Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Q & A with Clair Dickson

She's published so many short stories around the web that she must have caught your attention by now. She did mine, making Bo Fexler a Favorite Daughter of Spade. Here's our Q & A with the talented Clair Dickson.

Q: What makes Bo Fexler different from other fictional private eyes?She's young and sexy. I think Bo stands out because she's not afraid of her own sexuality. For Bo, it's often another tool, along with her brains and her fists. She's both the femme fatale and the detective.

Q: What are your thoughts on the psycho sidekick in PI novels?I haven't read any novels with a psycho sidekick, yet. The idea seems a little gimmicky to me, perhaps a contrived way to create sympathy for the PI, or worse-- as cheap comic relief. I prefer everyday people, and every day evils.

Q: Do you do a lot of research?Constantly. Partly because researching for my writing is a good excuse to learn new stuff, but also because I'm a bit of a perfectionist. I've even gone so far as to look up laws to see how they apply, or don't, to a situation in my writing. I actually enjoy research and collecting trivia.

Q: What does a soundtrack to your stories sound like?The short answer is 89x radio. The longer answer is music by Garbage, Linkin Park, Metallica, Tool, Alanis Morrisette, Fiona Apple, Nirvana, Jet, and Bush. Edgier, harder stuff generally. After all, this is the music that I listen to.

Q: How do you promote your work?Mainly through www.bofexler.blogspot.com. Often I like to let my stories speak for themselves and hopefully draw people back to my blog, where I have links to other stories and an eye-catching image. In reality, I don't pimp myself as much as I should. I'm a writer, not a salesperson, dammit.

Q: What's next for you and Bo?A novel. I also plan to continue writing short stories, to keep Bo's name out there. I'd love to get into some anthologies. When I'm not writing, I'll be working my four jobs and taking grad courses.

Q: Do you have any favorite Sons of Spade yourself?I don't think so. I'm a big fan of Phillip Marlowe, and a big anti-fan of the current two main female investigators. But beyond that I have to admit that I don't read as much as I should, and nowhere near as much as I would like to.

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?
I'm hoping that the coming generation will continue to include writers influence by Hammet and Chandler, but that's where my bias lies. I love the wisecracking, the bitterness, and the way those writers mold language with their analogies and wordplay. I think that many writers will be influenced by the popular writers, like Janet Evanovich or J.K. Rowlings, and this saddens me because I see so much current writing to be very simplistic in form. Anyone can use words, but some writers use them better than others.

Q: Ed Gorman came up with the following question: What is your greatest joy as a writer? Your greatest sorrow?My greatest joy is when people are affected by my writing. It's validation that I've done my job as a writer. As for my greatest sorrow-- I don't think I've had it yet. I've had some moments of Great Frustration, but not sorrow. Maybe that'll come when Hollywood mangles a Bo Fexler story.

Q: What questions should we ask every PI writer we interview and what is your answer?What writer would you like to be compared to and why?
I'd like to be compared to Raymond Chandler. So far, he's my favorite writer, with the dry, dark humor and the hard-edged, mostly noble, hardworking, determined detective. I'd like my writing to be placed in that same genre, not as an imitation, but a modern version of the hardboiled crime noir that Chandler and Hammet started.

For more info about Clair Dickson visit: www.bofexler.blogspot.com
Also be sure to check out the original short story published on our very own site.

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