Barry Lancet has lived in Japan for more than 25 years, providing him with an insider’s view that informs his writing. His first novel, Japantown, was selected by both Suspense Magazine and renowned mystery critic Oline Cogdill as one of the Best Debuts of 2013 and has been optioned by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions, in association with Warner Bros. His second novel Tokyo Kill, featuring Jim Brodie, is out next month.
Barry, congratulations on the publication of Tokyo Kill. Is there that same buzz of excitement at the release of your second novel as there was for your debut? What’s it like the second time round?
The buzz is certainly there for Tokyo Kill too, broader and deeper this time. At a recent convention, I was stunned — overwhelmed really — that several bestselling authors took a moment to mention they’d heard great things about the books and planned to read them. Maybe I should stop now, while I’m ahead. How does it feel this time? It’s as great a feeling as the first time. I’m having fun writing the books, and I feel extremely lucky to be in this position. I’m even more grateful that there are readers out there who like the world Jim Brodie inhabits and are asking for more.
What about in terms of the writing? I’ve heard some authors say the second novel is harder to write than the first, but how did you approach it?
I was a book editor for a number of years, so I managed to sidestep the issue, partly because of my past experience and partly because I have too many ideas waiting in the wings. As I was winding up Japantown, ideas for Tokyo Kill began to intrude. Now, I’m winding up Book 3, and ideas for Book 4 have started to emerge on their own. Sure, I struggle with certain aspects, just as I did with the first book, but there are other items that are getting easier.