Read Shockya's exclusive interview with author Max Allan Collins, whose new pulp fiction novel ‘The Consummata’ is set to be released later this month. The book is based on a manuscript by late crime writer Mickey Spillane, and serves as a sequel to the novelist’s book ‘The Delta Factor.’ The follow-up book chronicles how Morgan the Raider sets out to get back the seventy-five thousand dollars a man stole from the struggling Cuban exiles of Miami who rescued him. Collins discusses with us, among other things, how he thought of the details for the remainder of ‘The Consummata,’ and how Spillane influenced his work.
Written by: Karen Benardello
Shockya (SY): This month, your new novel ‘The Consummata,’ which is based on a manuscript by legendary late crime writer Mickey Spillane, is being released. What were your initial thoughts and reactions when he gave you the manuscript before his death and asked you to finish the story?
Max Allan Collins (MAC): There’s been some confusion about those circumstances. ‘The Goliath Bone,’ the final Mike Hammer chronologically, was the book Mickey had been working on at the time of his death – that’s the novel he asked me to complete, if he wasn’t able to. I did so, and Harcourt published it in 2008. But Mickey, during the last week of his life, also instructed his wife Jane to turn all his unpublished material over to me, because (he felt) “Max will know what to do.” That’s an honor I can never top.
‘The Consummata’ is a slightly different case. I used to go down from my Iowa home to visit Mickey in South Carolina, maybe once or twice a year. Sometimes more often when we were collaborating on something, like the Mike Danger comic book or an anthology. Anyway, he had let me read several of the unfinished Mike Hammer novels and also the unfinished sequel to ‘The Delta Factor,’ which was ‘The Consummata.’ In the late 1980s, he handed three manuscripts to me, two Mike Hammers and ‘The Consummata’ – each was about 100 pages long – and said, “Take this home with you. Maybe someday we can do something with these.”
Ironically, not long after that, his home was destroyed by Hurricane Hugo and those three manuscripts might have been lost. The other existing manuscripts came from the one building on Mickey’s property – a small office on stilts! – that miraculously survived that storm.
As for my thoughts about the manuscripts, back in the ‘80s, I frankly didn’t think Mickey would return to them, with or without me. He seldom returned to a set-aside project, because his enthusiasm was always with something new. My instinct was that even then he was depositing them with me to complete for him after his passing.
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