Saturday, November 1, 2008

Craig McDonald

At The Rap Sheet, Jim Winter interviewed Craig McDonald, whose “debut novel, Head Games, ... introduced the world to Hector Lassiter. Lassiter, a pulp writer and member of the Lost Generation, counts Ernest 'Hem' Hemingway and Orson Welles among his best friends and 'lives what he writes and writes what he lives.'”

The Q & A opens:

Jim Winter: You were nominated for an Edgar and an Anthony this year. You have to be floating to have made that kind of splash.

Craig McDonald: It’s the kind of thing you can’t think about or plan for. It’s also particularly wonderful to have nominations for those two awards, as the Edgar judges are fellow authors and the Anthonys are, at base, reader-chosen awards. Head Games was also a finalist for the Crimespree and Gumshoe awards and made several year’s-best lists, so it was a dizzying, gratifying reception for a fairly unusual debut novel. I’m still bowled over by it all.

JW: Hector Lassiter seems to be very much in the mold of James M. Cain and Jim Thompson. He even arrives on the scene bearing the all-too-common disdain for Mickey Spillane.

CM: Part of that is just depicting a writer’s natural competitiveness regarding sales figures and public standing; and in that sense, Spillane was kind of the Dan Brown of his day. It’s also emerging from book to book that Hector was one of those writers in Paris in the 1920s and had serious literary ambitions. The third novel (set largely in 1965) will give you more of a sense of Hector’s real literary range and standing as the 1960s are getting on.

JW: How much of Hector is you? And how much is Hector more a product of his times? [read on]
Read the complete interview.

Learn more about the author and his work at Craig McDonald's website and his Crimespace page.

The Page 69 Test: Head Games.

The Page 69 Test: Toros & Torsos.

--Marshal Zeringue