Who: Sam Wiebe
What: Sam Wiebe’s award-winning debut novel LAST OF THE INDEPENDENTS was published by Dundurn Press this fall. His short fiction has been published in Thuglit, Spinetingler, and Subterrain, among others.
I thought that LAST OF THE INDEPENDENTS was one of the best modern P.I. novels I have read. What was your inspiration for writing this story?
When I started LAST OF THE INDEPENDENTS, I’d just finished school. I was out of work, broke, and pissed off. I’ve always loved the classic detective fiction writers, like Chandler and James Crumley, and I wanted to pay homage to them while speaking about contemporary life. The P.I. novel seemed the perfect vehicle for discussing ‘real’ problems, without being a crushing bore.
Why is Vancouver an ideal setting for this kind of story?
Vancouver is familiar to everyone from the thousands of movies and TV shows shot here, from X-Files to Highlander. Yet it’s always dressed up as New York or Seattle or some other American city. In a way it’s an American city, with American problems, and yet it’s above the 49th parallel.
So is it American? Is it Canadian? Technically it’s on unceded native land, so who knows what it is? It’s a city without a fixed mythology, and that’s very appealing.
LAST OF THE INDEPENDENTS does a good job of paying homage to classic P.I. novels while pushing the boundaries of the genre to update it. Is that a task you set for yourself?