Today's 5 Q&A is with Michael Simon, author of The Last Jew Standing: A Novel.
1.) Who are you?
Born in Levittown, Long Island, the birthplace of mass-produced housing, Michael Simon is a former actor, playwright, and Texas probation officer. He has taught at Brooklyn College and New York University.
In 2004, Viking published his first novel, Dirty Sally, which introduced Dan Reles, a half-Jewish, New York Mafia-born Texas homicide detective. Dirty Sally was lauded by The Chicago Tribune as “A bloody and intriguing delight for noir aficionados.” The Seattle Times called it “the finest crime-novel debut since Dennis Lehane’s A Drink Before the War in 1994.” It was named one of the Top Ten Thrillers and Mysteries of the Year by Amazon.com.
In 2005, the second book in Simon’s Texas series, Body Scissors, was published, also to critical acclaim. The Rocky Mountain News called it, “Fast paced and suspenseful from start to finish.”
Viking signed on for two more Dan Reles thrillers, Little Faith (2006) and Last Jew Standing (2007).
To date, Simon’s works have appeared in Swedish, French, Italian, Japanese, and on audio tape.
He lives in New York City.
You can read more about him and his books at http://www.michaelsimon.info
2.) What do you like best about crime/thriller/mystery writing?
Paul Edwards wrote that I use “the conventional form of detective fiction as a platform for social satire and an often grotesque vision of human behavior.” While there’s plenty of room for variation within these forms, once you introduce a detective, there are certain expectations, beginning with a corpse at the beginning and a solution at the end. Working within these expectations, meeting them, varying them, delaying gratification, gives me a lot of freedom in other areas, such as those Edwards describes.
3.) Have you ever considered writing in a different genre? Horror or Sci-Fi, maybe?
In spite of the level of violence in my first book, Dirty Sally, I can’t imagine writing horror. Sci-fi is a possibility. Working in the realm of the future, or a place just beyond the edge of scientific likelihood, opens up dramatic (and comedic) possibilities you don’t find in the natural world. Think of the TV show “Third Rock from the Sun,” my favorite work of science fiction.
4.) Who are your favorite writers?
Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, James Cain, Jim Thompson, Vladimir Nabokov, Grace Paley, Kevin Baker. In no particular order.
5.) What's next?
An extended break.
Thank you so much, Michael!