Friday, May 16, 2008

Profile in Texas Highways

Got a nice bit of ink in the current issue of Texas Highways. The text is below, or you can click here to read it on their site.

Thanks, Charles!


Holy Moly

By Charles Lohrmann

With the release of his new novel, Holy Moly (St. Martin’s Minotaur Press), Texas writer Ben Rehder is drawing a six-book mystery series to a close. Rehder’s cult of loyal readers will miss the notably deranged cast that populate his fictional-yet-recognizable Hill Country landscape. We checked in with Rehder to get the backstory.

“One thing I try to do with the books is to give readers a glimpse of the people who inhabit the rural areas of the Hill Country. We have an amazing mixture of people out here: wealthy landowners, weekend ranchers, authentic cattlemen, tree-huggers, old hippies, people fleeing the city, rednecks and bubbas, retirees, trophy-hunters, poachers and other outlaws, and, of course, ethical outdoorsmen. Granted, my characters are largely caricatures of all of the above.”

And who are these characters? “I’ve got a couple of poachers named Red and Billy Don in the series,” Rehder explains. “These guys essentially have good hearts but bad intentions. The number-one comment I get from readers all across the nation is, ‘Hey, I know those guys!’ So it appears we don’t have a corner on the market when it comes to redneck poachers. They’re all over the nation, but with different accents.”

But should the books offer more urban Texas settings? Rehder suggests otherwise: “I set the series in a rural area because, in my opinion, the big cities aren’t quite as Texan as they used to be. The bigger cities are becoming homogenized and diluted. If you want to experience ‘real’ Texas, you have to get in your car (or truck) and drive out past the city limits.”

What’s next? “Right now I’m working on a semi-comic novel that takes place along the border near Laredo. I can’t imagine setting my books anywhere but Texas. We already have enough fiction that takes place in New York or L.A., don’t we?”

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