Sunday, June 8, 2008
Q & A with Brendan DuBois
We had a Q & A with Brendan DuBois of the Lewis Cole novels...
Q: What makes Lewis Cole different from other (unofficial) PI's?
While he’s not paid and would otherwise be considered an “amateur” PI, he’s quite professional in his dealings with law enforcement and other people he encounters along the way while investigating things mysterious. Due to his past as a research analyst with a secretive Department of Defense intelligence agency, he also has a way of sorting through fact and fiction to find out what’s going on, and also due to something that happened to him while working for the Department of Defense, he has a true thirst for justice.
Q: What are your thoughts on the psycho sidekick in PI novels?
I guess it depends on one’s definition of “psycho.” Most PIs do have a sidekick with expertise in weapons and hand-to-hand combat, and Lewis is no different. His sidekick, Felix Tinios, a former mob enforcer from Boston and a security consultant, does assist Lewis here and there, and does this from affection and a sense of kinship with Lewis. I like to think that Felix is Lewis’ dark shadow, his dark brother.
Q: Do you do a lot of research?
It depends on the book. For my novel BURIED DREAMS, involving the possibility of Viking artifacts being found on the coast of New Hampshire, I did research on archaeology and Viking settlements in North America. However, my latest Lewis Cole novel, PRIMARY STORM, concerns the presidential primary season in New Hampshire, and to do research for that novel just involved me growing up here.
Q: What's next for you and Lewis ?
I’m currently outlining a new Lewis Cole novel, tentatively titled BARREN COVE, about a murder taking part during an anti-nuclear power plant demonstration on the New Hampshire seacoast.
Q: Has your writing changed a lot over time?
It has, and in odd ways. I find now that my writing seems more direct, more to the point. I tend now to strip out a lot of description and scene-setting. Hopefully, that’s been an improvement. I also don’t do as much outlining as before, letting things happen in the novel by chance or happenstance, just to keep me (and the reader!) surprised.
Q: How do you promote your books?
I promote my works through my website – www.BrendanDuBois.com -- which doesn’t get updated nearly enough, by doing local signings and events, and by appearing in fine blogs like these.
Q: Do you have any favorite Sons of Spade yourself?
Being from New Hampshire, I tend to lean towards the New England authors because I know most of them and enjoy their work, from Jeremiah Healy to Linda Barnes, Robert Parker and William Tapply, and of course, Dennis Lehane.
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?
Beats the heck out of me. I have a hard enough time keeping my own stories straight without thinking about the coming generation and what will influence them. But whatever they do, they should worry about first telling a good story. Nothing else matters.
Q: Martyn Waites came up with the following question: Do you think that there is still space in the PI genre for it to expand and grow, or is it just a collection of stylistic tics left over from the last century? Yes, there’s always room to expand and grow, and to do so in areas we can’t even imagine. That’s the joy of writing, of bringing something to life that never existed before.
Q: What questions should we ask every PI writer we interview and what is your answer?
With so many PIs and so many PI series, how do you keep it fresh? My odd answer… I try to read outside of the genre as much as possible, so I don’t get into the trap of being imitative… and I also try to turn convention on its head. In my very first Lewis Cole novel, he’s best friends with a female police detective… I wanted most readers to say, a-ha, Lewis is going to have a romantic relationship with the female police detective, until I reveal early on in the book that she’s a lesbian. And through six novels, they’ve remained best of friends, without even a hint of anything possibly romantic occurring.