Saturday, February 13, 2010
JEN FORBUS INTERVIEW, PART 2/HAMMETT'S
Jen Forbus offers the second half of her two-part interview with me at her site, Jen's Book Thoughts.
Topics include Hemingway's death, FBI conspiracy, and literary vs. genre debates, the new novel, PRINT THE LEGEND (appearing in stores Feb. 16) and the state of contemporary crime fiction, among many other topics.
Q. The age-old debate comes through in Hector’s story through his friendship with Hemingway. Hector the “genre” writer and Hemingway the “literary” writer. And it is especially pronounced in PRINT THE LEGEND with all the scholars present. But there are also some interesting viewpoints on that debate in this book... Are there crime fiction writers today that you think we’ll look back on and find that they’ve influenced writing as a whole? How do you feel about the legitimacy of the debate??
A. This past week, in fact, brought the usual dust up about that fissure on the web…a debate about putting a moratorium on the term “transcending the genre” and so forth. Having this year sampled something like 300 crime and mystery novels, speaking as a former genre critic, interviewer and current genre writer, I’d submit we desperately need to push boundaries and “transcend genre” more than most authors in genre currently seem impelled to do or many publishers are willing to buy. Many acquiring editors won’t buy things that fall between or meld genres. A lot of current crime and mystery fiction, for me, is frankly stultifying as written. There are astute people in publishing houses in New York who’ll say the same thing to you, quietly. Staying in the lines is choking genre fiction.
Read the whole interview here.
Part 1 of the interview can be seen here. Jen's reviews of PRINT THE LEGEND and TOROS & TORSOS are here and here.
(NOTE: Regarding that vast number of books I read last year alluded to in the above interview excerpt, I can now reveal I served on the Hammett Awards Reading Committee. Our selections for award consideration can be seen here. The award winner will be selected later this year from among the five nominees that me and my fellow committee members put forward.)