What Makes Crime Fiction "Literature?" An Interview

I recently had the pleasure of doing an interview, via Skype, with British blogger Matthew Ogborn in conjunction with the publication of The Poacher's Son and now Trespasser in the UK. (Bad Little Falls is coming later this year.) It was a free-ranging conversation that covered a lot of ground, but we focused on the elements in a crime novel that can elevate it from a simple drawing-room whodunit to something more thoughtful and emotionally resonant.

We also discussed my goals for the series, especially in the context of other crime writers, including one of my favorites: James Lee Burke:

One of my motivations is to render the state of Maine as vividly as possible to people who have never been here before. I live in a special and unique place. Like anywhere in the world it has its flaws and dark corners, but the incredible beauty of the nature here is something that I want to get across. It’s something that I respond to in really good fiction and crime fiction.

I am open in my admiration for James Lee Burke, who I think is masterful at portraying southern Louisiana especially. He is most associated with the Cajun country. You read those books and you can smell the night blooming flowers. You can hear the thunderstorms rolling in across the Gulf of Mexico. It gives me something to aspire to in my own books.

I have a ways to go to reach Burke territory, but it gives me something to shoot for. Here's the link to the interview if you're curious to read the whole thing.

PS: Isn't that British cover of The Poacher's Son fantastic? Whenever I look at it, I say, yes, that is the place where Mike Bowditch grew up.