual in that the detective isn’t the protagonist.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Hank?
His story arc was only supposed to be across one book. I had to learn how to build other arcs for him. It surprised me that I could continue getting more out of a character I felt I’d fully realized.

Did you learn anything from writing Max and what was it?

My first book, Knife Music, was self published before it was picked up by a traditional publisher. I was one of the early self-publishing pioneers and had written a piece for my day job (at CNET) called Self Publishing a Book: 25 Things You need To Know. I knew a lot about self-publishing. And people used to email me all the time and ask me for advice or want to hire me. I could have made a living helping people publish their books. I didn’t want or need to do that (because I already had a good day job that kept me busy and paid well). But I imagined Max as my road not traveled.

Aside from Hank, which of your characters do you feel has grown the most since book one and in what way have they changed?
I only have a handful of characters that continue on from book to book. I built out the character of Carolyn Dupuy, a former ADA turned defense lawyer, for Lucidity. She’s linked to the cold case and becomes Madden’s sidekick.

Last Halloween Costume you wore and when?
Haven’t been to a Holloween party in a while, but the last time I dressed up was as The Guy Who Stole All the Socks You Lost in the Dryer. I pinned single socks to a black outfit.

Most horrifying dream you have ever had?
Losing one of my kids. Have a had a few of those.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
The 70’s. I vaguely remember some of those teenagers. They seemed like they were having fun.

What is your favorite restaurant in town and why?
Eleven Madison Park. It’s near my office and I used to go there before it became a really big deal -- and really expensive. I like the high ceilings. The food is exceptional.

  • Lucid dreaming is part of the story 
  • One of main characters is a book doctor and a spin instructor 
  • It’s partially based on a real-life murder case in Menlo Park, CA, the home of Facebook 
  • It’s twisty -- and humorous in spots 
  • The protagonist’s main mode of transportation is a kick scooter 
  • Everybody in the book has written a book, is writing a book or wants to write a book 
  • It got a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was highlighted in Time Magazine 
  • It mixes several genres without you realizing it does 
  • You won’t guess who did it (easily anyway) 
  • It doesn’t cost that much

After his “gripping thriller debut” (Kirkus) Knife Music and sophomore “page turner” ( The Big Exit, David Carnoy’s Detective Hank Madden returns in this bicoastal caper that pits dreams against reality, where nothing can be taken at face value.

Twenty years after the unsolved case of Stacey Walker’s disappearance went cold, a Silicone Valley executive hires the retired Menlo Park Police Detective Hank Madden to find her body and track down her missing husband, the prime suspect in her unsolved murder. Four months later, author Candace Epstein is pushed in front of a car near Central Park. Her editor Max Fremmer becomes entangled in the investigation of her attempted murder, though he is adamant that he is uninvolved. As he digs into Candace’s background to clear his own name, Fremmer grows suspicious of his client’s connection to a nefarious institute for lucid dreaming on the Upper East Side and its staff whose stories never seem to add up—all while an unexpected link emerges to Detective Madden’s investigation in California.

As similarities arise between the cases on each coast, Detective Madden and Fremmer forge an unlikely partnership to expose what misconduct lurks beneath the fa├žade of the Lucidity Center—but can they unravel the secret that links their investigations together in time, or are they only dreaming? Carnoy’s Luciditystuns with complex detail that will keep readers guessing until the final, satisfying jolt.

Praise for LUCIDITY

"David Carnoy gets better with each book... Lucidity is a Tour de Force of a thriller that captures you from the very first page." —New York Times Bestselling Author Harlan Coben

"Carnoy's sharp sense of humor and clever plotting... make this novel a standout."  —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
You can purchase Lucidity (Hank Madden #3) at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you DAVID CARNOY for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Lucidity (Hank Madden #3) by David Carnoy.