Interrogation—Angel Luis Colon

Who: Angel Luis Colón

What: Author of NO HAPPY ENDINGS, THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR, and the in-progress anthology; MEAT CITY ON FIRE AND OTHER ASSORTED DEBACLES. He’s an editor for Shotgun Honey, has been nominated for the Derringer, and is published in multiple web and print pubs.

Where: New York

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

NO HAPPY ENDINGS is an unconventional heist novel, to say the least. Where were you when the idea struck? 

NO HAPPY ENDINGS came mostly from a weirdo, one-off article I read in passing a year or two ago. It was one of those interest pieces you know was written with little to no research with the sole purpose of making another country look ridiculous, but that planted a seed.

Initially, I was going to make a gross and unsettling short from the idea and send it over to Thuglit to see Todd Robinson’s reaction. Then the story went long, then I switched protags (this was originally going to be a sequel to THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR), then the story got longer. I flip flopped a bit until I found a rhythm and decided this would be full-length feature.

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Interrogation—Christa Faust & Gary Phillips

sketchyphilfauWho: Christa Faust & Gary Phillips—PEEPLAND co-writers

What: Christa Faust is a crime writer, pervert and pulp enthusiast whose novels include MONEY SHOT, CHOKE HOLD and HOODTOWN. PEEPLAND is her first comic series.

Born under a bad sign, Gary Phillips must keep writing to forestall his appointment at the crossroads. He was editor of the bestselling anthology ORANGE COUNTY NOIR, and co-editor of the groundbreaking BLACK PULP. Dropping the end of October from DC Comics will be his street level superhero miniseries VIGILANTE: SOUTHLAND, and his collection of short stories, TREACHEROUS: GRIFTERS, RUFFIANS AND KILLERS, is also out now from Down & Out Books.

Where: Los Angeles

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

Let’s start with the obvious question: How did two established West Coast-based crime authors get involved with this neo-noir comic series?

CF: Though I’ve lived in LA for more than 20 years now and love my adopted city, I still consider myself an East Coast ex-pat. I’ll always be a New Yorker at heart. Anyway, I’ve been writing for Hard Case Crime boss Charles Ardai since 2008 and have published two novels with his crime fiction imprint. He’s one of the best editors I’ve ever worked with and so when he told me he was starting a comic line, I jumped at the chance. I had this idea kicking around in my head for several years, something set in the peep booths where I worked in the late 80s. I knew that story really needed to be told through a visual medium and had considered pitching it as a TV series, but in the end somebody way more talented than me beat me to the punch with a similar concept. When this opportunity came up with Hard Case Comics, it seemed like some kind of crazy hardboiled destiny.

But I’d never written a comic script before and felt like I needed an experienced tag team partner. I knew Gary had written comics and was old enough to remember those bad old days as well as I did. Plus he’s dealt with some similar themes in his own work and seemed like a perfect match for this project. He’s the wily veteran to my mouthy rookie and together I think we came up with something more than the sum of our parts.

GP: I’ve talked about this elsewhere, but for me, I’d once visited New York back then as a teenager. Like a lot of folks my impression of the city was from films like “The Pope of Greenwich Village,” “Ms. 45,” “China Girl,” and “Alphabet City.” Films I’d see at the Tower Theater in downtown L.A., three in a row—be in there from early to late afternoon. Steeped in that kind of filmic lore, I had to jump at the opportunity to work with Christa to tell this crime tale of late ‘80s Times Square and its characters.

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Interrogation—Alex Segura

SeguraAuthorPicWho: Alex Segura

What: A novelist and comic book writer, he is the author of the Miami crime novels featuring Pete Fernandez, SILENT CITY and DOWN THE DARKEST STREET from Polis Books. He has also written a number of comic books, including the best-selling and critically acclaimed ARCHIE MEETS KISS storyline, the “Occupy Riverdale” story, and the upcoming ARCHIE MEETS RAMONES.

Where: New York

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

The central character in your Miami crime series, Pete Fernandez, starts out as a down-on-his-luck newspaper editor. How did you choose journalism as the right profession for Pete?

Before I became a publicist I worked as a reporter and editor in Miami, so I knew and loved the world of the newsroom, and I really wanted to show that. So it made sense to have Pete start out as a newspaper guy, albeit one on his way out. Also, when I was thinking about what job would be conducive to becoming a PI, I liked the idea of Pete being an ex-reporter, so he’d still have that inquisitive nature, but it’d been subdued somehow, and he’d been relegated to a desk. That left him primed and waiting for something to come along and engage that part of his brain again, which had been addled by drinking too much. That’s pretty much where we meet him at the beginning of SILENT CITY.

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Interrogation—J.L. Abramo

Noir at the Bar Denver 12-15Who: J.L. Abramo

What: He was born in the seaside paradise of Brooklyn, New York on Raymond Chandler’s fifty-ninth birthday. Abramo is the author of CATCHING WATER IN A NET, winner of the St. Martin’s Press/Private Eye Writers of America prize for Best First Private Eye Novel; the subsequent Jake Diamond novels CLUTCHING AT STRAWS, COUNTING TO INFINITY, and CIRCLING THE RUNWAY; CHASING CHARLIE CHAN, a prequel to the Jake Diamond series; and the stand-alone thriller GRAVESEND. His latest work is BROOKLYN JUSTICE.

Where: Denver

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

BROOKLYN JUSTICE is a fast-paced hardboiled read. Where did the idea for your P.I. Nick Ventura and this novel come from?

The Jake Diamond series is set primarily in San Francisco with occasional runs to Los Angeles. I very much enjoyed revisiting Brooklyn when I worked on GRAVESEND and wanted to return again. I also wanted to write a more dangerous protagonist (Jake has always been more over easy than hardboiled). Combining both interests led to a Coney Island private investigator who is more inclined toward seeking justice in his own terms and handing out punishment accordingly.

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Interrogation—Rob Hart

pic1Who: Rob Hart

What: Author of NEW YORKED and CITY OF ROSE. His short stories have appeared in publications like Thuglit, Needle, Shotgun Honey, Joyland, and Helix Literary Magazine. Non-fiction has appeared at Salon, The Daily Beast, Nailed, Birth.Movies.Death., and the Powell’s bookstore blog. He’s been nominated for a Derringer Award and received honorable mention in The Best American Mystery Stories 2015. He’s also the class director at LitReactor and the associate publisher at MysteriousPress.com. 

Where: New York

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

CITY OF ROSE is your much-anticipated follow-up to NEW YORKED. This time around, Ash McKenna is brawling his way across Portland, Oregon. How did you pick the location for book 2?

It was originally supposed to be Austin, Texas. I wanted the book to be a spin on a Western—stranger rolls through town with a chip on his shoulder and saves the day. Like Shane or Road House. But I know way more about Portland than I do Austin, and it struck me as a really odd place to set a Western. That pretty much sealed it.

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Interrogation—Chantelle Aimee Osman

CAO 1Who: Chantelle Aimée Osman

What: A freelance editor, creative consultant and former lawyer. She teaches writing across the country, as well as at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. The author of the non-fiction series on writing THE QUICK AND DIRTY GUIDE TO… she has also published numerous flash fiction and short stories. She is also editor for the Romantic Times Digital Extras magazine, creator of the Anthony Award-nominated Sirens of Suspense website, and Fan Guest of Honor at Left Coast Crime 2016.

Where: New York

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

Welcome! You were recently named Left Coast Crime Fan Guest of Honor for 2016. What kind of shenanigans and hi-jinx can we expect from you in Phoenix this February?

I’m still waiting for the message from the LCC board that this was all a big mistake. But, if they’re too embarrassed to tell me, I’m going to milk it for all it’s worth. Definitely stealing the light rail train that runs in downtown Phoenix, or as I now call it, “Chantelle’s Mystery Train”. And that’s one of the tamer plans. I’ve heard talk of a sedan chair. People tell me I have an issue finding the line between “not boring” and “massive embarrassment”.

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Sometimes The Best Short Story Is A Song (#24)

I had a room-mate in the mid-90s that produced a fanzine from our living room. I mostly helped him assemble and staple it prior to shipping, but I also wrote the occasional review or interview. It was a pretty good trade-off given the amount of new music that was mailed to him on a weekly basis. That’s how I discovered Guided By Voices, Zumpano, John Spencer Blues Explosion, Railroad Jerk and a host of other 90s Indie rock bands. Among my many musical discoveries during that period, Jonathan Fire*Eater remains one of my favorites.

The band had a crypt-kicking, 60s garage rock sound mixed with a dramatic darkness shared by bands like The Cramps, Pulp and Nick Cave. “Give Me Daughters” was on their 5-song 1996 EP, Tremble Under Boom Lights, which established them as critical darlings. This narcissistic tale starts with a hypnotic organ line before crashing down into the story. Our protagonist envisions his demise via a motorcycle accident, causing him to wish for children who can carry on his bloodline. It’s a murky vision of a future where he hands down his peculiar wisdom to three daughters that worship at his feet—and possibly the only one in which he survives into old age.

Read the lyrics for “Give Me Daughters” HERE.

Previous installments in this series:

S.W. Lauden’s short fiction has been published by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Dead Guns Magazine, Akashic Books, WeirdBook, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published by Rare Bird Books in October 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.

Interrogation: Angel Luis Colon

ALCWho: Angel Luis Colon

What: His Derringer Award nominated fiction has appeared in multiple print and web publications. Book reviews have appeared in My Bookish Ways and he is an editor for Shotgun Honey, a flash-fiction website focused on noir, hard-boiled, and crime crime stories. Debut novella, THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR out in July from One Eye Press.

Where: New York

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

I just read THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR in one shot. Totally couldn’t put it down. What dark corner of your soul did the title character emerge from? Where does he go when you’re not writing about him?

Great question. Blacky isn’t necessarily my id, but he’s definitely a creature of impulse. I wanted to create someone dark, but cartoonish enough to love, if that makes sense. Most of Blacky’s decisions are by the seat of his pants and most definitely low-hanging fruit. Though, in the story, we do see Blacky has sort of a moral compass. This doesn’t excuse the things he does, but in most cases you’d have a beer with the guy.

That second part, I can probably answer that better when I’m actually not writing him! I’m currently working on a new Blacky story for the Thuglit Christmas anthology due out later this year. This crazy bastard won’t leave my brain, man.

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Polis Books Re-Releases PROHIBITION and SLOW BURN

rsz_screen_shot_2015-04-26_at_41529_pm_2Terrence McCauley is having a busy year. Polis Books will release his first thriller, SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL in July—but not before re-releasing his two period crime novels, PROHIBITION and SLOW BURN this week.

I was lucky enough to interview the author earlier this year. Here is an excerpt from my Q & A with Terrence McCauley.

PROHIBITION coverIt looks like 2015 is shaping up to be a really big year for you. How many years in the making was your overnight success?

I’ve been pawing at writing since I graduated college in 1996, but didn’t start to get serious about it until 2000. I was working on a book I’d called TENETS OF POWER, a business thriller where I took the dry toast of corporate finance and tried to make it compelling. People in my workshops generally liked it but, in hindsight, it was too long and elaborate for popular consumption. In hindsight, my style was too detailed and tough to read.

That’s when I decided to try my hand at the one genre I’d always loved to read: crime fiction. I didn’t want to get wrapped up in researching CSI procedures that a modern-day story would need to have, so I decided to blend my love of New York history with the crime genre. The result was a gangster tale told from the perspective of an enforcer for the Irish mob who had to use his brains as well as his brawn to find out who was undermining his boss’s criminal empire.

SLOW BURN coverPROHIBITION was the result and eventually won TruTV’s Search for the Next Great Crime Writer award in 2008. I thought that would be the start of my writing career, but fate had different plans. Borders Book Stores was going to publish the book and feature it prominently in their store. We all know what happened with them soon after and, when they disappeared, so did my publishing hopes.

For a long time, I struggled to find a publisher because everyone told me that no one reads period fiction anymore. This was right before MAD MEN and other properties became big. However, I was fortunate enough to find a home for it with the good folks at Airship 27, who published PROHIBITION with original art from Rob Moran. The book didn’t get wide release, but their belief in my work kept me going. I’ll always be grateful to Ron Fortier and Rob Davis for their faith in my work.

Since then, I’ve gone back and forth between novels, novellas and short stories. Todd Robinson over at Thuglit has been especially supportive and his edits have really helped my work. I’ve been fortunate enough to have found an audience for my brand of storytelling.

Read the interview HERE

Buy PROHIBITION right HERE

Buy SLOW BURN 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 by Down & Out Books in 2016.

“New Yorked” Is Out Today

unnamed-1“New Yorked” is easily one of the best debuts I have read. The characters are smart, funny and damaged, and the plot takes some truly interesting twists without tying itself in a knot. Most of all, I liked the tone of this novel, which captures the heart of crime writing in a thoroughly modern way.

I was lucky enough to connect with the author earlier this year. Here is an excerpt from my interview with Rob Hart.

One of the many interesting things about NEW YORKED is the ongoing battle between “old New York” and “hipster New York”. How prevalent is that in real life? 

There’s some goofy shit in this book—like the guy who’s name is Ian but stresses that it’s pronounced “Eye-Anne.” That’s a real thing someone said to me once. I’m worried people are going to say a lot of this is ridiculous, not realizing I’ve seen and heard a lot of it. I’m endlessly fascinated by the new v. old clash. This place really will chew you up and spit you out if you’re not strong enough. People who’ve lasted wear it like a badge of honor, and really disdain people who show up out of nowhere and act like they own it. At the same time, New York is a city where people flock to live out their dreams and fantasies. It’s by nature a point of refuge. I’ve never read a book where I saw that play out, so I thought it would be a fun arena to play in.

hart1Is NEW YORKED a crime novel in your eyes? How important is genre to you as a writer?

Genre discussions make me go cross-eyed. If I was pressed I’d say it’s a little noir, a little literary. But I’m firmly in the class of: A good book is a good book, and I don’t care if it’s YA or poetry or literary or crime or a cookbook.

How did your experience as a former political reporter and a commissioner for the city of New York influence the novel? How did you make the transition from politics to writing fiction?

I was a reporter for four years, two of which were spent as a political reporter, then communications director for a politician, and after I left politics got a call to sit on a redistricting commission, as a commissioner. I got two things out of these gigs: Brutal efficiency and life experience.

The efficiency is—both reporting and politics are professions where if someone has to ask you for something, it’s already too late. You have to be able to do twelve things at once, and be fast and accurate and good at all of them. And I got to do and see some cool stuff that informed my writing. I like writing about New York, because I know a lot about it. The second book, set in Portland, was a little tough. I’ve been there half a dozen times, but I don’t know the beat of it. Which helped, a bit, because the narrator doesn’t either. But it really showed me how much New York is my comfort zone. As for making the transition—I’ve always been writing, it was just hard to find the time. My productivity exploded after I took the job with MysteriousPress.com, because suddenly I wasn’t working 24/7.

Read the whole interview HERE.
Buy NEW YORKED 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, Dead Guns Magazine, 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 by Down & Out Books in 2016.