A father’s nightmare
Eastside resident – and bestselling author – Robert Dugoni is back with his newest David Sloane thriller, “The Conviction,” described as a gripping, high-octane story of a father who must take the law into his own hands to save his son, trapped in a juvenile detention center from hell. We couldn’t put it down. Scene magazine caught up with Dugoni to talk about writing – and life.
RD: Not much on a daily basis. The really cool thing is all the people I get to meet and all the places I’ve been that I never would have if I hadn’t made the decision to write novels. I was in Boise and I met George Kennedy, one of my favorite actors of all [time]. Cool Hand Luke is in my top five best films and there was the man himself, Academy Award winner. And he wanted to talk about my writing! Great guy. Great man.
SCENE: Your new book deals with a parent trying to get his child out of peril. Did that plot line resonate with you as a father?
RD: Oh boy did it. My son is 15! I dedicated the book to him and my daughter because as I wrote the story I realized my wife and I are blessed with some wonderful kids. He’s a great young man who will do great things with his life because he has a good heart and he is a relentless worker. I’m proud of him. I can’t tell you how much it would break my heart to have him go off course, as Jake does in The Conviction. The frightening part of The Conviction is this happens all the time. But what do you do when the law fails and the justice system betrays your trust? How far would you go to save your son? That is the question I think people will empathize with because I think, if we’re being honest, most of us don’t know the answer to that question. Readers are calling the book “scary.”
SCENE: You use real locations in your novels, for example, the Tin Room Bar & Grill in Burien. How do you pick these?
RD: I pick locations that are a bit eclectic so that it is interesting to the reader. I’m always looking for a new place. Readers find it a lot of fun, especially people who haven’t been to Seattle. When they come to visit they write and tell me they found the locations I’ve used in my novels.
SCENE: You let service clubs hold fundraisers with the winner getting to have their name used as one of your characters. Do they ever ask to be a villain?
RD: I leave it totally up to them. It is a way to give back to the community. So far no one has chosen to be the villain.
SCENE: David Sloane is the main character in your books. Has it been difficult to find him new cases?
RD: My ideas ebb and flow. At the moment I have two great ideas for the next two Sloane novels I hope to write. Not to give anything away, but let me say I am far from finished with the characters in Murder One.
SCENE: You’re still a practicing lawyer. Do clients – or judges – react to your celebrity as an author?
RD: I’ve had other attorneys recognize my name. The funniest story is my friend, John Kannin, a criminal defense attorney in Burien, walked into court and the judge asked, “Mr. Kannin, will your co-counsel David Sloane be joining us?” That was a treat for me to hear.
SCENE: You’ve said that you love acting. Why?
RD: There is something very magical about the stage. Theater is much like reading a book. It is interactive. You have to participate in it. There is no rush like the rush of walking out onto a stage to a packed house and delivering that first line. It is exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. As an actor and as a writer you move people with your words. When you can make people laugh and cry and get angry, you know you’ve done your job.
SCENE: You’re a big Elvis Presley fan. Have you ever tried singing?
RD: I’ve sung in two musicals, including playing Arthur in “Camelot.” Talk about terrifying. I admire the fact that at a very young age Elvis Presley had the courage to be who he was and not waiver. He followed his dream. Whatever happened to him later in life from the drugs and outside influences is sad, but you can’t take away the fact that the man changed music forever.
SCENE: You worked as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. Do you ever miss journalism?
RD: I really have an itch to do another non-fiction story like The Cyanide Canary. I’m always looking for another true story.