This is the first part of a two part interview
This book is fricking hilarious.
I'll let the interview tell the story and will quote tonite a few favorite paragraphs
Scott: Where did the idea for this story come from?
I was an editor at Hustler Magazine years ago, as well as Chic and Barely Legal. While there I noticed that a disproportionate amount of our fan mail came from prisoners. Lots of people read porn, but I guess only a few have the time to respond to it formally in writing. It was then that I first imagined what might happen if a really famous criminal contacted me.
I think this is the first time I have interviewed an author who lists, in his bio, work in
pornography. Can you elaborate on what that work was and if it helped you in some way with
At one point or another, I wrote and edited pretty much every aspect of those magazines. In that sense it was good training. Also, for any writer, I think it's useful to have to write something, anything, not of your own choosing, under deadline, for pay. And porn in particular was a great imagination-workshop: I was encouraged to just think of the most extreme things I could, and not just sexually. It was like a grown-up Mad Magazine, where we were all just egging each other on. Excellent id training.
I made my own satirical attempt here at writing porn - let me now what you think.
I think your prototype is pretty dead-on...though of course all of our letters were real.
Please tell me about the name choice of Harry Bloch which reads like a combination of Lawrence Block and Harry Bosch (a Michael Connelly protagonist). Was that an intentional thing to pick something sort of familiar?
Actually I have not read Michael Connelly yet, so that is a coincidence. The not very exciting truth is I wanted a name that wouldn't remind me of anyone I know and I don't have any close friends or relatives named Harry. Also I wanted his real name to be simple compared to his many pen names. I am a Lawrence Block fan though, for sure.
How has the book been received?
So far so good! It just got a great write-up in the LA Times. Also, the mystery-community and folks on-line seem to really like it, which makes me happy.
What's next? More with this Harry character?
I'm working on a couple of things. A dark comic love story set in downtown New York in the 80s, involving jazz musicians, punk rockers, criminals and junkies. Also a new thriller set in LA, about an unemployed used bookstore clerk whose wife demands he get a job. He finds work assisting a detective, then suspects the guy is just a nut and that the whole "case" is imaginary. Adventure ensues...
As for Harry returning...I hadn't imagined it, but anything is possible. We'll see if there is overwhelming popular demand.
Did you go into this thinking you'd satirize the genre or did that just happen? Or did you consider this a satire at all?
I don't consider it a satire really since I tried very hard to write a real mystery, with clues, suspense, a revelation at the end and so forth. Also I tried to give Harry and the other characters the same care I would in any novel. I wanted it to be funny of course and in that way I satirize lots of kinds of writing: mystery, sci-fi, vampires, porn. There's also jokes about poetry, a literary party and several more made-up "literary" books within the novel. But of course only someone who reads and loves all of these books would make these jokes, so it's as much tribute as satire.
What kind of research did you do for this book? Did you visit any prisons?
Nope. No trips to prison...not lately anyway. I did make some trips to Queens to eat dumplings.
My pleasure. Thank you.!