Thursday, July 12, 2007

Mark Lindquist, The King of Methlehem

Yikes, I had no idea that drugs were such a huge problem in the state of Washington, Tacoma in particular. Although I knew something was up from all those Ann Rule books I’ve read. Mark Lindquist takes us into the world of methamphetamines providing details that only an insider would know. I think I now know precisely how to make drugs in my very own kitchen although I’ll pass on that recipe.

Detective Wyatt James is in pursuit of the self proclaimed King of Methlehem, an addict and distributor named Howard. Wyatt is determined not to let this creep slip through his fingers. Every time the police come close to catching him, Howard narrowly escapes. Wyatt tries to hold his personal life together but is practically obsessed with Howard. That's a relationship killer right there.

Author Mark Lindquist is a member of the Literary Brat Pack, along with prolific writers Jay McInerney and Bret Easton Ellis. He was also in the pages of People Magazine for being a hot bachelor back in 2000. The King of Methlehem is a page turning read that you will zip through. Mark has been a copywriter, screenwriter and a lawyer which has shattered my theory that people are either logical or creative, not usually both.

Whoa! You practically give a recipe on how to make meth. I never thought about it before. Is there really a law that you can't buy more than two boxes of Sudafed- pseudoephedrine - at a time in Washington?

Unfortunately, the recipe for meth is no longer a secret. You can find several on the internet, but all require pseudoephdrine, and yes, the Washington Legislature restricted sales of pseudoephedrine. This helped us reduce meth labs in Pierce County by about 80%. Now there's a national law that does essentially the same thing. Meth labs are declining and tweekers are turning to imported product.

Why is Tacoma such a hot spot for drugs?

Long story, but as I wrote in "The King of Methlehem" the Department of Corrections, which administers the prison system in Washington State, uses Pierce County as a dumping ground for ex-felons. For example, a criminal could be convicted in Seattle, do his time, and then be released to Tacoma, and many of these offenders, not surprisingly, are drug addicts.

Soooo…you were one of People Magazine's 100 Most Eligible Bachelors back in 2000. How did that come about? Did your phone just ring one day and it was People magazine?

Yep. And it comes up more often in interviews than any of my books.

Tell me about working as a copy writer for a movie studio. Sounds like a pretty excellent job.

Being a copywriter wasn't that excellent, mostly I wrote poster copy, but screenwriting was cool, at least until I burned out. Screenwriting is lucrative and fun - you're usually working closely with creative people, it's a collaborative process - but very, very few screenplays are actually made into movies, so your writing seems like it's a exercise in futility even though you're being paid absurdly well.

And how did you go from being a writer in LA to a lawyer in Washington?

I had always meant to go to law school, I just put it off because I was making a living as a writer. Then, when I was burned out on screenwriting, I finally went. I didn't know for sure that I was going to like it, but I got a job as a prosecutor and loved the work. I'm very lucky to have two jobs I'm passionate about.

What are some of your favorite songs or bands? Were you a big Nirvana fan?

A: R.E.M., the Replacements, U2, the Beatles, Elvis Costello, Rolling Stones, Wreckless Eric, Jen Trynin, Talking Heads, Dandy Warhols, Death Cab for Cutie, Faith and Disease, Doors, Led Zep, the Cure, X, the Shins (despite selling out to McDonald's), Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Modern Lovers, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and yes, Nirvana. Can I go on for another page? I love too many bands and songs to list. Lately I've been fixated on the Wreckless Eric song, "Whole Wide World," which was featured in the movie "Stranger Than Fiction," but Wreckless Eric's best song is "33s and 45s," a pop classic any music fan will identify with.

What did you want to be when you were a kid? Did you grow up to be exactly what you imagined?

When I was playing little league football I wanted to grow up to be a NFL quarterback, of course, but as I got older I was torn between being a writer and a lawyer. Eventually I figured out I could do both.

Have you changed at all after becoming a successful novelist?

I was lucky and started writing professionally at a young age, so it just seems like a job to me, though it's a very good job.

I looked at your pictures and you aren't smiling in any of them. Should we believe you are very pensive and serious all the time?

No, I laugh a lot, like right now.

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