I like to tease David Montgomery. I tell him the only reason he’s a reviewer is to get all those free books. But it ain’t true. David really, really loves mystery/crime/suspense/thrillers. And because he does, he is one of the best out there. Just look at his credits: Chicago Sun-Times, National Review, USA Today, Kansas City Star, January Magazine, Philadelphia City & Inquirer and then there’s the Boston Globe and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. His CRIME FICTION DOSSIER is one of the best on the web, and he has another great site – OVERNIGHT SUCCESS? It is here that some of the hugest (I know that’s not a word, but I like it) writers share their travails to being published. And then David has MYSTERY INK – the home of the prestigious GUMSHOE AWARD- now in it’s fifth year.
So come meet David-
EE: Word is, David, Marilyn Stasio, the infamous New York Times book reviewer confers with you first before writing her column. I think it’s time we knew the truth.
DM: I wish she would! Stasio generally has excellent taste in books, and her writing is good, but I often find her reviews unsatisfying. There’s not enough analysis or opinion in them. It can be tough to do when writing in the column format, but I’d like to see more meat in there.
Yeah, me too. I’d also like to see my book there. Do you know where I can find a voodoo doll?
EE: And what about the rumors that your annual Gumshoe Award, so prestigious it fairly kills writers who are never short-listed, is just a ruse to get nominees and winners to join the publishing house you’ve got going on the back burner?
DM: It’s funny that you say that, as I’d love to run a publishing house. Soon as I win the lottery, I’m starting one. As for the Gumshoe Awards…the staff at Mystery Ink tries hard each year to single out the best books, hopefully with an eye towards some more unconventional choices. It’s a helluva task, but the really hard part is singling out the winners. I’d rather just make the shortlist and leave it at that.
Just the shortlist? Hmmm. That idea has merit. That would mean I was a winner! Yeah, I like that, David.
EE: Okay, here’s a hot one: I’ve been told (and I’ll just faint if it’s true) that you’ve been approached by Rupert Murdoch to pen a mystery related gossip column for The Enquirer.
DM: I’ve got tons of great gossip, so I’ve been looking for an outlet where I can use it. (My blind items are killers!) As it turns out, however, nobody knows who the mystery writers are, so the idea was greeted with a huge "WTHF?"
Huh? Nobody knows US?? Who the hell do they think keeps them up at night? We’ve got to remedy that, David! We’ll put our heads together at ThrillerFest, okay? Maybe we’ll let Guyot sit in on this. He’s kinda twisted too. Too bad JLW ain’t gonna be there.
EE: Okay, lets get to the nitty gritty. What sex symbol do you think you resemble? Does Maili agree?
DM: Unfortunately, the only celebrity I resemble is Anthony Edwards (formerly Dr. Mark Green on ER). I was at the In-N-Out Burger in Ventura one time when a woman I didn’t know came up to me and told me how much I looked like Edwards. I protested that, unlike Edwards, I actually had hair, but she didn’t seem swayed.
Awww (gush, gush) you’re much better looking than Edwards. And that goatee is soooo cool!
EE: Who are the seven people you’d invite to dinner? And why?
DM: I’d invite anyone who’d pay! Seriously, though, one person I’d love to have dinner with, but never got the chance, was Ross Thomas. Ross was my favorite writer and unfortunately I never got the chance to meet him. We corresponded for a little while before his death, but that was it. From everything I’ve heard, he was a wonderful man, and he’s someone I really would have liked to know. His books continue to dazzle to this day.
Yes, I can see you’d feel that way. He was a master.
EE: You’ve been a panelist, and a moderator at several cons, and will be sharing the table with Lawrence Block & David Morrell this weekend at BEA, so with all that experience, give us the ideal panel you’d like to moderate. And don’t mention Dan Brown, okay?
DM: To be honest, my ideal panel is one that I don’t have to moderate! That’s the downside to getting a rep as a good moderator: people always ask you to moderate the panel, rather than participate on it, the latter of which is much easier and more fun. (The upside to it is that you can always get a gig.) In general, though, I like panels where people discuss books, writing and publishing in a serious way and aren’t afraid to share their true thoughts. It also helps if Barry Eisler is on it, ’cause he’s cute and people like to look at him.
Well, yeah-Barry IS easy on the eyes. But I like the way you sneaked around my question, David! Very diplomatic.
EE: Which writer would you love to have all to yourself in a cozy corner of the bar at then next con? We won’t tell Maili. Cross our evil little heart.
DM: I mentioned Barry already. He let me touch his hair once…I’m still aflutter over it. There are some very attractive female crime writers out there, no doubt. If I were making a list, my darling Elaine, your name would be at the very top. So let’s book a booth!
Ohhhh? Now MY heart’s afluttering! Honey, I’m so there. Shall we take the booth in the back?
EE: Whew, I’m still afluttering. I’ll be calm in a minute. Okay, I’m fine now. So, David, which Rock & Roll star would you trade places with? No substituting Hip-Hop, please.
DM: Not a Rock & Roll star – I always wanted to be Frank Sinatra. Frank put ’em all to shame.
I always knew you were a man after my heart. Remember his ‘All Or Nothing At All’?
EE: Rumor running rampant in Mystereyville is that you feed Paul Guyot all of his best lines. Gasph. Could this REALLY be true?
DM: Yes, it’s true. Guyot has me on a monthly retainer to write jokes for him. (I’m kind of like the straight Bruce Vilanch.) Paul’s fashion sense is all his own, though. I tried telling him that oversized hockey jerseys are So 1988, but he won’t listen.
It’s true?? Oh, no! All this time I thought…oh, well…live and learn, huh?
EE: My spies tell me that you’re working on a new project that will blow the roof off The Da Vinci Code. A hint or two wouldn’t be too much trouble now would it? I mean, we could get some advance buzz going on here.
DM: The Da Vinci what? Yeah, I’m working on a novel. A thriller, of course. It’s about…well, it’s really to sensitive to talk about now. Next question?
What? Is Hayden listening? He hasn’t been confirmed yet, has he?
EE: Buzz around town is that you’re Barry Eisler’s role model for John Rain and that Lee Child is claiming first rights for Jack Reacher. Would you please put this rumor to rest once and for all?
DM: Due to the ongoing nature of various legal actions, I can’t comment on that at this time.
Claiming the Fifth again, huh? I gotta say – you reviewers are tough nuts to crack.
EE: Okay, this time I want a real answer. I’ll get you on this one!~ I have it on very good authority that you’re really not David Montgomery, but are, in truth, a runaway heir to the ancient Monrovian royal house because you just want to be a regular guy. Tell me this is false, David! I mean, if I have to curtsey every damn time I see you…well, it would just be too hard on my lumbago.
DM: It’s actually the Stroganoff Family – not as well known as the Romanoffs, perhaps, but just as important. Every time someone east beef in mushrooms and sour cream sauce, I get a nickel. That’s the only way I can afford to be a book critic, which pays about as well as being a midlist mystery author these days.
Then I won’t have to cursey? Thank God for that. But, uh, David? Stick with the reviewing, okay? You’re probably making MORE dough than us.
EE: Any truth to the talk that you’re planning to buy the Chicago Sun-Times so you can have the front page all to yourself whenever you want it?
DM: Get into the newspaper business? What are you, insane? I think I’ll stick to playing the lottery. The odds are better.
Insane? Moi? Well, hell – I’ve been called worse.
EE: Time for the BIG truth here, David! Why don’t your legion of readers and friends know that you’re an accomplished symphony tuba player?
DM: Unfortunately, I had to give up the tuba after I herniated myself helping Mike Connelly carry around his ego. Can you believe that guy? Have you ever heard anyone talk more about themselves? You can’t shut him up! Next time, I’m taking up the piccolo.
Ahem, yes, darling David – I do know a few that talk more about themselves than Mike. We’ll trade notes at ThrillerFest. But we can’t let Guyot sit with us then. He’s such a damn blabbermouth. Did you hear what he said about….
Oopps! Sorry! I forgot you guys were still here. Come back next Saturday and listen to what Gayle Lynds has to say!