Interrogation: Matt Coyle

Coyle Head Shot jpeg IIWho: Matt Coyle

What: Matt Coyle has a degree in English from UC Santa Barbara. He’s taken detours into the restaurant, golf, and sports collectible businesses. His first novel, YESTERDAY’S ECHO, won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel, the San Diego Book Award for Best Mystery, and the Ben Franklin Silver Award. NIGHT TREMORS is Matt’s second novel in the Rick Cahill crime series. Matt lives in San Diego with his Yellow Lab, Angus.

Where: San Diego

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

You set out to write the “great American novel” after college, but didn’t publish your first book until thirty years later. How did your publishing dreams and writing style change over the course of three decades? 

yesterdays-echo-225First of all, thanks for having me. I think dreams is a great choice of words because my preparation and expectations were unrealistic when I first started writing. First of all, I had to get off my rear end and consistently write. That took about twenty years to figure out. Then I thought writing was a completely solitary endeavor: You write in a cocoon without outside intervention because it’s your story. How could anyone else have anything to add to it? Once I finally had a first draft done, I thought, “Okay, time to find an agent, sign a big book deal and quit my day job forever.” Hard knocks taught me that the life of a writer is quite different than my dreams.

My writing style evolved as it had to for me to have any chance of getting published. I took novel classes at UC San Diego Extension and joined writers groups. I broke out of the cocoon and realized that readers my not be reading the story I thought I was writing. Plus, I starting writing in first person and found the voice of my protagonist, Rick Cahill. That changed everything.
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Interrogation: J. David Osborne

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Who: J. David Osborne

What: Publisher-in-chief of Broken River Books, a small press dedicated to publishing strange, left-of-center, transgressive fiction. He is also the author of five books, including the Wonderland-Award-winning BY THE TIME WE LEAVE HERE, WE’LL BE FRIENDS and his most recent, BLACK GUM. He lives with his partner and their dog.

Where: Portland, Oregon

Black GumI just finished reading BLACK GUM and was blown away. As a reader who writes reviews, I thought I’d ask your opinion of my review:
I think that’s a very kind review that does a good job of articulating how the book made you feel. You also provide punchy details that would pique my interest. 5/5, would read again.

We all know that reader reviews are a valuable tool for writers and publishers, but is it a double-edged sword? Do you even bother to read the reviews? When you do, do you read as a writer or a publisher?

I usually take about an hour out of the month to dig through Goodreads and Amazon and get up-to-date on what people are saying about the BRB catalog, or my own stuff. It’s kind of thrilling in its way. But I think balance is key. You can’t check that shit every day, because for one it’s a suck on your time, and secondly it creates manic, impulsive, obsessive behavior. I’ve seen writers go nuts, checking their Amazon page over and over. That’s like dropping your kid off at kindergarten, then hovering around the school, worrying. It’s bad for you, and it’s bad for the kid.

On the other hand, you have to take the temperature. You have to get a sense of what’s working for people, and what’s not. And also, folks take the time out of their day to write those reviews, so I think within reason it’s good manners to take a look at their feedback.

Outside of my personal relationship with reader reviews, they are objectively important to the success of a book. And I value the fact that a lot of folks out there take a minute or two to give their opinions. Authors work long hours and live inside strange bubbles, and to put all that work into something and then sell it for incredibly low prices (I mean, think about it…these books occasionally take years to write…and then LDDREthey’re available for a buck online). So, if you’re getting a little piece of someone for dirt cheap, I think it’s the right thing to do to at least pass the book on, whether it’s to a friend or to strangers on a website.

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Interrogation: Eryk Pruitt

BloodyDirtbags5Who: Eryk Pruitt

What: A screenwriter, author and filmmaker living in Durham, NC with his wife Lana and cat Busey. His short films FOODIE and LIYANA, ON COMMAND have won several awards at film festivals across the US. His fiction appears in THE AVALON LITERARY REVIEW, PULP MODERN, THUGLIT and ZYMBOL, to name a few. In 2015, he’s been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and is a finalist for the Derringer Award. His novel DIRTBAGS was published in April 2014, and HASHTAG will be published by 280 Steps in May, 2015.

Where: Durham, North Carolina

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

dirtbagsI just finished reading DIRTBAGS and found myself in awe of just how much all of the characters live up to the title. What was your inspiration to write a novel about an aspiring serial killer?

I’ve always had a weird curiosity with the famous serial killers. In school, I wrote a lot of papers about them, collected their statistics like trading cards. I once met a girl who had the same odd interest in them and (no shit) said she joined Chi Omega because that was the sorority where Ted Bundy killed those girls back in ’78. You’d have thought we’d have made quite a pair, but it never worked out for some reason or another. But little facts will pop into my head sometimes when I’m in a perfectly normal, grown-up conversation and the looks I’ve received have been hilarious (to me).

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Genre-Bending Fiction

dreaming deepExploring the world of crime and mystery fiction, I have had the great fortune to discover some engaging books by truly talented authors. Along the way I have also discovered a couple of genre-bending novels that caught me by surprise and blew my mind. The first is JUNGLE HORSES by Scott Adlerberg. The second is DREAMING DEEP by Anonymous-9.

I am very lucky to have recently interviewed both of these incredible authors. Take a look at their quotes below, click on the link to read the whole interview or just skip it all and go straight to their Amazon page to purchase both of these awesome books.

[Scott Adlerberg interview excerpt]  Is it important to you as a writer to jump between genres?Port Richmond Books--Scott Adlerberg

Is it important to me? It’s not so much important as a question of what works for a particular story. With JUNGLE HORSES, as I was doing it, it seemed to work. The second part, the fantastic part, just grew out of the noirish part, without strain, I felt. I wouldn’t try to force genres together just to be odd or “different.” But what’s fun about genres is how fluid and flexible they are and how you can play around so much with them. There’s a lot of ways to be inventive. On the other hand what’s more satisfying to read than a good straight noir story from the criminal’s point of view, or a strong private eye tale, or a procedural that keeps things moving and really digs into its world with great characters—nothing super inventive, not trying to reinvent the wheel, but just a good plot, suspense, believable psychology, a narrative you get into—a genre work as everyone would think of it, and well done. I have no objections.

Read the whole INTERVIEW

Get JUNGLE HORSES

A-9Cactus 2[Anonymous-9 interview excerpt] Much of your writing is set in Los Angeles. Why is LA the right place for your fiction?

It’s where I live so it’s easy to visit places and do research. I put myself in the shoes of the main character, I find the place where they physically live, and imagine everything surrounding them to make them feel real. I hope to have a second home in Texas or in the south. I would love to join the circle of southern writers in my own small way. What people, what characters, what settings!

Read the whole INTERVIEW

Get DREAMING DEEP

S.W. Lauden is a writer and drummer living in Los Angeles. His short fiction has been accepted for publication by Out of the Gutter, Akashic Books and Crimespree Magazine. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published in 2015. He is currently putting the finishing touches on his debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION. You can read one of his recent short stories right HERE.