Monday, 16 May 2011

PUSH-UPS: Charles Ardai

So, what you pushing right now?

After a year-long hiatus, the relaunch of Hard Case Crime.

What’s the hook?

The books you love, the covers you love – back with a vengeance. To kick things off, we have four brand-new, never-before-seen books by Lawrence Block, Mickey Spillane, Max Allan Collins, and Christa Faust. Can’t top a lineup like that.

And why’s that floating your boat?

It’s good to be back. We had a good run with Dorchester Publishing – 66 books, more than a million copies sold – but when that came to an end with Dorchester’s decision to get out of the paperback book business, a lot of people thought we might be gone for good. It’s satisfying to have a second act.

When did you turn to crime?

As a reader? Pretty young. I think I discovered Lawrence Block’s books in the 1970s, when I wasn’t even a teenager yet. (A lot of what I learned about sex I learned from reading his books.) As a writer? A bit older – I published my first short story in Ellery Queen in 1988, at age 18.

Hardboiled or Noir, classic or contemporary?

Why choose? I like 'em all. Certainly like hardboiled and noir equally. Probably prefer classic to contemporary, but there are plenty of exceptions.

And, what’s blown you away lately?

Just read a novella by literary author Elissa Wald that seriously knocked my socks off. I’m talking to her about the idea of expanding it into a book for us, though god only knows if it will happen. She’s one hell of a writer, though. What else… Well, our four relaunch titles are all pretty damn good. Can’t wait for people to get to see them when September rolls around.

See any books as movies waiting to happen?

Well, my first two novels for Hard Case Crime – LITTLE GIRL LOST and SONGS OF INNOCENCE – have both been optioned by Universal, and there’s a director and screenwriter attached. In fact, the first script has been written, and it’s terrific. Easily the best detective script I’ve seen in years, probably since CHINATOWN. I hope it gets made. Even if I hadn’t written the books, I’d want to see this movie.

Mainstream or indie - paper or digital?

Oh, paper, definitely – to me, a book’s not a book if it’s not ink on paper. I love computers, I spend most of my life in front of a computer, but a book’s a book and a computer’s a computer. Not the same thing. As for mainstream or indie, both can be great. Hard Case Crime is an indie, of course, so I am certainly grateful for any reader willing to support indies. And I support them myself. But all I really care about is the quality of the book, not whose logo is on the spine.

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Finally, tell us any old shit about yourself …

Just had a baby – a daughter, now coming up on 6 months old, named ‘Evidence’ (Evi for short).

Oh, and after 40+ years of being a scrawny, out-of-shape Ichabod Crane lookalike, I’ve finally started working out. I mention this in case, now that he’s restarting his movie career, Arnold Schwarzenegger finds himself in need of a body double. ‘Cause you just know he reads this site.