Last fall, I finally had the pleasure of meeting Frank Bill. This was about a year after we both appeared in Issue 5 of Plots with Guns and subsequently began to exchange notes, strategies and war stories from our respective crime-writing trenches.
I was inspired not only by his narrative voice (raw and poetic and brutal), but also his devotion and work ethic. Whereas, I stay up way too late to work on my novel, Frank rises way too early to do the same. In fact, there are times I’m just ending my writing here on the Pacific Coast when in comes a note from Frankie, who’s just getting started in southern Indiana.
At Bouchercon last fall, I found Frankie to be a genuinely kind, earnest and down-to-earth guy, which made it even more fun when we both (somehow) ended up at the St. Martin’s cocktail reception (it was like that scene from Seinfeld in which Kramer gets spun around at the Tony Awards by the “Clydesdale Surprise” people and ends up at all these “after parties”). We were in publishing culture-shock, in a good way. Hell, we were just a couple of pulp/noir writers snatching free food off the trays, trying not to stick out too much.
We were the kids from the wrong side of the tracks.
Well, for Frankie, not any more.
Frankie and his agent Stacia Decker announced yesterday that he has signed a two-book deal with Farrar, Straus & Giroux – for his novel, DONNYBROOK (a sneak peek of which I thoroughly enjoyed), and a collection of stories, CRIMES OF SOUTHERN INDIANA.
I am beyond thrilled for Frankie – his determination to put words on the page every day and his courage to tell brutal stories in a singular voice have paid off. The fact he also happens to be a great guy makes it even sweeter.