MysteryPeople Q&A with Melissa Ginsburg

 

 

Melissa Ginsburg comes to BookPeople this upcoming Saturday, April 30th, at 3 PM, to speak and sign her Houston-set debut, Sunset Cityour MysteryPeople Pick of the Month for April. We asked Melissa a few questions via email before her visit to the store. 

“I do think Houston can be alienating…the way the city is organized, people move from one air-conditioned space to another, traveling by car, without the happy accidents that can occur when you’re a pedestrian in a city. So if you opt out of that—get out in the heat, on foot, be in the in-between spaces—you can really get away with a lot. No one is going to notice you. It’s perfect for crimes!”

 


  • Interview by bookseller and blogger Molly Odintz

Molly Odintz: Houston is as much a character in your book as a setting. The atmosphere of alienation inspired by the endless driving and urban sprawl mirrors the city of Los Angeles as a noir setting. What inspiration did you take from your Houston setting?

Melissa Ginsburg:  I do think Houston can be alienating—I certainly felt alienated when I was growing up there. The way the city is organized, people move from one air-conditioned space to another, traveling by car, without the happy accidents that can occur when you’re a pedestrian in a city. So if you opt out of that—get out in the heat, on foot, be in the in-between spaces—you can really get away with a lot. No one is going to notice you. It’s perfect for crimes!

Houston still has space in between everything, you can still go unnoticed there, you can get lost, you can hide. That anonymity works on a larger level, too, with the city as a whole. I think of Houston as a very anonymous place. People don’t think about it much if they haven’t lived there or spent time there. It’s not a part of the American imagination like New York or LA or Chicago, even though it is nearly as big as Chicago.

All of this might be changing now, though. It’s a cooler, more interesting city than it was even 10 years ago. In many ways the Houston of Sunset City is the Houston of my childhood in the 80s and 90s. It’s fictionalized.

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