Interrogation—Beau Johnson

Who: Beau Johnson

What: His short stories have been published by Out of the Gutter Online, Shotgun Honey, Spelk, HST, and the Molotov Cocktail.  His collection of shorts, A BETTER KIND OF HATE, was published by Down and Out Books.

Where: Ontario

Interview conducted by email. Some questions and answers have been edited.

Congrats on the release of A BETTER KIND OF HATE. Can you tell us a little about how this collection came together?

Thanks for the congrats!  It’s been quite a ride.  The collection came together because of many people, too many to name.  I will give you a couple, however—Tom Pitts and Eric Campbell.  The former put the idea of a collection in my head.  The latter is the person who allowed this idea to bloom.  All in all, I’m forever indebted.

What have you learned about yourself during the publishing process? What have you learned about publishing?

About myself I have learned I can be excited and nervous at the same time for longer than I care to admit.  It’s all good, though.  I have survived.  Besides marrying my wife and the birth of our three boys, this is the biggest thing to ever happen to me.

As for publishing?  This takes time.  Lots and lots of time.  This breeds patience.  With patience, hopefully, the dark side.  I kid, of course.  I mean, everyone knows the green lightsaber is best, right?

Many of the stories in this collection feature renegade cop, Bishop Rider. How did he evolve? How much of you is in that character? 

Great question.  No, I don’t think Bishop Rider has evolved.  Not even close.  His hate still fuels him.  The supply he finds is endless it seems.

As for me in the character?  Maybe I’m in there a bit, in so far as I believe people should be held accountable for their actions toward others.  My methods would end up being different of course, and nowhere near the likes of, say, a wood chipper or axe.

What is it about short stories that appeal to you as a writer? Is there a Bishop Rider novel lurking in the depths of your soul?

I appreciate how compact a short story has to be, especially flash fiction.  Get in and get out, but never waste a word.  I also value rhythm and how words somehow fall into the correct order.  This doesn’t happen all the time.  Not even close.  But when it does, man, that’s the gold.

As for a Bishop Rider novel in the future I can neither confirm nor deny.  Which is really code for I don’t know.  I’ll never say never, sure, but man, it has never been easy.

Who are some of your favorite short story writers?

I love Stephen King.  The man is my gateway to here.  His short stories speak to me most, I suppose, and maybe that’s why I gravitate toward them so.

My favorite short story writers today are legion.  Too may to name.  But since I already used that line I would have to go with Mathew C. Funk (although I haven’t seen much from him lately), Paul Brazil, Tom Leins, Ryan Sayles, Marietta Miles (her story “Tell Her” is an absolute favorite of mine), and many, many others.

What’s next for you?

I have some new shorts lined up, quick little punches I hope people will like.  After that, who knows? But now that you have me thinking about a Bishop Rider novel being birthed from the depths of my soul…

Find Beau Johnson: FacebookTwitter

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S.W. Lauden is the Anthony Award-nominated author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series including BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION and GRIZZLY SEASON (Rare Bird Books). His Tommy & Shayna Crime Caper novellas include CROSSWISE and CROSSED BONES (Down & Out Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in Los Angeles.

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