Interrogation—Benoit Lelievre

benoit-dogWho: Benoit Lelievre

What: Publisher of book and movie reviews weekly at Dead End Follies. He lives with his better half Josie and his senior citizen boxer dog Scarlett. He loves writing, watching basketball and obsessing over things.

Where: Montreal

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

Congrats on another successful year at Dead End Follies. How old is your site now? How have things evolved since you first launched?

Thank you! Dead End Follies is turning eight this year. The site underwent major technical changes last year: I migrated it to Squarespace, hooked it up to Google Analytics, and developed a search engine-friendly content strategy. It was the first major change since I decided to dedicate it entirely to book and movie reviews in 2011. In terms of evolution, Dead End Follies first found a purpose—smart and accessible criticism—and now it’s finding its audience, which is exciting.

I believe the most important milestone in Dead End Follies’ evolution happened in 2016: I understood who I was writing for—who I wanted to write for and have a relationship with. Readers. People passionate about genre literature. When you start a book reviewing venture and the publishing industry is starting to take interest in you, it’s validating. You start getting free books in the mail, you discover new voices. That’s great, but it’s easy to get caught in that and start perceiving querying authors as clients. I want to help people reappropriate an intellectual relationship to their entertainment.

Dead End Follies has a purpose and a mission now. We’re a far cry from the desperate outlet for my chaotic thoughts on culture that I created in 2009 when I was working in a call center.

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Dead End Follies Review Of “Grizzly Season”

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“GRIZZLY SEASON isn’t a novel about the drug trade. It is a novel about American drug paranoia. Magnus Ursus is a boogeyman hellbent on either indoctrinating young minds or destroying them with his new, demented, hypertoxic drug. He inspires the kind of terror that keeps concerned mothers up at night. He’s a cult leader, a slave-owner and a smut dealer all at once. How many times have I told you a novel can only be as great as its antagonist? Grizzly Season is another example. Magnus Ursus and the suspended, nightmare reality he seems to live in make the novel successful.” FULL REVIEW.

Thanks For One Hell Of A Year

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As the year comes to an end, I wanted to thank all of you awesome people for supporting my debut mystery novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION. It’s a dream come true to publish a book, but nobody would have heard about it if it wasn’t for the feedback, support and encouragement of the greater crime/mystery universe that I am lucky enough to roam.

And thanks to my partners over at Rare Bird Books, and my editor Elaine Ash. Looking forward to bringing a second Greg Salem novel into the world in 2016 with your help. But not until Down & Out Books publishes my novella, CROSSWISE, in March.

Thanks for one hell of a year! Looking forward to another great one in 2016.

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I also published 52 interviews on this blog in 2015. That’s a new Q&A every Monday for an entire year. Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to participate.

I have learned a lot about writing, publishing and marketing by connecting with such talented people. I can’t wait to continue reading your short stories and books, following your blogs and listening to your podcasts in 2016.

Here is a small collection of awesome quotes from those interviews in 2015:

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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 March 2016.

Some Recent BCC Reviews

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BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION is more of a cerebral pleasure than an adrenaline rush or an all-out emotional experience, but it is a sneaky and sophisticated mystery that will please even the most die-hard fans of the genre. Hilary Davidson finally has some competition for best mystery writer in the business!”—Benoit Lelievre for Dead End Follies 

“Like the best punk song ever played, Bad Citizen Corporation is raw and unpolished, it rips and roars, screams and pounds.”—Josh Stallings, author of YOUNG AMERICANS

“In the end, I want more Greg Salem. I want to find out about a few of the other mysteries in his life and I definitely want to see his Los Angeles again. I especially want to see him kick ass on stage a few more times. I’m absolutely psyched to see what Lauden has next (we should be seeing more very soon from Down & Out Books, if I remember correctly). He’s a talent out of the west coast to watch for.”—Angel Luis Colon for MyBookishWays

“Tight as a snare drum and as lean and mean as early Pelecanos, Bad Citizen Corporation is the dog’s bollocks.”Paul D. Brazill, author of KILL ME QUICK!

“There is nothing better than finding a debut novel with strong recommendations from authors you dig and having the novel read like it was written by a seasoned pro. In other words, picking up Bad Citizen Corporation by S.W. Lauden is gonna make a lot of readers very happy.”—Derrick Horodyski for Out of the Gutter

Great #writingtips From Authors & Publishers

We’ve had the good fortune to interview some fantastic authors and publishers in the last year. Here’s a collection of writing tips and quotes from the last few months. Please click through to read the whole article and get to know these amazing talents.

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Read my interview with Les Edgerton

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Interrogation—Benoît Lelièvre

Author - 2Who: Benoît Lelièvre

What: Benoît Lelièvre is a pop culture blogger and author who is also a gigantic basketball nerd. He lives with his better half Josie and his dog Scarlett. You can read him on Dead End Follies, BallBallBallBall and in Zelmer Pulp anthologies.

Where: Montreal

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

DEAD END FOLLIES turned six this week. What was the inspiration for your site? How has it evolved in six years?

Late 2008, I started working the night shift at an IT helpdesk in Montreal. It was a brutal job and a crazy schedule. In many ways, it was the beginning of my adult life. I had spent my early adulthood sheltered in academia and I thought I was being clever for doing so until I began a master’s degree and started losing faith in the process. The time where someone looked over my shoulder and mopped up my messes was over, I was on my own.

I’d started a couple of blogs during my downtime at work, but I got quickly frustrated and bored because nobody was reading it. Then, I met David Dupree from Atheist Media blog, who happened to be working on my floor. He’s a very successful blogger who got millions of visitors. He taught me everything he knew about the business and soon enough, people were paying attention to me. It began as an author blog, but every expert on author branding recommended that I write reviews in order to display expertise, so it’s what I did. Novels and movies. I found out that authors were starved for quality feedback so I’ve quickly become a trusted source and, next thing I knew, I was being quoted as an expert. I built upon that.

Sex, Drugs, CocoaI was all over the place in the first year or so. I was writing fiction, reviews, opinion pieces, I was making every mistake in the book. I was talking to my colleague Jarrod Galloway one day (who became one of my best friends), telling him about this new crazy intense essayist I had just discovered named David Foster Wallace. He suggested that I read Chuck Klosterman. He said: ”it’s a little hipster, but I think it’s right up your alley.” The same week, I bought Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs and it changed my life. I had found a guy who cared about the same things I cared about and who was infinitely more eloquent than I was about them. It was like I had found a big brother.

Klosterman helped me structure my thoughts, gave direction to my blog and helped me understand myself better. If he is not my favorite writer, he is on my goddamn Mount Rushmore. The Dead End Follies you know today is directly influenced by Chuck Klosterman. I try to deconstruct and get at the heart of everything I read/watch. I let go of pretty much everything but the reviews. I’ll do an authorly update whenever there is something to say, I’ll write an opinion piece once in a while, write about the things I’ve learned, but the core of the site is (and will always be) reviews.

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