Next up in The Interrogation Room… Tom Leins catches up with Andrew Davie to discuss his new book, Pavement (All Due Respect).
Hi Andrew, congratulations on the publication of your new book! How would you pitch Pavement to potential readers?
Thank you so much! McGill and Gropper are unlicensed private investigators. McGill, the face of the operation, works out of a diner in Charleston, South Carolina. A former police officer, now incredibly out of shape, he rarely leaves the diner. Gropper is well versed in fighting, tactics, and does the heavy lifting. While protecting prostitutes from a trucker, they draw the ire of some dangerous and well-connected foes who will stop at nothing to settle the score and get revenge.
I’m intrigued by the blunt title – how did you decide on that name for the book?
A while ago, I learned that prostitutes who work at a truck stop are often referred to as “Pavement Princesses.” I thought it would be fitting. Also, it seemed like a good metaphor for being able to make a quick escape if necessary which suits Gropper’s temperament.
Your protagonists are unlicensed private investigators: is PI fiction making a comeback, or did it never go away?
I don’t think it ever went away. The genre has undergone some changes over time, but it’s always been there.
Who are your prime influences in that field?
I had read a lot of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser for Hire series when I was younger. Over time, I began to read Rex Stout, Dashiell Hammett, Robert Crais, and John D. MacDonald, among others.
What draws you to PI fiction ahead of other crime sub-genres?
I enjoyed reading and writing about characters who have a code, and the genre seemed to focus on characters who followed a code. They might be willing to get their hands dirty, but there were still some ground rules.
This book was published by All Due Respect; do you read mainstream crime fiction, or are your tastes firmly rooted in the independent scene?
I tend to go back and forth between the two, although these days I’m making more of an effort to read independent authors.
If you could recommend one crime novel that people are unlikely to have heard of, what would it be?
I would suggest reading The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley. This is the opening line: “When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon.”
If your career trajectory could follow that of any well-known writer, who would you choose, and why?
I would choose Rex Stout. His detectives Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin are similar to McGill and Gropper with regard to their business arrangement. Wolfe rarely leaves his apartment, and McGill rarely leaves his diner. Both Goodwin and Gropper do most of the legwork. Similarly, Stout was also prolific with his output.
Finally, what are your future publishing plans?
I hope to write more about McGill and Gropper’s exploits, but I’ve also written another novella in the crime fiction genre which takes place during The Great Depression.
Bio: Andrew Davie received an MFA in creative writing from Adelphi University. He taught English in Macau on a Fulbright Grant. He’s also taught English and writing in New York, Hong Kong, and Virginia. In June of 2018, he survived a ruptured brain aneurysm and subarachnoid hemorrhage. His first book Pavement will be released in July of 2019 by All Due Respect Books. Links to his work can be found on his website.