Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Q&A: Bill Crider

Unless my referrer logs are lying to me, most of you don’t need an introduction to Bill Crider. Author of numerous books, proprietor of an essential blog, one of the world’s foremost authorities on pulp fiction, alligator enthusiast. The Wild Hog Murders, the latest in Bill’s long-running and Anthony Award-winning Sheriff Dan Rhodes series, comes out today. The man who drives a sizeable chunk of the traffic to this website made the spectacularly ill-advised decision to participate in a VKDC Q&A.

Q. What can you tell us about THE WILD HOG MURDERS?

Well, it has wild hogs in it. It's estimated that there are 2.5 million of them on the loose in Texas, and they’ve become a real problem. They’ve even started to invade major suburban areas. Since I’ve included at least a passing reference to them in every book in the Sheriff Rhodes series since that very first one, I thought it was time to give them the center stage.

Q. Have you had any personal run-ins with feral pigs?

It depends on how you define “run-ins.” I own some land in Limestone County, and I’ve seen hogs there, from a distance, but that’s about it. My brother is the overseer of the property, and he’s had plenty of encounters. He’s trapped them and shot them, and he sees them all the time. He’s not fond of them.

Q. Sheriff Dan has been around since 1986. What have been the biggest changes that the character has had to deal with in terms of doing his job?

The sheriff is sort of stuck in the ‘80s, though now his department does have computers. And everybody in Blacklin County has a cell phone. It’s only a matter of time until somebody records a crime on video, I guess. Aside from that, though, the sheriff still relies a lot more on interviews and intuition than he does on the methods you see on CSI.

Q. Your collection of vintage paperbacks is legendary. Which authors from your groaning bookshelves do you most want to see rediscovered in the e-book era?

Thanks to the independent presses, a lot of my favorites are being rediscovered between covers, Harry Whittington, Day Keene, and Gil Brewer to name three. I’m wondering when John D. MacDonald will be available in e-book format. Somebody’s missing a bet on that. Others I’d like to see: Charles Williams and Lionel White.

Q. Where on earth do you find all those stories that appear on your blog?

I get a lot of them from newspapers and online news sites. And sometimes other people (like, well, you) send me the links. I get a kick out of the stories, and I enjoy sharing my favorites.

Movie Q: What's your favorite movie about Texas?

I have more than one. The Last Picture Show, Tender Mercies, A Perfect World, Giant ... I could go on. Rio Bravo’s not “about” Texas, but it's a personal favorite.

Baseball Q1: What do you think of the proposed realignment plan that would move your beloved Houston Astros to the American League?

I’m all for it. It would be great to see the Astros playing in the same division with the Texas Rangers, though the Rangers would beat them like a drum for the next generation or two.

Baseball Q2: Do you ever wish the Astros were still called the Colt .45s?

No, but watching the Astros attempt to play baseball this year is almost enough to drive me to drink a few bottles of Colt .45.

Cocktail Q: You’re in a well-stocked bar. What do you order?

I’m a guy of plebeian tastes. Give me rum and Coke or a whiskey sour or gin and tonic, and I’m happy.