Interrogation—Nick Kolakowski

Who: Nick Kolakowski

What: Author of A BRUTAL BUNCH OF HEARTBROKEN SAPS and SLAUGHTERHOUSE BLUES, the first two books in the Love & Bullets trilogy. His short stories have appeared in Thuglit, Shotgun Honey, Mystery Tribune, Crime Syndicate Magazine, and various anthologies.

Where: New York

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

Congrats on the release of SLAUGHTERHOUSE BLUES. This latest installment takes Bill and Fiona to Cuba and Nicaragua. Why choose those locations?

Around 10 years ago, I had an editor gig that took me through the Caribbean and Central America. I wrote a number of nonfiction articles about Cuba and Nicaragua but always wanted to use them as fictional settings. When it came time to send Bill and Fiona out of the United States, I finally saw my chance. It was great to rip out huge, dripping hunks of personal experience and use them in a novel; not because doing so made it easier to write (it’s always a marathon sprint), but because I could add a deep layer of authenticity to the whole endeavor.

Plus, Bill and Fiona are fugitives, and I’ve always joked that if I had to hide out somewhere in the world, I’d choose either Cuba or Nicaragua. The former, because there’s no extradition with the U.S., and some great bars; if you could keep a low profile, and not irritate the local government, it’d be hard for anyone to find you holed up with your daiquiri. And the latter, because the highlands around Esteli (a small mountain town where Fiona ends up) are very beautiful and relatively remote; depending on your setup, you have a good chance of seeing your pursuer before they see you. Then again, the people pursuing Bill and Fiona are very tough, very smart, and very serious.

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Interrogation—Nick Kolakowski

rsz_img_0976Who: Nick Kolakowski

What: His short stories have appeared in Shotgun Honey, Thuglit, Crime Syndicate Magazine, Out of the Gutter, and various anthologies. He’s also one of the editors of Shotgun Honey. His short story collection, SOMEBODY’S TRYING TO KILL ME, was released in August.

Where: New York

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

Your excellent new collection, SOMEBODY’S TRYING TO KILL ME, includes seventeen noir tales. How did you select which pieces to include?

I listen to a lot of standup comedy: Patton Oswalt, Marc Maron, Maria Bamford, the sets that Robin Williams did in the ‘80s. All of those comedians alternate between quick jabs and longer setups, which allows them to build and maintain the energy of an hour-long set. When I started putting together this collection, I took some inspiration from that, and so you have the flash-fiction pieces lined up alongside the mid-length tales and the title novella. Hopefully that short-long-short rhythm allows the reader to catch a bit of a breather between the lengthier stories.

Beyond that, I knew I wanted to include the pieces that had been published in Thuglit, Crime Syndicate Magazine, and Reloaded (Shotgun Honey’s annual anthology). I’d also been working on the novella for years, off and on, and wanted it to finally see the light of day. Sprinkle all that with flash fiction from Shotgun Honey, and voilà: short-story collection.

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