Re: RARA-AVIS: "female noir"

Date: 27 Apr 2005

Hi, Mark, That's quite a mouthful of questions! First off, it's news to me that I'm the Queen of Female Noir. I've only heard Queen of Noir. Seriously, have you heard that? I would think the word queen feminizes it enough, but at the same time I wouldn't expect to be called king. Just guessing, I think I have more male readers than female so I don't think it's been a problem, whatever I'm called. I really didn't know that I had any kind of a name outside of Charlie Stella and friends. He made me a T-shirt that says Queen of Noir and that's all I've heard of it. I would also be surprised if my publishers have heard of either title or use it in any way. I've never seen it. Maybe you're presuming I have more fame than I do. As for the female protagonists having to pay up, except for Sky Blues, when we're not sure of the outcome for either character, the men always pay far more. I really don't think of anybody as having a "payment," like putting in a moral, just obsessed people causing their downfalls. The female characters aren't trying to find "freedom," they don't have a clue that women should act different from men, and they're nut cases who go to extremes because they're obsessed. They learn something about themselves at the end, too late to prevent worse psychological damage, but they generally get away, and I don't think that's bad compared to the guys, who end up dead. I find myself doing "The loss of a last chance to change" novels, in the words of Rust Hills. To me, I think both men and women are led by their sexual impulses, so there's really no reason to pin that on one sex or the other. I just mainly choose female protagonists because I know more about what kind of details to put in. In Iguana Love, I was thinking that it would be interesting to have a conflict between a man and a woman who is physically much stronger than he is, just for something different. Also, I enjoy working out with weights and at one point someone wanted to train me, so I had interest and contacts. To me, it makes sense that if you get involved in doing something, you want to take it to the limit and be the best, so although Ramona goes to a harmful extreme, it's really an achievement of sorts, just like her becoming a dive master. The book actually started in a very different way, with Ramona smothering a detective by sitting naked on his face. I'd forgotten about this, but Serpent's Tail suggested that I cut the detective to make the novel "less commercial." I think they really thought to start that way was too sexual for the reading public. The detective was involved in the end, in trying to apprehend Ramona, which also got cut, so there was a lot changed, but except for the loss of that first scene I think it's better without him, as they did. Again, I don't think they would have let that scene stay if I had been a male writer. The day of people being shocked by women
"behaving like men" is rapidly coming to an end, and soon the distinction will probably fade altogether, until nobody even brings it up. Actually, I think Sonny Mehta was counting on that shock value to sell lots of Miami Purity books, but it was already too late--unfortunately for me. My next novel Cruel Poetry has a male point of view as one of the main characters and I think I do a good job of getting inside of his head, and I don't turn him into a woman. I get on various kinds of panels. I think I only mentioned the "bad girl" panels on here because that's what came up, but there have really only been two of those that I was on. After the first one, we had so much fun that we tried to do a couple more, but I heard that the "old guard" of cozy writers was blocking us one year at Bouchercon. (This might only be rumor.) I really don't think I fit into any groups to tell you the truth. There are some women writers, like Val McDermott and Karen Slaughter, and SJ Rosen, that people are always telling me that they are my type, and I know they write dark and sometimes grisly stuff, but generally they seem more concerned with police, mystery, etc--plotting--than I am. That's why they sell more books! Most people are less concerned with the sex in the book and of the writer, I would say, and more concerned with plot twists. I've never had popular taste, and it's a hard thing to acquire, although I might eventually give it a try. I feel that I've slipped over the top of these questions, but that's the best I can do for now. If anything's unclear, feel free to ask again. Vicki

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor --------------------~--> In low income neighborhoods, 84% do not own computers. At Network for Good, help bridge the Digital Divide!

RARA-AVIS home page:
  Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

<*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

<*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 27 Apr 2005 EDT