Thursday, July 19, 2007
Q & A with Andy Straka
Q: What makes Frank Pavlicek different from other fictional private eyes?
A: Like most fictional PIs, Frank carries a lot of baggage from his cop days. But Frank has found a unique outlet to escape his past: time spent alone in the woods with his hunting bird, practicing the art of falconry. Trouble still manages to find him, however, whether it be on the back roads or the mean streets.
Q: What made you use a PI as a central character in your series?
A: I still believe there is room in this world for the decent, everyday hero. This, to me, is what the PI character, represents. He or she is not about saving the world. They're not about saving anyone, in fact. They're simply about helping someone out of a jam. More often than not, it's preciously small redemption. Usually, it's enough.
Q: What are your thoughts on the psycho sidekick in PI novels?
A: I love psycho sidekick characters. I love their loyalty. Other than Frank, Jake Toronto in the Pavlicek novels has been my favorite character to write. We should all be lucky enough to find such a friend.
Q: What would a soundtrack to your novels sound like?
A: Suspenseful strings, woodwinds, mixed with occasional oldies, occasional jazz.
Q: Has your writing changed much between novels?
A: I like to believe I'm improving.
Q: What's next for you and or Frank?
A: I have a standalone thriller coming out next February, Record Of Wrongs, and am close to finishing a second standalone novel. The fourth book in the Pavlicek series is also written, edited, and in the can. I've reacquired all rights to the entire Pavlicek series from the original publishers, but no new publishing deal for Pavlicek yet. My agent preaches the virtue of patience. He is a much wiser businessperson than I.
Q: Do you have any favorite Sons of Spade yourself?
A: Since I'm an Edgar judge again this year, I'm going to take a pass on this question, if that's okay. Suffice it to say....some of the usual suspects, some of the not-so-usual.
Q: In the last century we've seen new waves of PI-writers, first influenced by Hammett, then Chandler, MacDonald, Parker, later Lehane. Who do you think will influence the coming generation and in what way?
A: There is an incredible plethora of talented voices out there right now. Again, I'm going to decline to name names, for the reason stated above, but every decent writer whose work finds its way to legitimate publication can have some little part in influencing those who follow.
Q: Derringer Award winner Dave White came up with the following question... What keeps the PI novel around? What changes can be made to keep it fresh with newer writers and readers?
A: In my opinion, the PI novel or PI type novel remains as strong a form as ever. What keeps it around are new voices and ever-changing cultural venues. Maybe we're all on to something archetypal, if you will, about the human condition. Whatever the reason, we seem, as a writing community, to be able to keep reinventing the wheel. I feel quite certain this reinvention will continue, though I have no prescription to insure it does.
Q: What question should be asked every PI writer we interview and what would be your answer to it?
A: Why aren't you at your computer writing?
I'm trying......I'm trying.....
Andy Straka is the Shamus Award winning author of the Frank Pavlicek novels. More info can be found at www.andystraka.com.