Saturday, July 7, 2007

Q & A with Dave White

This time in our Q & A is Derringer Award winning author Dave White, creator of Jackson Donne. His first novel When One Man Dies will be on sale September 2007 from Three Rivers Press.

Q: What makes Jackson Donne different from other fictional private eyes?

A: He's definitely younger. He's twenty seven and has had a really crappy life. But now he's got things on track and doesn't even really want to be a PI anymore. He just got accepted to college when the new book starts, so he's only keeping his job to pay for tuition. And having a motivation like that, I think, can lead to some very interesting questions about his dedication to a case.

Q: You won the Derringer Award. How did that affect your writing carreer?

A: "Closure," the story that won was really the story that got me noticed. It got my other stuff read. I started getting emails from other writers, which was nice. But what it really did for me was show me I could do it. That I could write and write well. And that was the most important thing about winning. I didn't realize how much a little positive feedback could go until that moment.

Q: Who would play Jackson in a movie?

A: Good question. I ran a contest on my website regarding this, and while giving the role to DJ Qualls as Duane Swierczynski suggested, I was partial to Ray Banks choice of Ryan Gosling. He's young, he looks worn out, and I think he could really nail the role. Even if he did have a part in The Notebook.

Q: What would a soundtrack to your novels sound like?

A: It would probably sound like my own iPod. A lot of rock, Pearl Jam, the Stones, U2, and then newer stuff like The Decemberists and The Damnwells.

Q: Has your writing changed much the last couple of years?

A: I hope it has become better and more economical. I want to explore and challenge myself by trying different points of view and getting a different look at Jackson Donne each time out. I hope I've done that, but I'm not sure. Though I do know that thinking that way has changed my writing style a bit.

Q: What's next for you and or Jackson?

A: Well, my first novel WHEN ONE MAN DIES comes out in September and features Donne. After that comes another Donne novel tentatively titled THE EVIL THAT MEN DO.

Q: Do you have any favorite Sons of Spade yourself?

A: When I first started writing private eye stuff I was really into the Ross MacDonald novels, so he's an influence. Since then Robert B. Parker, Dennis Lehane, Laura Lippman, and Robert Crais have become favorites.

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: Wow. Good question. I think people like Laura Lippman, Michael Koryta and Ray Banks will be the ones people cite when they talk about their influences from this generation of writers. Those three are out there doing great things with the PI genre, twisting it and bending it to be relevant in today's generation.

Q: Nick Stone (author of the Max Mingus novels) came up with the following
question: Why is crime fiction still considered the poor relative at the
literary table?

A: Great question. I think a lot of it has to do with critic's and scholar's short sightedness. I think they're afraid to admit that something popular can be good too. They've always viewed crime fiction as the "scandalous" pulps of the past, but when you look at it, some of the greatest literary novels are crime novels as well. The Great Gatsby reads like a PI novel, for example. So a lot of this genre fear, it seems to me, also has to do with a fear of change.

Q: What question should be asked every PI writer we interview and what would
be your answer to it?

A: What keeps the PI novel around? What changes can be made to keep it fresh with newer writers and readers?

For more information about Dave White's work visit

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