2016: My Year In Interviews

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I got the not-so-original idea to interview other writers at Bouchercon, Long Beach a couple of years ago. At the time, I was new to the vibrant crime and mystery community and eager to learn about the people who were a few steps—or a few miles—ahead of rsz_screen_shot_2016-05-08_at_74929_amme in their publishing journey. Since then I have expanded my interviews to include a handful of publishers, event organizers, designers and bloggers.

I discovered pretty quickly that even the most hardboiled author was happy to indulge my questions, giving them serious consideration and, when asked, providing insightful advice about writing, publishing and marketing. This is a truly talented bunch of people. And a lot of them are funny too.

Two years later, I’m happy to say that many have become friends that I connect with regularly on social media, at annual conferences like Left Coast Crime, Noir at the Bar events around the country, and bookstore signings.

rsz_screen_shot_2016-04-08_at_75943_pm_2Looking back on 2016, I did 48 interviews. If you missed any of them, or if you’re looking to discover a talented new crime/mystery author, here they are again (along with links):

January:

Corey Lynn Fayman, Leslie Bohem, Jack Getze, Ingrid Willis

rsz_screen_shot_2016-01-24_at_50801_pmFebruary:

John L. Thompson, Rob Hart, J.L. Abramo, Bill Fitzhugh, J.T. Lindroos

March:

Brett Battles, Brian Thornton, Michael Lister, Gary Phillips

April:

rsz_screen_shot_2016-01-17_at_83408_amMarietta Miles, Jon Jordan, Jeff Newberry, C.S. Dewildt

May:

Christian Lee, Jen Conley, Glen Erik Hamilton, Sarah M. Chen

June:

Larry Wilson, Bryon Quertermous, Dharma Kelleher, Ryan Gattis, Joe Clifford

July:

rsz_screen_shot_2016-06-26_at_73433_pmBenjamin Whitmer, Jason Pinter, Greg Barth

August:

Mike Creeden, Nick Kolakowski, Erik Storey, Gabino Iglesias, Mike McCrary

September:

Alex Segura, Ro Cuzon, Erik Arenson

rsz_screen_shot_2016-09-05_at_34632_pmOctober:

Jay Stringer, S.G. Redling, Christa Faust & Gary Phillips, Michael Pool, Naomi Hirahara

November:
Lori Rader-Day, Andrew Nette, Bob Truluck, Angel Luis Colon

December:

Matt Coyle, Jonathan Brown

I look forward to interviewing more of you in 2017. Thanks for a great year!

grizzly-seasonS.W. Lauden’s debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, is available from Rare Bird Books. The second Greg Salem novel, GRIZZLY SEASON, was published on October 11, 2016. His Tommy Ruzzo novella, CROSSWISE, is available from Down & Out Books.

Interrogation—Matt Coyle

coyle-head-shotWho: Matt Coyle

What: His debut 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 for Best New Voice in Fiction. His second book, NIGHT TREMORS, was named a top pick for 2015 by Bookreporter.com. and was a Lefty, Shamus, and Anthony Award Finalist. DARK FISSURES, is the third book in the Rick Cahill crime series.

Where: San Diego

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

Congrats on publishing your latest Rick Cahill novel, DARK FISSURES. How did the concept for this one come about?

Thanks, Steve.

The idea for the book came to me late in the “I need a story for my next book” process. I’d gone through a lot of what if scenarios and hadn’t come up with anything that resonated. Late in the process, I happened to be reading about the death of two former Navy SEALs overseas who were working for Global Response Solutions. Among other things, GRS hires out for security to the CIA. I wondered what these former elite soldiers would do for work after they returned home to the States. Law enforcement made sense. Then I wondered what Rick would do if he was hired to investigate the suicide of these former SEALs.

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“Night Tremors” By Matt Coyle

Night Tremors final Jacket (2)Today marks the release of “Night Tremors,” the second Rick Cahill novel from Anthony Award-winner Matt Coyle. I was lucky enough to interview the author earlier this month about “Night Tremors” and his debut novel, “Yesterday’s Echo.” He had a lot of interesting things to say about his road to writing and publishing an award-winning novel, and about his writing process in general.

Here is an excerpt from my interview with Matt Coyle:

YESTERDAY’S ECHO won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel in 2014, in addition to other awards. Given the many accolades, were you tempted to wait another 30 years to write the follow-up? Did you feel any pressure—external or internal—to avoid the so-called “sophomore slump”?

I’m always tempted to wait instead of writing. It’s so much easier.

I never felt any external pressure to not write a crappy second novel. My agent and publisher are incredibly supportive. However, there’s always internal pressure, fear, and insecurity when it comes to writing. I wrote and rewrote YESTERDAY’S ECHO for ten years, getting it as close as I could to where I wanted it to be. I emptied my soul into it. When I starting writing NIGHT TREMORS, I didn’t know if I had any soul left. Luckily, I figured out that Rick had changed through his ordeals in the first book and I found fresh material in learning how he would deal with his new circumstances and new challenges.

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The second Rick Cahill novel, NIGHT TREMORS, comes out on June 2. How has the character evolved since we last saw him? What can readers expect from the new novel?

Rick made decisions and took actions in YESTERDAY’S ECHO that had consequences, both externally and internally. They changed him. Damaged him. Gave him a slightly harder shell. But underneath he’s still the guy who wants to do the right thing, only on his terms.

In the beginning of NIGHT TREMORS Rick is working for a large investigative firm in La Jolla and making more money than he ever has. He just bought his first home, but the work doesn’t feed his soul.

When the opportunity to help free a man who’d possibly been wrongly imprisoned, Rick grabs it. However, in doing so he risks losing his home, his job, his freedom, and even his life. Ultimately, he’ll have to make the most difficult decision of his life.

You can read the whole interview right HERE.

Pick up your copy of “Night Tremors” right HERE.

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, Criminal Element, Akashic Books, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published in 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published in 2016.

Quick Quotes—The Week In Publishing

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“All our criticisms of genre fiction—that it relies too much on the sensationalism of a shocking plot; that it is unwieldy and messy; that it is too contemporary, resisting the classic’s tight-lipped timelessness; that it appeals too much to its audience’s emotions—sidestep the fact that the novel began as a popular form, one as potentially mind-rotting as TV, comic books, or Candy Crush.”—Alice Bolin at Electric Literature

“My theory is that authors are no less opposed to making money any other type of professional; it’s the transaction that freaks them out.”—Jim Ruland on LitHub

“Whether it’s borne out of some kind of bizarro escapism or the desire to see the dark mind confirmed and confined on the page, the urge to read and write dark fiction has been steady in my life.”—Amelia Gray at Publishers Weekly
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Great Advice From Awesome Authors

I have been very lucky to interview some awesome authors and publishers over the last year. From short story masters to award-winning novelists, and everything in between, they all have great advice and words of encouragement for new and emerging writers.

Here is a collection of recent quotes along with links to the full interviews. Take a look and see if there is something here for you. If you like what they have to say, please make sure to check out some of their published works. And don’t be afraid to share their advice—these authors deserve to be discovered by even more readers and writers.

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Read the Rob Hart interview HERE.

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Read the Sarah M. Chen interview HERE.
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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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