Bruce Deitrick Price Author Interview

Bruce Deitrick Price Author Interview

You write about the exotic worlds of art galleries and model agencies in Manhattan. How do you know about those worlds?

I know them from the inside. 

I actually walked into the office of Jerry Ford, the number one name in the business, and told him, People say I could be a model. He

agreed and said to come back after I graduated from college. Skip forward one year. He looked at me with amazement and murmured, I don’t remember saying that…Apparently my plan to lift weights and gain 10 pounds was not smart! Skinny is key.

While waiting to go in the army, I did get a few jobs. I learned that to be a pro, you have to be obsessive about grooming and clothes. I wasn’t so I didn’t pursue it after the army. But in Manhattan, models are everywhere. Promotions. Parties. Walking down the street with portfolios. 

As for the art side, I’ve been an artist all my life. While I lived in Manhattan I probably went to 1000 openings. I had several one-man shows and hope to have another. Starting the novel at an art opening was an obvious choice for me.

Circa 1990, Manhattan was still the center of the world. Modeling agencies and art galleries were the two most glamorous businesses on the planet.

What other influences did you have?

I read most of the Raymond Chandler novels. He wrote about Los Angeles. I started to wonder, what would Chandler do with Manhattan?? That was the magic moment. I started thinking of stories and rather suddenly I had a series in mind. For me, Manhattan was always the main character. 

My detective is distinctly a Manhattan guy. Shrewd and smart. I deliberately did not give him special skills like karate, shooting, driving a car, or knowing poisons, like Sherlock Holmes. No; Jon Dak is street smart and people smart. He reads situations quickly. I think this is the talent that New Yorkers have in abundance. 

As the novel starts, Dak goes to an art gallery to handle security:

“Dak walks over, knocks, goes in. He finds a dark-haired woman at a desk. Expensively dressed in deep blues and burgundy. She looks up sharply, giving Dak the same squinty appraisal. Very in charge, Dak decides, except perhaps where it matters.”

So, there it is, only paragraph seven, and Dak appraises this woman very accurately even though they have not even said hello. He’s a Brooklyn guy, working class. Whereas all the people he goes up against are rich and successful at a much higher level, such as this woman, a Vassar grad. But the battles tend to be equalized because Dak stays a half-step ahead. Otherwise he’s dead. 

What scenes in the book did you have most fun writing?

I have to tell you that most of them were fun. That’s one of the working rules I try to observe. Make sure each scene is fun to write. Otherwise you haven’t got it worked out. You haven’t seen all the possibilities.

The socio-economic aspects are fun to waltz around. People in Manhattan look down on the rest of the world, for example, they talk about “the bridges and tunnels crowd,” that being Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, New Jersey, and Long Island.

Final comment

Detective fiction is called genre writing, a bit of an insult. But this novel is a family saga, a big canvas, like what you might find in a traditional literary novel. This is the aspect I’m most proud of. It’s equally for men and women. You have a father, very rich and successful, who owns modeling agencies. And a more sensitive mother who owns the art gallery. Their son is 16 and headed for Harvard. A reviewer used the phrase “dysfunctional elitists” to define this trio. I think that’s pretty good. 

You can read Chapter 1 here.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Amazon

In Art and Beauty, tension builds quickly between private investigator, Jon Dak, and Greg and Elaine Sutton, married owners of a top Manhattan fashion modeling agency, and a prestigious SoHo art gallery. 

The scene is 1980s New York. Times are tough in the glamourous but crime-ridden Big Apple. Between jobs, restless Dak takes a stand-in role as a plain clothes security guard at Elaine Sutton’s gallery, where he maneuvers around the high-class, etiquette-driven patrons of this affluent, condescending world. 

Characteristically, the Suttons dismiss the detective as a blunt instrument; someone to out-smart and buy off in a well-financed bid for physical protection and snooping. Indeed, each family member wants to employ him for specific reasons: the big-shot husband, to protect his drool-for mistress from an unknown psycho’s threats; the anxious wife, to prove her husband is cheating; the deeply perceptive, Harvard-bound, teenaged son, to fix his parents’ problems.

Inadvertently lured into a hive of family troubles, Dak’s initial friendliness toward these engaging people is sorely tested when the father’s ex-model girlfriend is found dead in harbor-front waters off Battery Park, and a cop with a rogue background is assigned to her case.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on March 10, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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