Sunday, October 4, 2009

Mark Greaney: Good Aim

Posted By on Sun, Oct 4, 2009 at 3:25 PM

"Where I live it is legal to carry a gun on your person, and where I live, sadly, you would be well advised to do so."

So says Memphian Mark Greaney, and the quote comes from an interview on his website,

So far, though, there's only one Mark Greaney book. It's a mass-market political thriller called The Gray Man (Jove), but Greaney's already sold the publisher on two sequels.

For a first-time author, this guy is getting a ton of attention. Why: Because The Gray Man is the real deal: a real page-turner. And Greaney's got a real character on his hands: a CIA operative turned assassin-for-hire named Court Gentry. Gentry's a target for intelligence outfits and paramilitary groups the world over, and yes, Gentry is used to carrying a gun on his person, but no, no need to advise him to do so.

How does it feel to be a new author on the brink of what's looking like the big time? Here's how:

Mark Greaney: It feels great. Barnes and Noble put The Gray Man out a week early at most of its stores, and it's already #10 on Barnes and Noble's paperback bestseller list. I'm getting a good bit of feedback from readers all over the country too.

And you're well into the sequel to "The Gray Man."
Yes. It's called Killer of Men, and it picks up a couple months after the first book ends. I wanted to get more into the background of Gentry, to see what makes him tick.

I’m having a great time writing it, but it’s due to my editor by November 15th, which means he'll get it at the end of the day on November 15th.

You worked at Memphis' surgical technology company Medtronic Sofomor Danek. Now you're writing full-time?
Yes. It was a tough decision, but I'd sold the two sequels, I had another iron in the fire as far as something else I want to write, plus a few other ideas. I realized that I pretty much NEEDED to focus all my attention on writing for a while, to see if I can do it.

Now I have a novelist’s freedom, which is great. But I also have a novelist’s crappy health insurance, which sucks.

What's this about a movie version of "The Gray Man"?
We sold an option for the film rights a couple weeks ago, and since then the attention on me and the book has grown considerably. I image a lot of people wondering, Who is this clown from Memphis whose first book is optioned before it even comes out?

Okay, then: Your casting of choice.
The idea behind The Gray Man is that here's a guy, Court Gentry, who, through his looks, can almost magically blend into the background of every setting. He isn’t a tough-looking, steely-eyed killer with big muscles and tattoos. He’s the bored-looking guy sitting next to you on the train platform. So it’s hard to picture a Hollywood leading man in the role.

I really like Casey Affleck. He’s a bit of an everyman and could do a good job. Also Jeremy Renner, who was in the incredible film The Hurt Locker. He'd be great too. For my character Fitzroy: Michael Caine would be cool, but when wouldn’t Michael Caine be cool?

You're cool with your upcoming Davis-Kidd booksigning in Memphis?
As a writer, I'd prefer to be hunkered over my laptop. Standing up in front of a group and pitching a book is not my idea of a good time. But signings: I’ll survive them.

Mark Greaney will be signing and discussing The Gray Man at Davis-Kidd Booksellers on Wednesday, October 7th, starting at 6 p.m.

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