Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Craig McDonald

Craig McDonald is an award-winning journalist, editor and fiction writer. His short fiction has appeared in literary magazines, anthologies and several online crime fiction sites. His nonfiction books include Art in the Blood, a collection of interviews with 20 major crime authors, and Rogue Males: Conversations and Confrontations About the Writing Life.

His debut novel
Head Games, was selected as a 2008 Edgar nominee for Best First Novel by an American Author. It is followed by Toros & Torsos and the newly released Print the Legend.

I recently asked him what he was reading. His reply:
I tend to have several books going at any given time. This past year, I agreed to serve on a reading committee for one of crime fiction’s major genre awards and my reading material was largely mandated for me — there were nearly 300 novels to consider.

With that task behind me, I’ve turned back to some old preoccupations/favorite books.

At the moment, I’m re-reading Michael S. Reynolds’ excellent and definitive multi-volume biography of Ernest Hemingway. I just concluded An American Homecoming, which covers the period roughly between the completion of The Sun Also Rises and the wrapping up of the composition of A Farewell To Arms.

I’ve now turned to the equally excellent follow-up volume, Hemingway: The 1930s, which moves in to the Key West period of Hemingway’s life, taking him on into the Spanish Civil War.

Following on the Hemingway theme, I’m also reading The Lousy Racket: Hemingway, Scribners and the Business of Literature by Robert W. Trogdon. Trogdon’s book aims to closely examine “Hemingway’s professional collaboration with Scribners… the editing, promotion and sales of his books as he published with the firm from 1926 to 1952.” With my own novel coming out soon, and as I’m attempting to bring it to readers’ attention in a particularly crazy and uncertain publishing period, Trogdon’s book, and Hemingway’s own strategies for book promotion in a then-shifting media world, hold a keen interest for me.

On a non-Hemingway note, the novel of the moment for me is a re-read of James Sallis’ Eye of the Cricket, my favorite novel in my favorite crime series — the Lew Griffin cycle. I’ve read the book many times; I expect to read it many times again over the years to come.

Whenever I’m looking for inspiration for my own writing, or simply for a story to get lost in, I turn to Sallis, and more often than not, to Cricket. This one finds Lew Griffin — variously author, professor and sometimes private investigator — on a kind of quest that evokes faint memories of James Joyce’s Ulysses. It’s a novel about missing people, confused identities and the search for self. This novel, is for me, a masterpiece… probably my favorite of Sallis’ novels, to date.
Read more about Print the Legend, and learn more about the author and his work at Craig McDonald's website, blog, and Crimespace page.

The Page 69 Test: Toros & Torsos.

The Page 69 Test: Head Games.

Read "The Story Behind the Story: Print the Legend, by Craig McDonald," at The Rap Sheet.

--Marshal Zeringue