Brad Parks

Countdown with ...

Brad Parks

Brad Parks started writing professionally at 14, when he discovered two important facts about his hometown newspaper, The Ridgefield (Conn.) Press: one, it paid freelancers 50 cents a column inch for articles about local high school sports; and, two, it ran most submissions at their original length. For Brad, that meant making more money writing than babysitting. For the parents of the girls' basketball players at Ridgefield High, that meant glowing accounts of their daughters' games that ran on for no fewer than 40 inches.

This launched Brad on a 20-year journalism career, one that continued at Dartmouth College, where he founded a weekly sports newspaper he ran out of his dorm room. After graduating, he was hired by The Washington Post, becoming the youngest writer on the paper's staff. Two years later, he moved to The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger. A sportswriter who later switched to news, he covered everything from the Super Bowl to the Masters, from small-town pizza wars to Hurricane Katrina. While on assignment for The Star-Ledger in 2004, Brad covered a quadruple homicide in Newark that provided the real-life launching point for Carter Ross, the sometimes-dashing investigative newspaper reporter who featured in Brad’s first six novels. Parks’ first standalone thriller is Say Nothing.

Brad lives in Virginia with his wife and two school-aged children. When not writing, he is a slow runner and an even slower swimmer. His favourite writing haunt is a Hardee's restaurant, where good-natured staff members suffer his presence for many hours a day.


Interviewed 10 June 2017

Ten words to sum up your working life to date ...

Lacking other marketable skills, relentless self-improver keeps writing books.

Nine things you can see from where you're sitting ...

I do my writing at a Hardee’s restaurant (it’s like McDonalds, but less healthy), so: a napkin holder advertising beer cheese bacon fries (and people wonder why the US has an obesity epidemic); my soda cup (containing Coke Zero, so I don’t experience an obesity epidemic); my teapot (it looks like an eggplant, and the folks behind the counter are nice enough to fill it with hot water for me); salt shaker; pepper shaker; five empty booths; four cars in the parking lot; Benji (the guy who cleans the floors); and this completely featureless brick wall (which is fantastic, because no matter what is on my screen – even if it’s drivel – it’ll be more interesting than the wall).

Eight minutes to prepare a meal. What's it going to be ?

An apple and some cashews (my wife has us doing this infernal wholefood diet – one of the downsides is you can’t cook anything in under half an hour).

Seven people you'd like to go for a drink with ...

Harper Lee and half-dozen of my Bouchercon buddies.

Six things you can't live without ...

My family. Writing. Exercise. Sex. Coke Zero. Books.

Five favourite words ...

Defenestrate. Mellifluous. Enervate. Vellichor. Snog.

Four places you'd run away to ...

I make stuff up for a living. I’m quite happy exactly where I am.

Three books you've bought recently ...

Red Right Hand by Chris Holm; The Second Life of Nick Mason by Steve Hamilton; The Passenger by Lisa Lutz. And I loved them all.

Two things that make you rant ...

Intolerance and Donald Trump; though, arguably, they’re one and the same.

One thing you'd tell your teenage self ...

Hang in there. It’s all better from here.