Another Interview with Caleb Carr

Caleb CarrCaleb Carr appeared a podcast with James Altucher earlier this week. During their hour long discussion, the pair touched on numerous different topics ranging from Mr. Carr’s childhood through to his latest novel Surrender, New York. They also discussed the process of writing, and touched on his methods when writing The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness. An excerpt from the interview appears below along with a link to the full podcast.

James Altucher (JA): “So, fast forwarding, you did a bunch of best-selling novels. You also did a lot of nonfiction books about military history, terrorism; you’ve done a ton of essays. I recommend people read all of them actually, because they’re all so intelligent. But I do want to get to Surrender, New York. Why now? Why is this … the first time you’re doing a contemporary thriller set in modern times? You’ve done future, you’ve done past — you haven’t done now.”

Caleb Carr (CC): “Two reasons. I reached a point in my life where I wanted to write something that would give people really close insight into my life without it being blatant. I wanted to return to that idea. Get a little closer than the Alienist books did. And also, I’m now going to do two more Alienist books.”

JA: “A sequel and a prequel, right?”

CC: “A sequel and a prequel, right. And they’re both going to be told by Kreizler.”

JA: “Which is different than The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness.”

CC: “Right, and I needed to find a way to speak in the voice of what’s always considered the man behind the curtain in these things. Like Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle wrote one story told by Sherlock Holmes — terrible failure. But Kreizler’s a very different character. I wanted to find a way to speak about these matters — about all the things we’ve been discussing, these psychological matters and personal matters — in a way that would make people comfortable … so it didn’t sound like a case file, so it didn’t sound like a scientific study. So it gave you insight into the character because people really are fascinated by Kreizler. They want to know what gives with this guy.”

You can listen to the full interview on James Altucher’s website.

2 comments on “Another Interview with Caleb Carr

  1. I have been watching “Good Behavior” on TNT which is a “cleaned up” version of the books. It doesn’t leave me much hope for “The Alienist” being visually authentic (i.e. mutilated corpses and painted boy prostitutes, sex clubs, etc). From the book, I remember that the Dr. attempts to get his associates to look past the merely physical to the humanity of the victims. If they can preserve at least that, the film may turn out well.

  2. Mr Carr:
    I picked up Angel of Darkness” at my local library. I had never read your novels prior. Wow, what a book. You couldn’t pry that book from my hands. Now I look forward to “The Alienist”. You did give the punchline to the book in the “Angel of Darkness”. Doesn’t seem fair if people by chance read #2 before #1.

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