Thursday, May 24, 2012

Max Allan Collins

Max Allan Collins is co-author (with the late Mickey Spillane) of Lady, Go Die!

From his Q & A with J. Kingston Pierce at The Rap Sheet:

J. Kingston Pierce: In an opening note in Lady, Go Die!, you explain that you didn’t immediately recognize this novel as Spillane’s second, unfinished book, but thought that it was an early version of his 1966 Hammer work, The Twisted Thing. How long did it take you to discover its true importance, and what finally tipped you off?

Max Allan Collins: When I began reading it, that Lady, Go Die! was a different story became immediately apparent. But understand that I have a file cabinet drawer of unpublished, mostly unfinished Spillane material, and it took me a while to go through everything. The manuscripts of The Goliath Bone, The Big Bang, Complex 90, Kiss Her Goodbye, and King of the Weeds were clearly, obviously substantial Hammer manuscripts. There were a number of other, shorter Hammer manuscripts that I felt would either make short stories or possible novels, once those five were completed.

The other factor was that Lady, Go Die! began with Chapter 2--Chapter 1 had been lost--and was more on the order of 80 pages, rather than the 100 or more of those first, easily identifiable, unfinished Hammer novels. So even when I discovered how significant it was--as the follow-up to I, the Jury--I decided to set it aside. It was shorter, and I’d have to write the first chapter myself, and that all seemed to relegate it to a later slot, after I’d become really comfortable with this posthumous collaboration.

JKP: Can you speculate on why Spillane put this novel aside in the 1940s and never came back to finish it himself?

MAC: I have two theories. I think he may have started a sequel only to have an editor discourage him from submitting it, until sales reports for I, the Jury came in. And of course...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue