Crime Thriller Author John Lansing: How Working in Hollywood Helped His Novel Writing

Crime thriller author John Lansing is touring with Bewitching Book Tours to promote his debut novel The Devil’s Necktie. He discusses how his acting career and time spent writing for both television and film helped him to become a better novelist. He’s also giving away a Kindle 6 inch screen with WiFi at the end of his tour. Details are at the end of the post. Welcome, John!
crime thriller fiction The Devil's Necktie John Lansing

“Men make plans, God laughs.”

There may not be vampires or paranormal activity in, “The Devil’s Necktie,” but I think there’s enough sex, drugs and murder to keep things interesting.

I didn’t grow up dreaming about being a writer. It wasn’t even on my short list. But now in hindsight I do think writing books was a natural evolution from my time spent working in Hollywood.

My acting career helped inform the characters I wrote for, and about, and created, in my television work. The craft of acting helped me understand the emotional roadmap needed to flesh out complex characters, characters that will hopefully be compelling enough to maintain a reader’s interest.

My television work taught me discipline, writing on a schedule, collaboration, and it really hammered home the type of characters I enjoyed and wanted to invest my time with, characters that were interesting enough for me to spend a year of my life with, and again, hopefully keep an audience reading. Only you can tell me if I’ve succeeded at that and I look forward to hearing from you.

The most difficult part of my transition from television to novels was the writing itself. I had a wonderful partner, Bruce Cervi, who I co-wrote all of my television and film projects with, but now I was on my own. Just me, my computer, and my twenty-four pound poodle named Lucky.

The joy of writing my first novel was not having to adhere to a formula created by a television Pilot episode. I had total freedom to explore the psychology and behavior of not only my primary characters, but also my secondary tier. And I didn’t have to worry about satisfying a star’s ego or writing to commercial breaks.

I’ve always been drawn to flawed characters that were interested in reinventing themselves, who wanted a new life. Maybe because I’ve had such a varied career myself. I grew up in middle class suburbia. People worked for the same corporation or company, had the same vocation for their entire lives. Well that doesn’t fly anymore. We can all look forward to experiencing three or four different careers in our lifetime.

I wanted to write about a detective who was on the verge of change, who was recovering from a nasty divorce, retiring from the NYPD, leaving Staten Island, and starting over. The old Yiddish proverb pretty much nails it. “Men make plans, God laughs.” My protagonist, Jack Bertolino, chose to do all of those things; it just didn’t quite work out the way he planned. Twenty-five years of taking down drug dealers, money launderers and killers came back to bite him in the ass, and shook up his newfound sense of bliss in Marina del Rey, California. That was enough of a hook for me to write “The Devil’s Necktie.”

More About The Devil’s Necktie

A sizzling thriller for fans of James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell. An exciting tour into the real-life world of cops, crime, and murder. Retired inspector Jack Bertolino had strict rules when dealing with confidential informants. But Mia had the kind of beauty that could make a grown man contemplate leaving his wife, his job, and his kids. After a passionate night together, Mia is found murdered – and Jack is the lead suspect. Facing threats from the LAPD, the 18th Street Angels, and a Columbian drug cartel, Jack delves deeper into the seedy world of drug dealers and murderers and discovers that the top players knew Mia personally. And now Jack is torn between fearing for his life and seeking revenge for his slain lover…either way, the body count will rise.

Where to buy

More About John

John Lansing
John Lansing

John Lansing started his career as an actor in New York City. He spent a year at the Royale Theatre playing the lead in the Broadway production of “Grease.” He then landed a co-starring role in George Lucas’ “More American Graffiti,” and guest-starred on numerous television shows. During his fifteen-year writing career, Lansing wrote and produced “Walker Texas Ranger,” co-wrote two CBS Movies of the Week, and he also co-executive produced the ABC series “Scoundrels.” John’s first book was “Good Cop, Bad Money,” a true crime tome with former NYPD Inspector Glen Morisano. The Devil’s Necktie is his first novel. A native of Long Island, John now resides in Los Angeles.

Where to find John online

More About the Contest

Kindle LansingAt the end of his virtual book tour, John is giving away one Kindle 6 inch screen with WiFi. If you’d like to enter to win, click here =>

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So, writers, have you had a another career that’s helped your writing in some way? Readers, what do you think of the saying “Men make plans; God laughs”? Too true at times, right? Thank you for guest blogging today, John!

Published by

Jill Archer

Jill Archer is the author of the Noon Onyx series, genre-bending fantasy novels including DARK LIGHT OF DAY, FIERY EDGE OF STEEL, WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE, and POCKET FULL OF TINDER.

12 thoughts on “Crime Thriller Author John Lansing: How Working in Hollywood Helped His Novel Writing

  1. Although there are a few discrepancies, the protagonist sounds eerily like me. I’ve even entertained the thought of moving to the LA area when I retire. Although I normally don’t read crime novels — I get enough of that business in real life — I may make an exception here. After all, Jill has recommended it. Let’s hope any parallels in the lives of myself and Jack are just a happy coincidence.

    1. Hi Shamus– I never knew you were debating moving to LA when you retire! Well, at least Craig and I would have another place to crash out there. But I’m glad it’s not for awhile. I did know that you are a dyed-in-the-wool fantasy fan, but I always encourage everyone to give other genres a try. Thanks so much for the visit! Have a great weekend!

    1. Hi John, thanks again for guest blogging. I’m always interested in hearing what writers have to say about working in Hollywood. Seems like it’s a crucible — an intense environment that makes you appreciate the relative breathing room the novel structure gives you. The Devil’s Necktie sounds intriguing. I have some friends and family among my blog followers whose reading tastes I know well. (They don’t comment but they are fans of James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell and I thought they’d appreciate hearing about your book).

      Good luck and best wishes to you!

      1. Great site Jill. I totally appreciate your support. You know how much it means. And Hollywood has been very good to me. It’s a tough business, and I’ve experienced many aspects of it, but you’re right. There’s a joy in being able to sit at your computer and write. You don’t need a contract, you don’t need someone to hire you. You can just create. Best, John

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