Next up in The Interrogation Room… Tom Leins catches up with C. S. DeWildt to discuss his new book, Suburban Dick (Shotgun Honey).
Congratulations on the publication of your new book. First things first, the question on everyone’s lips: how long is Chris DeWildt’s Suburban Dick?
Long enough to get the job done – 200 pages.
On a more practical note, how would you pitch Suburban Dick to potential readers?
Work and home life collide as smartass private detective Gus Harris investigates the case of the missing high school wrestler.
Which characters influenced Gus Harris in Suburban Dick?
He’s a combination of Jake Gittes, Jim Rockford, and me.
As a reader, what draws you to private eye fiction?
The thrill of the chase! I just love the experience, watching them put the clues together. And I think PI protagonists are interesting cats. They straddle the moral line and I’m drawn to that.
As a writer, how tough is it to give the private eye story fresh impetus?
I don’t know if I’m qualified to answer that. I just try to do something I have seen or heard before. If I can entertain myself I’m sure I can entertain a few readers.
Do you read mainstream crime fiction, or are your tastes firmly rooted in the independent scene? Do you think crime fiction is too safe?
The mainstream stuff doesn’t do it for me. One of the things I like most about the indie scene is the huge body of undiscovered work. I feel mainstream crime fiction is definitely too safe. The last mainstream piece of crime fiction I read was Gone Girl, and the twist was interesting but beyond that it didn’t do much for me. I like darker stories, stories about terrible people doing terrible things. Indie is where it’s at.
Which contemporary writers do you consider to be your peers?
I dunno. I suffer from classic imposter syndrome, so I’m hesitant to throw myself into the same category as anyone else. That said, I’m pretty tight with a lot of the All Due Respect writers and a few in the Down & Out Books crowd.
Which books from the Down & Out/Shotgun Honey/All Due Respect extended family would you recommend to the uninitiated?
Hustle or Knuckleball by Tom Pitts. Crosswise by S.W. Lauden. Great guys, great writers. Texas Two-Step by Michael Pool is next on my list.
If your career trajectory could follow that of any well-known writer, who would you choose, and why?
Probably Faulkner, Nabakov, or Jim Thompson. They all leveraged their talents to secure Hollywood gigs. I’d love to be making films but telling stories on paper is cheaper.
Finally, what are your future publishing plans?
Working on a couple sequels, one to Suburban Dick and another to my Neil Chambers book, Love You to a Pulp.
CS DeWildt lives in Arizona with his wife and sons. He is the author of several works of longer fiction and a collection of shorts. Please visit him here: