The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man, the latest novel by New York Times bestselling author W. Bruce Cameron, goes on sale October 28th. We had the chance to ask Bruce a few questions about his exciting new novel.
Your new novel The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man is a departure from your recent novels that revolved around dogs and their humans. What made you decide to head in a new direction?
I’m not sure this is a new direction. In my new novel the main character has an important and complex relationship with his dog. It’s just that this novel isn’t only about that relationship. With more than 70 million dogs in our country, I’m surprised we don’t see more of them cropping up in everyday literature. I mean, I get why 007 doesn’t have a Lhasa Apso, but if it is a story about a modern family, shouldn’t somebody want a dog?
I have always been drawn to books that have a fast paced plot and quirky, interesting characters. I also have always enjoyed taking a humorous look at people and their foibles–that’s why I had a humor column for more than a decade, as well as a couple of humor books that were published before I started publishing novels. Also, though I am very manly in an acquired-taste sort of fashion, I do like a good romance in my fiction—not the kind where the guy meets a woman and thirty seconds later they are naked and panting, but real, true, awkward, funny, exciting romance. So this book, The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man, isn’t so much a departure as it is a combination of what I like to write: Relationships with dogs, humor, manly romance, and a fast-paced, interesting plot line.
Do you identify with any of the characters in The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man? Are their experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I certainly identify with Ruddy McCann, except that I’m not a big guy who was once in the running for the Heisman. I did, however, nearly win the Old Mission junior high school table tennis championship (two years running)! Ruddy has what I call “nerves of stupidity”. That’s what it takes to be a repo man, and some of the wild risks he takes in the novel are similar to a few of the crazy things I did.
The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man is a story of redemption and putting one’s life back together after a tragedy. But there are also a lot of humorous moments woven in. Was this difficult to achieve?
The hard part when describing things humorously is to avoid making everything a joke. A lot of times I had really funny punch lines come to me, which, had I included them, would have taken the reader out of the novel, and brought them into reading a bunch of jokes. It’s the fine line that any writer walks when using humor. The best technique to avoid falling into the trap is to love the characters and poke gentle fun at them instead of making crass jokes at their expense.
The harsh cold landscape of Michigan in early spring offers an affecting and powerful backdrop for the angst of your protagonist, Ruddy McCann. Was this intentional?
What you have to understand about northern Michigan is that when spring finally arrives, it is one of the most glorious events ever. So yes, Ruddy and northern Michigan are both grey, cold and ice bound. And both emerge by the end of the book into glorious, happy, sunnier times.
Okay, answer honestly—is there a dog in The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man? If so, what kind of role does he/she play?
I’m laughing at the idea I would answer this one dishonestly.
If The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man is made into a movie, which actors do you envision in the leading roles? Who would be the voice of Alan Lottner?
Armie Hammer as Ruddy McCann, Robert Downey Jr. as the voice as Alan Lottner, Lizzy Caplan as Katie. I would play the fantastically handsome writer (makeup by Oscar winning special-effects makeup artist Rick Baker).
Have any other authors inspired your work?
Yes, I am really impressed with Andrew Gross, Lee Childs and Joseph Kanon for fast paced plotting, interesting protagonists, and making location part of the story. Michael Connelly’s ability to weave complex mysteries influenced me to try to make a murder be both interesting and motivated by complex factors. Dave Barry can write humor better than any existing author.