INTERVIEWS

In Reference to Murder

As a writer, I don’t, thankfully, suffer from writer’s block, but I do sometimes suffer from research blockade. That’s the moment where I have to stop to find out what I need to know before I can go forward. Continue Reading

Interview with Books and Benches

The scene I like best is a funeral where the bad guy, a femme fatale named Michiko, is watching the funeral she’s responsible for. The detective, Hiroshi, is there to see who’s at the wedding. It’s still not clear to Hiroshi if the deceased American committed suicide or was killed. So, Hiroshi is watching a Japanese-style funeral for an American man and looking over at a beautiful Japanese woman sitting to the side and at the friends of the dead man and trying to figure out what’s going on. Continue Reading

Interview Feathered Quill

Interview Feathered Quill

FQ: I enjoyed all of the characters in this story, especially the interactions between the detectives. Are any of these compelling characters based on real life people?
PRONKO: Mostly they are composites of people I’ve observed and spoken with over the years. As for Michiko, she’s based on hostesses who work in the night world pouring drinks and talking with men that I’ve seen when out and about. Continue Reading

Interview with My Book Place

Interview with My Book Place

I got the idea for it because I live in Tokyo, and was a jazz writer for quite a few years, and still am. But when I started I was writing about jazz for the Japan Times, so I was always out at night in the nightlife parts of the city. I’d see these hostesses who work in all the clubs there, and they are stunningly attractive. But, I wondered what kind of life they led, staying up all night, working in the clubs in all these pretty wild areas of the city. I stared to wonder what was inside their appealing external appearance. Continue Reading

Interview with Paul Semel at paulsemel.com

Interview with Paul Semel at paulsemel.com

What about non-literary influences; do you think any movies, TV shows, or video games had an influence on The Last Train, and if so, what in what ways?
Films and more films, yes. I love film noir, and even the most B-movie-like of them are fascinating. I watch many films set in Japan, old and new, so I learn a lot from those. Most samurai films, which I really love, could be considered mysteries, or suspense/thrillers. Continue Reading

Interview with Literary Titan

I was always going to Roppongi and Shinjuku and Shibuya, nightlife parts of the city. I’d see the hostesses who work in all the clubs there, and they would often be in the jazz clubs. They were almost always strikingly attractive, but underneath that seemed some sadness. Whatever one thinks of their work, the women seemed smart. What impressed me most, though, was the great personal dignity with which they carried themselves. Continue Reading

Interview on Patrick Sherriff’s great site

Interview on Patrick Sherriff’s great site

Patrick Sherriff: How did you come to write Japan crime novels? I think you are better known as an essayist, certainly that’s how I came across your name.
Michael Pronko: Actually, I “came back” to writing novels. Outside of school assignments, all I wrote when I was young was fiction. I just didn’t publish it. And then just when I started to get things published, about twenty years ago, I got a couple of great gigs writing essays, reviews, and journalism, so I went with that. Continue Reading

Interview with Feathered Quill

Interview with Feathered Quill

FQ: Given this is your third compilation of essays on the subject of Tokyo, what inspired you to write the first (and continue the series)? Was it more a journey for you to understand its people (or a mission to explain the culture to the world)? Continue Reading

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