SMOKING IN THE BOYS ROOM
by Donna Chavez
This interview with award-winning IAMTW member CHRISTA FAUST originally appeared in the Dec. 3 issue of Publishers Weekly.
Selfdescribed “pulp writer” Christa Faust, who recently won an award for her novelization of the 2006 film Snakes on a Plane, celebrates another coup with the January release of Money Shot: the first female writer in Dorchester’s neo-noir Hard Case Crime imprint.
How does it feel to break into the Hard Case Crime boys’ club?
It’s really fantastic, almost unreal. Gender aside, Hard Case publishes some of my all-time favorite authors. Richard S. Prather, Donald Westlake/Richard Stark, David Goodis, even Mickey, goddamn, Spillane. I still can’t quite believe I’m included in such a crackerjack lineup.
Now that I’m in, I hope to shake things up a little. I want female readers to see just how tough a woman can be. I want to prove that the whole female-equals-cozy/male-equals-hard-boiled dichotomy is an artificial construct that has nothing to do with telling a good story.
What female authors do you admire?
I have to give props to the fiercely brilliant Megan Abbott. Hands down one of best writers in the genre, male or female. She’s our generation’s Chandler. I’m a big fan of Vicki Hendricks’s erotic noir, and I really liked Mo Hayder’s Tokyo.
You won the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers’ Scribe Award for Best General Adapted for your novelization of Snakes on a Plane. How did you get that job?
It was an assignment. Originally it was called Pacific Air Flight 121 and the [Samuel L.] Jackson character was just a generic action hero.
Novelizations need to be completed before the film is shot, sometimes before it has even been cast, in order to be released at the same time as the film. The amazing Internet buzz for SOAP didn’t gear up until I was nearly finished. In fact, we had to do some last-minute scrambling to get hold of a final draft of the script that included the famous “motherfucking snakes” line in time to meet my deadline.
Is the award great, or what?
The award itself is a wonderfully cheesy golden star that sits in a place of honor beside my desk with other bits of writer’s mojo like my letter from Richard Prather and a small statue of the Blessed Virgin dressed as a Dominatrix.
Some people look down their noses at media tie in work and think of tie-in writers as a bunch of soulless hacks just out to make a buck. I love tie-in work and have infinitely more respect for hard-working writers like Lee Goldberg and Max Allan Collins than I do for self styled literary geniuses who are still sitting in mom’s basement polishing their unpublished masterpiece. It was a hell of an honor to be recognized by my fellow tie-in writers. They really understand how tough the job can be.