A Tale of Two Christmas Eves

December 24th, 2012 by Max Allan Collins

Here’s a piece about my two most memorable Christmases that I wrote recently for Bookreporter. Happy holidays, everyone, and thank you for your interest and support in 2012.

My ambition, from junior high school onward, was to be a mystery writer, specifically to write and publish the kind of hardboiled fiction people are calling “noir” these days.

I had written four novels in high school and a number of short stories, spending my summers creating the manuscripts that I would send out during the school year. I had any number of encouraging responses, but no sales.

At the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, I was blessed to have Richard Yates — the great mainstream author of REVOLUTIONARY ROAD — as my mentor. He helped me shape my pulp fiction into something that strove to be something more, even if it didn’t always. He got me an appropriate agent in New York, a crusty ex-paperback editor named Knox Burger, who said of my Raymond Chandler/Mickey Spillane-inspired work, “I’m afraid young Mr. Collins has learned to be a blacksmith in an automotive age.” Yates had told Burger that he thought I was another Dashiell Hammett. Burger said, “No — W.R. Burnett maybe.”

The story continues over at Bookreporter.com.

And here are pics from my appearance at Centuries and Sleuths in Forest Park, Illiniois, doing a Q and A at the Midwest MWA Christmas party on Dec. 16.

Before I sign off, here are a few links you might like to check out.

Here’s an interview I did about the Disaster series, in support of the current reprint program from Thomas & Mercer.

This is a well-done “get to know” me and my work from the fun site Mystery People.

The private eye-centric blog Sons of Spade has a nice TARGET LANCER review.

And here’s a very much appreciated positive review (and more) from the great Bill Crider about the forthcoming (February) SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT.


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3 Responses to “A Tale of Two Christmas Eves”

  1. Paul.Griffith says:

    Wishing you and yours a joyous and blessed day! Really loved “Target Lancer”! After all of the reviews I can’t believe no one mentioned that powerful ending! It brought tears to my eyes, and that doesn’t happen often. Thank you Max, enjoy the holiday’s.

  2. Thanks for this generous comment. I’m especially pleased with the ending, and at the Centures & Sleuths affair mentioned above, one of the pro writers there was kind enough to mention how effective he thought the ending was.

  3. Gerard Saylor says:

    “Strike a pose.”