James Hayman is a native New Yorker having been born in Brooklyn and raised in Manhattan. Like many city kids, he was sent off to a New England boarding school at fourteen. Eight years later he graduated from Brown University and returned to New York where he spent the next twenty-five years working as a copywriter and creative director at some of Madison Avenue’s biggest ad agencies, creating print and TV advertising for clients like the US Army, Lincoln Mercury, Merrill Lynch and Procter & Gamble. After deciding that the New York agency business was “no country for old men,” Jim left Madison Avenue and moved to Portland, Maine where he worked for several years as a freelance business writer, publishing dozens of articles and two non-fiction business books. In 2007 he decided to follow in the footsteps of other former “Madmen” (James Patterson, Stuart Woods, Chris Grabenstein and Ted Bell to name just a few) and begin a new career writing suspense/thrillers. His debut novel, THE CUTTING was the first in a planned series featuring Portland homicide detectives Michael McCabe and Maggie Savage. It was quickly published and garnered rave reviews both in the print media and online. THE CUTTING was followed by THE CHILL OF NIGHT. Both books have been published around the world and translated into six languages. The third McCabe/Savage thriller, DARKNESS FIRST, is due from Harper Collins’ new Witness imprint in October. Jim lives in Portland with his wife, the artist Jeanne O’Toole Hayman.
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Q&A with James Hayman

Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
Absolutely, both in terms of character and plot. I think every writer does.

For example, the story in Darkness First centers around the epidemic and very real abuse of and addiction to prescription painkillers in rural Maine. Much of what I wrote in the book grew out of conversations I had with the real life sheriff of Washington County where the book is set and an officer assigned to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. Darkness First also reflects the growing poverty of coastal towns in Washington County like Eastport and Machias where a once thriving fishing industry has largely crashed with the disappearance of the fish. Eastport was once home to more than a dozen sardine canneries.  None of them survive today, not even as the fictitious ruin in which I set a climactic scene in the novel.

My earlier book, The Chill of Night, is about child abuse.  Much of it is based on the scandals in the Catholic Church. A book titled Our Fathers was an invaluable resource as was a passing acquaintance I had with Father Bruce Ritter, a Franciscan priest and the celebrated founder of Covenant House in New York.  Ritter was later accused and found guilty of abuse, all the while posing as a champion and protector of runaway teens.

As for my characters, both my detectives, Mike McCabe and Maggie Savage, are drawn from real life.  As I’ve said elsewhere, McCabe is my alter-ego. We were both born and raised in New York City and later moved to Portland, Maine.  We both like good scotch whiskey, old movie trivia and the New York Giants.

Maggie, who I have a huge crush on, is based on a number of women I’ve known and cared for in my own life including my wife Jeanne.  I’ve also raised a beautiful intelligent daughter not unlike McCabe’s daughter Casey. All my books reflects that experience.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
Both.  My story in Darkness First grew from a comment made by my source in the Maine DEA, that the nightmare scenario for the agency would be the smuggling of a huge quantity of Oxycontin tablets, by water, from Canada into the US. The book opens with exactly that scene.

You can read the prologue and first chapters for free on Amazon:  or Barnes & .

Your routine when writing?  Any idiosyncrasies?
I mostly don’t write at home even though I have a beautiful house overlooking the ocean with a room I call my office.  When I’m there, I find it is too easy to be distracted by things that have to be taken care of. Especially, when I reach a hard place in the writing.

Consequently,  I try to treat writing as a job I have to report to. I get up and go to work each morning in the great reading room in the Glickman Library at the University of Southern Maine in Portland.

Is writing your full time job?  If not, may I ask what you do by day?
Writing is, for the most-part, my full-time job. When I say the most part, I mean that I also do some other things. I manage a couple of rental properties we own which, happily,  takes relatively little time.  I also occasionally accept freelance advertising or business writing assignments which can be fun and also help with any cash-flow issues. I’ve also served on the boards of a couple of non-profits, the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies and the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance which supports writers and writing in the State of Maine.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
There are many.

My favorites among mystery and thriller writers include James Lee Burke, Dennis Lehane, Tana French, Michael Connelly, Kate Atkinson, Alan Furst, Tony Hillerman, an Irish writer named Alan Glynn and, based on one book, “Gone Girl,” Gillian Flynn. I’m sure I’m forgetting others because I do read a lot.

Outside of the mystery/thriller genre, I like the books of Ian McEwan, J. M. Coetzee, Larry Brown, Erik Larsson, David McCullough, and greats like Saul Bellow, John Cheever and Philip Roth.  And, of course, there is Hemingway and Fitzgerald.

What are you reading now?
I’m currently in the middle of a very strong novel by a writer named Roxana Robinson who is quickly becoming one of my favorites. The book is called “Sparta,” and it’s about a young marine officer returning home from two tours in Iraq with a severe case of PTSD.  Robinson writes the book from the marine’s point of view and does a brilliant job of capturing the confusion and disorientation of suddenly finding oneself beyond the dangers of the war and back in the ease of middle class suburban life.

Are you working on your next novel?  Can you tell us a little about it?
I am. The book (as yet unnamed) is about McCabe and Savage investigating a series of murders in Portland that exactly mirror murders that took place on an island in Casco Bay more than one hundred years ago.  Mccabe’s photographic memory proves to be a help in unraveling the mystery. Beyond that I can’t say much without spoiling the tale.

Your novel will be a movie.  Who would you cast?
That’s a tough one. I sort of see McCabe as someone like Gerard Butler, or  maybe Clive Owen or possibly Patrick Dempsey.

I see Maggie as Anne Hathaway. Or maybe Katherine Heigl. Or Claire Danes.

Would you rather read or watch TV/movie?
Read. While there are TV shows that I think are terrific and that I’ve enjoyed (The Killing, Breaking Bad and The Wire among others), I find novels give me much more access to and involvement with the characters.

Favorite food?
 I’m definitely an omnivore.  As long as it’s well prepared, I love all kinds of food from great New York hot dogs to the fanciest French cuisine. You name it, I’ll eat it.

Favorite beverage?
I’m a Diet Coke addict. And a coffee addict.  I drink four or five cups of strong black brew a day. Beyond that, like my hero McCabe, I’ve always enjoyed good single-malt Scotch Whiskey.  Unlike McCabe, I now drink more red wine than whiskey, mostly Cabernets and Malbecs. I also like a lot of the terrific microbrews available in Maine, especially Peak Organic IPA and Geary’s Hampshire Special Ale.

Darkness First by James Hayman is the third book in the McCabe and Savage series.
The sadistically mutilated body of a young woman is found in the secluded seaside town of Machiasport, Maine and detective Maggie Savage is drawn home to solve the murder and restore peace. Maggie is the daughter of a sheriff, and justice is in her blood. What makes her so desperate for answers, though, is the fact that her dearest childhood was found just a few steps away from the corpse, comatose, with 150 tablets of Canadian Oxycontin in her pocket.
Maggie delves through the darkest parts of Machiasport, trying to find whichever doomed corner the murdered girl wandered into. After casing old haunts and interviewing the locals, whispers of a menacing character begin to surface: a faceless and nameless man who nobody knows but everybody fears.
In the tradition of John Sandford and William Kent Kreguer, Darkness First is a gruesome thriller about a small town rocked by a savage crime.

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Witness
Publication Date: 10/1/2013
Number of Pages: 434
ISBN: 9780062301697




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