"THE MIX OF CLASSES": AN INTERVIEW WITH CLEVELAND NOIR CO-EDITOR MICHAEL RUHLMAN
Cleveland Noir is the latest Akashic Noir book to look at a city through a crime fiction lense and this one has a very noirish history. That said, many of the stories also contain humor and humanity. We asked a few questions to one of it's co-editor and contributors, Michael Ruhlman
SCOTT MONTGOMERY: Cleveland seems to be a perfect place for noir tales with its politics and history. Were you surprised Akashic hadn't gotten to until now? MICHAEL RUHLMAN: Yes, very! S.M.: How did you both get involved with the project? M.R.: My wife edited Providence Noir. She told me I should do Cleveland. I talked to Johnny Temple. He had his heart set on getting my late friend Anthony Bourdain to contribute a story. Tony didn’t want to. I let it go. When I saw Akashic was publishing Columbus Noir, I thought WTF? I wrote to Johnny again and he said go for it. But you’ve got to have a co-editor who lives in Cleveland (I left Cleveland in 2015). I called Sarah Willis at Loganberry Books to she if she was interested in being co-editor. She said no, but I have someone who I think would be. That was Miesha Headen. S.M.: Not all of your authors are known for noir. Did you have to give any tutorials? M.R.: Not a one, actually. We just let them go. A couple authors needed to revise and rewrite, but that’s part of writing. S.M.: What kind of flavor does Cleveland lend to crime and noir stories? M.R.: The mix of classes, old money, new money, a little money, no money, a diverse population, very distinctive neighborhoods.
S.M.: How did you come about your own stories? M.R.: I made mine up, but set it in a building I knew well. S.M.: What are the biggest misconceptions about the city? M.R.: People don’t typically understand how great Cleveland is. Ever since I was a kid, when it was on the downturn, people got an inferiority complex. I’m an unabashed Cleveland booster. I know Miesha may feel differently!