Friday, August 10, 2018

Book Bites: Earl Javorsky, Author of Down to No Good

Today's Book Bites interview is with Earl Javorsky, author of Down to No Good, the second novel in Javorsky's Charlie Miner P.I. series. (And Miner is back from the dead, just to give you an idea of the quirky ride you're in for!) Read on as Javorsky talks about "paranormal noir," not having a writing routine and what his idea of success is. Happy Reading!
"Earl Javorsky's Down to No Good is wildly original, wildly energetic,wildly funny--it's just straight up wild, and I mean that in the best possible way."
Lou Berney, Edgar Award-winning author of The Long and Faraway Gone

What drew you to the genre you write in?

My Charlie Miner books are a weird hybrid. Some would call them hardboiled/paranormal mashup, but I prefer to call them metaphysical noir. First of all, although I grew up on science fiction and read some horror—Stephen King, Peter Straub, etc.—in my teens, I’m more of a crime/mystery reader, so the sudden emergence of a paranormal noir narrative was a fluke of the moment. Or not. Perhaps it was inevitable.

I was sitting at my desk one day and wrote this sentence: They say once a junkie, always a junkie, but this is ridiculous. I haven’t been dead more than a few hours and I already need a fix. I contemplated that goofy line for a while and wrote the first ten pages, creating Charlie as a drug-addicted PI who now has to go solve his own murder. Down Solo borrows from Stephen King only to the extent that, generally, people don’t reanimate their bodies and continue daily life. Otherwise, the novel is more or less a straightforward (well, slightly convoluted) Chandleresque mystery.

By the way, my second novel, Trust Me, is a much more conventional thriller involving a sex predator in the Los Angeles recovery community. It’s based on a real character, although he never murdered anyone. I felt the story had to be told. I’d say it pretty much dictated the genre as it unfolded.

Who was your intended audience for the novel?

Well, this flows from the first question. Mystery/Hardboiled/Noir readers who can accommodate an element of the fantastical. I wrote in 1st-person present tense in order to create the immediacy of Charlie’s experience, which is as strange to him as it is to the reader. My hope is that this makes it easier to accept.

Also, I’d like to reach the recovery community with all my books, as altered consciousness and substance abuse—and the thoughts, feelings, and actions that flow from them—drive the characters in different ways than ordinary motivations.

Do you have a set routine as a writer?

I have no set routine. I come up with an idea and—each time—I create a Rubik’s cube of a structural puzzle that paralyses me. How am I going to get to where I think this is going? If I write this, then that can’t happen, and if I go down this path I’m committed to it and might wind up doing a lot of work I’ll then have to undo. With Down Solo, I wrote ten pages in the initial sitting and then had no idea what to do with it; two months later I had a vision of how it could unfold. Unfortunately, I completed the narrative arc at page 100 and had a novella. It took six months of inaction before it occurred to me that there were deeper levels I could plumb—that I had only set the stage for the real story. Then I worked in spurts for about a month and finally finished.

In your eyes, what does it mean to be a “successful” writer?

Well it’s certainly not about money or fame. If I could orchestrate reality (God knows I’ve tried), I would be self-sufficient as a writer with a loyal cult following. Short of that, I vacillate: On the one hand, I feel successful in having reached people with my fiction and having been validated by quite a few writers whom I respect; on the other, I have to admit to being disappointed in the distribution aspect, and frustrated with the whole self-marketing charade. But I have to walk that last bit back, because here I am, interacting with you and your readers, and, if anyone’s gotten this far, we’ve connected. And that has its own indefinable value.

Are there any writers you’re jealous of?

A few come to mind. James Lee Burke for his gorgeous prose and his insight into character. Iain Pears and Vikram Chandra for their ability to weave multiple threads into massive, intricate, and fascinating tapestries. And Michael Gruber for having written The Tropic of Night and dancing on the edge of reality.

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