Best-selling Author Inspires at Flint Memorial Library

Chuck Hogan, author of “Prince of Thieves,” which was turned into the movie “The Town” spoke at the North Reading library Tuesday night.

Being an author is hard work and is often filled with at least initial disappointment.

Author Chuck Hogan’s hard work paid off with not only a best-selling book “Prince of Thieves,” but a popular film “The Town” starring Ben Affleck.

Getting published

Born in Hyde Park and raised on the South Shore, Hogan was not brought up in an artistic family, but was drawn to storytelling.

“I remember going to movies, reading books. I felt I was getting more out of it and getting into it more than my friends were,” he told the audience at the Friends of the event.

He looked well past his surroundings for his first books, including an unpublished 800-page novel called “Small Town Murders.”

“That’s all you really need to know about that,” Hogan quipped about his unpublished book. “I had to make those mistakes and have those learning experiences.”

A second book was also not published. It wasn’t until his third try that he sold a book. His first sold work, which was about a Montana standoff, was called “The Standoff.”

But the young author, who was working as an assistant manager at a Boston video store, quickly found that selling a book wasn’t the end of his journey.

“What I realized soon after that was that what I thought was the finish line -- getting published -- was actually the starting line,” said Hogan.

When asked what kept him going despite those early disappointments, the author said, “I was really obsessed. I was crazily focused and driven to do it. I didn’t leave myself any alternatives. I’m lucky it worked out because there was no reason it should have worked out.”

Prince of Thieves

Hogan got the inspiration for the book that would change his life when he was reading an article in the Boston Globe. The Globe reported in 1995 that Charlestown had more bank and armed car robbers than any city in the country. That brought him to the question of “why”?

“That intrigued me. Luckily, Dennis Lehane was not reading the newspaper that day,” Hogan joked referring to the well-known Boston-based crime writer.

Though he had no connections to Charlestown, he did have family in South Boston and drew on the people from Southie. He also researched the topic of bank and armed car robbers.

“I was interested in armored cars and how to rob one,” he said. Researching that topic was difficult because there is no book telling readers how to rob an armored car, he joked.

Though “The Town” did not follow his book completely, Hogan doesn’t have a problem with the changes, including a different ending. “I feel like the movie ending worked.”

Other works

Hogan, who has done some screenplay writing for "The Town" and "The Standoff," is currently working on a script with crime novelist Don Winslow. He has also written a script based on Whitey Bulger’s Winter Hill Gang and is working on a screenplay version of "Devils in Exile."

While Hogan is well-known for his crime novels, he has also gained fans, and a worldwide audience, due to a vampire trilogy he co-authored with filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. The first book of the trilogy has been published in 30 different languages.

Future projects

Hogan said there are many different projects he is thinking about, but his career takes him in many different directions. He just tries to follow his interests.

“It took me a while to follow my interests and if I make it interesting to other people, then it will work,” said Hogan.


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