What: Author of FEDERALES and BURN CARDS. His short stories have been featured in several publications, including Thuglit, Beat to a Pulp, and Shotgun Honey. His short story collection, SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE, is out this November from 280 Steps.
Interviewed conducted by email. Some questions and answers have been edited.
Since you’re about to publish SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE, a tremendous collection of 13 short stories, I’m going to ask you one question about each story. First up is “Union Man”. What inspired you to write a period piece about a man caught between a rock and a hard place during a steel mill strike?
Thank you for the kind words and interview! I wish I had more notes on “Union Man.” I write by hand a lot and have tried hard to keep to a journal since 2012 (I’m finishing up my third). I have a small paragraph from early in 2013 about researching the steel strikes (I recall looking at a lot of photos and articles online), and I sent off a draft to friends for critique that May. It’s unfortunate as it’s a favorite of the collection, but I do know at its heart that it’s my ‘fatherhood story.’ My first son, George, was born in August of 2012 and a clearly recall this being the first piece where I incorporated my sense of being a father, the responsibilities, etc. It was a story that I had to write, and even though I knew pretty much from the outset where it needed to go—for narrative reasons and to make an impact—it was still difficult to write.
What: An actor/musician/talk show host and writer. He’s been a columnist for the San Francisco Bay Guardian and LA Weekly. His first novel, LOOKING FOR LADY DEE: A PUNK ROCK MYSTERY, was self-published in February.
Where: Los Angeles
I found out that Johnny Angel Wendell was finally writing a book like a lot of other people did—on Facebook.
Having followed Johnny’s colorful exploits on social media, I was excited to watch the process unfold. My curiosity was piqued because Johnny and I are both LA musicians, and because I have recently embarked on a crime/mystery writing career myself. But that’s where the similarities stop.
While I took the more traditional approach of publishing short stories, going to conferences, and querying agents and publishers, Johnny skipped straight to self-publishing on Feb. 27—less than two months after he started writing his debut novel.