Gerry Boyle, '78, Author and Editor

boyle picture“ I absorbed a lot of people in my years as a newspaper columnist, roaming around, inserting myself into people's lives. Now the characters just pop into my head, jumping out of that cauldron of humanity. I'm like a little kid with imaginary friends. Except I get paid,” says Gerry Boyle, author of the Jack Morrow mystery series, which includes nine books so far, as well as two other books in a different series. He writes crime novels, and is “ fascinated by the human drama of crime, the ways it’ s played out in public, the psychological process involved, the tension of good versus evil versus everyone in between.” Each book takes about two to sixth months of research. Boyle has been exposed to “ many of the background elements of a crime novel, from cops to criminals, courtrooms, prisons, crime scenes” through his newspaper career, so that “ writing crime novels was a natural progression.”

Boyle is drawn to writing from his love of language: “ I love to create, I love the idea that I invented these people, these places, these situations. Imagination is a powerful thing. I’m inspired by the force of it, the fact that so much of it is out of your control,” he says. Despite the uncontrolled aspects of imagination, he has a set writing process. Typically he plays with some character sketches and “ vague plot summaries” before starting to research his topic, and begins to write only after three or four months. When he starts to write he writes consistently: “ Once I start, I write every day until the first draft is done. I spend a lot of time alone, in silence.” His least favorite part of the process is rewriting, “ especially the latter stages when editors are being really persnickety.” However, he still loves every stage of writing.

Currently, Boyle has just finished a new novel, Port City Deathtrap. “ It’ s about a rookie cop, the difficulties he experiences, the challenges he faces when he’ s set against some pretty nasty people… It’ s been sold so now I’ m mulling over the next novel, thinking a lot about arson,” Boyle explains. Besides writing novels, Boyle is also the editor of Colby magazine. “ Colby people are, by and large, interesting and engaging and doing good things. I believe in Colby and its mission and this is a way to be a part of it,” he says. It was at Colby that Boyle first learned that writing was a “ serious business.” “ If you were to undertake it, you had a responsibility to do it in the best way you knew how,” Boyle says, an idea he learned from professors Ira Sadoff and Peter Harris.

- Katerina Faust, ’ 14, William D. Adams Presidential Scholar
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