Interview with Crime Writer Robert McCaw: S. 7, Ep. 17 — Debbi Mack

I went out to Hawaii in the ’80s, actually to an American Bar Council meeting in Honolulu and afterward went over to the big island, the island of Hawaii and I fell in love with the place. I mean, there was something just magical about it.

In practice, I encountered a large number of cases that demonstrated to me the strength of the human compulsion to cover up, and sometimes we cover up our tiny little flaws that we don’t want other people to know about, and sometimes we cover up really big things.

He experiences guilt. He feels this need to provide recompense. It motivates him to pursue killers and it gives him a criminal’s inside look at how criminals think, which adds to his abilities, to his perceptions as a detective.

It’s actually two completely different stories, and I won’t give too much away by saying that they link up at the end in a way that I think most people will find unexpected.

All of the Hawaiian Islands came from a hotspot in the Pacific, and then as the tectonic plates moved, the islands moved off to the northwest and new islands formed, and there is a new Hawaiian island that hasn’t yet reached the surface of the sea.

I try to write most days and sometimes I get a lot done and sometimes I don’t get so much done. When I hit a little stumbling block, I actually typically say, well, this could go in this way or that way, or maybe four or five different ways.

That’s the beauty of being a novelist though. I mean, one of the things that was a little hard for me coming from a legal background is I always wanted things to be accurate. But when you’re a novelist, it doesn’t really matter. It’s a question of ultimate believability …

The believability of a story is in the detail. It’s in the tiny little details sometimes that you think don’t matter to the story, but they give it depth and they give it credibility, and it’s very hard to do that if you don’t know what you’re writing about.



New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, including the Sam McRae Mystery series. Screenwriter, podcaster, and blogger. My website:

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