The novel “One Man’s Paradise” by Douglas Corleone will be released nationwide on Tuesday, April 27, 2010. This author has been a criminal defense attorney in New York City. Now he is a writer in Hawaii. His first novel, “One Man’s Paradise,” won the 2009 Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award.
Douglas Corleone states in this novel “disgraced New York City criminal defense attorney Kevin Corvelli flees Manhattan for Honolulu, only to learn that paradise can be every bit as lethal as the city that never sleeps. At its heart, “One Man’s Paradise” is a gripping story of failure and the search for redemption.”
How Did You Get the Idea for the Novel?
The seeds for “One Man’s Paradise” were planted with the Natalee Holloway story in Aruba, specifically with the sensational, around-the-clock national news coverage surrounding Natalee’s disappearance. The modern media, and one cable commentator in particular, play a role as antagonists in “One Man’s Paradise.”
The media essentially chased Kevin Corvelli out of New York, and they continue to work against him once he arrives in Hawaii. Fortunately, the events that led to Kevin’s move to Hawaii were nothing like the events that led to mine. Still, much of the plot is based on my own experiences as a criminal defense attorney in New York City, and as a newcomer to the Hawaiian Islands.
Is the Protagonist in “One Man’s Paradise” like You at all? If So, How?
I’d like to say no, but people who know me would probably disagree. In many ways, Kevin Corvelli is an exaggeration of me. He’s more neurotic, more impatient, and more impervious to threats. Like most protagonists, Kevin is larger than life. The thing is, he knows that and embraces it.
What Was the Most Enjoyable Aspect of Writing “One Man’s Paradise?”
The most enjoyable aspect of writing this book was creating the character of Kevin Corvelli. I took certain liberties with him that, I think, many writers would shy away from, especially in a first novel. In the words of my editor, he’s “fun and unapologetic, principled yet realistic.” In other words, like all of us, he’s flawed and more than willing to work on correcting those flaws.
At What Age Did You Decide to Start Writing and Why?
I’ve wanted to write fiction for as long as I can remember. In fact, the legal thrillers that were popular in the ’90s are what led me to law school in the first place. Of course, it takes time and focus to write book-length fiction, and I didn’t feel I had enough of either while I was practicing law in New York City.
But when my wife and I moved here to the islands, we decided it was the perfect time for me to take a shot at a novel. Thanks to her willingness to support us for a while, I had all the time and focus I needed to write and rewrite “One Man’s Paradise.”
How Long did it Take You to Create “One Man’s Paradise?”
This first book was written in a period of three months. I had just moved to Hawaii, and I was as enthused about the project as any unpublished writer could be. Knowing that my first manuscript might never be read by anyone lifted a terrific weight off my shoulders. I don’t think I could ever again repeat the feat of writing an entire novel in three months.
Did you know the Plot Sequence as You Were Writing or Did the Story Come to You as the Manuscript was Created?
I always had a general idea of how the novel would end, but I didn’t work from an outline. I plotted the story as I went along, always knowing what was to come in the next three or four chapters, but keeping my mind open about what would come after that.
Why Would Someone with an Interest in the Law Enjoy Reading this Novel?
I’ll quote one of my reviewers to answer this question. Jo Ann Vicarel of LIBRARY JOURNAL said: “[One Man’s Paradise]” will leave readers with a greater understanding of trial preparation and what constitutes professional integrity. Fans of John Grisham, Lisa Scottoline, and other legal thriller authors will enjoy this for the sheer pleasure of seeing a master defense attorney at work in the courtroom.” (April 1, 2010).
What Makes the Protagonist Unique?
Kevin Corvelli is unlike any other lawyer you’ll read about in novels or see in the movies. He tells his story without censoring himself. He lets you in on all of his flaws, even his moral and ethical shortcomings.
Does the Novel Contain any Hidden References to Places, Events, or Other Things?
Hawaii is as much a character in this series as Kevin Corvelli himself. It’s a different, darker Hawaii than most of us know, but it still has its mountains and beaches and rainbows. I hope residents and visitors alike will feel that I’ve created a fine sense of place, that they’ll recognize hotels, bars and restaurants, even if the names have been changed. But most of all, I hope to capture the genuinely good nature of Hawaii’s diverse people. It’s those people that keep me most inspired and that, indeed, keep me and my family in the islands.
How did You Get Your Book Published?
One Man’s Paradise won the 2009 Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award. The prize was a book contract with St. Martin’s Press. Winning this award was really a dream come true for any unpublished crime author.
Any Advice to People who Wish to Create a Novel?
Have persistence. Have a thick skin. And sit down to write every single day.
How will Publishing this Book Change your Life?
Most importantly, I get to write more of them.
What’s Next on your Writing Agenda?
I’m currently at work on the second novel in the Kevin Corvelli series, tentatively titled “Night on Fire.” With “One Man’s Paradise“ I built a universe I enjoy spending time in, and populated that universe with characters I enjoy spending time with. The protagonist Kevin Corvelli has a myriad of personal issues he has to contend with outside of his career in the law. And that, I think, will allow me to keep his character fresh for many books to come.
How does Living in Hawaii Impact your Writing?
Hawaii is the most peaceful place I’ve ever visited, let alone lived in. For me, that’s essential to write.
What Type of Readers do you Think will Enjoy this Novel?
Everyone who reads this interview and each of their friends and family members will enjoy “One Man’s Paradise.”
Learn More about Douglas Corleone
For additional information about Douglas Corleone go to www.DouglasCorleone.com.
Douglas Corleone is also on Twitter at http://twitter.com/DouglasCorleone.
To purchase “One Man’s Paradise” go to Amazon.com, Powells.com, or BarnesandNoble.com.
E-mail interview with Douglas Corleone
Library Journal, Jo Ann Vicarel, April 1, 2010.