What: An editor, photographer, and reviewer/critic/essayist. He has written the Detectives Beyond Borders international crime fiction blog since 2006, created Noir at the Bar in 2008, and has written essays and introductions to books including SUNSHINE NOIR; Barry Forshaw’s NORDIC NOIR; FOLLOWING THE DETECTIVES: REAL LOCATIONS IN CRIME FICTION; and THE CULTURAL DETECTIVE: REFLECTIONS ON THE WRITING LIFE IN THAILAND. He has shot the covers for novels and story collections by Reed Farrel Coleman, Domenic Stansberry, Charlie Stella, Ed Gorman, Linda L. Richards, and Tony Knighton.
Interview conducted by email. Some questions and answers have been edited.
How has crime fiction evolved in the 11 years since you started your blog?
The demise of the P.I. novel has happened about eleven times since 2006. Irish crime writing, particularly that from Northern Ireland, shows signs of gaining the attention it deserves (or at least Adrian McKinty has started to win awards). And I’m not sure whether this is a trend or just my evolving of tastes, but I’ve been paying more attention to newish publishers: the lamented 280 Steps, Down & Out, and writers who fit that mold, people like Johnny Shaw and Jay Stringer.
I write essays that happen usually to concern crime fiction. A remark about a novel’s opening might turn into an essay on the importance of opening sentences or about thematic or stylistic similarities among novels of different countries, eras, authors, or literary traditions.
You also founded Noir at the Bar in 2008. What’s it like to watch it expand and evolve around the world?
It’s been great fun to hear bars full of drinkers yell, “Fuck Peter Rozovsky!” all over the place. Speaking of evolving, I invented the thing, but Scott Phillips and Jed Ayres took the biggest step in giving Noir at the Bar its present form and making it what it is today.
You are a newspaper editor by trade, but also do some book editing. How do you choose the authors you work with?
To date the authors or publishers have chosen me, and happily word of mouth seems to coincide with the kinds of crime writing I like to read best: harder-boiled, with a noirish edge, a comic tinge, or both. I feel like I can read that kind of story, recognize the voice and cadence the author wants, and do my editing accordingly.
Authors and publishers should find an editor who knows and loves the kind of book they’re asking him or her to work on.
Any frontrunners for the best books of 2017?
I’d probably be more help if you asked me for the best book of 1927, 1947, or 1967, but one book I am looking forward to eagerly is John Lawton’s new Frederick Troy novel, FRIENDS AND TRAITORS.
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S.W. Lauden is the Anthony Award-nominated author of the Tommy & Shayna novellas, CROSSWISE and CROSSED BONES (Down & Out Books). His Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, GRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME (Rare Bird Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in Los Angeles.