Jewish noirIt is again my pleasure to have another guest post from one of my upcoming Crime Cafe interviewees. Today’s victim guest is Kenneth Wishnia. He’s written the great Filomena Buscarsela mystery series, as well as an awesome historical novel, THE FIFTH SERVANT. However, his latest project is JEWISH NOIR, which he compiled and edited. Ken will give away a copy of JEWISH NOIR to a randomly-picked winner who sends an email entry to kwishnia[at]optonline[dot]net.

So, you are all hereby invited to enter the contest for that book. And, without further ado, here’s Ken’s guest post!


Male Privilege and the Wizard of Oz

For those of you who are unfamiliar with my work (and there are still a few of you out there), I’ve published six novels and a bunch of short stories, but Jewish Noir (PM Press) is the first time I’ve ever edited an anthology of all-new stories.

It was a real privilege to be able to work closely with such luminaries as Marge Piercy, S.J. Rozan, Reed Farrel Coleman, David Liss, Wendy Hornsby and Jason Starr, among others. And since we adopted a generous “You don’t have to be Jewish to write Jewish Noir” policy, I also got to work with people like Gary Phillips, Jedidiah Ayres and the “Czar of Noir” himself, Eddie Muller.

But it also took a lot of time and energy. And emailing authors took forever, since I had to choose my words very carefully. I would much rather have a face-to-face conversation about a writer’s story any day, but since the contributors were all over the map, including a couple in Canada, email had to serve.

It was very rewarding to work with so many authors, and to have them respond favorably to my editorial suggestions. But the two extremes of this Bell Curve (you should pardon the expression) merit a bit more attention. One odd pattern that I experienced was that I had to reassure a number of the women authors that, Yes, they were on the right track, and that it was OK to do what they were doing, and to do it in the way they were doing it. This group included some award-winning literary authors, so it really struck me that some of them were tormented by self-doubt, even though their stories were positively brilliant. They had it in them, but they needed my reassurance to bring it out. I felt a little bit like the wizard in the famous scene at the end of The Wizard of Oz, when he tells the Scarecrow that he’s always had a brain, he just doesn’t have something called a diploma–and an instant later, the Scarecrow spouts a version of the Pythagorean Theorem.

On the other end of this Bell Curve were a couple of male authors who adamantly refused to make a single change to their stories, including one story which I felt needed one tiny change that would have made the story better, more plausible, and most important, even more noir.

But no. Testosterone won out.

I don’t want to extrapolate too much from such a small data set, or reinforce any gender (and national) stereotypes here, but in fact, the two Canadian authors, both women, were the contributors most willing to revise and rethink their work.

But you can draw whatever conclusions you wish.

Now go check out Jewish Noir. Or I’ll sic the global Jewish conspiracy to control world finances and media on you.Wishnia_Kenneth


Kenneth Wishnia’s novels include 23 Shades of Black, an Edgar Allan Poe Award and Anthony Award finalist; Soft Money, a Library Journal Best Mystery of the Year; Red House, a Washington Post Book World “Rave” Book of the Year; and The Fifth Servant, an Indie Notable selection, winner of a Premio Letterario ADEI-WIZO, and a finalist for the Sue Feder Memorial Historical Mystery Award (Macavity Awards). His short stories have appeared in Ellery Queen, Alfred Hitchcock, Queens Noir, Long Island Noir, Send My Love, The Molotov Cocktail, and elsewhere. He teaches writing, literature and other deviant forms of thought at Suffolk Community College on Long Island.


Thank you, Ken! 🙂 Along with Ken’s post, here’s Austin Camacho’s interview, audio version, which can also be found here!

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