Saturday, October 19, 2019

Steph Cha

Steph Cha's new novel is Your House Will Pay.

From her CrimeReads Q&A with Lisa Levy:

What’s interesting is that if somebody asked me, “Oh, is Steph’s new book a crime novel?” I would say, “Well, it’s a novel with a crime in it, but it’s really about two different families.”

Yeah. And I think that’s how I conceived it. I think of it as a social crime novel.

You’re in a long tradition of people who have been critiquing culture through crime fiction.

I think because I come from a crime background, it’s easier to see it as a crime novel. I think if it were a debut, I feel like it would be pushed as a literary novel, you know? Because it’s somewhere in the middle. I think it does what a literary novel does, and I think it does what a crime novel does, too. At least the ones that I gravitate towards. It’s not a mystery, but I definitely didn’t want to minimize the crime element of it because it’s all about the aftermath of these two crimes. And that very much interested me. The people who are left behind, and how they deal with the fallout.

As I was writing this, it occurred to me that that Sean and Grace, who are the main characters in this book, in other types of crime novels Sean and Grace would be the side characters that the police officer talks to for a part of the chapter to ask what’s going on? What was your relationship to the victim or the suspect? And they’d be kind of color, and then you move on. So, it’s interesting to kind of flip it so that you’re spending all your time with these characters while the police detective and the journalist are these two white dude characters in the background coming in and out.

What’s interesting is it doesn’t unfold as an investigation. That’s one of the definitions of a crime novel is that something happens, and then somebody spends a whole lot of time figuring out how and why that thing happened. It’s dealing with themes that are much deeper than that. When I wrote down what I thought the themes were for this novel, I had things like judgment: what is judgment and who gets to judge? What is guilt? What’s atonement? What’s grace? I think grace is a big theme in the book, as well as a really important character. Because I felt like I saw the situation through her eyes the most clearly.

Those are definitely a lot of themes I was working with. I think I was interested in particular in the way that people who are...[read on]
Visit Steph Cha's website and Twitter perch.

Coffee with a Canine: Steph Cha and Duke.

My Book, The Movie: Follow Her Home.

The Page 69 Test: Follow Her Home.

Writers Read: Steph Cha (April 2013).

--Marshal Zeringue