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Chili Verdes and a side of “Criminal Defense” – Interview with Steven Gore

StevenGore-BW-largeHello! Thanks for taking the time to interview with me. Your book grabbed my attention on another site and I was luckily contacted. I hope you enjoy answering these, as they can be quite fun if you want them to be!  In other words, my blog is different, festive and a little crazy, I hope you had fun!

CG – Introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you. (As in tell us something NOT in your bio, give us a dirty little secret not having or having to do with your writing)

I used to teach political philosophy, that’s why the crimes in the Donnally books reverberate beyond the particular victim and the particular criminal.

CG –  Crime novels are popular these days, I know I love a good one. What do you put into your stories to make them stand out in a crowd?

Authenticity. (I would use the word realism, but it has come to be associated with violence.) I try to recreate the world of crime both in terms of factual and legal veracity and in terms of the moral logic, how people explain themselves to themselves and try to justify what they do. The best character in this regard in my current book, A Criminal Defense, is Takiyah Jackson who becomes corrupted by the lawyer whose death Donnally is investigating.

CG – If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters? (I have a stock account no worries there)

Tran Nu Yen Khe as Janie Nguyen, Andy Garcia as Ramon Navarro, John Cusak as Harlan Donnally

Write one line you would love for him/her/them to say from your book.

Harlan Donnally: “There’s no coming back from dead.”

StevenGore-DreamCast

CG – During your time as a Private Investigator you had some pretty “hairy” experiences, if your bio serves to tell.. and though you cannot tell us specifics, can you highlight one which plays a big part in your Harlan Donnally novels, especially the latest; Criminal Defense?

There is no specific event that plays a part, rather it’s a sense of physical vulnerability, the knowledge that there will always be someone tougher than you are or who has a low threshold for using violence. Early in my career, when I was investigating street crimes, it was rather immediate: someone pulls a gun on you or you’re caught in a crossfire or get boxed in in a crack house. But it tends to be quick. You’re in a situation, then out of it. Later, working in places like Ukraine, Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier, and the Golden Triangle, where there are organized and powerful forces, that sense of vulnerability becomes part of the background of your work, kind of like humidity. It turns out you’re most conscious of it when you get on the plane to leave and the pressure suddenly lifts.

CG – Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing (as in what candy / snack food / drink / 80’s hair band you break out in song too when you just cannot figure out the next line to write and your muse seems to have wandered off with the mail man?)

I’m always writing more than one book at the same time. If I’m not sure what should happen next in one book, I’ll either just turn to the other or just go for a walk. As you write more books, it becomes less of a problem.

CG – What do you do when you’re not writing? (ie: What festive things do you do for fun? What things do you do when you make yourself have fun, and what is on the top of your list to do when you actually take two days for you (and family)

I can’t say I ever stop writing. I’m always writing and rewriting in my head. My wife and I like to travel, the more times zones we cross, the better. Even then, we scout out scenes for story events. Nearly every place that shows up in the books are places I have worked or places we have gone on vacation.

CG – I am a big hard-boiled detective novel buff, I love Noir and stories with this flare, your detective though in the modern world seems to have that gruff exterior we see in many of these novels. Being a retired PI you have to admit at one point or another, those fedora’s looked kind of cool… do you have one hidden in your closet? (In other words did Hard-Boiled detective novels ever play a part in your life? Read any, enjoy any… put a swagger in your step?)

I liked Raymond Chandler and others in noir tradition when I was in graduate school at UC Berkeley. They were an end-of-the-quarter escape from political philosophy. I didn’t think about those books again until after many years as an investigator and after I started writing and discovered that the genre is in many ways the opposite of reality: e.g., real investigators almost always aim to lower tension, rather than raise it; aim to avoid obstacles, rather than overcome them; plan ahead, rather than race headlong; and get almost everything right the first time.

The writer from the tradition that has held up best for me is the great Ross MacDonald. The last five books in his Archer series are the finest private investigator novels ever written.

CG – If your book was a meal what would it be? Meat and potatoes? Vegetarian? A light nouveau cuisine? (I do a recipe with many of my authors this maybe an opportunity for you to share a recipe you think could go along with this? Or just describe the actual meal, this would be the whole thing not just one dish – believe me, this is fun!)

I grew up on southern Arizona and there are lots of Mexican-American characters in my books. The recipe is for Chile Verde, but instead of browning pork shoulder pieces in a frying pan, smoke the whole shoulder as you would for pulled pork or smoked carnitas, except using a rub made of the standard Chile Verde herbs and spices. I use oak for smoking it, but any kind of wood other than hickory or mesquite would do.

Chile Verde

 Ingredients & Directions

5 lbs pork butt or shoulder, bone in.

Pork Shoulder

Rub for pork:
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1½ tbs ground oregano
  • 1½ tbs ground blackpepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
Smoke pork 1.5-2 hours per pound at 225 degrees. (As the Cabin Goddess you’ll know how to do this. CG – Why yes, yes I do and this, my friends is the perfect way to get the perfectly moist rich smoked shoulder)
Broil all the below, remove the skins from garlic cloves and peppers, then chop and put in blender or food processor:
  • 7333578_s-0011½ pounds tomatillos
  • 5 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 2 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed
  • 2 Anaheim chiles
  • 2 Poblano chiles
Then add:
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves without stems
  • 2 chopped yellow onions
Grind it, but leave it a bit chunky. Pour into a large pot and add:
  • 2½ cups chicken stock
Break the pork into pieces and add it. Simmer on the stovetop for forty-five minutes. To keep the distinct flavors, stop cooking before the pork absorbs too much of the sauce.

CG Let’s step it up a notch, how about create a drink (with or without booze) representing your book in name and ingredients!

I’d like to make something up, but both of my protagonists, Graham Gage and Harlan Donnally, who are one ingredient drinkers, would be against it, so it’ll have to be cold beer or straight whiskey.

CG – Let’s step it up a notch, how about create a drink (with or without booze) representing your book in name and ingredients!

I’d like to make something up, but both of my protagonists, Graham Gage and Harlan Donnally, who are one ingredient drinkers, would be against it, so it’ll have to be cold beer or straight whiskey.

CG FAST and FURIOUS – Don’t pause just answer what comes first to mind

  • On the Rocks, Blended or Bottle and a Shot Glass? Bottle
  • Coke or Pepsi? Coke
  • Handgun gun or stungun? Handgun
  • Planes, Trains or Trolly cars? Planes
  • Roller Coaster or Ferris Wheel? Ferris wheel
  • Superman or Batman? Superman
  • Learn battle techniques from a viking or a ninja? Viking
  • Ebook or Paperback? Paperback
  • Chainsaw arm, shotgun leg or x-ray vision? X-ray vision

StevenGore BW-largeSteven Gore is a former private investigator whose international thrillers draw on his investigations of murder, fraud, money laundering, organized crime, political corruption, and drug, sex, and arms trafficking in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Gore has been featured on 60 Minutes for his work and has been honored for excellence in his field. He is trained in forensic science and has lectured to professional organizations on a wide range of legal and criminal subjects.

To find out more, please visit Steven Gore around the web

Website | Facebook | Mailing List

 

A Criminal Defense

Betrayal wounds. Revenge destroys.

What do you call a criminal defense attorney hanging by his neck? When he’s Mark Hamlin, every cop in San Francisco calls it justice.

Over three decades, Hamlin’s practice devolved into just another racket: intimidating witnesses, suborning perjury, destroying evidence, laundering money. But is he the victim of murder—or of a dangerous sexual encounter gone wrong? And when law enforcement believes justice has already been done, who can be trusted to find out?

Once again in the city where his career came to a shattering end, former detective Harlan Donnally resolved it wouldn’t be him. He had no desire to immerse himself in the deceit that was Hamlin’s career . . . nor entangle himself in the corrupted loyalties that turned the dead lawyer’s associates into both co-conspirators and suspects . . . nor make himself the proxy for the hatreds and betrayals Hamlin left behind.

But the presiding judge demanded otherwise—and that might cost Donnally his life.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

I want to thank Harper for getting me in touch with Steven Gore for a chance to get to interview this awesome author! Jessica Lay for sending them my name and always having my back! I would not be the person I am today in this industry with the friends I have. I love sharing interviews like this, I love authors who take the time to really get into it… and I cannot wait to make this meal!

Some of the buy links are Cabin Goddess Amazon Associate links where a small (tiny) amount is credited to my Amazon Gift Card account.

4 Comments

  1. Another great interview with an author who sounds like he knows what he’s doing. Where do you find these authors and their books!

  2. I threw myself onto the mercy and begged HarperCollins to let me interview him! LOL

    • They must know you do a great job to have you interview him! See! You are appreciated all over the world. 🙂

  3. Mmmmm…. I mean, great interview 🙂

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