Posts Tagged ‘A Long Time Dead’

Catching up with Me

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

Crusin’ at Muscatine’s Brew July 4

My pal Ed Gorman – one of the best writers around, and at least as good a friend – did an interview with me that I’d like to share with you. Here goes.

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1. Tell us about your current novel.

There are a couple of things that will become available soon. One is the complete version of the ROAD TO PERDITION novel. It was written in 2002 to accompany the release of the film, but DreamWorks licensing made me do a drastic cutting/rewrite, eliminating 30,000 words and any dialogue or action that wasn’t included in the book. I am very grateful to Brash Books for negotiating with DreamWorks for the real, complete novel to finally be published.

About the same time, Hard Case Crime will be bringing out QUARRY IN THE BLACK, obviously a new Quarry novel with what I think or hope is an interesting setting — George McGovern’s presidential campaign and a black leader in St. Louis who is supporting that ticket with public appearances. If you ever wanted to see how Quarry would behave at a Ku Klux Klan meeting, now is your chance.

And Otto Penzler is bringing out A LONG TIME DEAD, collecting eight Mike Hammer short stories that I developed from Spillane fragments. That’s exciting in part because there’s never been a Hammer short story collection before.

2. Can you give a sense of what you’re working on now?

I just finished a Mike Hammer novel, THE WILL TO KILL, working from a few chapters in Mickey Spillane’s files. It’s very unusual for a Hammer, because the mystery is right out of Agatha Christie, with greedy children fighting over the proceeds of a murdered patriarch’s estate.

Not too long before that, I did my pass on the new Barbara Allan mystery, ANTIQUES FRAME, co-written with my wife Barb. That was my first project after open-heart surgery and a minor stroke, and it was very gratifying to be able to get back up on the horse and ride so quickly. just weeks after the surgery.

Next up is EXECUTIVE ORDER, the third Reeder and Rogers political thriller, in collaboration with Matt Clemens.

3. What is the greatest pleasure of a writing career?

The greatest pleasure of a writing career is having one. The notion that I could ever hold down a normal job is highly suspect.

4. What is the greatest DISpleasure?

I don’t know if there’s a dis-pleasure for me. I really love this life. The things that frustrate me are minor in the bigger picture. For example, I despise having copy editors rewrite me, and have spent way too much time in my life putting various Humpty Dumptys back together. It’s always disappointing when a novel is critically ignored or particularly when the public ignores it. When a publisher drops a series, it can be crushing—I had to wait ten years before I felt I could re-launch Nathan Heller, and a lot of time was lost there.

5. If you have one piece of advice for the publishing world, what is it?

For the publishing world itself? Don’t judge an author by how well his or her last book sold. Judge each book on its own merits, and that includes proposed novels from authors whose professionalism isn’t in question.

6. Are there two or three forgotten mystery writers you’d like to see in print again?

So many of my favorites are back in print again in the POD and e-book fashion. But it would be nice to see Horace McCoy, Mike Roscoe and Roy Huggins out there in a more major way. I was pleased to see Ennis Willie finally get some attention, but unfortunately it’s faded somewhat.

7. Tell us about selling your first novel. Most writers never forget that moment.

Mine is easy to remember. I got the letter (my agent at the time never called me) on Dec. 24, 1971—BAIT MONEY, the first Nolan novel, had sold on Christmas Eve! When I told Donald E. Westlake about it—he’d been a mentor to me—he said, “Sometimes God behaves like O. Henry, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

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Here are a few things on the Net you may enjoy.

First, this is a rare (and detailed) review of MICKEY SPILLANE ON SCREEN by Jim Traylor and me. The author gives me all the credit, which is wrong, but otherwise it’s an interesting read on what is apparently a very right-wing web site.

Take a gander at this early review of the Mike Hammer collection, A LONG TIME DEAD.

Finally, one of America’s greatest mystery book stores, Mysterious Bookshop, has signed copies (available by mail) of BETTER DEAD.

M.A.C.

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Today’s the Day! (Later is Good, Too.)

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016
The Big Showdown
Hardcover:
E-Book:

The Legend of Caleb York
Paperback:
E-Book: Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes

Antiques Fate
Hardcover:
E-Book: Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes

The day this appears (April 26) is the pub date of the second Caleb York novel, THE BIG SHOWDOWN, in hardcover, and also of THE LEGEND OF CALEB YORK in mass-market paperback (co-bylined with the great Mickey Spillane). On this same big day, the new Trash ‘n’ Treasures mystery, ANTIQUES FATE, appears in hardcover. A week from now (May 3), the new Nate Heller will be out: BETTER DEAD (more about that next week).

These are all books I’m pleased with. I think THE BIG SHOWDOWN has one of the best, moody scenes of action/violence – a shoot-out in a rainstorm – that I’ve ever come up with. ANTIQUES FATE may be my favorite of the Brandy and Vivian Borne novels, with its faux-British setting reminiscent of MIDSOMER MURDERS and Miss Marple’s St. Mary Mead. It’s also very funny. No brag, just fact, as we western novelists are wont to say. Or is that want to say?

You may think that novels are flying out of my computer as if it were haunted. Actually, last year was one of my least prolific ones, due to the health problems that turned up in May. The only book I wrote during that period was MURDER NEVER KNOCKS (a Hammer, as usual working from Spillane material), and I also managed to do the short story “A Dangerous Cat,” which appears in the current Strand Magazine. The novel was written in the weeks after the treatment in which my heart was jump-started like an old Buick, to get rid of the irregular heartbeat that had turned up with my condition – for maybe a month I felt a lot better.

I wrote “A Dangerous Cat” later, feeling fairly shitty actually, but the story needed writing. It represented the last Hammer fragment that I’d set aside for short story purposes, and writing it would give me a Hammer collection (eight stories) – Otto Penzler is publishing it later this year as A LONG TIME DEAD.

The books that are coming out today (if you’re reading this on the day it appears) predate the health problems, and give something of a false impression about my apparently prolific 2015. But I am happy to report that I am back at work here in 2016, and in fact Barb and I have already delivered the next Trash ‘n’ Treasures mystery, ANTIQUES FRAME. She had been working on her draft throughout the medical adventures during which she was my incredible support system – the last bits of it were written by her in my hospital room. The rapid comeback my right hand made allowed me to get to work after two or three weeks at home.

Currently I am working on the third Reeder and Rogers political thriller. My cohort Matt Clemens is wrapping up his draft while I start mine. So far it looks like SUPREME JUSTICE and FATE OF THE UNION will have solid company. By the way, SUPREME JUSTICE recently hit the 100,000 books-sold mark. This does not count 175,000 books generated in the Kindle First program. Most of those copies were e-books, a fact I have trouble caring about.

Much of this year will be dedicated to getting back on deadline, as much as possible. I have no way to know how quickly the recovery will go, although so far – at nine weeks – I’m told by doctors and physical therapists that I’m doing very well. The biggest obstacle to getting my work done are the essential twice-weekly occupational and physical therapy sessions, which last 80 minutes. Or I should say the biggest obstacle is my reduced stamina and increased fatigue – after the physical therapy, I invariably have needed a nap of an hour or two. Takes a bite out of the writing day.

But things are improving. I had my first band practice (Crusin’) last Tuesday – an hour was about all I could manage, but I managed. We’ll practice again soon and play a two-hour gig in June. This weekend son Nate and his bride Abby visited with our incredible grandson, the criminally cute Sam Collins, in tow. Nate and Abby – currently living in St. Louis – are exploring coming back here to Iowa.

Realtor Suzi Webb (great name) – a good friend from my high school days – arranged a tour for us of half a dozen houses. I went along and, despite a lot of stairs, held up fine. Okay, I took and hour and a half nap after – but just a few weeks ago that adventure would have been out of the question.

For those of you who haven’t stopped reading yet, let me say that I never expected to discuss these health issues here. But my son has always encouraged me to look at behind-the-scenes stuff, and me reporting on how the writing is going seems pretty basic.

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a ten minute interview I did at the last Bouchercon (in Raleigh), specifically focusing on B’Con memories and my general attitude about the annual event.

Here’s a fun review of TWO FOR THE MONEY, the Hard Case Crime omnibus of BAIT MONEY and BLOOD MONEY.

And here’s a list from a lawyer selecting 10 “Great Novels About the Supreme Court.” One of them is SUPREME JUSTICE!

M.A.C.

Back at Work

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

This will be a short update. I have been fighting a nagging back problem that every attempted remedy from chiropractic to massage has only made worse (I am now trying the leave-it-the-hell-alone approach, which seems to be working). Back and neck trouble is a common one for writers, though mine dates back to high school football injuries and hauling band equipment for fifty years.

Right now I am in the middle of the new Hammer, KILL ME, DARLING, and to stay on track, I am devoting as much of my creative energy as possible to just writing about half of what I usually produce per day.

Quick movie notes.

GODZILLA is very disappointing after a strong start, lots of fake conflicts, uninteresting characters and illogical plotting.

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST defies all odds and has no right to be the delight that it is, with so much back story and complicated plotting that a good screenplay should be impossible. The actors are spot on, plus it’s a movie starring Picard with a Captain Kirk reference – what more could you ask?

My recent Huff post article on aging and dying fictional detectives has received a lot of internet play, including at Bill Crider’s great site.

Here’s the other Ed (not Gorman) on KING OF THE WEEDS.

And here’s another, from the UK’s Crime Fiction Lover.

Here’s a positive if odd write-up on the film of ROAD TO PERDITION, claiming that Mendes is doing Frank Miller more than my graphic novel. Excuse me while I pretend to sneeze and say “Bullshit.”

Finally, here’s a rare short story review (for the Hammer tale, “A Long Time Dead”). You have to scroll down for it.

M.A.C.

Hammer and Noms

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Two Mike Hammer projects have earned nominations in the annual Scribe Awards from the International Association of Media and Tie-in Writers. “The New Adventures of Mike Hammer: Encore for Murder” is nominated in the new audio category, and KISS HER GOODBYE is nominated in the Best Original Novel category.

The Daggers are British awards for crime and mystery fiction. I don’t know much about them, other than that they are prestigious; but the Hammer short story “A Long Time Dead” has been “shortlisted.” Whether this is a nomination or an even shorter list of nominees will follow, I can’t tell you. But here’s the full “short” list.

My cyber press tour, which I thought had wound down, continues, at least for a while. Comic List broke an interview with me into two sections, one on LADY, GO DIE and other things, another centering on the long-threatened ROAD TO PERDITION sequel. Several people comment that there should not be a sequel – apparently unaware that I’ve already written three (and the “in-between-quel, RTP 2: ON THE ROAD).

Hermes Press has announced my collection of the Mike Hammer comic strip. We have apparently located the missing Sunday lacking in the long-out-of-print previous two-volume edition, plus I’ve done two new essays about the strip and Mickey. It’ll be a very handsome book.

Mickey Spillane's From the Files of... Mike Hammer

This fairly positive but condescending review of LADY, GO DIE! is (somewhat unfortunately) probably the widest circulated of any of that novel’s reviews. The reviewer refers to the novel as a “sequel” to I, THE JURY (yes, using quotes, apparently to question its authenticity – Mickey’s partial manuscript was very clearly a sequel to I, THE JURY, and I don’t appreciate the doubt this reviewer appears to cast).

Here is Part One of an interview I did with Comic Geek (Part Two will appear later this week).

Yup, here’s another interview with me. Tired of hearing me yammer? Me, too.

For a change of pace, here’s a nice review of THE MILLION-DOLLAR WOUND, indicative of the new lease on life the Amazon reprints and e-books have given Nate Heller.

I love this review of LADY, GO DIE! (“Why don’t you marry it?” – Pee Wee Herman).

This LADY, GO DIE! review is nice, too.

So is this one.

And an overview here.

While the cyber press tour has certainly slowed down, I still have an interview or two coming up. I wonder how this is impacting sales? I don’t see how Titan could have done much better in getting the word out on the web.

If you haven’t picked up LADY, GO DIE! yet, let me encourage you to do so, and not just because I’m the co-writer. As I may have mentioned, the book is physically beautiful, with the classic Spillane photo tipped in on the front cover and his signature boldly reproduced on the back (gotta slip off the dustjacket to see this).

In the meantime, work on the fifth of the Hammer collaborations begins this week – COMPLEX 90.

M.A.C.