The Thriller Zone

On today's 170th episode of The Thriller Zone, host David Temple and Nick Petrie discuss various topics related to Nick's book 'The Price You Pay'.

They talk about personal updates, then delve into the opening scene of the book and the significance of the epigraph. They also explore the characters of Lewis and June Cassidy and the inspiration behind Peter Ash and the theme of PTSD.

The conversation touches on writing style, emotional depth, and the possibility of writing romance. They conclude with a discussion on writing standalone novels, touch on unhealthy eating habits, the importance of reading, analyzing book structure, and of course, the classic closing question: Best Writing Advice.

To learn more visit: NickPetrie.com
Follow us at TheThrillerZone.com, YouTube.com/thethrillerzone, and listen wherever you enjoy your podcasts!

Chapters
00:00 Introduction and Personal Updates
03:05 Praise for Nick Petrie's Book 'The Price You Pay'
04:08 Conversation about the Opening Scene of the Book
08:45 Discussion on Video Production and Microphones
10:47 Conversation about the Epigraph of the Book
12:28 Exploration of the Characters Lewis and June Cassidy
15:35 Inspiration for Peter Ash and the Theme of PTSD
19:08 Discussion on the Writing Style and Emotional Depth
22:53 Introduction to the Character of Louis
25:15 Introduction to the Character of June Cassidy
29:00 Exploration of the Possibility of Writing Romance
32:35 Discussion on Influences and Writing Style
35:07 Conversation about Writing Standalone Novels
38:15 Discussion on the New Standalone Novel
39:03 Unhealthy Eating Habits
40:09 Importance of Reading
41:00 Analyzing Book Structure
42:27 Writing Advice


The Thriller Zone with David Temple is sponsored in part by Blackstone Publishing.

What is The Thriller Zone?

Join podcast host and thriller author David Temple as he gives you a front-row seat to the best thriller writers in the world. If you like thriller fiction in Books, Movies, and TV Shows, you’ll love The Thriller Zone Podcast.

Nick Petrie:
You look good. You must be working out or something.

David Temple:
Well, actually I am.

Nick Petrie:
I'm going to go ahead and close the video.

David Temple:
Thank you for noticing, Nick.

Nick Petrie:
Ah, heheheheh...

David Temple:
So you were you were chatting in the in the sidebar and I didn't even know I had chat in the sidebar. So I look up I'm like, who's writing to me? How does he even know that? Where did that even come from?

Nick Petrie:
I'm just winging it, man.

David Temple:
All right, I'm going to do this because yeah, you got some I need a little more light on that handsome face of yours. If you got it, is that your window?

Nick Petrie:
Uh, yeah, let me throw my window, put my, that up.

David Temple:
Yeah,

Nick Petrie:
Usually

David Temple:
do that.

Nick Petrie:
it's, oh, that's better.

David Temple:
That is better. And you're on a laptop and it's on a stand. So I'm seeing the little wobble, right? You're on a laptop

Nick Petrie:
Yeah,

David Temple:
on

Nick Petrie:
I'll

David Temple:
a stand.

Nick Petrie:
put my hands in my pockets.

David Temple:
Okay.

Nick Petrie:
As opposed to this.

David Temple:
Yeah. Okay. I mean, you know what? Actually, we could do this just for a while just to really fuck people's

Nick Petrie:
You know,

David Temple:
heads.

Nick Petrie:
it's the earthquake edition.

David Temple:
Oh man, it is so good to see you!

Nick Petrie:
Likewise, likewise.

David Temple:
Hey folks, it's Nick Petrie here on the Thriller Zone. Welcome, Nick.

Nick Petrie:
Thanks for having me, David. It's a great

David Temple:
Yeah.

Nick Petrie:
pleasure.

David Temple:
Man, I'm so glad that you're here. And this book right here, the price you pay, this is gonna sound so corny and cliche, so just bear with me for crying out loud. It's my show. Right when you think, you know, that... books pretty good and then you come out with the next one you go you know that might be a little bit better and then you come out with this one I'm like god bless America he did it again I mean this one's good.

Nick Petrie:
Well, I appreciate it. It was a long hard road on this one. I had a year without a book and, you know, some books sort of come out of you and some books you have to drag out kicking and screaming and this was one of those books. So I'm glad all of the effort shows.

David Temple:
Well, yeah, I mean, I was up very early as most days and I was squeezing in the, I had gotten to the very last couple of pages and it's, it was such a satisfying ending. You know, sometimes you, books will fall into a couple of categories. Oh, he really raced to the end and then he just turned on the heat and there it was. Other times it's like, oh, God, could this thing end? Then you got the ones right there in the middle where you go, man, that was like perfectly balanced and just did this nice little layup of an ending. So kudos to you, buddy.

Nick Petrie:
Thank you. Thank you. I think endings are important and I'm not sure they always get as much attention from writers as they should. So I appreciate that.

David Temple:
Yeah. Last time we saw each other, I was sitting there going, okay, well, it was just, you know, it's so funny what your head will do to you. I'm like, well, it's just like last... No, I had to go back and look it up. It was Thriller Fest 22, and then you and I jumped on a show in August. Yeah, so that would have been a couple of months later. Here's my point. Can you believe

Nick Petrie:
You know, like the older I get, the faster it goes, which is really strange. Um, I'm having, and I think the pandemic didn't help that stuff because you, you get sort of lost in your own world in a way that you, you know, that I certainly wasn't before. So, uh, no time is flying. Time is flying.

David Temple:
Yeah. A quick little technical note here. This is from a note from my editing self. Do you have any control of your audio of how you can boost your audio or is that where it is?

Nick Petrie:
Well, I think it's turned up all the way. I'm looking at the. Let me see.

David Temple:
I'm cranking you on my end at like at full 11 and I'm it's kind of quiet. I just

Nick Petrie:
Well,

David Temple:
I

Nick Petrie:
I

David Temple:
yeah

Nick Petrie:
shall. Can I talk louder? Will that help?

David Temple:
by just a skosh because I can boost it in post but I just

Nick Petrie:
Okay.

David Temple:
didn't want to it has a little bit of this sound and I just wanted to make sure you know that's why I like having people get right up on the microphone

Nick Petrie:
Well, I also don't have a real pro microphone either, so.

David Temple:
Well, which is surprising because you're such a pro in every other arena.

Nick Petrie:
Ah, it's such, yeah, I kind of resist. I don't know, like the, the video of vacation of the author thing. Um, because for me, like I do, the work is to sit and stare at my screen and to imagine what my characters want and we'll do next. And, um, but there's this whole other part of being an author that, you know, I think, I mean, I certainly didn't really think about it all before I. Published that first book, which is that you also have to publicize yourself. You have to get out in the world and it's a whole different set of muscles. So, yeah, maybe I should invest in a real microphone.

David Temple:
And you know, here's my thing, and I don't want to belabor the point because this is about you and your book, but I talked to a lot of people and I was talking to someone recently. I said, you know what I'm about ready to do? I'm about ready to cut a little video, a little teeny tiny little YouTube video that would say, hey, let me show you how to do it, because I've been doing this my entire life. So I'm like, you can use this microphone or spend a little more money or a little more money in this, that and the other. And a lot of folks just like yourself. And I never really thought about it. I'm like, oh, you know. is that you may not know or you may not worry about it, but boy, when it comes to, all right, one more soap box, I'm going to shut the

Nick Petrie:
Ha

David Temple:
hell

Nick Petrie:
ha!

David Temple:
up. The amount of time I spend with you reading your book, analyzing it, making notes, recording it, editing it, sweetening it, posting it to YouTube. I mean, it's a full part-time job. So I

Nick Petrie:
Oh,

David Temple:
just,

Nick Petrie:
totally.

David Temple:
I want you to be the best possible version of yourself.

Nick Petrie:
Well, send me an email and tell me what mic I should buy.

David Temple:
I will do that. I'm going to make a note right now on the back of your microphone notes. Got it. By the way, I, uh, I, one of these, someone here's another, here's another peppy. Um, people want to send me eBooks all the time and I'm going, you can do that. I'm not going to read it. They're like, well, why not? They're so easy. I'm like, here's why. I make notes. I bend corners. I scratch my big notes in the back of the book. And plus, I just love it. Plus, it's a prop. Look at that. Look how sexy. Well, it is an arc. There's that real fancy print on the edge. So in my bookcase, I can tell.

Nick Petrie:
how you know you're an industry pro right there.

David Temple:
Yeah.

Nick Petrie:
Right there. No, but I'm the same way, right? I spend my whole day staring at a screen. I don't want to stare at a screen while I'm relaxing.

David Temple:
Right. Well, and last note on that, and then we're moving on, is the fact that video really, I mean, podcasting has been blowing up for years, as we both know, but the

Nick Petrie:
Right.

David Temple:
video version of it is going to be the next incarnation, and it's just going to skyrocket. And so get on board, Nick.

Nick Petrie:
I need those halo lights. I need to figure something out.

David Temple:
I'm gonna help you with it. I'm gonna handwrite everything out for you and get it to you. Because that's the kind of guy I am. Plus, I really like you. You have such good, good energy, man. I mean that.

Nick Petrie:
I appreciate that. Thank you.

David Temple:
In the front of the book, as you see, I circle it. And the reason I circled it is two reasons. First of all, I've hung out with Mike Tyson for an entire weekend and he's a character. So you have this quote that kicks off your book, your epigraph, everyone has a plan until he gets punched in the mouth. Great line. He is a machine. You know, he has pet pigeons. Do you know that?

Nick Petrie:
I didn't know that. I didn't

David Temple:
Yeah,

Nick Petrie:
know.

David Temple:
he lives

Nick Petrie:
Did he,

David Temple:
in.

Nick Petrie:
did he grow up in New York City?

David Temple:
I don't know, but he lives in a, I visited him at his house in Vegas. I was shooting a documentary thing for a friend. And uh. You go out in this million-dollar home right outside of Vegas, and he has an entire wall of cages of pigeons, and he lets them out and feeds them and talks to them, and they fly back and forth. Anyway.

Nick Petrie:
Whatever you need.

David Temple:
So, when I saw this, I remember a moment, if you don't mind me sharing

Nick Petrie:
No.

David Temple:
this, we're hanging out in his boxing ring there in Vegas, kind of his practice ring, and I'm thinking, everyone knows he's got a punch, right? And this is going to come back to your story. So I'm getting ready to shoot this particular scene and they move the, what's it called? What's a great big bag called?

Nick Petrie:
The heavy bag.

David Temple:
Heavy bag. And it's chained to the rafters and he comes up and he hits it and the whole building, I shit you not, goes So it was a visceral memory. So when I saw that, I love it. And it's a great way to kick off your book. Speaking of which, if I may, this book starts with that thing that I love it when a writer of your caliber can craft an opening. paragraph actually is about three pages that makes your heart tick up a beat and you're like wow how did he do that first of all it's just great writing but i'm like and then it's just like and you know something's around the corner so i love the way you start that

Nick Petrie:
Well, thanks. It's, you know, what's one of the challenges for me as a writer to I'll often write four or five different beginnings, not knowing what the book is going to be. So I just am looking for the thing that has the right feel where I'm sort of, I'm stepping into that sense of tension. And, and, you know, I need to know a little bit, but not too much. Because then I sort of lose interest. I apparently have a short attention span or something. Um, so you know, this was the, this was my third or fourth, I think, attempt at the, at the beginning of this. And it just sort of, you know, right from the beginning, there's this like sort of sense of tension and the sense of the unknown and Peter basically crawling out of bed. Um, uh, he's in bed with, uh, June Cassidy, his paramour sweet patootie. Um, and he hears, he hears this noise coming from downstairs. And so there's sort of this instant. Tick. of kind of what's happening, what's going on. And he, you know, grabs the pistol he keeps under the nightstand, screws on a silencer because, you know, if this goes bad, who the hell is calling me? Because if this goes bad, you know, you don't want to wake the neighbors.

David Temple:
pray.

Nick Petrie:
And creeps downstairs to find Lewis making coffee and peanut butter sandwiches in his kitchen at four o'clock in the morning in the dead of winter. And so, you know, that sets up sort of a, you know, A, it sort of reverses the dynamic immediately because usually Peter is the one who's found someone in trouble. And when things get hairy, he calls Louis. And so immediately, you know, that this book is gonna be kind of the opposite of that, right, it's Louis who's got a friend who's in trouble. And he asked Peter to help. So that's, you know, it was, it was an, and I, you know, I didn't plan that in particular, like I don't think about this stuff ahead of time, I just sort of see what comes out. Um, and the trick is to sort of be able to see then what you've done and what the seeds are there that you can play with.

David Temple:
It's so funny you should start out of the gate with that because my very next line, it's right here, I'm curious. I'm well aware of that first opening moments that comes to an author and more often than not they remain seared in your memory. I can remember scenes that I've written years ago and it's just a single sentence and you never forget it. So I went question, how much did that opening scene change from draft one to whenever it landed? How funny.

Nick Petrie:
Oh, boy, very little. Very, very little. I... I do have a problem of endlessly tweaking when I don't know what happens next.

David Temple:
Yeah.

Nick Petrie:
And I can tell like when I'm dodging something or I don't know or I'm sort of scared to start this next thing because I don't, you know, I'm not sure I have a handle on it. So then I'm always like, well, revising sentences and moving things around. And on this one, I did so little of that because I sort of already knew that Peter was going to accept uh, Louis's, uh, ask, and he, they were going to get in Louis's Yukon and they were going to drive north. And I, and I could sort of build again, a little more tension that way between the, you know, the frigid February night, uh, driving north into the teeth of this blizzard and, uh, we, you know, Louis is telling Peter sort of about this, this friend of his, you know, one of the, a one-time member of his crew, um, who sent out this kind of distress call. Um, so, and then we, you know, it all just sort of grew and it, and, uh, some, some books feel very, um, Uh, like I have to make some jumps and this book just all, once I got there, it all just sort of flowed out.

David Temple:
Well, you know, we started off the show talking about how time flies. And can you believe it was just 2016 when you debuted Peter Ash? I was thinking to myself, Oh, it's, it's been like dozens of years. And I'm like, no, it's only 2016. That's only helped me with mass eight years ago.

Nick Petrie:
Yeah, but that's 56 years in dog years, so, which is about how it feels.

David Temple:
So while it may seem a little captain obvious for me to say, where or who would you say inspired you to create this war vet that suffered, as many do, with PTSD?

Nick Petrie:
I had, um, I had a bunch of clients in my former life. I was a freelance home inspector. So if you bought a house, you'd hire a guy like me to tell you what was wrong with it. And I had been a, uh, renovation, um, contractor prior to that. So I had a lot of knowledge. Um, and I was really aware that, um, I was often the only person in this transaction that, uh, was actually going to tell these people the truth. Um, real estate being what it is often. And so it was after the surge and I realized I had all these clients who were coming home from the war. And when you're a vet and you've been through some harrowing shit, it's hard to talk to people about it because your family at home, they have no idea what you've been through. And often they don't really wanna know. Um, because, and you're scared to tell them because it might, it might paint you in a certain light, right? That you are

David Temple:
Sure.

Nick Petrie:
not proud of, um, or that you just don't want to burden them with. Um, and then there's your, your military family, right? The guys you served with, um, the people you went through basic with. And, um, you know, that's a whole different aesthetic, right? That's about, you know, being tough and being strong and sucking it up. And when you're in combat, you need that. But it doesn't help when you come home. So, but I was this guy in the middle, right? So we would be, I'd spend three or four hours with these folks and we'd be, you know, down at the basement and I'm looking at the foundation or, you know, going over the furnace or whatever. And, you know, they're gonna see me once and they're never gonna see me again. And so I'm a safe person to talk to.

David Temple:
Sure.

Nick Petrie:
And I would, you know, some, you know, some guys were wearing, and you know, you wear an army shirt or you got a tattoo or, you know, and sometimes I would say, so, you know, you were in the army and I mean, it doesn't happen all the time, but there's something about me. People tell me crazy stuff, you know,

David Temple:
Yeah.

Nick Petrie:
in line in the grocery store, waiting at the airport, people tell me stuff. Um, and so these stories would come out of these young men and women, and I just kind of fell in love with. sort of what they had, who they were and why they had gone.

David Temple:
Yeah.

Nick Petrie:
And this sense of, I mean, nobody ever told them what the aftermath might be like. You know, you sign up to serve your country, you sign up to be of use, you sign up to lead your small town or get some opportunity, get money for college. But the other side of war is a different country. And so I really got interested in that and in those folks. And that sort of turned into this long conversation with vets that I'm still having about post-traumatic stress and how you kind of rediscover what your life might be after what is for most, that's really the most profound experience in their young lives. So I just kind of fell down that rabbit hole and I never thought that book would be published quite frankly. I'd written three books that couldn't get published previously and I just sort of was like well fine I'm going to write this for myself and I'm going to explore the things that I'm interested in and that's how Peter Ash came to be.

David Temple:
Well, I'm going to give you a couple of compliments here. I'm not just blowing smoke. You know I don't do that. But part of it is, first of all, good on you for acknowledging guys and gals who have gone through this. But first time I met you, and sometimes meeting the guys that you read and you hold them in a certain high regard, you're wondering, oh, is he going to be a star guy? But

Nick Petrie:
Sometimes

David Temple:
I met you

Nick Petrie:
that's

David Temple:
at.

Nick Petrie:
awkward.

David Temple:
Yeah, but you're so warm and approachable and so chill. And I think that's part of the magic for your experience where people just feel like, oh, he's a real guy, good guy down to earth. I can just talk to him. So good on

Nick Petrie:
Well,

David Temple:
you.

Nick Petrie:
I appreciate that. I mean, I'm interested in people. And I think that's part of kind of how and why this stuff happens to me is

David Temple:
Yeah.

Nick Petrie:
because I'm, you know, I want to know who people are. I want to engage with people. And, you know, I think, you know, in some way folks can tell. And I do want to say very clearly, and I say this in all my books, that I'm not a veteran. So this is not my experience.

David Temple:
Right.

Nick Petrie:
But these books are based on literally hundreds of conversations. with folks from folks who served in Vietnam and going forward.

David Temple:
see that tells us something about you and your heart the fact that you reach out to that former soldier or current soldier and uh and feel for them as many of us do so again I applaud that um and now I now I get it why you have Peter renovating a house and I think I remember this from the last book right wasn't he renovating something then too and then I'm like up uh Nick's got to be some kind of a renovation guy. He's got to be some... He probably sits at home. Folks, let me see if he does this. Do you sit at home on weekends and watch this old house ever?

Nick Petrie:
No, that kind of stuff annoys me quite honestly, as a former pro, you don't see the vast amount of money and effort and blood and sweat that goes into those projects.

David Temple:
Yeah.

Nick Petrie:
So not so much. I do lay awake in the middle of the night and imagine the things I would do to my house if I had the money

David Temple:
Right.

Nick Petrie:
and or the time. But, you know, I am in my heart of hearts. I'm a blue collar working class guy. I spent, you know, 30 years, you know, taking apart and putting back together old houses or looking at old houses and telling people what was wrong with them and sometimes fighting with contractors who are trying to take advantage of people. And, you know, that's part of the sensibility in these books, right, is, you know, people in the military often, I mean, it's a working class job, being a cop is a blue collar job or a firefighter. You are, it's about your body in a lot of ways. I mean, there's a mental side to it, obviously, and an emotional side, but, you know, I know a bunch of those guys and there is that kind of blue collar, do this myself, you know, pain is just weakness leaving the body kind of an aesthetic, which, you know, kind of speaks to me.

David Temple:
Yeah. Let's transition to some of the cast of characters because I love it when I find an author who has this small but powerful, vibrant circle of friends who the minute you, you don't even need lots of description because there's just enough description that makes me fill in all the blanks and I kind of paint the characters the way I want, which I think is a good writer. So let's start with Louis. Tell me, tell me about this. character. And the fact that he I love the fact that he shows up and launches the story as you mentioned just moments ago.

Nick Petrie:
Well, Lewis is, Peter calls him the most dangerous man he's ever met and coming from Peter, that is quite a statement. Lewis is a semi-retired career criminal. We meet him in the first book, The Drifter, when he's still at work as a career criminal and he and Peter find something in each other and create this friendship. Lewis is... I know a lot of people like this actually who have sort of invented themselves. Lewis, Lewis does comes from a really rough background. Um, and sort of, and, but it's crazy smart and, and basically taught himself how to be a functional adult at the public library. Um, didn't, didn't have really adults in his life from a, from a young age that were worth a damn. Um, so he, he is that kind of person. And I know a fair number of people like that. Um. And I think that's kind of a very American thing. And so, but his life has changed a lot from that first book to now. So he's, he's fallen in love with his old sweetheart, reconnected, actually Peter reconnected them. And they got married and he is adopted, her two boys. And so he has become a family man who still needs to connect with Peter and to go out and to, you know, kind of. raise a little hell and solve somebody else's problems because that part of him is still there, just like it is in Peter. But that's a big chunk of what this book is about. It's a much deeper dive into who Lewis was, kind of what he used to do back when he was a career criminal. We meet his old crew, who we haven't seen since the first book. And so, to me, that was the challenge was to really And readers have been asking for this actually since the very beginning is, you know, where's the Lewis book? So this is in a way sort of the Lewis book.

David Temple:
Yeah. And while we're on characters, one more I'd like to get your beat on is June Cassidy, the girlfriend of Peter. She's... Tell me about her.

Nick Petrie:
June

David Temple:
Yeah.

Nick Petrie:
is based on all of the strong women in my life, you know, from my, my grandmothers, my mother, my sister, my wife, you know, all of these women writers I know. June does not take shit from anybody and, and Peter, I needed Peter to have a person who was as strong as he was, who was not going to put up with his crap. who was gonna demand things of him as, you know, ideally all of our, the women in our lives demand things from the men in their lives. Because men are inherently lazy, I think, and women always do most of the work. And, you know, so that was sort of where, that was the vibe I was going for. She's a journalist. She's an investigative journalist. So she has some resources that Peter uses in this book, well, she uses in this book. And she's really a partner. There are books where we see a lot of June and books where we don't see quite so much, but she's really become an integral part of the action stuff as well, because she's in some earlier books. She went through some stuff and her response to it was to sort of, well, you can either run away and hide from it or you can step up and acknowledge it and do what you can do to make yourself a stronger person. And so that's what she's done. And In the process, she's become a bit of an ass kicker herself, although it's never her first move, but she doesn't shy away.

David Temple:
Yeah, that's one of the things I like about her. And you said piece of work. That's the exact word phrase I was going to use. And how close to your wife is she? How much do you pull from your wife?

Nick Petrie:
Yeah, I don't really my wife

David Temple:
No?

Nick Petrie:
is no, my wife's an artist. She's also a podcaster actually. And she is she is very much you know, in the heart of this work, because she is a true people person and the books are the way they are the characters have the complexity they do and the relationships they do because Margaret was always my first reader and she is not going to read a thriller. Unless they're there's some people stuff in it.

David Temple:
Right.

Nick Petrie:
So in a way, she kind of trained me how to write this kind of book. And I am not Peter, right? But he sort of has my sensibility.

David Temple:
Sure. Do you, does she approach the door and come in every once in a while? Nick we need a little more people stuff. I

Nick Petrie:
No,

David Temple:
need about

Nick Petrie:
although it's,

David Temple:
22% more people stuff.

Nick Petrie:
it's funny because I will show her, you know, sort of the first 10 or 15,000 words when I'm sort of like, is this a thing? Like is this, is there, is this have any soul to it? Does this have anything to it? And whether it's true or not, her, she's a, she's an excellent spouse of a writer. She's like, it's fine. Just keep going. Like it's all good. But then, but then she'll see, she'll see. know, like the, I'll give her the finished manuscript. And she's like, Yeah, no, I don't. I got other things to do. Like I got, you know, I don't, I don't have time for this. And then she will finally sit down and she'll read the book in like two days. And she'd be like, Yeah, I just I kind of forget that like how that you're a really good writer. And that like, and I think I don't like this stuff. But then the way you do it, like I just sort of fall into it. And it's why I think I have so many female readers. I have more female readers than male readers. And that's a very unusual thing in a series like this. And I

David Temple:
Yeah.

Nick Petrie:
think it is about those characters and the relationships they have with each other and the way that they are trying to evolve and change as people.

David Temple:
And Nick, I keep wanting to call you Peter. Nick, that's one of the things I appreciate about your writing is the fact that there is this emotional thread that draws me to your characters on a level different than a lot. And let me finish that sentence, than a lot of other books I read. And trust me, I love the page-turner. But I have found at now you'll be 160, what, 760 episodes or something, two and a half, almost three years,

Nick Petrie:
Good Lord.

David Temple:
that I'm like, oh, give me something new or give me a variation on a theme or Jesus, just come up with, give me a thread of something and build on it. So what I'm getting at, and I'm not bad mouthing anybody, but I'm just like, you know, the fact, when you can find heart in a character of beyond just a gun and a knife. I'm way more in and so there.

Nick Petrie:
Well, no, I'm with you. And I like, I love plot driven stuff. Uh, I've got friends who write it. Uh, I, it, uh, it's, you know, in a way it's kind of my happy place. Cause I don't have to think I just get to sort of chew through this great story. Um, but, you know, I don't know that I'm capable of writing those. I mean, I think that's a difficult thing in a certain way. And I'm not sure I can, I can do that stuff. So I think one of the, one of the interesting things as you. sort of as you sink into this community of crime writers is how many different ways there are to do this thing. And there are some tropes, and I do get tired of some of that stuff, but

David Temple:
Mm-hmm.

Nick Petrie:
it's also there for a reason. So it's not so much about is the trope there, it's how is it done differently? How well is it done? It is a genre and there are forms to it. But you know. I have friends who write stuff that's so different than what I do. And I just eat it up. So it's all,

David Temple:
Yeah.

Nick Petrie:
you know, that's one of the great things about this community.

David Temple:
Do you have a favorite author that writes in a similar, in the thriller genre? And I know you've got a lot of pals. I mean, we all hanging out the same groups in Thriller Fest. But is there somebody? And I know that's a loaded question because you're going to, well, if I say him and I don't say him or I say her and not, you know.

Nick Petrie:
Well, I can talk about my influences.

David Temple:
There you go. Let's do it that way,

Nick Petrie:
So,

David Temple:
Nick.

Nick Petrie:
I mean, I do have a bunch of friends and in a way that's kind of that's most of the fiction I read now are people that I know, but so like Robert Crace is a great example. So his first book the monkey's raincoat came out when I was in college. and I had already been reading Spencer and Gregory McDonald and I opened the monkey's raincoat and I was like, oh wow, like he is really, he's doing so many things all at once. And so he really became, and I've read everything he's done, he's actually, he's become a friend, he's a totally great guy.

David Temple:
Yo, yeah.

Nick Petrie:
And you know, so he is one of my real inspirations, because it is There is a lot of tension and there's action, but the heart is at the center of it. So I mean, I think that's the stuff that, that I gravitate toward in terms of inspiration, because that's what I'm interested in doing.

David Temple:
going to take 20 seconds off a beaten path because you said something about four minutes ago that I went wow it's a surprise me it was the ratio of women to men readers and based upon my comment about a certain kind of having heart in a character and the fact that you just gave me have you ever thought about and don't laugh until you hear me out

Nick Petrie:
I'm going to go ahead and turn it off.

David Temple:
have you ever thought about dabbling in something in the Neighborhood of romance.

Nick Petrie:
Well, there's a point at which, I mean, if I did, it would have to be as somebody else,

David Temple:
Sure.

Nick Petrie:
right? There's the, my publisher and my agent are both very staunch defenders of the so-called Nick Petrie brand,

David Temple:
Sure.

Nick Petrie:
which is kind of a weird thing to think about. And I think it's something that a lot of writers wrestle with. It's like I've been, you know, this is the thing that they're interested in that I've been writing, but I, you know, I'm... I'm not just that, I'm more than that. And so I have Michael Corita, for example, started out writing these sort of ghost stories and then became a thriller writer. And then whenever he wants to write a ghost story, now those are published under, I think it's Scott Spencer, Spencer is his pen name. So it's just, the publishing business is a weird ass thing.

David Temple:
Yeah.

Nick Petrie:
So I don't know. I also, I mean, the longer I write thrillers, the less patience I have for books in which nothing happens.

David Temple:
Yeah. Well, who wants

Nick Petrie:
Um,

David Temple:
to read that?

Nick Petrie:
well, a lot of a lot of people read literary fiction and I love the language and I love the character development But if nothing happens how I it's just hard for me to stay interested.

David Temple:
Right.

Nick Petrie:
Um, so I like I don't Like it would be fun to write I mean that first Book with Peter and June in it burning bright is a love story And the second book actually, which is lighted up that where Peter and June get together again, you know, is also a love story. And that was part of the fun of that and of showing that. So, you know, I don't know, the downside to writing this successful, which is now, I guess, apparently a long running series, I've been told, eight books.

David Temple:
Eight books is, yeah, traction, baby. Keep going.

Nick Petrie:
Yeah. So like, I can't. I can't kill off June Cassidy, right?

David Temple:
No.

Nick Petrie:
Peter can't, you know, have a girl on the side. Like that is just something that can't happen. And so I'm gonna preempt one of your questions, which is probably what are you doing next? I'm actually working on a standalone where I get to kill anybody I want.

David Temple:
Nice.

Nick Petrie:
And

David Temple:
Wait a minute, you get to, or Peter? I'm

Nick Petrie:
well,

David Temple:
trying

Nick Petrie:
it's

David Temple:
different.

Nick Petrie:
not Peter. So it's a standalone novel.

David Temple:
Oh,

Nick Petrie:
Um,

David Temple:
the

Nick Petrie:
where

David Temple:
big essay.

Nick Petrie:
I get to sort of start over in a way and, and try some new kinds of storytelling and some new kinds of characters. Um, and you know, to sort of, to your point, like it's fun. It's nice to be able to try something else and to sort of step out of the thing you've been doing so that you can go back to it and see it in a new way.

David Temple:
Okay, so let me ask this Mr. Jump question.

Nick Petrie:
I'm

David Temple:
So I'm

Nick Petrie:
sorry.

David Temple:
gonna preempt your preempt and see you a preempt. Um, I have no idea what that means. Um, so if your people, I'm gonna say your people in air quotes, dancing bunny, says, I love Peter Ash, don't change a damn thing, Nick. Are they the same people behind? Hey, yeah, go out and knock yourself out. Try something new. Get crazy with it. We'd love to see what you got.

Nick Petrie:
No, I had to push hard to make this thing happen. My first book, I had a contract for two books, both in the series. My second contract was for two more books, three, and number four was in theory, a standalone by mutual agreement, which in the publishing world means they tell you what they want and you do it.

David Temple:
Wait, how does mutual fit into that?

Nick Petrie:
Well, yeah, it's well, you know, especially when you're really in your career, you don't, you don't have a lot of power in that relationship.

David Temple:
Mm-hmm, I hear that.

Nick Petrie:
You know, CJ Box, you know, john Grisham, Stephen King, they're on the other end of that equation. So it's just sort of the nature of that beast. But so five, six, and seven, it was okay, well, seven is going to be a standalone. And I said, it really is going to be a standalone. And they're like, Oh, yeah, right. And then it came. And it was the middle of the pandemic. And I kind of got scared off. I was like, I just, I just want to go back into that familiar world with those familiar characters. And I did write something that was actually quite a bit different. That was, that was, that book was the runaway. So quite a bit different from some of the previous, the previous books. And then I was two months into a standalone for book eight, and they said, uh, yeah, no, we really would like another Peter Ash. And so that's, that's the price you pay. And at the end of the, right, so this book took me again, basically twice as long to write. because just of the challenges inherent to it and life in general, I just kind of said, guys, I hope this works for you, but I need a break. I need to try something else. And so they're all behind it. It's really interesting. My editor is a super psych to sort of see what happens and my agent is already putting all these good vibes out in the ether, so.

David Temple:
So let me ask this question because we're so specific in a lot of these details. Will you write this new standalone as Nick Petrie or will you have

Nick Petrie:
As far

David Temple:
a pen?

Nick Petrie:
as I know,

David Temple:
Okay.

Nick Petrie:
I would have to fight pretty hard if they didn't want that. But it fits into the universe. These are, it's again, kind of working class characters. It's set in Wisconsin. There's a lot of heart, there's a lot of conflict. They're good guys and bad guys. It feels like a fit to me, but we will see what my publisher says. But I'm, you know, honestly, it never really occurred to me to be worried about.

David Temple:
shiny object moment. You're in Milwaukee, right?

Nick Petrie:
Yes.

David Temple:
And my wife is from Madison. And we went to visit a couple years ago and I discovered two things that I fell in love with instantly, much to my demise. Spotted cow craft beer and fried cheese curds. Now, I'm a pretty healthy guy and I eat pretty, very, quite healthy. And I, because I just went overboard and I'm slugging spotted cow and washing it down with, you know, with those cheese curds. I came home, daddy wasn't very happy in certain places.

Nick Petrie:
Yeah. No, it's, it's fine. I mean, the older I get, the less of any of that stuff. My body is interested in dealing with. Um,

David Temple:
Yeah,

Nick Petrie:
we, yeah. Pretty,

David Temple:
body says you're gonna put that away right now or I'm gonna...

Nick Petrie:
yeah.

David Temple:
There will be price to pay, sir.

Nick Petrie:
Pretty much, pretty much. Hey, I just want to lean in and say, I do have a heart out in about a three or four minutes.

David Temple:
Well, I'm

Nick Petrie:
So

David Temple:
hard

Nick Petrie:
I,

David Temple:
now. I'm going to hard out on you right now.

Nick Petrie:
All right, I just I don't I don't want to cut your short or anything. So.

David Temple:
Alright, here's what I'm gonna do. You did this last time, but a lot of folks are joining me for the first time. I know it's a surprise too. But I always wrap with this question. What's your best piece of writing advice to all my aspiring writers, Nick?

Nick Petrie:
It's hard to give one. I actually talked to a lot of aspiring writers and the first is Seems like a no-brainer, but it's read right you should read that is how you learn to write is by reading and by rereading books and sort of the corollary to that is to the find a book that really spoke to you that really You know kind of rings in you like a gong And on the second read through or the third read through take it apart Write a beat line, uh, you know, three or four lines for every chapter. Well, it depends on how long your chapters are, but, uh, you know, who's the point of view, how many pages, what happens kind of, you know, what's the emotional change. And you really can see how books are constructed or at least how this book is constructed. Um, and if you go through, you can, you know, you learn really, really basic stuff like, Oh, I can go six chapters. I, you know, this character in chapter one and not see him again until chapter eight.

David Temple:
Yeah.

Nick Petrie:
Um, like that, the reader will remember because I remembered, um,

David Temple:
Sure.

Nick Petrie:
you, you know, you learn sort of how shifting point of views can work and how to share information. You, I, I still do it every year and I find it to be enormously helpful. Um, and I think that's to me, that's sort of the, if you want to write novel length fiction, I mean, you can do it with short stories too.

David Temple:
sure.

Nick Petrie:
Um, but novel length fiction, if you don't. If you don't revisit and look at the machinery, right, you know, the first read, it's what happens, who are these people and what happens to them? The second read, you start to get a sense of, you know, kind of how it's done. The third read, especially it's like, here are the gears, here are the pinions. Like this is the way the thing was built. Um,

David Temple:
Yeah.

Nick Petrie:
and that was so helpful to me as a, as a young writer, when I started doing that, it just made an enormous difference.

David Temple:
Awesome. As always, good. I could talk forever with you folks. If you want to learn more, go to nickpetry.com. The book again is of course, The Price You Pay. And it's so good to see you again. And I'm looking forward to the next book. We'll let you go now. And Nick, always, always a pleasure.

Nick Petrie:
Oh, likewise, David. Great to see you. And, uh, um, I don't know. Next time you're in Madison, give me a shout.

David Temple:
I would love that.

Nick Petrie:
There

David Temple:
We'll

Nick Petrie:
we

David Temple:
go

Nick Petrie:
go.

David Temple:
get

Nick Petrie:
We will.

David Temple:
some spotted cow.

Nick Petrie:
Yeah. But no cheese curds.

David Temple:
No cheese. All right, brother, thank you.

Nick Petrie:
All right. Yeah. Take care.