Tuesday, July 27, 2010

9mm Interviews: Taking stock

Well yesterday the Crime Watch 9mm series celebrated its 25th instalment, when the multi-talented Stella Duffy, who grew up in the rural North Island of New Zealand, was featured. The series has now been running for four months, so I thought now might be an opportune time to pause for reflection, look back on all the great interviewees thusfar, and get some feedback on how to make it even better in future.

I've got to be honest, when I started the series in March, I never really thought I'd get to 25 interviewees this quickly, nor that I'd be going so well with my goals of mixing up the big-name international bestsellers with local authors and lesser-knowns from here and overseas. I'm pretty happy with the series overall, and would just like to say thank you to all the authors who've generously given their time to be part of the series, and answered all the 9mm questions, no matter how random they may seem at times.

There are already some great future instalments 'in the can' so to speak, including 9mm interviews with James Lee Burke, Mark Gimenez and PD James (I know, I've been talking about the latter one for a while - I've been saving it to publish on the day of her 90th birthday), and some others already organised on the horizon, including with Michael Connelly, Peter Robinson and Michael Robotham. I'm fairly confident I will soon also be able to provide 9mm interviews with Peter James, RJ Ellory, Val McDermid, Simon Kernick, Paul Thomas, Liam McIlvanney and Neil Cross - all of whom I will be meeting in the coming couple of months at the 2010 The Press Christchurch Writers Festival or other New Zealand events.

The 25 published 9mm interviews thusfar are:

  1. Lee Child
  2. Paddy Richardson
  3. Jack Kerley
  4. Paul Cleave
  5. Margot Kinberg
  6. Vanda Symon
  7. Dennis Palumbo
  8. Andrew Grant
  9. Rob Kitchin
  10. Linwood Barclay
  11. Lou Allin
  12. Declan Burke
  13. Craig Russell
  14. Joan Druett
  15. Martin Edwards
  16. Shamini Flint
  17. Gregg Hurwitz
  18. C. George Muller
  19. John Connolly
  20. Roy Vaughn
  21. Mark Billingham
  22. Stuart MacBride
  23. Michael Koryta
  24. David Carnoy
  25. Stella Duffy

  • Gender split: we've had 18 male authors and seven female ones (although out of the first 16 interviews the split was a more even 10/6 ), so clearly I need to work harder to include more female crime and thriller writers moving forward. Other than upcoming interviews with PD James and Val McDermid, I have also been in touch with Lisa Unger, Faye Kellerman and Donna Moore, so hopefully that will help kick-start a better balance.
  • NZ and international: this is also an 18/7 split, or 17/8, depending whether you count Stella Duffy as a Kiwi author. That probably isn't too bad (and isn't as much of an issue as the gender split), but still, a good reminder that I should keep up my earlier efforts to sprinkle as many Kiwi authors throughout the series as possible - since they may not be covered as much elsewhere, unlike the big-name international bestsellers. Including female Kiwi writers like Lindy Kelly, Dorothy Fowler, Cat Connor, Jeannie McLean and Alix Bosco will obviously help on both fronts.
  • Geographic/national diversity: so far there have been seven New Zealand-based authors (the equal most of any country, which mitigates the above issue I guess), seven US-based authors, three Irish authors, three England-based authors, two Canadians, two Scottish authors, and one from Singapore. Seven countries isn't too bad, but I could definitely improve the diversity on this front. Clearly I need to target a few Australian authors, along with some from continental Europe, Asia, South America and Africa (although language differences will hamper things slightly with these latter regions).
So those are some of my thoughts, given the series so far. What are yours? What do you think of the mix? Who have been your favourite interviewees? Who would you most like to see join the series? How could it be improved? I'd really love to have your feedback, so please share your thoughts, and leave a comment or two.


  1. Craig - First, my thanks for going to the effort you have to create this feature. I've really been thoroughly enjoying it, and it was a real honor to be included in your list of authors. I admire the way you've worked to include all sorts of crime fiction authors, too, from all kinds of backgrounds and all sorts of crime fiction styles. I am learning a lot!

    May I suggest that you consider inviting Elizabeth Spann Craiga to be interviewed? I won't speak for her, of course, but I'll bet she'd be happy to participate.

  2. Can I be both please? age 5 to 23 in NZ, Tokoroa and Wellington, all my education and growing up, I'd def count me as a Kiwi. But then I'd also count myself as a Londoner (rather than a Brit) - ages 0-5 and 23-47 spent as close to the Thames as possible ... my Dad, Martinborough born & bred, spent 20+ years in London post-war (he was in the RNZAF during WW2), and his workmates in both countries called him the cockney-kiwi. Didn't stop him yearning for home, or standing on the prow of the ship (bloke-like tears in his eyes) when we finally returned to NZ, docking in Wellington harbour. My Mum's 33 years in Tokoroa longing for the Thames, my Dad's post-war longing for Lake Ferry and the Pacific ... it's all water, right?

  3. I really enjoy these interviews. Keep them up! I think you've got it pretty right.

  4. Don't worry Stella - we'll definitely be claiming you as a Kiwi. And as soon as you write your next crime novel, you will of course be eligible for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel...

  5. Craig - I'm really stunned by the amount of work and efforts that you are taking. They are very interesting posts, thanks for keep them going.

  6. Really cool stuff, Craig.
    Thank you very much.
    And, please, keep it up.

  7. I'm just delighted to be able to boost the kiwi author and female stats. :D

    As for Australians, how about Michael Robotham and also Graeme Johns.

  8. I will be interviewing Michael Robotham shortly Cat, so he'll definitely appear in the series.

    Thanks for the note Leighton - that reminds me, I need to get my hands on some of your books - I've heard such great things.