"The characters you refer to as predatory and unsavory are useful. They're the ones who make a novel into a thriller. They're active, and most of the common virtues, the signs of a good person, are not." -- Thomas Perry
Thomas Perry (born 1947) is an American mystery novelist, who received a 1983 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best First Novel.
"All writers are mimics, and I'm not interested in picking up somebody else's style or voice.""Being comfortable isn't the way to learn to expand your abilities.""But at the same time, the commonplace statement about them is true: every character is the hero of his own story. Each has a justification for his actions that is convincing to him. It's fun to give these people voices.""Contrary to what many writers imply about the process, nobody forces a writer to sell his work to the film industry.""I do have to earn a living, so I'm conscious of probable reactions from readers, but the most important one is still the awareness that if I'm not enjoying a story, the reader won't either.""I do hope to bring Jane Whitefield back before too long.""I do like to explore evil characters in my books.""I do try not to spend much time reading in the suspense genre.""I do want to write about Jane Whitefield again, but only when I have a good enough idea - something I've figured out about her that's news and that's worth a reader's time.""I don't consciously do anything to maintain a unique voice.""I don't have dry seasons, because I don't allow them.""I don't think the problem is that people don't read enough mystery books, but that people don't read.""I had been writing fiction since I was in eighth grade, because I loved it.""I held a variety of jobs - most notably ten years working in universities - and kept on writing.""I think we did a great job of putting together a program that would have made good e-books available had people been buying e-books in any real numbers.""If I don't have a project going, I sit down and begin to write something - a character sketch, a monologue, a description of some sight, or even just a list of ideas.""If you'll think about various series you've read, can you think of any instance in which, say, the tenth volume of the series is notably better than the first nine? I can't.""It was a lot of fun, and writing a series is comfortable. It's almost like having a secure job.""It's important, I think, for a writer of fiction to maintain an awareness of the pace and shape of the book as he's writing it. That is, he should be making an object, not chattering.""Much of what we do in life has a huge component of luck.""Once you have invented a character with three dimensions and a voice, you begin to realize that some of the things you'd like him to do to further your plot are things that such a person wouldn't, or couldn't, do.""Reading a novel in which all characters illustrate patience, hard work, chastity, and delayed gratification could be a pretty dull experience.""There are days when I intentionally don't write. For instance, I never write when I'm traveling, because travel is a situation where I can learn more by looking and listening than by working.""What I look for in any character, good or bad, is whether I can hear him speak. If I can imagine him that clearly, then I can write about him.""When I write a book, I'm making it the best book I can.""Yes, in my books I do edit myself to keep from becoming the Village Explainer.""You have very accurately described the difficulty of presenting my books on film: many of my characters are alone most of the time, and when they do talk, what they say is mostly lies. That can make for a pretty confusing film."
Perry's work has covered a variety of fictional suspense starting with The Butcher's Boy, which received a 1983 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best First Novel, followed by Metzger's Dog, Big Fish, Island, and Sleeping Dogs. He then launched the critically acclaimed Jane Whitefield five-part series: Vanishing Act (chosen as a "100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association"), Dance for the Dead, Shadow Woman, The Face Changers, and Blood Money. The New York Times selected Nightlife for its best seller selection From this point, Perry has elected to develop a non-series list of mysteries with Death Benefits, Pursuit (which won a Gumshoe Award in 2002), Dead Aim, Night Life and Fidelity. Fidelity was published in 2008. Jane Whitefield reappeared in 2009 with a new book called Runner. His 2010 contribution is a new novel called Strip.
Perry was born in Tonawanda, New York in 1947. He received a B.A. from Cornell University in 1969 and his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Rochester in 1974. He has been a laborer, maintenance man, commercial fisherman, weapons mechanic, university administrator and teacher, and television writer and producer (Simon and Simon, 21 Jump Street, Star Trek: The Next Generation). To date, he has completed 17 novels with the release of Strip coming in May 2010. He lives in Southern California with his wife and two daughters.