Duane is the author of several crime thrillers, including the Edgar-nominated and Anthony Award-winning EXPIRATION DATE, as well the Charlie Hardie series (FUN & GAMES, HELL & GONE, POINT & SHOOT), which have been nominated for Anthony, Shamus, Macavity and Barry awards. Many of his novels are currently in development for TV.
But kick-ass novels aren’t the only thing in this prolific writer’s bag of tricks. Duane currently writes the IDW comic-book series JUDGE DREDD and the Dark Horse series X, and has written about the Punisher, Birds of Prey, Godzilla, Cable, Bloodshot, the Immortal Iron Fist, Werewolf By Night, Black Widow and Deadpool. He also collaborated with CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker on a series of bestselling "digi-novel" thrillers which include LEVEL 26: DARK ORIGINS, DARK PROPHECY, and DARK REVELATIONS. In a previous life, Duane worked as an editor and writer for DETAILS, MEN’S HEALTH, and PHILADELPHIA magazines, and was the editor-in-chief of the PHILADELPHIA CITY PAPER.
As you can see, Duane’s a busy, busy writer and I was thrilled he took the time to do a drive-by Q&A for us here on the blog:
Hey Duane, when did you know you wanted to be a writer? When did you know you were one?
Sophomore year of high school, when I would write short horror stories and pass them to my friends -- who'd laugh or be grossed out, or ideally, both. I can't remember a moment where I 'knew," but I remember obsessing over the question during my high school and college years.
Who or what inspired you as a kid?
The Splatterpunk school of horror writers -- Clive Barker, David J. Schow, Skipp and Spector -- were huge influences. For their attitude as much as the material. It was my version of punk rock.
What creative work most recently inspired you?
I learn something from everything I read or listen to; right now I'm reading BURNT OFFERINGS by Robert Marasco, and it's a great lesson in how to write a slow burn. (Seriously, no pun intended...)
The most underrated creative (writer, musician, artist) is …
Pretty much everyone I admire.
In moments of self doubt, how do you push through?
Like Mickey Spillane, I take a look at my mortgage statement.
Have you ever abandoned a creative project?
Oh yeah. I have a virtual graveyard of abandoned projects... though I don't believe any of them are completely dead. The odd one will rise from the ground now and again.
Do you read reviews of your work?
For my novels? Yes. For the comics? Not so much.
Which of your works comes closest to the way you heard/saw it in your head?
They almost always come out different -- but I think that's a good thing. Novels are supposed to evolve as you write them.
How the heck do you write so much?
I really don't. I wish I wrote more. I'm always a few months behind the "where I thought I'd be" target in my head.
Your favorite fictional character or hero?
Right now it's a tie between RoboCop and Mike Erhmantraut from BREAKING BAD.
The next book on your reading pile is ...
Daniel Woodrell's THE MAID'S VERSION.
The book you can’t wait to read again is …
I do re-read books, but they're dependent on a particular mood striking me.
Does The Great American Novel exist (yet)? If so, what is it?
No idea. I'm trying to write the Great Polish-American Novel.
What creative work might we be surprised to find on your shelf or your TiVo?
I really don't think anything on my shelves would surprise you. And if it did, it's probably because my kids put it there by mistake.
What is the book you really should have read by now?
Geez, so many, but the one that comes to mind is CRIME AND PUNISHMENT.
Facebook and Twitter: friend or foe to a creative?
Both possess the potential for Great Good and Serious Evil. I try to pull myself away on a regular basis.
In addition to writing, how do you express your creativity?
On the charcoal grill. Oh, the tales I have spun with raw meat!
The most difficult thing about the life of a creative is …
Living inside your head so much. It's necessary, but it can wreak havoc on your home life.
The next comic-book movie they really should make is …
None of them. We've had enough for a while, haven't we?
What was the best writing advice you ever received?
Joe Lansdale's" "Writing = ass + chair."
If you’re a fan of slam-bang thrillers, with loads of action and suspense, check out the work of Duane Swierczynski. His Charlie Hardie trilogy is a fun joyride of extreme action, with a big serving of Duane’s humor on the side. I also loved EXPIRATION DATE and THE BLONDE. Oh, and THE WHEELMAN, which Duane signed for me when we met at NoirCon in his beloved Philadelphia. All good stuff. Learn more about Duane at his website, www.secretdead.com, and follow him on twitter.com/swierczy.