Before we dive into it, thanks again to all of you Crime Watch readers who took the time to place some feedback about the series as a whole. Feel free to place more comments and give more suggestions - I'm always open to hearing who and what the readers of this website want to read about.
For the 27th instalment in the 9mm series, Crime Watch is featuring Alix Bosco, the Kiwi crime writer with the secret identity. Bosco came to attention last year with the release of her debut crime novel CUT & RUN, which deservedly received many good reviews, and is now available in paperback. A new face on the Kiwi crime fiction map in 2009, 'Alix Bosco' is the thriller writing pseudonym of a 'successful writer in other media' who wishes to keep her crime writing and other life separate. As such up until now she hasn't really done any media about her novels, so this 9mm interview is something special for all of you reading Crime Watch. I'm not sure, but it may in fact be the first interview 'Alix Bosco' has given, which is pretty cool.
From today Bosco's second thriller starring middle-aged former social worker and legal researcher Anna Markunas, SLAUGHTER FALLS, will be available in New Zealand and Australia. The publisher's blurb for Bosco's second novel says, "When Anna Markunas comes to Brisbane to watch a rugby test, two members of her tour party die sudden, violent deaths. Anna tries to track down the elusive family of one man, but each discovery about his past leads her further into the dark world of Queensland's corrupt underbelly. Soon Anna is running for her life – she has discovered the secrets of those who will stop at nothing to silence her."
I read an advance copy in the past couple of days, and enjoyed it. It's another good addition to the burgeoning Kiwi crime fiction canon, and I'm already looking forward to the third in the series, as well as seeing CUT & RUN hit the television screen with Robyn Malcolm in the lead role, hopefully sometime in the not-too-distant future.
But for now, Alix Bosco looks down the barrel of 9mm - which for the first time ever, won't have an author photo...
Who is your favourite recurring crime fiction hero/detective?Until Lisbeth Salander came along, Peter Temple’s Jack Irish was probably my favourite. Jack was warm and funny, cooked, cleaned, and helped the old cabinet maker next door. The Melbourne Jack Irish inhabited was palpable, almost another character, and being so close, was identifiable for me in a way that Janet Evanovich’s New Jersey or Sue Grafton’s Santa Barbara or PD James’ English bureaucracy or even Rankin’s Edinburgh, never was. Both Jack and Lisbeth are also ‘crime’ outsiders in the sense that they are not cops or private eyes or trial lawyers (Jack is a faded, failed lawyer), and the author has to work harder to place them at the centre of the story. When that succeeds, it seems to make their stake in the story more personal.
What was the very first book you remember reading and really loving, and why?Wuthering Heights. A brutally passionate love story. Move over Jane Austen – go Charlotte Brontë!
Before your debut crime novel, what else had you written (if anything) unpublished manuscripts, short stories, articles?
I’ve been writing since I was old enough to read. I’m always writing something – the only real question is whether, at any given time, I’m being paid for doing it.
Outside of writing, and touring and promotional commitments, what do you really like to do, leisure and activity-wise?
Having a pseudonym is one way of avoiding touring and promotional commitments! Which leaves more time to walk the dog and think of the next story for Anna Markunas.
What is one thing that visitors to your hometown should do, that isn't in the tourist brochures, or perhaps they wouldn’t initially consider?On a summer evening, take a window seat at Bonitas on Ponsonby Road, sip a glass of something interesting and watch the world go by.
If your life was a movie, which actor could you see playing you?
It would have to be Robyn Malcolm, who is beautiful, sexy and real. Rather than playing me, I’m hoping she’ll get to play Anna Markunas on television next year.
Of your writings, which is your favourite, and why?
The most recent, probably, because it’s the most vulnerable as it staggers out into the world. Each has different attributes: Cut & Run may be as close to the perfect who-dunnit as I can manage, whereas Slaughter Falls is a different, perhaps more ambitious story, more of a political thriller. To be honest, I’m more interested in societal forensics than criminal forensics, and I’m enormously encouraged by the success of someone like Stieg Larsson who seems to have had a similar preoccupation. The good thing about the crime fiction/thriller genre is that there is so much room to move. Not every hero has to be a sardonic cop, ex-cop or military drop-out, with a cryptic turn of phrase, an alcohol problem and a redeeming hobby!
What was your initial reaction, and how did you celebrate, when you were first accepted for publication? Or when you first saw your debut story in book form on a bookseller’s shelf?When I first saw Cut & Run – at a Paper Plus, featured as one of Kerre Woodham’s Choices - I wanted to shout from the roof-tops that I’d written a book I was proud of…. At which point I realised that such behaviour would tend to defeat the purpose of having a pseudonym. So I picked it up as disinterestedly as I could and… well, quietly fondled it, actually.
What is the strangest or most unusual experience you have had at a book signing, author event, or literary festival?I’ll let you know if I ever get to attend any of those events as an author. Cut & Run and Slaughter Falls are such departures from the kind of writing I’m known for, that I feel it’s better that they are free of any expectations created by my other writing. However, I saw recently that novelist Stephanie Merritt has revealed herself as crime writer SJ Parris, and I can understand the pressure to do that – it’s very difficult for the publisher to promote a book without an author to do the promotional and publicity rounds. So thank you so much for your and your readers’ support, Craig.
Thank you Alix Bosco. We really appreciate you taking the time to talk with Crime Watch.
So what do you think of this 9mm interview? Have you read Alix Bosco's CUT & RUN? If so, what did you think? Will Robyn Malcolm be a good Anna Markunas? Are you going to read SLAUGHTER FALLS? What do you think of pseudonyms for crime writers? Who do you think Alix Bosco might be? I'd love to read your comments. Please share your thoughts.