MysteryPeople Q&A with Mike McCrary

Mike McCrary is an author that neither ceases to entertain and surprise. His latest, Genuinely Dangerousis about a failed writer-director who decides to restart his career by embedding himself with a gang of bank robbers. It is a wild ride of sex, violence, and dark humor. He will be reading a piece of it at our Noir At The Bar on Tuesday, September 20th. Noir at the Bar takes place at Threadgill’s South and begins at 7 PM, Tuesday September 20th. We caught up with him to ask him a few questions.

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

MysteryPeople Scott: Genuinely Dangerous delivers a lot of vitriol at the movie business. What did you want to get across to the reader about it?

Mike McCrary: I don’t think there are too many people out there that think that the movie business is a kind and / or sane industry. With that said, I also think sometimes people only hear about the successes or see the finished, polished product after someone has spent years of getting their brains bashed in by the biz. Failure is far more common than success and even when someone has some success, failure is always five minutes away. Having experienced some of those things, what I really wanted was to take all that and use it as the backdrop for a character. The book isn’t really about the movie biz, per se, but it is the thing that ignites the insanity of the story and drives the main character to do the things he does. It’s his failure after his success that won’t let him go. The failure of his second movie sucks away his Hollywood life and itís his desire to get it all back that causes him to take the risks he does.

That, and it’s damn good fun to watch out-of-control characters act on bad ideas.

MPS: What does Jasper represent in the story as a lead?

MM: To me he’s a composite of a lot of people I’ve known. He’s just a confused guy. Not a bad guy, necessarily, but his priorities are completely out of whack, he has little to no idea how to live his life like a normal human being and he’s not a big fan of reality either.

Hell, I’ve been that guy during parts of my life. I think a lot of other people have too. You don’t want Jasper as a neighbor or dating your daughter, but he’s a lot of fun to spend some time with between the pages.

MPS: Choke and his band are an interesting set of criminals. What were you looking for when you came up with them?

MM: I’ve always loved the idea of packs of criminals. I know it comes from crime fiction and movies, but maybe it comes more from westerns. That dirty, whacko band of criminals roaming the countryside looking for whatever money they can steal and whatever trouble than can drum up.

I also needed a group of people that was worst-case scenario for Jasper to come across. A set of criminals that could escalate the crazy as the story progressed.

MPS: What was the biggest challenge the book presented to you as a writer?

MM: Just keeping all the balls in the air. There’s a lot of twists and turns in the story and the Jasper’s psychological state bends as things spiral out of control. So a big challenge was keeping all that straight. Also, getting the pacing right. Balancing the funny with the other stuff so that things stayed interesting, but still fun and not too heavy.

MPS: As someone who worked in the business, was writing this cathartic?

MM: Extremely. Oh, you wanted more?

When I started this book I was beaten up, man. I was coming off a series of soul-crushers, which I won’t get into, and I was really thinking about giving up writing all together. But I really enjoyed writing my last book (Remo Went Rogue) and it got a great response from people. So, after much internal debate, I decided to pull myself together, cut the self-pity crap and give it one more try.

Glad I did. I’m very proud of this book and I can’t wait for people to read it.

MPS: You’ll be reading at our September 20th Noir At The Bar. What should the audience expect?

MM: I’m going to read a nice little, funny as hell, slice of Genuinely Dangerous. It’s a little scary because I haven’t read any of this book live, but I think it’ll play in front of an audience. I’m going big so people should throw down a cocktail or six and enjoy.

You can find copies of Mike McCrary’s latest on our shelves or via bookpeople.com. We’ll also have plenty of copies for sale at our Noir at the Bar event! 

Noir at the Bar takes place at Threadgill’s South and begins at 7 PM, Tuesday September 20th. Mike McCrary will be joined by fellow Americans Rick Ollerman and Jesse Sublett –  plus Brits Zoe Sharp and John Lawton!

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