Posts Tagged ‘Quarry’s Vote’

Ask Not Why I Write

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013
Ask Not Audiobook

The audio of ASK NOT, read by Dan John Miller (the great actor who read all of the preceding Heller novels and short story collections for Brilliance), is available now at Amazon. Recorded Books offers no CD retail edition, but the rather expensive library edition on CD ($102.75) is available, though not through Amazon.

For those of you used to downloading audios, Amazon appears to have it right now. The Recorded Books site lists the download as available December 1, and the CD version for libraries not until Feb. 22. I have contacted the publisher to see if those dates are correct.

I am as anxious as anyone to hear Dan’s reading, because he really is the definitive voice of Nate Heller. I will be leaving my buggy and butter churn behind very soon and getting an MP3 player, so I can download ASK NOT as well as the Audible downloads (first time on audio!) of QUARRY, QUARRY’S LIST, QUARRY’S DEAL, QUARRY’S CUT, QUARRY’S VOTE and (in January) THE WRONG QUARRY.

Publisher’s Weekly asked me to write a piece for their “Why I Write” series, and it’s in this week’s issue. I can’t provide a link because the PW site is for subscribers only. So I’ll share the piece with you here:

by Max Allan Collins

Why do you write?

Many writers have a glib comeback for this question. Samuel Johnson famously said, “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” Asked what inspired him, Mickey Spillane would reply, “The urgent need for money.” And I have often described my career as an ongoing effort to avoid a real job.

Certainly earning a living is a valid reason to write; but really, getting paid is what allows me to write – and has made me a full-time writer since 1977. I take pride in not having a day job, and when asked why I write so much, I usually say, “To keep the lights on.” Anyway, what else am I supposed to do with my time?

The ranks of successful authors include lawyers, doctors and in particular teachers – noble professions, but part-time scribes all. Early on I taught at a college myself, though never more than half-time, having sold my first two novels at the University of Iowa’s Writers Workshop. Teaching drains the creative juices that writing requires, and I got out of academia as soon as possible.

Stories have been my main interest longer than I can remember. My mother read me Tarzan books at bedtime and encouraged me to read Dick Tracy comic books (her favorite strip). Chester Gould’s famous dick led me into Sherlock Holmes, Ellery Queen and the Saint, and – by junior high – Sam Spade, Phillip Marlowe and Mike Hammer, an interest fostered by the wave of TV private eyes of the late ‘50s. My sixth-grade teacher told me I would never be successful because I insisted on writing “blood and thunder” (the title of my 1995 Nathan Heller novel, by the way).

Television and movies encouraged my interest in history, with “The Untouchables” a prime contributor. As a kid, I became fascinated in the real people (Wyatt Earp, Eliot Ness) who fed our popular culture. I was also taken with the people who created that popular culture. I didn’t want to be Dick Tracy when I grew up – I wanted to be Chester Gould. Didn’t take me long to figure out the only thing more fun than being told stories was telling them yourself.

I have an abiding interest in the history of crime fiction – for example, completing Mickey Spillane’s in-progress Hammer manuscripts – but also the way history has informed crime fiction. This has led to my best-known works, the graphic novel Road to Perdition and the Nathan Heller “memoirs” (Ask Not, the “JFK” thriller recently published by Forge).

My career began in Iowa City forty years ago with the sale of my first crime novels, and a love for language, thanks to Raymond Chandler and other noir poets. Now I find myself working harder than ever, risking my reputation by being too prolific, because I am all too aware that I’m in the third act of my career, and there are many more stories I want to tell.

For money, yes. But mostly for the sheer joy of it.

* * *

The same issue of PW has a nice overview of recent novels with JFK assassination themes, with ASK NOT prominently mentioned (and the cover shown). This, too, is for subscribers only. But the magazine is on the stands, should you want to take a look.

Finally, here’s a very interesting ASK NOT review.


South Carolina Snaps / Quarry for $1.99

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

NEWS FLASH: QUARRY and QUARRY’S VOTE will be $1.99 on Kindle for 48 hours! First sale price on Quarry e-books.

QUARRY Kindle $1.99
Quarry's Vote
QUARRY’S VOTE Kindle $1.99

This week my update will be a short one, because (a) I just finished writing eight blog entries in support of LADY, GO DIE! (links will be posted), and (b) I am providing a few pictures from our recent South Carolina trip for Mickey’s induction into the SC author’s hall of fame.

But I do need to mention that ANTIQUES DISPOSAL, the new hardcover, is out even as I type this, as is the mass-market paperback edition of ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF.

Also, the Perfect Crime trade paperbacks (with new after words) of the Nolan series are available now or soon will be. They are FLY PAPER, HUSH MONEY, HARD CASH, SCRATCH FEVER, SPREE and MOURN THE LIVING. Actually, the MOURN after word is recycled from the Five Star edition. Otherwise, new stuff.

There’s a nice review here of the new Heller novella collection, TRIPLE PLAY.

And a really nice review of ANTIQUES DISPOSAL from the perceptive Craig Clarke can be found here.

Here’s a fun review of BYE BYE, BABY.

And a very nice recommendation for LADY, GO DIE! right here.

Left to right: Atlantic Ocean, MAC, Atlantic Ocean.

Left to right: MAC, Bogie pretending to be Hammer, Jim Traylor.

MAC and Jane Spillane

MAC sportsman

Potential Crusin’ venue?


Hammer Sounds

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Quarry's VoteThis is going to be a brief update this week, because Nate has a busy week in Japan.

This week’s cover from Perfect Crime’s reprint series of the first five Quarry novels is QUARRY’S VOTE. The original title of this one is PRIMARY TARGET, a title I like and actually prefer; but we needed to make the patterning of the titles consistent, and especially with the new Hard Case series entries, Quarry seems to have found his way into the titles.

I recently heard the final mix of THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER Vol. 3: ENCORE FOR MURDER, and could not be more pleased. Stacy Keach, Mike Cornelison and Tim Kazurinsky (among other talented thesps) (I don’t think I ever typed “thesps” before) did great work. The audio stuff – both Carl Amari’s radio-style dramas and the readings of the new Spillane/Collins novels by Stacy Keach – are attracting some attention and awards. Here’s a nice write-up on Mike Hammer as one of the classic tough guys available on audio. And here’s a link to a brief, fun interview with Stacy on the same subject.

We will very soon have the new CRUSIN’ CD available, probably right after Nate gets back from Japan. Because it’s a promotional item, I can’t sell it, but I am reserving around 50 of the 200 run to give away as free bonus items with the sale of another, related item. I’ll be more clear about that later….