TBR [to be read] is a semi-regular, invitation-only interview series with authors of newly released/forthcoming, interesting books who will tell us about their new work as well as offer tips on writing, stories about the publishing biz, and from time to time, a recipe!
Give us your elevator pitch: what’s your book about in 2-3 sentences?
DEA agent goes to Mexico to bring in a cartel lieutenant and discovers a criminal conspiracy that stretches back to the US occupation of Afghanistan.
Which character did you most enjoy creating? Why? And, which character gave you the most trouble, and why?
We had a really great time creating Tomás, the sicario who’s addicted to reading. He’s a killer and you’d be a fool to mess with him, but he’s also quiet and thoughtful and he spends all his spare time reading novels. He’s our fave, for sure.
The thing that gave us the most trouble was deciding where to begin. We actually began too late in the story and needed to delve into Diane’s story to properly lay out the world and this twisted tale.
Tell us a bit about the highs and lows of your book’s road to publication.
We started this project over a decade ago, so it’s been quite a journey. It was first a screenplay that went through many iterations. After Smith sold FOURTH OF JULY CREEK, we decided to try to write it as a novel and, thanks to our awesome agent Nicole Aragi and ECCO, here we are.
As we mentioned above, we originally started the story in the wrong place. After all these years working on the thing, we had to start over again. That was a bummer. But that’s just how it goes. Writing can be incredibly inefficient and unpredictable. Story is the most important thing. It matters more than how tired or frustrated the writers are.
What’s your favorite piece of writing advice?
If you can, write in the morning before you’ve had any media, but after the first few sips of coffee.
My favorite writing advice is “write until something surprises you.” What surprised you in the writing of this book?
Harbaugh surprised us in that she went from being a secondary character in our first drafts to being the protagonist in this book.
How did you find the title of your book?
We found the title MAKE THEM CRY by thinking about the best way to get across what our protagonist does. Her expertise in the DEA is getting suspects to flip, to start cooperating. The way she does that is by burrowing into their soft-spots and getting them emotionally turn themselves over to her. She flips them by “making them cry.”
Inquiring foodies and hungry book clubs want to know: Any food/s associated with your book?
Tamales, tacos, frijoles, and beer.
READ MORE ABOUT THIS BOOK HERE: https://www.harpercollins.com/products/make-them-cry-smith-hendersonjon-marc-smith?variant=32126227742754
READ MORE ABOUT THE AUTHORS HERE: http://www.smith-henderson.com
READ AN EXCERPT OF THIS BOOK: https://crimereads.com/excerpt-make-them-cry/