Author Interview: Bestselling writer Daniel Silva’s newest thriller influenced by unprecedented year

Over the past 18 months, we’ve seen things we never would have thought possible. We’ve watched a pandemic sweep across the globe. We’ve watched lives put on hold, families separated, policies change and change back again. We’ve watched an extremely contentious election. We’ve watched a crowd of protestors, many heavily armed, rush into the U.S. Capitol.

For Daniel Silva, an award-winning #1 New York Times bestselling author, this last event had a profound impact on his latest novel, “The Cellist.” Silva will have a virtual event hosted by Midtown Reader on Monday, July 12.

“As I was writing the climax of the story, the Capitol insurrection took place and I knew I had to write about it,” he said. “I just started writing a new ending to the novel, which completely shifted everything. We all lived through this change and my book had to reflect that.”

Silva brought up an interesting point many have probably never considered: how does an intelligence operation play out when entire countries are on lockdown? For that matter, how much of what we considered to be normal just 18 months ago is now almost completely reimagined?

What never changed for Silva was his dedication to writing. He credits his experience as a journalist early in his career for instilling in him diligence, the routine of sitting down to write, and the importance of writing quickly.

“Do I like everything the first time I write it? No! But I write every day, most of the day, and have for almost 40 years,” he said. “Other writers who were journalists — Carl Hiassen, Michael Connelly — none of those guys sit and stare at a blank screen either.”

In addition to including a plot that unfolds throughout COVID-19, “The Cellist” also touches on two deep areas of interest for Silva: the rise of New Russia and classical music.

“I’m a classical music freak!” he chuckled. “Right now, my favorite piece of cello music is Rachmaninov’s Sonata in G Minor for Cello & Piano, Op.19. And I love Schubert’s cello sonata in A Minor…that arpeggio!”

For young authors considering a career in writing, Silva offered the following advice: find your voice and stick with it.

“I’ve never written in first person; my voice is very old-fashioned,” he said. “I had a very early set of influences and the result is this old-fashioned voice. And I’ve stayed with it.”

It must be working. Silva’s thrillers regularly make the New York Times bestseller lists, and “The Cellist” is his 24th one.

(Enjoy Rachmaninov’s Sonata in G Minor for Cello & Piano, Op.19:

This article was first published in the Tallahassee Democrat.