CM: Your novels are steeped in period detail, slang and attitude, yet don’t stray over that treacherous line into pastiche. How do you maintain that tricky balance?At The Rap Sheet: The Story Behind the Story: “Bury Me Deep,” by Megan Abbott.
MA: It’s very hard, and I don’t always, especially on the first draft. I guess because I’ve so immersed myself in the films and the books there are certain clichés of the genre that eventually, the more you read it, stand out. When people first see film noir, they see the venetian blinds, but that’s the least-interesting part of film noir. Everyone wants to talk about Out of the Past, and I love Out of the Past, but there are so many more interesting film noirs. At a certain point, you get that kind of geek quality about it. So I’m less interested in the kitschy parts now as a reader and a film-viewer and as a writer. I’m looking for the less-trod ground. When I’m doing research, it’s my habit to look through old books and magazines and I’m really looking for the odd piece…the piece of slang you’ve never heard. The phrase you never see. I’m more fixated on the idiosyncratic.
CM: You’ve described yourself as a collector of “vintageware”…of men’s magazines and period advertising that inform your 1950s-set novels. What did you do differently in terms of researching Bury Me Deep, which is set in 1931?
MA: It was ...[read on]
The Page 69 Test: Bury Me Deep.