Tuesday, November 19, 2013

9mm interview with Harry St John

Phew! It's been a while, but at last 9mm is back! There should be plenty of author interviews, reviews, and more coming up on Crime Watch now I'm back from my six months of travels. On that front, today I'm introducing to you a new Kiwi crime writer, who has recently released his debut young adult noir thriller. I read LEAVE HER HANGING last week, in a day, and was very impressed.

Harry St John has previously written sci-fi novels under the name Chris Strange, but he seems to have a really good grasp of the thriller genre. I was intrigued the entire way through, the pages whirred, the characters were interesting, and there were plenty of twists. As well as a killer ending.

I'll share more about LEAVE HER HANGING soon, but for now, here is Harry St John (you can read more about him and his books here), facing down the barrel of 9mm.


1. Who is your favourite recurring crime fiction hero/detective?
First up, thanks for having me. This may be an unoriginal answer, but I can never get enough of Chandler’s Philip Marlowe. Marlowe has become the quintessential hardboiled detective, and for good reason. Marlowe’s voice is so strong and enduring that it’s almost hard to believe he never existed as more than words on a page.

2. What was the very first book you remember reading and really loving, and why?
I’ve always been a reader as far back as I can remember, but I used to inhale R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books when I was a kid. I think I had a big cardboard box full of them. Stine wasn’t afraid to let his books get a bit spooky. I was never impressed by children’s books that tried to pretend that everything in the world was sunshine and rainbows.

3. Before your debut crime novel, what else had you written (if anything) unpublished manuscripts, short stories, articles?
I’ve got a whole bunch of short stories and novel manuscripts in various states of completion in drawers and computer folders that will never see the light of day. I think most writers are the same. Before Leave Her Hanging, I also wrote several books of a more sci-fi/fantasy nature which I published under my Chris Strange pen name.

4. Outside of writing, and touring and promotional commitments, what do you really like to do, leisure and activity-wise? 
Reading, watching movies, and playing computer games. If I’m not working or hanging out with friends/family, I’ll be doing one of those things. I’m an unadventurous type of guy, but damn it, I’m happy.

5. 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? 
That’s Tauranga for me. On your way over to Mount Maunganui (because, let’s face it, the Mount is the only reason anyone comes to Tauranga except to retire), drop by the aircraft museum. Classic Flyers, I think it’s called. It’s cheap as chips and the people who run it are a friendly bunch. There are some pretty cool planes, including a Spitfire. And I think if you fork over a bit more cash you can go for a ride in a biplane or a glider as well. Good stuff.

6. If your life was a movie, which actor could you see playing you? 
Shia LaBeouf, because I too am awkward and barely talented.

7. Of your books, which is your favourite, and why?
The next one. Always the next one. Other than that, I go back and forth. When I’m finally done with all the edits on a book, I’ve read it a dozen times and I’m usually sick to death of it. The fondness comes with time. That said, Leave Her Hanging is probably the most personal book I’ve written.

8. 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 (real or online)? 
You know, I can’t even remember. I probably cracked open a beer with my girlfriend and tried to drown the panic. Whoever thought it was a good idea to pour your soul into a book and let anyone in the world read it? For some reason I keep doing it, though.

9. What is the strangest or most unusual experience you have had at a book signing, author event, literary festival, etc? 
To do any of those things I’d have to go outside. I find it strange that my mum insists I sign my books before I give them to her. I think she’s hoping I hit the big time so she can flog the signed books on Trademe for a tidy profit.

Thank you Harry St John. We appreciate you taking the time to chat with Crime Watch. 


Do you like the sound of LEAVE HER HANGING? Have you read any of Chris Strange or Harry St John's books? What are your thoughts on dark thrillers for young adult readers?

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