“Summer Reads”

If you’re in the market for some killer “Summer Reads,” look no further than the latest episode of the Writer Types crime/mystery podcast.

For this episode we interviewed a handful of indie booksellers from around the U.S. to hear what they are most excited to read in the next few months. Our panel of well-read experts includes Tom Wickersham from The  Mysterious Bookshop (New York, NY), Meg King-Abraham and Devin Abraham from Once Upon A Crime (Minneapolis, MN), Anne Saller from Book Carnival (Orange, CA), and Scott Montgomery of BookPeople/MysteryPeople (Austin, TX). Plus we hear from our resident reviewers, Kate and Dan Malmon.

We’ve also got great interviews with Meg Gardiner (“Unsub”), John Rector (“The Ridge”), Jordan Harper (“She Rides Shotgun”) and Thomas Pluck (“Bad Boy Boogie”). All that plus a short story by Angel Colon.

If you like what you hear in this episode, or any of the previous episodes, please leave a review and subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher and Soundcloud. It’s the best way to help other people discover our podcast.

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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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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