Thursday, January 13, 2011

Interview: Jochem Vandersteen of Sons of Spade

by Jaden Terrell

Today's Murderous Musings interview is with Jochem Vandersteen, webmaster of the Sons of Spade review site and author of the Noah Milano stories. Jochem lives in the Netherlands with his wife and baby. He works in IT and writes for Rockportaal, a dutch website about rock music. Sons of Spade is a review site for private detective novels and can be found at or I've been reading Jochem's blog for over a year now, and it's a great place to find new authors and learn about new releases from old favorites.

MM: How did you become interested in private detective novels?

Jochem: I think it started with watching Philip Marlowe and Spenser on TV. That got me interested in their novels. I loved the fact that these were intelligent men who stood up for what they believed in. As a young man they were good role models.

MM: Why do you think private detective novels continue to be popular?

Jochem: Although a lot of times debates pop up that say the PI novel is dead, they’re still coming out and we’re still enjoying them. I think they stay popular because they’re such archetypes. They fit in there with knights, superheroes and cowboys. Everybody knows what to expect from them. Also, they’re a great way to tell a good crime story without getting lost in procedural details.

MM: You’ve written one of your own, White Knight Syndrome. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Jochem: Noah Milano, a Los Angeles security specialist is hired to bodyguard a beautiful and rich teenage girl he's drawn into a web of family secrets, homicide and the dangers of falling in love.

It's not easy to be a White Knight in a world filled with betrayal and mob violence but Noah Milano is going to try anyway... even if he has to die doing it...

It's onsale right now from!

MM: What’s your writing process?

Jochem: I spent every minute of the day plotting, coming up with characters. And only a few hours every week writing I’m afraid. If there were only more hours in a day.

MM: Tell us a bit about your character. Who is he? What makes him unique?

Jochem: Noah Milano is the son of a mobster, trying to make amends with a violent past after the death of his mother. He works as a security specialist, but that really means he’s a PI. Or, sometimes, a thug for hire. What makes him unique is that he constantly tries to be different from the violent, selfish man he used to be. It isn’t easy however, because his main job skills are his proficiency in violence and his knowledge of the underworld.

MM: In ways is your character like you?

Jochem: He likes rock music and comic books. He’s got a sense of humour not everybody thinks is funny.

MM: In what ways is he different?

Jochem: He’s better looking, better armed and a hell of a lot tougher.

MM: Will there be other books in the series?

Jochem: Probably not. I put out a collection about him some time ago, though. It’s still available for free when people e-mail me asking for it. Also, I just put out a split novella featuring Noah. It’s also available for free. He’ll be popping up on the web in short stories again soon.

MM: What writers have most influenced your writing?

Jochem: Raymond Chandler, Robert B. Parker, John Connolly, James Lee Burke, Lawrence Block, Robert Crais, early Pelecanos, Dennis Lehane.

MM: How does your perspective as a Dutch writer influence your work?

Jochem: I don’t know really. I try to give the stories a very USA-feel and I seem to pull that of. I don’t think my perspective is different from the writers in the USA.

MM: What gave you the idea to start the Sons of Spade blog? How did it come to be?

Jochem: I wanted to promote my work, so I created the blog. When I discovered a lot of writers were more than happy to work with me it really took off. It’s a very rewarding way to get to know fellow PI-lovers.

MM: Has the blog opened in any doors for you? If so, in what way?

Jochem: It gave me the opportunity to read a lot of PI novels before they come out, which is really great. Also, some PI writers were nice enough to write introductions to my collection Tough As Leather, which is really cool.

MM: What’s the best part of writing a blog like this?

Jochem: Hearing back from people who love it.

MM: What’s the worst?

Jochem: Not hearing back from people who love it.

MM: How do you find authors to interview?

Jochem: Surfing the web I keep up with new PI writers. Most of them are very happy to be interviewed, eager to promote their work but also very nice people.

MM: Who would your dream interview be with, and why?

Jochem: I’d still like to interview Robert Crais and Dennis Lehane, because they’re big names in the genre and very big inspirations.

MM: Do you prefer to contact writers, or do you want them to contact you? If they have a book they would like you to review, what should they do?

Jochem: I love it when they contact me. If they want books reviewed, be interviewed or whatever they can always write to me at

MM: You’re also involved in the music industry. How do you manage to juggle all your interests and responsibilities?

Jochem: It’s tough. With a family, a fulltime job and a lot of books to read it’s not easy to find enough time. I try to keep my hand in the rock business as well as the crime writing business as well as I can. Mainly it’s just trying to take advantage of every free hour I have.

MM: Is there anything I’ve neglected to ask that you’d like to discuss?

Jochem: Not really. Just a note to all of you people who have anthologies coming out: my short stories have been pretty well received by fellow crime writers and I’m really looking to contribute to more anthologies. So, get in touch with me if you’re thinking about running my stories.

1 comment:

Jaden Terrell said...

Thank you for visiting Murderous Musings, Jochem. I hope many more people discover the Sons of Spade blog. It's an invaluable resource.