Welcome back, Duane. It’s a pleasure see you again on my blog. Our last interview was in 2009, when you went to Italy maybe with your only novel published here “Uccidere o essere uccisi” Severance Package (St. Martin’s Press, 2008). It had been very well received, especially by the experts. I remember enthusiastic reviews to the book. That experience was to be published in Italy?
I’m a quarter Italian (on my father’s side), so it was a thrill to be published in Italy! The only thing that struck me as strange was the cover, which featured a man in an animal costume holding a shotgun. There are no shotguns in the novel, and there are no animal costumes. Artistic license, maybe? I just hope that Italian readers had fun with it.
I still continued to follow you. What has changed since then, what’s new?
The book appeared back in 2008, which is the same year I quit my day job (I was the editor of a newspaper in Philadelphia) to write full-time. So that year, everything changed! I wrote a ton of comic book scripts for Marvel, DC, IDW, Dark Hors, co-wrote a trilogy of crime thrillers with CSI creator Anthony Zuiker (the Level 26 series, which I’m pretty sure are available in Italian), and of course, continued to write my own novels.
What have you published before and after Severance Package?, which actually was your fifth novel, a Pulp novel, very extreme.
Yep, Severance was about as extreme as I’ve gone (so far). My first novel is Secret Dead Men, a blend of hardboiled mystery, horror and science fiction. That was followed by The Wheelman (a bank heist story), The Blonde (a race-against-the-clock thriller). Severance Package is my fourth novel, actually. After that came Expiration Date (a murder mystery/science fiction novel, which was also nominated for the Edgar in 2011), the Charlie Hardie trilogy (my take on the “unkillable action hero” subgenre), and then two grounded crime novels: Canary and Revolver.
After Canary (Mulholland Books, 2015), which this year was nominated for best novel to 2016 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, and was my favorite then although it has won Let Me Die in His Footsteps by Lori Roy, you have published Revolver (Mulholland Books, 2016). Would you talk about it?
Revolver is my attempt to tell a long family saga, spanning almost 90 years, while leaving out all of the “boring” parts. So the narrative revolves through time, jumping from the 1960s to the 1990s to the present day (with a few surprise deviations along the way). It’s about the murder of two police officers in 1965, and the ripple effects of that crime 50 years after it takes place. And while it’s not autobiographical, it was partly inspired by a real-life crime in my own family. Someday, I might write a book about that case.
We will see shortly something of yours in Italy? There are translation projects, or your readers can continue to read you only in English?
For a short while, there was a rumor that the first Charlie Hardie novel, Fun & Games, would be translated into Italian. But it’s been kind of quiet on that front. Hopefully readers will start clamoring for more Swierczynski in translation! (That is, if they can manage to pronounce my last name.)
What are you currently reading?
Right now I’m halfway through a two-volume oral history of Star Trek, as well as a novel called sci-fi heist novel called Off Rock by Kieran Shea. My reading habits run in cycles, and right now I’m in the middle of a big sci-fi cycle. I think this is my subconscious mind’s way of distracting me from the real-life nonsense going on in the U.S. right now.
Is there any young authors in America that you advise us to keep an eye on them?
I suppose I’ve reached that age where I’m no longer a young writer… hang on for a minute while I swallow my back pill and find my reading glasses… But seriously: if you like dark private eye stories, I urge you to check out Dave White and his Jackson Donne series (the most recent one is the fourth: An Empty Hell). In horror, there’s this maniac named Adam Cesare who never fails to impress me. Check out Tribesmen. And finally, there’s rumors of a big bad space opera novel from graphic novelist Michael Moreci (author of Roche Limit), and I can’t wait.
Thanks for your time and I hope that this interview will allow to make yourself known to the readers of my blog who do not know you yet. As a last question I’d like to know what are you writing now and what are your future plans.
Right now I’m working on my eleventh novel (still dancing around the title, but I have two that I like) and working on a series of short novels with James Patterson (The House Husband, The Shut-In and Stingrays). Come to think of it, I’ll bet they will be translated into Italian before long. I also moved to Los Angeles with my family this past summer, so I’m hoping to be doing more film and TV work while I’m here. Thanks so much for checking in with me—let’s do it again in eight years! (If not sooner.)
[Originally posted on Liberi di scrivere]