How aware were you of what your dad's writing career was like? How did you become aware he was a writer with a name that people knew? What was that like?
Nancy: All I recall is a lot of typewriting and my friends asking and all I could say was he typing his notes. I had no idea what type of writing he did until my senior year in school.
Peggy: I knew our dad was a writer of some sort but never realized his worth until after my teenage years. He provided well for the family [he was] very respected by those who knew him...we lived simple like everyone else in town.
Joyce: As the oldest, I was probably the first to be aware of what was going on. I can't remember how I became aware of it, other than little whispers. I was proud of his talent but ashamed of the content. I was a real "goodie two shoes" (good grades, on my way to college, cheerleader, officer of many clubs in high school) and never brought it up in conversation. No one else did, either. I think that many people were surprised that I was such a contrast to the characters in his book. It is hard to think of your father as a sexual being when you are a kid. It is much easier to deny it.
the financial down times of your father's writing career, how did
that change how he worked?
did you first read your father's work? Could you see your father in
the writing or was it like reading a stranger's writing?
do you think of your father's writing now? He's an incredibly
readable writer, but obviously much of what he wrote was for the
"sleaze" market. What did that mean for your father? What
did it mean, if anything, to the rest of your family?
same "sleaze" label seems unfair today in light of how tame
many of these books are relative to what's available in the media
today. There's certainly a kind of flavor to these books even where
the "sleaze" content is more situational than anything
explicitly written. What do you think of that label, and how, if at
all, do you apply it to your father's work?
lot of his more straight-up crime fiction books finish with a happy
ending. Do you know, was this your father's notion, and if so, why he
felt that his dark fiction should end so optimistically?
months have seen more awareness and discovery of your father's work.
Writers like James Reasoner have written quite a lot on his books,
and hopefully this new volume from Stark House will expose even more
people to his work. I'm sure this is gratifying, but is this
important to you? How would your father feel about finding new
Anything else you'd like to say about your father's coming back into print? Or on anything?
I just wish that he could have been recognized when things were
tough. He always took pride in his work and he would only write the
way he was comfortable with and when he was requested to be more
uncensored he would not put his talent into that writing if at all.
We have always been proud of his writing and all the books he had
published and now it is wonderful that others see the talent and the
writing he has created and I'm sure he has inspired many
Orrie Hitt's The Cheaters / Dial "M" for Man available now!
The Cheaters / Dial “M” for Man
As a reader I've never been comfortable with the sub-genre most commonly known as "sleaze." I remember spending time in a bookstore in downtown Minneapolis and right next to the bins of bagged and boarded comics was the "adult" section, containing low to the floor racks filled with paperback books, many with the covers torn off.
I think these books were something different but my whole life I've had a difficult time distancing this image from, say, books with covers that contained less than mainstream subject matter.
As time brings to light the many well-known authors who wrote these books, and the reasons they did so, I've found my prejudice weakening. And when I first read Robert Silverberg's brilliant introduction to the recent Stark House "Don Elliott" release, not only did I not mind cracking certain covers, I looked forward to it with a kind of open lightheartedness I didn't know I could manage.
The name of Orrie Hitt was one I've long been familiar with, but always associated with those kinds of books. But he was a fine crime fiction author as well, forget the "sleaze" element, and recent writings by people like James Reasoner have helped bring this to light.
Perhaps had he used a pseudonym for these books, like many of his peers, his own name would rank higher among the pure crime fiction novelists of his time. I hardly think it would be otherwise.
This week, in honor of our first Orrie Hitt release, I spoke with his three daughters about their father and their own exposure to his work.
We often hear about a writer's work habits or opinions but here we have a chance to hear about a wonderful writer from the people who knew him best.
It's a unique opportunity for a peek behind the scenes of this one-man fiction factory, the inimitable Orrie Hitt.
So as always, if you're not a member of our Crime Book Club, sign up now to get each book shipped to you automatically and take advantage of the special discount for new members to fill out your collection of back list titles.
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