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CRIMINALLY GOOD: interview with author James Diabasio

    1) So, who are you & what have you written?

    My first two published novels, GAIJIN COWGIRL and BLOODY PARADISE, are international thrillers. GAIJIN COWGIRL delves into crimes of power in Asia emanating from World War Two. BLOODY PARADISE is a tropical noir, set in Thailand, in which a man and a woman must trust each other if they are to get off an island alive.

    I’m American but I have lived in Asia since 1997, where I am a journalist. My fascination with Asian cultures and America’s history in the Pacific forms the backdrop to the stories that I write.

    2) Why do you write crime fiction?

    Because it’s fun, and also because it’s hard. Crime fiction is a means to explore the dark side of humanity without losing your bearings.

    3) What informs your crime writing?

    My job and my interests expose me to a lot of countries and societies, and their histories. I also cover finance and technology as a journalist, so I have a view on how power works – the engines of both progress and exploitation. Finally, I find gender roles in Asia interesting because they are different than the West’s, and that got me into writing female protagonists. It’s a good exercise for a writer to see the world from a different point of view; to empathize.

    And I love stories. When you write a novel, story comes first, driven by characters, in a given setting – in that order. The heavier themes give the book depth but they are subservient to story.

    4) What’s your usual writing routine?

    Given the demands of the day job, I tend to work in spurts over weekends and holidays. It’s not ideal, but I’m disciplined.

    5) Which crime book do you wish YOU’D written, and why?

    I recently came across a 1970s French crime novelist named David-Patrick Manchette. He wrote a short book, a novella really, that has been translated into English called “Fatale”. It captured the kinds of characters I’ve been developing.

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