Tuesday, January 17, 2006
g_so: Gerald So
jamesrwinter: Jim Winter
naperkid: Paul Tarantino
robkantner1213: Rob Kantner
g_so: Hi, Rob.
g_so: No one's here yet, but I do have some questions sent in by Mark Luebker, who sends his regards.
robkantner1213: OK. Mark's a good guy.
g_so: First question: When's the novel coming out? Any more short stories in the pipeline? I thought that Ben was taking a more introspective, even spiritual turn in the last few books--would Rob want to commment on that?
robkantner1213: On the novel, no idea. I have no publisher at this point.
robkantner1213: Another Perkins short is appearing in the June 06 AHMM.
robkantner1213: (at least that's what they tell me)
robkantner1213: As to the query about Ben being spiritual. . .dunno about that. . .
robkantner1213: Introspective, sure. Having a daughter has had a more profound effect on him than he realizes.
robkantner1213: Guess he's growing up a little bit. :)
robkantner1213: Hi Paul
naperkid: Hi Guys
g_so: You're the first arrival, so go ahead with a question, Paul :)
naperkid: Of course I want to know when the new Ben Perkins novel will be available.
robkantner1213: No idea at this point. . . #1 I haven't finished it yet (lol). #2 I have no publisher at this point either.
g_so: Here's another question from Mark: Is Ben still aging? And if so, how old is he now? Or has he gone into a Spenser-like time warp?
robkantner1213: I suppose it's similar to the Spenser time warp. In the book I'm doing now (My Eyes Keep Me In Trouble) a year has passed since Concrete Hero.
robkantner1213: But it's the present day.
robkantner1213: Go figure.
robkantner1213: I just did a scene yesterday where he chases someone on foot. . .and gets a bit breathless.
robkantner1213: That would not have happened prior to this book.
naperkid: Is Ben still with Raeanne?
robkantner1213: Yes, for the moment.
robkantner1213: Long stretch of monogamy for the guy :)
naperkid: If you have the time, who or what are you reading for pleasure?
robkantner1213: I read mostly nonfiction. History. Right now I'm reading Conspiracy of Fools (about the Enron scandal). In fiction I gravitate toward John Sandford, Robert B. Parker, some of the other PI players, Joan Hess, Marcia Muller. Smattering of things.
g_so: I'm a Sandford fan, too, though I'm behind on the Prey series. Davenport is a nicely nuanced character.
robkantner1213: I think it's about as consistently good a series as I've ever read. Yet Sandford develops Davenport also.
robkantner1213: I think it's exceptional to have produced as many books as he has, at such a consistently high level.
robkantner1213: I like his Kidd books too.
g_so: Yes, I discovered him with The Empress File.
robkantner1213: That's interesting. . .that was the first one I read and I didn't particularly care for it.
robkantner1213: It was the subsequent titles (which escape me) that really got me going. Just plain fun stuff and well done.
g_so: I think Davenport is a more realistic character than Kidd, if that makes sense.
g_so: Sort of the way Parker's Jesse Stone is more down-to-earth than Spenser.
robkantner1213: Definitely. Kidd's in more of a fantasy world (to my way of thinking). . .and in some ways a darker world too.
robkantner1213: Jesse Stone is okay. I've read 1 or 2 of them. I can't warm up to Sunny Randall.
g_so: On the topic of Ben's relationships, Mark asks: Carole was kinda being moved off-stage in the last few stories--is she "the one" for Ben (with his daughter) or is that pretty much over?
robkantner1213: Carole will always be part of Ben's life, by virtue of their parenthood, and also because they each have needs the other is willing to fill. But I don't see any rekindling going on, though the sexual magnetism will always be there. . . it's a fun aspect to present in their relationship. She's a district court judge now, by the way.
naperkid: Isn't she with someone else now?
robkantner1213: She was with Buck Longstreth, but that's fizzled. Ben's not sure what her situation is right now.
robkantner1213: Carole works at several levels at once.
naperkid: Any plans to put the rest of the short stories together in a book?
robkantner1213: No plans now. I'd like to sometime. The current one was fun to put together.
g_so: I've been reading the stories in TROUBLE IS WHAT I DO, and I like how interconnected they are. You really get a chance to know Ben's world, which seems quite a feat in short stories.
g_so: I'm a great fan of the short story myself.
robkantner1213: Thank you. It's something I've always worked hard on.
robkantner1213: Each story feels to me like a square on a checkerboard.
naperkid: I got hooked on them after finishing all the novels and I needed a"Perkins" fix.
g_so: that's a nice analogy, the checkerboard.
robkantner1213: Best I can think of. . . . I have never had a long term plan or anything. They just kind of come along. Plus I did other nonPerkins in between, and the books also. The story coming out in AHMM in June actually takes place AFTER the novel I'm doing now. . . it's like, that river has flowed on even though I'm not done with the book yet.
g_so: I was able to find several of the novels, but I know I'm missing some.
robkantner1213: I know it's tough. They've been out of print for a long time.
g_so: Do you prefer short stories to novels or vice versa?
robkantner1213: That's a difficult question. . . .
robkantner1213: Each has its own appeal. The short story requires more discipline and rigor and I get a sense of satisfaction out of pulling one off because everything has to work right. . . .
robkantner1213: Not every idea is a short story idea, nor is just any idea a book idea. They are different entities.
robkantner1213: A novel is a larger and longer landscape and allows for just a BIT more latitude in character and scene development.
g_so: I know what you mean. I'd like to get better at recognizing novel ideas.
robkantner1213: I don't think my delivery is radically different between books and short stories -- I tend to keep the whip cracking --
robkantner1213: With a novel I basically have a central crime / investigation / solution thread that I could balloon out to full novel length. . .but I keep it relatively spare so I can have a subplot or two that involves a theme or situation competing for the protagonist's attention.
robkantner1213: And bring the whole thing in under 100K words. And THAT gets tougher each time (lol).
g_so: Mark asks, "Seems like Ben in the books resembled Robert Urich's Spenser on TV--even the guy on the cover of the paperbacks back in the late eighties and early nineties...The car he drove...All of it very Urich/Spenser. Accident or design?"
robkantner1213: Accident. I'm not positive when Urich/Spenser came out but I think I had the first couple of books out by then. The Mustang has been around since 75 when I first started fooling around with him.
robkantner1213: As for the cover art I had no say or control over that -- some was (cough) better than others.
robkantner1213: And Ben's 71 Mustang is still purring along all these years later. . .in Detroit. A miracle!
g_so: the car gives Ben a timeless feel as well.
naperkid: You used to have some notes and updates on your website but not any more. How come?
robkantner1213: I had to put the web site updates on hold for a myriad of technical reasons. I thought it would only be for a few months but it's getting on to a year now (sigh).
robkantner1213: I hope to be up and running with it by spring.
g_so: websites in general are tough to keep updated.
robkantner1213: Yes. . .I don't have a consistent mechanism for that, plus I'm trying to learn cascading style sheets.
robkantner1213: Getting too old for this! :)
g_so: I like the ease of blogs, but at times they feel too much like diaries.
robkantner1213: I agree. Many blogs are (to me) just tedious. I don't like enduring tedium any more than I like inflicting it on readers.
robkantner1213: Of course I have a notoriously short attention span. :)
g_so: same here. :)
g_so: Final question from Mark: "Has Kantner ever thought of spinning off Dick Dennehy or Elvin Dance into solo stories...?"
robkantner1213: Never thought of Elvin going solo. That's an interesting idea. Dennehy has been in 3 or 4 published stories as the lead. I have had a lot of fun with him.
robkantner1213: Elvin's in the new one but Dick doesn't have a big role.
robkantner1213: I appreciate Mark sending questions.
robkantner1213: Gerald, you're on the East Coast, right?
g_so: Yes, New York.
robkantner1213: Hey Jim
jamesrwinter: Hello, Rob, Gerald. And...?
g_so: Paul Tarantino.
jamesrwinter: Hello, Paul.
g_so: Any questions for Rob, Jim?
robkantner1213: What's shaking, Jim?
jamesrwinter: Not much. Working on revs for last summer's project.
robkantner1213: Ain'tyou got fun?? lol
jamesrwinter: How about yourself?
robkantner1213: Working on the new Perkins. . .my favorite 2 hours of the day. :)
jamesrwinter: Short or novel?
robkantner1213: I'm working up another short, also. . .there's a Detroit Noir collection in the works I've been asked to contribute to.
g_so: what time of the day do you write, Rob?
robkantner1213: I write first thing in the morning. 5:30 to 7:30 or so or whenever I have to head off to work.
naperkid: You mentioned a short story for AHMM. Will that be the one in the Detroit noir collection?
robkantner1213: No, Paul. . . The Noir one has to be original / never published before.
robkantner1213: AHMM bought the new one over a year ago but it's not coming out til the June issue.
robkantner1213: "The Other Women"
naperkid: Both Ben Perkins?
g_so: Have you ever imagined a Ben Perkins movie/TV show, and if so who would play Ben?
robkantner1213: Oh, man. . . .
robkantner1213: This is God's own truth, I never gave that a thought.
robkantner1213: I'm a print guy. . .I kind of live and breathe on pages. I love movies etc.,
robkantner1213: but my own expression is via the printed page.
g_so: I don't think I could [imagine a movie] for one of my characters, either.
robkantner1213: Right, Gerald.
robkantner1213: I have a feeling if something like that ever happened, I would probably creatively and mentally have to divorce whatever was done from what I do.
robkantner1213: And anyway, aside from one really super-drunk guy one night a decade ago on the phone, I've never had anybody propose such a thing. :)
g_so: I do see some similarity between Perkins and Jim Rockford, but not so much I picture Garner as Ben. Same with anybody who's played Spenser or Hawk. Didn't match my mental image.
robkantner1213: Yes, I agree completely.
robkantner1213: I had difficulties buying Robert Urich as Spenser.
robkantner1213: But that was a LONG time ago.
g_so: Urich had a clean-cut image that I think rubbed off on Spenser, making it a strange portrayal.
robkantner1213: Uh huh. He was a good actor but just a bit too smooth maybe.
g_so: It's been just over an hour. Should we wrap up? Further questions, anyone?
robkantner1213: It's been good, guys. Thanks for hosting, Gerald. I really appreciate it.
naperkid: Thanks Rob. Keep up the good work.
robkantner1213: Thanks for the support, Paul.
g_so: My pleasure, Rob. Great to chat with you.
robkantner1213: Same here, Gerald. You guys stay warm!