Short Sharp Interview- Jan Richards

PDB: In 25 words or less, who is Dusty Dexter?
Dusty’s the newest PI on the block. She doesn’t play by the rules, ok she doesn’t know the rules, but she doesn’t let that stop her. (And she can’t count.)
PDB: Female Private Eyes seem few and far between, which ones do you admire?
Actually, there are heaps of female PIs. For a start there’s Tara Moss’s Makedde Vanderwall the former model turned investigator, then there’s Leigh Redhead’s Simone Kirsch former stripper turned PI, and Kerry Greenwood’s Phyrne Fisher high-society Englishwoman who finds her home in Melbourne. And they’re just a few Aussie-based females out there solving crime.
Of course I love Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, the inspiration for Dusty, and Sue Grafton’s alphabet crime fighter Kinsey Millhone, and who could forget Dusty’s heroines Charlie’s Angels.
There are female PIs from all walks of life out there chasing down the bad buys, and many of them, like Dusty, are doing it on their own. Go girls!
PDB: Dusty’s adventures where first serialized in an Australian newspaper. Can you tell us something about that?
The novel was serialised in nine regional Australian newspapers, Monday to Friday, 500 words per day. APN News and Media wanted to offer readers something different and the “continuous novel” was one of a number of initiatives. They also wanted to give readers something that would keep them coming back to the newspaper every day. 
Focus group research a couple of months into the serialisation showed that Dusty Dexter was recognised by readers. The format and word count were based on studies of how much time people spend reading the newspaper. I have anecdotal evidence, letters to the editor, blog comments and emails that show that a readership was established, although it’s hard to know how many people were reading Dusty. 
I think eight months is a long time to read a novel, and to remember things like a red herring in chapter two. I know a lot of people dropped off, or read bits and pieces. I think this worked in my favour as far as selling copies now that the serialisation is over.
I’m not sure why Dusty was chosen from the novels submitted. I suspect the fun, easy-to-read style, the coastal Australian location, and that in Australia the crime genre is very popular played a part. 
PDB: Who should play Dusty in the film version?
Drew Barrymore. Charlie’s Angles’ bad-girl Drew, as Dylan Sanders, is Dusty’s idol. She gets all her best moves, and fashion hints, from watching her Charlie’s Angels DVDs.
PDB: What is Rikki & The Writer?
My niece Rikki Richards is a writer, of gothic romance as Tess Kidston, and a Dusty fan. I was blogging about having trouble with the sequel and Rikki wrote a few hundred words, Dusty style, to get me going. 
I wrote the next few hundred words and it continued from there. I think she did a great job changing genres, and we both had fun doing it. The story isn’t finished, we’re having a break while Rikki is studying – biological science and genetic engineering. (She’s much smarter than her aunt.) 
Rikki and her sister Sasha, 16, are responsible for my book trailer which is on You Tube. It was completed in five hours – filming and editing. I did the voice over.
PDB: What’s on The Cards for you now?
Continuing promotion of Dusty and rewriting of the sequel. But that has to wait until I finish the TEFL course – I’m aiming to be in Seoul in February to teach English for a year. Dusty might turn up solving crime in Korea.

Published by PaulDBrazill

A writer and teacher, from England and living in Poland. 'The Poundland Poe.' Books include The Last Laugh, Guns Of Brixton, and Gumshoe Blues. This/ That/ & The Other.

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