Guest: On Research with John K. Manos

TLC Book ToursAt the moment John K. Manos’ newest release, Dialogues of a Crime, is on virtual tour with TLC Book Tours. As part of the tour I’ve posted a review of Dialogues and today I have John K. Manos himself sharing how he researched parts of the story.

You can see more with the tour by clicking through to TLC Book tours.

About the Author

 John K. Manos was a magazine editor in Chicago for 20 years. Since 2001 he has earned his living as a writer, editor, and occasional musician. He is a graduate of Knox College. Dialogues of a Crime is his first novel.

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On Research

I’m often asked how I researched Dialogues of a Crime because it includes gangsters, Chicago cops, a work farm in the prison system, andJohn K Manos the pursuit of criminals by a detective and state’s attorney.

Oddly enough, it’s a hard question to answer, because so much of it came out of my head as opposed to traditional means of research. For example, the detective’s voice, and his interactions with the state’s attorney and with the object of his investigation came from eating lunch almost daily with a shifting collection of Chicago cops, years ago.

The prison setting came from a single visit to an Illinois work farm, but the events inside were imagined. I had a conversation with a couple of guards at the work farm, but I wouldn’t call that in-depth research.

The whole book was inspired by a single incident from my own experience in 1972, for which no research was required. Likewise, I had some high-school friends whose fathers’ were peripherally connected to the Outfit, and I interacted with some minor-league players when my father opened a restaurant more than 40 years ago. Again, this is not extensive research into Mob activities.

But accuracy about the criminals is not the point of the book. Had it been, my approach would have been quite different by necessity—but how much research can you do about loyalty, growing friendship, and lasting damage from crime?

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