Andrew Klavan is a crime and adventure novelist and screenwriter. He has published more than 30 books, including “Empire of Lies” and the “Homelander” series. His film credits include the screenplay for the 2018 anti-abortion movie, “Gosnell.” Klavan currently hosts the “Andrew Klavan Show” on the Daily Wire. Klavan is the Dow Journalism Program’s Spring 2019 Pulliam Fellow, and he will give a talk on April 9 at Hillsdale.
Who are your literary influences?
I grew up reading the American “tough guy” writers, Raymond Chandler and Ernest Hemingway. Chandler had an immense effect on me, and I always believed it was because Chandler carried an old-fashioned, chivalric idea into a modern, corrupt world. That appealed to me very deeply as a boy in the ’60s when I saw all the world falling apart around me. I had to ask myself what it means to be a man and what it means to be an American and what it means to be a good guy. I studied those books almost like religious texts. And — it sounds silly to say it — I am insanely crazy about Shakespeare. Shakespeare obviously says some of the wisest, most beautiful things that have ever been written, but he said them in the middle of sword fights, love scenes, battle scenes. He says it in the midst of adventure. I’m an adventurer writer, essentially. I just loved that he could fill stories of such adventure and action with such depth.
There’s a lack of that bravado James Bond-ish character in modern literature. Many of your main characters are this sort of character. Were you making a conscious decision to put a character like that back into society?
To some degree, yes. I think feminism is a terrible philosophy. I think that manhood is a thing that the world needs. When you look around, the reason that we have this wonderful place where people can do the things they want is because of the world that man built and invented. They invented it through student acts of manhood in the face of societies that sometimes rejected them. My guys walk alone a little bit, they say things they shouldn’t say, do things they shouldn’t do, sometimes they’re wrong, but they’re men. I think that is something that I mean to preserve.
Do you have any advice for Hillsdale students?
I’m not sure you can understand it until you learn it, but maybe you’ll understand it by having someone tell it to you: Every choice comes at a price. I spoke up in Hollywood and it cost me a lot of money. That was the price of speaking with integrity. I know people who don’t speak up. They hide and they keep their mouth shut. I look in their eyes and that has a price. I know. Choose the price and choose the thing you’re selling at that price. A million dollars is a lot for screenplay, but it’s not that much for your soul. Know what you’re selling and know what the price of it should be.