Thursday, May 17, 2007

Q & A with Harry Hunsicker

Q: What makes Oswald different from other fictional private eyes?

A: Oswald is all too aware of his limitations, yet continues past them anyway.

Q: Why did you give Oswald the name you did?

A: I originally started a book about a guy named Bob. Call it my stab at the Great American Novel. After 100 pages, I realized how boring Bob was so I killed him and buried the corpse deep in a desk drawer.

At that point I was pretty discouraged. I knew I wanted a book set in Texas, specifically my part, Dallas. I knew I wanted a character whose name was tied to the area. I debated writing a story about a hit man named Tom Landry (the legendary coach of the Cowboys) but thought they would run me out of the city. One thing led to another and Lee Henry Oswald was born.

Q: Who would play Oswald and Nolan in a movie?

A: People always scratch their heads when I say this, but I envision Oswald being played by John Cusack. He's got a certain world-weary sardonic
outlook which I think fits Oswald perfectly. My current pick for the Irish/Hispanic Nolan, is Minnie Driver who is doing an excellent job in the new F/X show, THE RICHES. I'm a huge fan of that show, about a family or Irish Travelers on the run from their clan. To understand why, you'll need to read the third Oswald book, CROSSHAIRS, due out in August.

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

A: A little Stevie Ray Vaughan and Steve Earle. A little more Ray Wylie Hubbard and Dean Martin.

Q: Any thoughts on the use of the psychotic sidekick in PI novels?

A: Most PI books need a foil of some sort, an opportunity for the hero to bounce things off of occasionally, or to help him/her out of a jam. Plus,
the psychotic sidekick is often the most fun character in a book, if used paringly. I mean who wouldn't want to party with Bubba Rogowski or Clete Purcell?

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

A: The third Oswald book, CROSSHAIRS, will be released in August. I also have a short story being published about the same time in the Summer issue of
MURDALAND, the excellent literary journal devoted to crime and noir fiction.

Q: Do you think your writing changed much between the first and second novel?

A: I think it's gotten tighter, less words accomplishing the same thing.

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

A: Dennis Lehane. He's got a knack for placing words on paper, to put it mildly.

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: I have no idea. My crystal ball is at the cleaners.

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

A: You wake up in a dingy motel room, the police banging on the door. You have no idea of how you got there. A dead woman lies on the floor, a pile of bloody hundred-dollar bills strewn around her head.

Your cell phone is gone. You've got time to make one phone call before jumping out the bathroom window.

Which fictional character would you call?

Harry Hunsicker is the author of the Lee Henry Oswald novels. More information about him can be found at

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