I enjoy writing social satire, so that always plays a role in my novels


S. G. Browne

S. G. Browne

Lucky Bastard

Are you lucky? Do you believe in luck? If you like mystery novels, parody and San Francisco, do not hesitate to read this novel: you’ll spend a really good time. S.G. Browne’s talent should now be poached.

What motivated you to write about luck?

Back in 2001 I saw a great Spanish film titled Intacto, which dealt with the concept of luck as a commodity. While the film dealt more with high-stake games of chance between people who possessed large amounts of luck, I was interested in creating and exploring my own mythology of luck poachers, which led me to write a short story titled “Softland” in 2004. I knew there was more to the story I wanted to explore, so eventually I went back to the world I’d created and came up with Lucky Bastard.

In France, your novel is published in the “Série noire”, home of Hammett and Chandler. Is it luck?

I was definitely influenced by the novels of Chandler and Hammett in the writing of Lucky Bastard, so being grouped into the noir series alongside them is an honor and my good fortune. While my novel is a bit more on the humorous side, I hope fans of Chandler and Hammett will enjoy reading about Nick Monday.

There are many literary and cinematic references in this novel which could be considered as a parody of the mystery genre. Could you please tell us a few words about the writing of the novel?

When I first sat down to write Lucky Bastard, I didn’t know it was going to star a private investigator and involve some of the classic plot elements of the detective novel. I’m a pantser rather than a plotter, which means I discover the story as I write it, so all of the characters and plot developments appeared because that’s where the story led me—not because I planned it that way. But as the story unfolded, I had a lot of fun playing with plot elements like the femme fatal and the mafia kingpin and putting my own spin on the genre. Plus I enjoy writing social satire, so that always plays a role in my novels.

San Francisco is a full-fledged character in the book. There is even a car chase in Russian Hill, recalling a certain film. What does this city represent for you?

I’ve lived in San Francisco for the past six years and knew at some point I’d want to set one of my novels here. The city has so much character and charm that I couldn’t help but fall in love with it. While San Francisco does offer a number of iconic locations (Alcatraz, Lombard Street, the Golden Gate Bridge, etc.), I wanted to include more of a neighborhood feel in writing the novel, since that’s what I get to enjoy while walking around: the places not everyone sees or appreciates. It’s all of these hidden treasures that make the city so special.

I spent a really good time reading your novel. But I am annoyed because I do not have a tenth of your humor. Could you sell me an ounce of it?

While I’ve been trying to find a way to process my sense of humor into a consumable format that I can sell as a perfume or an energy shot, so far I haven’t had any luck, so for the time being it’ll have to be consumed in my novels. But I’ll be sure to keep you on the short list for the first batch once I find a good chemist.

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I know I had a fair share of complaints, but the book was so easy to read and so much fun in a very many parts that I would definitely recommend it to anyone remotely intrigued by the premise.