Saturday, July 14, 2007

A Brooklyn State of Mind

Reed Farrel Coleman, whose most recent novel is Soul Patch, is interviewed by the estimable Megan Abbott (The Song Is You) at the Mystery Readers International site. My second-favorite quote from their satisfyingly long exchange:
MA: Why did you choose to have [your protagonist] Moe [Prager] married? Why do you think it’s still the exception to have a married PI?

RFC: I’m not certain it was as calculated when I began to write the series as I remember it, but I did know that I wanted to turn
[Philip] Marlowe and [Matt] Scudder on their ears. As I’ve said, as you’ve heard me say, the gun-toting, divorced or single Christian, alcoholic, white guy, loner PI character has been done as well as it could be done. Yet, there is just something so appealing to me about that kind of character. I challenged myself to write a character like Marlowe and Scudder, but one who was happily--for the most part--married, one who had [a] good source of income beyond his PI work, but was still an everyman. The challenge, as I found out writing Walking the Perfect Square, was not in creating such a character, but making him compelling. That’s always the challenge, though, isn’t it? Married PIs are the exception because a spouse limits the possibilities. But I’ve found that limiting the possibilities makes you work harder and helps avoid falling into cliché.
But my favorite quote is this one:
MA: If you weren’t a writer, how would you spend all the time you now spend writing?

RFC: Being fucking miserable and earning a respectable wage.
You can read the whole interview here.


Peter Rozovsky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Rozovsky said...

Interesting that Coleman includes religion in that list of attributes of the typical P.I. Another crime-fiction protagonist, though not a P.I., who stands out because he's married was also created by a Jewish author: Stuart Kaminsky's Abe Lieberman. Is this significant? I have no idea.

In the realm of everyman protagonists, how about Les Roberts' Milan Jacovich?

Now I'll read the rest of the interview to see if you beat me to the punch and discussed those subjects already.

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