Interrogation—Paul Heatley

Who: Paul Heatley

What: The author of THE MOTEL WHORE & OTHER STORIES, GUNS, DRUGS, AND DOGS, AN EYE FOR AN EYE, and FATBOY, as well as almost fifty short stories published online and in print at the likes of Thuglit, Spelk, Flash Fiction Offensive, Shotgun Honey, Horror Sleaze Trash, and Crime Factory.

Where: England

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

I just read FATBOY and thought it was great. Where did the idea for this dark tale come from?

Thank you! FATBOY stop-started a few times as a short story, but I either couldn’t settle on what it was supposed to be about, or else it kept growing beyond the confines of being a short story. The earliest iteration had the main character and his girlfriend working together to take down his boss at the garage where he worked in order to provide medical care for their son. I thought this sounded a bit too Breaking Bad, though. I read soon after starting of a serial killer called David Parker Ray who had created a torture chamber inside his trailer home. I thought to myself, okay, they’ll do something similar, they’ll create this room inside their home where they can hold the boss to ransom, prove to him they’re not fucking around. Ideas kept coming, things were spiralling. Eventually I just sat myself down, decided it wasn’t going to work as a short story, and wrote the first draft of what would eventually become FATBOY late at night over the course of a fortnight while listening to Ministry’s In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up. Elements from each round of attempts at making it a short made their way into the end product—the girlfriend and young son, the trailer park they weren’t completely wasted efforts.

The book starts with a bartender, Joey Hidalgo, on a several day bender. Why set this story in bars? Have you worked in bars yourself?

I’ve done minimal bar work, and I wasn’t very good at it! I don’t drink, never really have, so even the simple things like which drink goes in which glass were lost on me. Still, I think there’s a lot of life in bars, a lot of character, particularly dive bars. Maybe not the kind of life you want to live yourself, or characters you want to know, but it’s there. Brian Azzarello, writer of 100 Bullets, once said he would go to bars and just listen to the people there talk, for both inspiration and to shape the crafting of his own dialogue.

Having Joey in bars, on a bender, it was a way of showing his self-destructive personality. I think from the off you know that this guy, while he may have good intentions, is not afraid to do some bad things.

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Interrogation—Alec Cizak

imgp0012Who: Alec Cizak

What: writer and filmmaker whose work has recently appeared in Beat to a PulpUnloaded, and Crack the Spine. He is also the editor of Pulp Modern. His short story collection, CROOKED ROADS, is available now from All Due Respect. His novella, DOWN ON THE STREET, will be published by ABC Group Documentation in Summer 2017.

Where: Indianapolis

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

I just got a sneak peek at your novella, DOWN ON THE STREET—one of the grittiest books I’ve read in recent memory. What was the inspiration?

I’ve always been amused by the idea of a “normal” person trying to become a pimp. What would force a regular, blue-collar guy into that situation? Even more fascinating, how would he convince a woman to go along with such a scheme?

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Interrogation—Greg Barth

IMG_2916Who: Greg Barth

What: Greg Barth is the author of SELENA, DIESEL THERAPY, SUICIDE LOUNGE, as well as the forthcoming ROAD CARNAGE and EVERGLADE.

Where: Kentucky

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

I just read SELENA and found it really hard to put down. It was a total punch to the gut. Tell me how this character and this story came together for you?

That story started with a single idea. There’s a tired trope in slasher movies where the victim frantically attempts to get away while being stalked. She finally makes it to a car, gets inside, fumbles with the keys, drops them, and—while the slasher’s shadow looms over the car window and squeaky slasher music plays louder and faster—attempts to start the car. And the ignition never works. Never. It just grinds and grinds while the victim’s foot taps the gas pedal. “Come on!” she says.

In my twist on this scene, she’s unable to start the car because it’s equipped with an ignition interlock device, and she’s not sober enough to unlock the switch. It seemed like a funny idea, but I also knew the consequences of being caught would be severe. And there’s no slasher, but it’s quite bad.

The character, Selena, comes from a hundred different places—pieces of people I’ve known over the years—but the two most prominent literary influences are Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander and Ken Bruen’s Jack Taylor. I remember thinking during an all-out binge of the Taylor novels, “This kind of character would never work as a woman.” The idea stuck, and it became a challenge.

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Interrogation—C.S. DeWildt

DeWildt4Who: C.S. DeWildt

What: Author of CANDY AND CIGARETTES, DEAD ANIMALS, THE LOUISVILLE PROBLEM, and LOVE YOU TO A PULP. His new novel, KILL EM WITH KINDNESS, will be released by All Due Respect Books in June, 2016.

Where: Arizona

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

You and I met at the Left Coast Crime convention in Phoenix a couple of months ago. How was your experience at LCC? Have you been to many conventions? Are you going to Bouchercon this year?

First, thank you so much for inviting me to talk to you. I recently finished your novella CROSSWISE, and found it superb! Will start digging into BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION soon. [Editor’s note: Rad. Thanks!]

Left Coast Crime was my first ever conference, so I have nothing to compare it too. But I had a great time, met a lot of great people, drank more than I usually do, and basically pretended to be a professional for a few days. I also had my “panel-cherry” popped, which hurt much less than I expected. I would love to go to Bouchercon, but probably not this year though there are a ton of people I’d love to see who will be there. On a related note, my Left Coast Crime experience did teach me that I was pronouncing “Bouchercon” incorrectly. I was calling it Boo-ker-con. Yep. That’s me.

By far, though, the highlight was meeting you and the other guys at the Noir on the Radio reading.

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Interrogation—Marietta Miles

Who: Marietta Miles

What: Born in Alabama, raised in Louisiana, her short stories have been published by Thrills, Kills and Chaos, Flash Fiction Offensive, Yellow Mama, Revolt Daily and more. She has stories in anthologies offered through Static Movement Publishing, Horrified Press, and, soon, Gutter Books. Her first novel, ROUTE 12, is now available through All Due Respect Books.

Where: Virginia

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

Your debut release from All Due Respect is ROUTE 12, two novellas set in Appalachia in the seventies and eighties. Why was this era and that location the right time and place for these stories and characters?

Poverty is the wolf at the door in ROUTE 12, ordeals borne directly from need. The seventies were a particularly difficult time in Appalachia. Slashed jobs in the mines, bad soil on the farms, and stripped cuts along the mountains made for little money. As they had been for years, young people were leaving in waves. This area, at that time, seemed isolated and vulnerable, much like the characters.

Plus, I got to listen to loads of cheesy seventies music and tell everyone it was for inspiration. I mean come on…The Raspberries?

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Interrogation—J.T. Lindroos

Who: J.T. Lindroos

What: A designer and writer, he has worked on hundreds, perhaps thousands, of book covers since 1997. He ran Point Blank Press from 2004 to 2011 and published the first novels of Allan Guthrie, Dave Zeltserman, Duane Swierczynski and Donna Moore among many others. He was a music writer for AllMusic Guide and currently reviews European comics for Bookgasm.

Where: Indiana

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

Let’s start with the question that every writer wants to know—do you read the books before you design the covers? 

No. I don’t have the time. I design anywhere from 2 to 10 covers a week. I sometimes read the book after I’ve done the cover. My turnaround for first draft — which might mean a finished cover — usually ranges from half an hour to a couple of days. I do much of my freelance work on lunch break at my day job.

Have you ever turned down a design job because you didn’t like the book?

No. On occasion I’ve turned covers down because of the writer or the publisher.

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Interrogation—Ryan Sayles

Who: Ryan Sayles

What: Author of SUBTLE ART OF BRUTALITY, WARPATHTHAT ESCALATED QUICKY! and the forthcoming GOLDFINCHES and I’M NOT HAPPY ‘TIL YOU’RE NOT HAPPY. He’s had over two dozen short stories in print and is a founding member of Zelmer Pulp.

Where: Missouri

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

I just read your intense and engrossing novel, THE SUBTLE ART OF BRUTALITY. How did you develop the “h​alf predator and half savior” c​haracter of ​Richard Dean Buckner? How about the story?

First off, thank you for the compliments. They really do mean a lot. The idea of Buckner popped up in 2006 while I was stationed in the San Francisco Bay Area. I wanted to write a hardboiled character who was so hardboiled he was scraping the line between awesome and cartoonish. I wanted to crank everything up to eleven and have people like him because everything he did was the writing equivalent of the scene in an action movie where a cool guy walks away from an explosion and doesn’t turn around. Eventually I found my voice with him and I feel comfortable where I landed.

The story was based on a real life event of mine. The house my wife and I bought had a woman who lived here before us. Delilah from SAOB made the same mistakes she did. In the book the Bellview couple was loosely based on us. A guy really did come to our front door asking for the woman. I found a crack pipe in our basement ceiling. Having the real life sketch of this woman’s troubles and mistakes, I just filled in the blanks as to why she’d gone there and then had Buckner look for her.

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Interrogation—Michael Pool

 michael-pool-noirWho: Michael Pool

What: Author of the crime noir novella, DEBT CRUSHER, as well as the coming noir short story collection NEW ALLEYS FOR NOTHING MEN. He is the Editor-in-Chief for Crime Syndicate Magazine and the organizer for Noir at the Bar Seattle. He is also the one-off bi-monthly host of Noir on the Air for the Authors on the Air Radio Network.

Where: Seattle

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

I just finished your great new short story collection, NEW ALLEYS FOR NOTHING MEN. How did this collection come together? How many of the stories were previously published and how many are brand spanking new?

So Tote the Note appeared in All Due Respect Issue 4, Waylon, On Rerun was in Thuglit Issue 18, Two Feet Deep was in Heater Magazine Vol. 3 No. 9, An Art Show Mating Call was in Urban Graffiti, Life of a Salesman appeared in That Other Paper (now defunct), Franklin and the Finger was in Flash Fiction Offensive, and Midnight at the San Franciscan was published as an ebook stand-alone novelette earlier this year as a promotional lead up to New Alleys for Nothing Men. The other five have never been published before, either for lack of submission or because they just never landed anywhere. Actually three of those five are my favorite stories in the collection, oddly enough. Seems like it always works that way.

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Interrogation—Paul D. Brazill

profile pic Dec 2014 (2)Who: Paul D. Brazill

What: Author of KILL ME QUICK!, GUNS OF BRIXTON, COLD LONDON BLUES and THE LAST LAUGH, AND OTHER SHOTS OF NOIR.He was born in England and lives in Poland. He is an International Thriller Writers Inc. member whose writing has been translated into Polish, Italian, German and Slovene. He has had writing published in various magazines and anthologies, including three editions of THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST BRITISH CRIME. He has edited a few anthologies, including the best-selling TRUE BRIT GRIT–with Luca Veste.

Where: Poland

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

I just read your new novella KILL ME QUICK! It’s gritty, fast-paced and hilarious. Where did the inspiration for this story come from?

I was in correspondence with the great Cathi Unsworth after reading her novel WEIRDO and Graham Greene’s BRIGHTEN ROCK back to back. We noticed that there weren’t too many other examples of ‘seaside noir’. It started me thinking about writing one. At about the same time, Chris Black launched Number Thirteen Press. I was a fan and wanted in. Soooo …

It was common at British seaside resorts for girls to wear Kiss Me Quick hats, so the title of the book was obvious to me.

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Interrogation—William E. Wallace

WEW with gunsWho: William E. Wallace

What: A former award-winning investigative reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, Naval intelligence analyst, private eye, house painter, cook, dishwasher, magazine writer and journalism professor. His most recent book, DEAD HEAT WITH THE REAPER, was released by All Due Respect books in August 2015. His short fiction has appeared in All Due Respect, Shotgun Honey, Out of the Gutter Online, Near to the Knuckle, Over My Dead Body, Dead Guns, Plan B, Spinetingler and Dark Corners.

Where: Oakland

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

The first of the two novellas in DEAD HEAT WITH THE REAPER is called “Legacy”. Is the character Frank Trask based on anybody specific?

Trask is an amalgam of a number of people I’ve met, but he is primarily modeled on my own father, a construction mechanic and blacksmith who drank heavily and died in 1994. In fact, the backhanding of the biker, one of the incidents of violence in the story involving Trask, is based on a confrontation my dad once had with a drunk who was bothering my late sister in a bar in Pollock Pines, California.

The second novella in DEAD HEAT WITH THE REAPER, “The Creep,” features a disfigured vet named Alan Baldocchi. What was your inspiration?

I just wondered what it would be like if a young woman fortuitously crossed paths with somebody who was  so ugly that he made the hair on the back of your neck stand on end, but came to realize he was actually not a “creep” at all—just a person unlucky enough to be really horrible looking. I wrote the first scene where Susan meets Baldocchi on the stairway and set it aside. A while later I read through what I had written and the story began to suggest itself in my mind.

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