Friday, September 19, 2008
Q & A with Raymond Benson
This time our Q & A is with the author of the new Spike Berenger series, Raymond Benson.
Q: What makes Spike Berenger different from other PIs?
He works in the world of rock 'n' roll... he's a rock 'n' roll musician himself... and he's a former military CID officer who's now a music geek. He runs a music business security firm, but hires himself out on the side as a PI for the rock stars. He has not one sidekick, but rather a whole team that supports him and his activities. He's a walking trivia book on rock music and has a wry sense of humor.
Q: Why did you set your series in the music business?
Because I love music! I'm a musician myself (I play piano two nights a week in a bar) and I'm very knowledgeable about rock, having grown up with it. I was in front of the TV when the Beatles first played Ed Sullivan. I also thought it might be a good idea because it hadn't been done. It gave me an opportunity to create a series with funny titles based on popular rock albums-- "A Hard Day's Death", "Dark Side of the Morgue"...
Q: How did you get published?
I'm the author of twenty published books and have been at it a while. I may not be a NY Times Best-seller name, but I'm fairly well known in the publishing industry. I was the official author of the James Bond novels between 1996-2002. So, my agent usually doesn't have a problem getting publishers to look at any new material I write. Granted, I don't always sell my stuff-- like any writer!-- but I'm something of a veteran at this.
Q: What’s next for you and Spike?
The second book, "Dark Side of the Morgue", comes out in March 2009. I'm sure there will be a third book, but I don't know what it is yet. In the meantime, an anthology of some of my James Bond novels will be out in October 2008, entitled "The Union Trilogy." My novelization of the popular videogame "Metal Gear Solid" came out last May and I'm currently working on the sequel to that. There's always something in the works!
Q: How do you promote your books?
Not as well as I'd like! Authors these days have to do everything they can to promote their books, because publishers rarely do anything. A personal websites, MySpace, Facebook-- these are all good tools. Personal appearances, speaking in public, attending writers' conferences-- they help. Sending out press releases, postcards to bookstores-- you name it, I've tried it.
Q: Do you have any favorite Sons of Spade yourself?
I'm a fan of Michael Connelly's work. My favorite living author is Ruth Rendell. She has a long-running series since the 60s featuring Inspector Wexford (not a PI but a police detective). There are plenty of others.
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 that way?
I imagine Connelly will. He's made quite a career for himself and is very well respected not only by readers but by his peers.
Q: Reed Farell Coleman came up with the following question: Faced with telling the truth or producing a just result, which should the PI choose?
I think that depends on the PI's character. There are some PI's who might feel a moral obligation to tell the truth no matter what. Others are a little more hard-boiled in their life outlook and merely want a just result.
Q: What question should we ask every PI writer we interview and what is your answer?
Would you want to be a PI yourself?
My answer: No. Absolutely not! :)