Vital Crime Fiction: Pavement by Andrew Davie
It’s no surprise to me that All Due Respect Books has discovered another talented noir writer. It seems like there is a wealth of noir talent these days — though I’m not sure the mainstream agents, readers, and working filmmakers have taken as much notice as they should.
Andrew Davie is clearly another writer who deserves far more accolades than he’s received for this crime tale. But this is a shorter read and I’m hopeful the right readers and critics will take notice of Davie’s muscular prose and rapid character development. The book has only been out for a week or so (released July 26, 2019) — it’s still early and I’m sure stellar reviews will begin to roll in…
Pavement is another great one from ADR and crew. Extremely fortunate to have had the chance to sit down with Davie for a short one-on-one. Read on for insight into Davie’s process and love of writing.
Andrew Davie is originally from New York City. His short stories deal with existentialist themes in the speculative fiction genre. He also writes hardboiled novellas in the crime genre. He has worked as a recruiter for software programmers, an office manager at a theater company, an institutional sales/options trader in finance, and most recently a teacher. He’s taught English and writing in New York, Virginia, Macau (on a Fulbright Grant), and Hong Kong. These classes have been at the middle school, high school, and college-level; for traditional students, ESL students, and those with learning disabilities.
So, it looks to me like Chris Rhatigan and All Due Respect scooped up another great noir writer and novella. What brought you to ADR — how’d you find the publisher and why choose to work with them?
I had liked what All Due Respect had been putting out and felt my writing would fit with what they were producing.
Who edited your book? How was that process for you and were there significant improvements? Or was the book already dialed in?
Initially, I worked with a freelance editor, Noa Wheeler, to provide copy edits. However, she was also very helpful with keeping the continuity consistent as well as addressing smaller concerns like grammar and syntax. Chris, the publisher at ADR, and his staff, also had suggestions for edits which were very helpful as well. It was pretty much dialed in already, so there weren’t many significant changes.
Can you tell us about your life as a writer? Have you always been a writer? In what genre did you start and — this is the big one — why the hell are you writing noir?
I had always wanted to be a writer even when I was in high school. I became a theater major in college and wrote a one-act play, which was the start for me. After I graduated, I had a series of jobs in multiple industries, and though I didn’t publish anything, I still wrote all of the time. In 2012, I got an MFA in creative writing from Adelphi University, and that’s when I started to publish short stories which were mostly speculative fiction. I had always enjoyed reading noir, but it wasn’t until after I had read You Were Never Really Here by Jonathan Ames that I made a concerted effort to try my hand at it.
In your mind, how does Pavement fit in the broader tradition of PI novels? Or does it? I know for a fact that Chris Rhatigan is a complete hard ass when it comes to PI stories — why is your book so different?
I was always fascinated with Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. In author Rex Stout’s books, Nero Wolfe was a brilliant and eccentric detective who rarely left his brownstone. Goodwin, his associate, would do all of the field work. When I wrote Pavement, I thought I would use the same format, which I think differs from more traditional private investigators. Similarly, I feel like my characters have a certain moral flexibility which doesn’t necessarily make them unique, but it makes their choices more interesting.
In your bio, you mention surviving a medical emergency last year. Can you tell us what happened? How has that experience influenced your work as a writer and influenced your life? Where does the written word (and story itself) fit now for you?
Absolutely, I had a ruptured brain aneurysm and subarachnoid hemorrhage.
As a result, I have changed my perspective and my priorities with regard to what is important in life. I don’t think it’s directly affected my writing, per se, but I have more of an appreciation for the process now.
Okay, give us another reason why people should buy and read Pavement…
For people who enjoy reading noir, It’s a new take on a familiar setup. It’s also got something for people who don’t usually read noir.
Thanks for sitting down with me, Andrew — I’m hoping this primes the pump for some readers of noir.