Interrogation—Christopher Irvin

 Who: Christopher Irvin

What: His debut collection, SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE, was a finalist for the 2016 Anthony Award for Best Anthology or Collection. He is also the author of FEDERALES and BURN CARDS.

Where: Massachusetts

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

You’re about to release, RAGGED, your first novel-length work of fiction. What was it about this story that made you go the distance?

Since the publication of SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE, I’ve been focused on writing novels. The typical “mainstream” length of 90k words has always seemed impossible for me to reach. I have friends who will write 100k-150k and cut down, but I’ve been much more of an “under” writer during past novel attempts—coming in around 40-50k and trying to push the count up when I go back and edit, filling in details, etc. BURN CARDS was supposed to be a novel, but the novella length felt right and I cut it down. Two other novels landed in a similar no-man’s land, though they had other issues as well.

90k is so arbitrary, right? I’m sure the big publishers have run the numbers and somewhere around 90k is the sweet spot giving them the most bang for their buck. But, part of what I enjoyed so much in working with Cutlass Press is the trust they put in me. I’m not a 90k writer, at least for now. I’ve talked a lot in interviews on RAGGED how everything lined up over the past year timing-wise. When I pitched the outline I set a goal of 60k words—a gut feeling of where the book might clock out. It ended up around 65k after edits, and I’m very happy with the length. I want to challenge myself to write a longer book (the rough outline in my head seems to be headed that way), but we’ll see. I’m happy to take a crack at it and see where I end up.

Continue reading

Interrogation—Nolan Knight

Who: Nolan Knight

What: A fourth generation Angeleno whose short fiction has been featured in various publications including Thuglit, Plots with Guns, and Needle. His debut novel, THE NEON LIGHTS ARE VEINS, comes out in paperback Jan. 17, 2017, from 280 Steps Publishing. 

Where: Los Angeles

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

Congrats on the release of your debut novel. How did THE NEON LIGHTS ARE VEINS come about?

Cheers, Steve!

NEON LIGHTS was inspired by the happenings in my Los Angeles neighborhood from roughly 2006 to 2009. A young girl was murdered on our local pub crawl route. An article about it in the LA Weekly started the gears in my brain for the setting of the novel. The book is in no way related to the incident, but the dark atmosphere solidified what I had envisioned. I wanted to implode the standard L.A. Detective story and jigsaw it back together, both structurally and stylistically, into a novel that I had always wanted to read. The title pertains to The City as The Beast, a giant meat grinder that beckons dreamers and shits them out, generation after generation. A more specific meaning is held by the main character, Alvi Drake, involving his tragic past.

Continue reading

Recommended Reading 2015

rsz_screen_shot_2015-11-24_at_15354_pm

It’s that time of the year. I’ve made a list, checked it a couple dozen times, and now I’m posting it here.

This is not a “Best Of” list in the traditional sense. More of a “Man, I read some great books that got published this year!” list. The titles and authors are in no particular order, and there are probably a few I forgot.

If you haven’t already read these books, you should. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are all great excuses to support your favorite booksellers. As if you need another excuse to buy books. (UPDATE: I’ve gotten some great suggestions for this list on other platforms. If you want to mention a book I didn’t, please leave it in the comments below Because: Conversation! —Thanks!).

WTD JS Go Down Hard_FrontCover Contenders med-res cover Young Americans

Novels

  • CANARY by Duane Swierczynski
  • CONTENDERS by Erika Krouse
  • STRANGE SHORES by Arnaldur Indridason
  • HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY KIDNAP STRANGERS by Max Booth III
  • THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins
  • RUMRUNNERS by Eric Beetner
  • UNCLE DUST by Rob Pierce
  • THE MAGICIAN’S LAND by Lev Grossman
  • A NEGRO AND AN OFAY by Danny Gardner
  • WORM by Anthony Neil Smith
  • WAYS TO DIE IN GLASGOW by Jay Stringer
  • GO DOWN HARD by Craig Faustus Buck
  • VORTEX by Paul D. Marks
  • NEW YORKED by Rob Hart
  • YOUNG AMERICANS by Josh Stallings

Bull Hashtag Cartel Zero Saints

Currently Reading

  • THE MAN IN THE WINDOW by Dana King
  • THE CARTEL by Don Winslow

Still On The TBR List

  • KILL ME QUICK by Paul D. Brazill
  • HASHTAG by Eryk Pruitt
  • ZERO SAINTS by Gabino Iglesias
  • BULL MOUNTAIN by Brian Panowich
  • THE SUBTLE ART OF BRUTALITY by Ryan Sayles

safe-inside-the-violence_cover Redbone_Cover DreamingDeep Knuckleball_frontcover_dress_fin

Novellas & Anthologies

  • THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR by Angel Luis Colon
  • DREAMING DEEP by Anonymous-9
  • THE DEEPENING SHADE by Jake Hinkson
  • REDBONE by Matt Phillips
  • DEAD HEAT WITH THE REAPER by William E. Wallace
  • KNUCKLEBALL by Tom Pitts
  • SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE by Chris Irvin

December Boys City Of Rose Hard-Boiled Heart FLOODGATE

Looking Forward To 2016

  • CLEANING UP FINN by Sarah M. Chen
  • GRAVEYARD LOVE by Scott Adlerberg
  • CITY OF ROSE by Rob Hart
  • DECEMBER BOYS by Joe Clifford
  • ROUGH TRADE by Todd Robinson
  • HARD-BOILED HEART by Will Viharo
  • FLOODGATE by Johnny Shaw

S.W. Lauden’s debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, is available now from Rare Bird Books. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.

Interrogation—Ron Earl Phillips

Who: Ron Earl Phillips

What: Publisher of  Shotgun Honey and One Eye Press, as well as a web developer and designer. He lives with his wife, daughter, and one too many cats.  He has been known to write.

Where: West Virginia

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

Welcome, Ron. Why don’t you start by singing us the ballad of Shotgun Honey? 

Good to be here. After Bouchercon, I wasn’t too optimistic. But what doesn’t kill you, right?

The Ballad of Shotgun Honey, a song I’ve sung a time or two. It’s got a pretty good up beat, but I digress. So, about Shotgun Honey… The start of Shotgun Honey came about in 2011 and was concocted by Kent Gowran. I was fairly new to the community, maybe a year in, and I had written a few stories. 2010 was a productive year for me. I’d been “friends” with Kent for about 5-6 six months, chatted on Twitter, and when he tweeted about starting a new flash fiction site I sent him a note asking if he needed any help.

For me, I was thinking of putting together and managing a website. That’s what I do, I’m a web guy. Next thing I know, along with Sabrina Ogden, we’re launching a site and reading submissions. Kent has a lot of cache in the community, so the site took off. Started with a lot of known members like Dan O’Shea, Al Guthrie, Ray Banks, and so many guys I admired the hell out of.

A month in we moved from Blogger to our ShotgunHoney.net, which I’ve hosted and maintained since. Kent and Sabrina were on board for first 18+ months for the first anthology, which evolved into more publishing.

Since then I’ve had the privilege to work with Kent, Sabrina, Chad Rohrbacher, Christopher Irvin, Jen Conley, Joe Meyers, Erik Arneson, and Angel Luis Colón. Outside of the contributors, these folks are the life blood of Shotgun Honey these last 4 and half years.

Continue reading

Interrogation—Christopher Irvin

Who: Christopher Irvin

What: Author of FEDERALES and BURN CARDS. His short stories have been featured in several publications, including ThuglitBeat to a Pulp, and Shotgun Honey. His short story collection, SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE, is out this November from 280 Steps.

Where: Boston

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.

Continue reading