Write and Wrong
“Being an author isn’t the sort of profession for which you receive a degree and easily find work,” says crime novelist Chuck Hogan ’89. “You have to go it on your own and plug away.”
That’s exactly what Hogan did, working in a video store in Chestnut Hill after graduation while writing his first book. Five long years later, The Standoff was published—and garnered widespread acclaim.
Hogan has been in demand ever since. His fifth novel, Devils in Exile, hit bookstores on February 9. Another dark epic, Prince of Thieves, which won the 2004 Hammett Prize, was recently filmed for a fall release.
The movie, titled The Town, is directed by and stars Ben Affleck, whom Hogan met on the Boston-based set. “The cast worked hard and they really liked the book,” he says. “It was cool to watch them shoot some of the scenes and to hear my characters’ names thrown around by real actors.”
But as Hogan points out, such success does not come easily. “You have got to keep at it,” he says. “Especially when you’re starting out, it seems nearly impossible, but you need to keep writing and not give up.”
Below, Hogan tackles another literary challenge:
What is the most satisfying moment in your professional life?
Here’s hoping it is yet to come.
In your personal life?
I know I’m supposed to say, “The births of my four beautiful children,” but their actual births, while miraculous, were also incredibly stressful. Let’s just say that I have four funny kids who make me laugh every day.
What is your best BC memory?
Having a professor not only give me an “A” but also recommend me to his literary agent.
What is your next goal?
It’s HUGE…and totally secret.
What is one thing everyone should do while at BC?
Soak up the city.
How have you changed since graduation?
What makes you think I have?
Why did you decide to attend BC?
I had just started dating a girl who was still in high school, so commuting to BC seemed like a good idea at the time. Not the most well thought-out plan, but we’ve been married 15 years now, so score one for romance.
What is the secret to success?
Sacrifice, humility, and obsession.
Where is your favorite spot on the Heights?
As a commuter for three years, I’d have to say the parking garage.
What would you do if you were BC president for a day?
Immediately invade BU.
What was your first job?
I was hired as a clerk at Videosmith in Chestnut Hill the summer between freshman and sophomore years, and I stayed with the company on and off until I sold my first novel. It’s the only “real job” I’ve ever had.
Where did you live freshman year?
How do you relax?
Playing PlayStation 3 with my kids and watching old movies.
What was your favorite BC class?
A bit of history here. There was no film studies program when I was enrolled, but my advisor, Professor John Michalczyk, helped me create a self-directed minor. So I was the very first BC graduate with any sort of film degree. And any film class is a great class.
What do you look forward to each day?
Getting things done.
What was your favorite BC activity?
What is something your friends don’t know about you?
I missed graduation, thanks to a bout of chicken pox, and I never sat for a yearbook photo. So, other than my diploma and this pithy questionnaire, there is very little proof that I ever attended BC at all.
How much can you sing of the BC fight song?
Enough to get me beat up.
Who would play you in the film version of your life?
I would. The problem would be in casting the role of my wife, as I am a Method actor all the way.
What was the best meal at the BC dining hall?
It’s not the food, it’s the company. So here’s a big shout out to my Hillsides roommates John Conroy and David Guarino. And, yes, even “The Cat”—the legendary John W. Sullivan IV.