Interrogation—Scotch Rutherford (Switchblade)

Who: Scotch Rutherford

What: An independent screenwriter and short fiction author of THE NEON GLARE, a novelette available now from Pro Se Press. His short fiction has appeared in Pulp Modern, Shotgun Honey, The Flash Fiction Offensive, Pulp Metal Magazine, and All Due Respect. He is the creator and managing editor for Switchblade Magazine.

Where: Los Angeles

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

Congrats on the launch of Switchblade. What was the inspiration?

Thanks, man. Being a short fiction author writing in the noir genre, I would make the rounds on the different online platforms and indie print mags. I realized a lot of indie ‘zines had gone away. About that time, I started attending Noir at the Bar LA events and networking.

I like to read, and have some experience as a project manager as well as some graphic arts skills, to handle the art direction. So I took a shot. I know there isn’t any money in it, but it’s something I can build on. I wanted to create a forum for hard luck tales with no limits. An outlet for noir fiction that defies political correctness. I want Switchblade to reflect that.

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Interrogation—Mike Creeden

Creeden Pic1Who: Mike Creeden

What: His work has appeared in Tigertail, Miami Living, The Florida Book Review, EVERYTHING IS BROKEN, and TROUBLE IN THE HEARTLAND: CRIME FICTION INSPIRED BY THE SONGS OF BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN. A native of Massachusetts, Mike now lives in South Florida and teaches writing at Florida International University.

Where: Florida

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

I just finished ALL YOUR LIES CAME TRUE and I kept getting the strange sensation that the book was written specifically for me. Who did you think the reader of this story would be when you wrote it?

It was written specifically for you, Steve—you and anyone else who’s ever played in a band, or been obsessed with a band or walked around all day, every day with song lyrics and guitar riffs and concert footage running through their heads. I was thinking about the kind of reader who measures the quality of a movie by what songs are on the soundtrack, someone who gets excited when a writer mentions a rock song or a band in a novel.

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Interrogation—Dharma Kelleher

DharmaWho: Dharma Kelleher

What: She writes gritty tales about outlaws, renegades, and misfits. Her hobbies include riding motorcycles, picking locks, and getting inked. Her debut novel IRON GODDESS will be published by Penguin Random House’s Alibi imprint on June 28, 2016.

Where: Arizona

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

Congrats on the upcoming release of your debut novel, IRON GODDESS! Can you tell us a little bit about how this story came together?

Thanks! I’ve been riding motorcycles for several years now. A few years ago, I saw a news story about a custom motorcycle shop that specialized in bikes for women. I’m 5’6” and there are a lot of motorcycles that are simply too tall for me, especially sport and off-road bikes. So I imagined a female biker that ran her own shop. That was the starting point.

Your protagonist, Shea Stevens, is billed as an “ex-con biker chick turned law-abiding citizen”. How much of you is in this character?

There are some similarities and a lot of differences. We’re both bikers who are willing to go to extremes to protect the people we care about. We both live outside the mainstream of polite society. We are both estranged from our families of origin, though for different reasons. And we both are adept at picking locks.

But you wouldn’t want me working on your bike or car. I don’t even change my own oil. And I’ve never spent time in prison. So far.

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Interrogation—Marietta Miles

Who: Marietta Miles

What: Born in Alabama, raised in Louisiana, her short stories have been published by Thrills, Kills and Chaos, Flash Fiction Offensive, Yellow Mama, Revolt Daily and more. She has stories in anthologies offered through Static Movement Publishing, Horrified Press, and, soon, Gutter Books. Her first novel, ROUTE 12, is now available through All Due Respect Books.

Where: Virginia

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

Your debut release from All Due Respect is ROUTE 12, two novellas set in Appalachia in the seventies and eighties. Why was this era and that location the right time and place for these stories and characters?

Poverty is the wolf at the door in ROUTE 12, ordeals borne directly from need. The seventies were a particularly difficult time in Appalachia. Slashed jobs in the mines, bad soil on the farms, and stripped cuts along the mountains made for little money. As they had been for years, young people were leaving in waves. This area, at that time, seemed isolated and vulnerable, much like the characters.

Plus, I got to listen to loads of cheesy seventies music and tell everyone it was for inspiration. I mean come on…The Raspberries?

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Interrogation—Ingrid Willis

ingrid cu blackWho: Ingrid Willis

What: Chair of Left Coast Crime 2016 in Phoenix, AZ. She has been a devoted mystery conference attendee since she discovered the Bouchercon convention in 2002. She has attended almost every Left Coast Crime, Bouchercon, and Malice Domestic since then, and was Chair of Bouchercon 2014 in Long Beach, CA. Ingrid has worked for more than twenty-five years in the entertainment industry. She left her position as Executive Director of Marketing for Columbia Pictures in 1997 to start her own company specializing in digital post-production. She is also a mystery writer and insatiable mystery reader.

Where: Los Angeles

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

You’ve been “a devoted mystery conference attendee” since you discovered Bouchercon in 2002. What was so magical about that first convention?

I had just left my studio job to start my own post production company.  I was thinking about writing a novel, and having worked in the music and entertainment field I wanted to check out the publishing “industry” before I did so.  I mean, what if I hated the business? What if it was as cut-throat as the entertainment & music? I went to Bouchercon in Austin, Texas without having been registered. (There wasn’t online registration in those days.) While in line to register I met Elaine Viets who was so gracious and encouraged me to write. Everyone was so welcoming.  It was great.  I realized I’d found my long-lost family I hadn’t even known I’d misplaced. I made acquaintances that have since become some of my best friends. Bouchercon literally changed my life and took me in a direction I could never have imagined.

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Interrogation—Corey Lynn Fayman

clf_final_400Who: Corey Lynn Fayman

What: He has done hard time as a musician, songwriter, and sound designer, but still refuses to apologize for it. BLACK’S BEACH SHUFFLE, the first novel featuring the guitar-slinging detective Rolly Waters, was a San Diego Book Awards finalist. The second, BORDER FIELD BLUES, won the genre award at the 2013 Hollywood Book Festival. His third Rolly Waters mystery, DESERT CITY DIVA, has just been published by Severn House.

Where: San Diego

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

I just finished your latest Rolly Waters mystery, DESERT CITY DIVA. How did you come up with this story about alien-obsessed cults in San Diego?

This story had a long germination, beginning with a weekend driving trip to the Southern California desert my wife and I made about ten years ago. That’s when I first encountered Salvation Mountain and Slab City, and their essential ‘outsiderness’ appealed to me immediately. Salvation Mountain is a brightly painted fever dream of Christian faith that was constructed over many years by one man, Leonard Knight, who lived at the site. It’s a remarkable piece of folk architecture, like the Watts Towers.

DCD_cover_600Next to Salvation Mountain is Slab City, an unincorporated, off-the-grid trailer community of free spirits, retirees, and survivalists built on the remains of a WWII Marine Corps training facility. The Marines abandoned the camp after the war, leaving only the concrete slab foundations. Over the years it developed into a wintertime stopover for folks living in their RVs and trailers, to the point where it became a semi-permanent community. A cafe, library, and church have been set up, along with a sculpture garden of junk art called “East Jesus”. What really got my attention was “The Range”, an outdoor stage where they have jam sessions every weekend. I knew I had to get Rolly Waters, my guitar-playing protagonist out there and DESERT CITY DIVA is the result.

I originally based the UFO cult on the Unarius Academy of Science, which is headquartered in San Diego. Its founder had a local cable-access show in San Diego for years, which made for some fascinating early morning viewing when I got home after gigs. It was also one of the few things on at that hour. The Unarians owned a piece of land in the mountains east of San Diego, which they intended as a landing pad for the alien beings who are central to their cosmology. After some research, I found the Unarians outlook to be rather gentle and benign. I had to look further for something more villainous. I found that in the infamous Heaven’s Gate suicides that took place in another San Diego neighborhood.

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Interrogation—Paul D. Brazill

profile pic Dec 2014 (2)Who: Paul D. Brazill

What: Author of KILL ME QUICK!, GUNS OF BRIXTON, COLD LONDON BLUES and THE LAST LAUGH, AND OTHER SHOTS OF NOIR.He was born in England and lives in Poland. He is an International Thriller Writers Inc. member whose writing has been translated into Polish, Italian, German and Slovene. He has had writing published in various magazines and anthologies, including three editions of THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST BRITISH CRIME. He has edited a few anthologies, including the best-selling TRUE BRIT GRIT–with Luca Veste.

Where: Poland

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

I just read your new novella KILL ME QUICK! It’s gritty, fast-paced and hilarious. Where did the inspiration for this story come from?

I was in correspondence with the great Cathi Unsworth after reading her novel WEIRDO and Graham Greene’s BRIGHTEN ROCK back to back. We noticed that there weren’t too many other examples of ‘seaside noir’. It started me thinking about writing one. At about the same time, Chris Black launched Number Thirteen Press. I was a fan and wanted in. Soooo …

It was common at British seaside resorts for girls to wear Kiss Me Quick hats, so the title of the book was obvious to me.

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Interrogation—Danny Gardner

gardner_ck2Who: Danny Gardner

What: He impressed audiences with his performance on the 3rd season of HBO’s Def Comedy Jam (All-Stars Vol. 12). He has enjoyed a career as an actor, director and screenwriter. He is a recent Pushcart Prize nominee for his creative non-fiction piece Forever. In an Instant., published by Literary Orphans Journal. A NEGRO AND AN OFAY is his first novel.

Where: Los Angeles

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

I just finished your debut novel, A NEGRO AND AN OFAY. Elliot Caprice is a flawed and troubled character, but I rooted for him throughout the story. How did you come up with the concept for this character and story?

Elliot Caprice came to me a long time ago, when I first tried my hand at screenwriting. Early on, he was almost a novelty—a setup for culturally-referential, purposefully anachronistic comedy. That never saw the light of day. It was all just exercises, really. Then, as life grew more and more serious for me, he became more and more serious. It’s been suggested that he’s an amalgam of me from a few different periods of my life. I’m not so sure about that, but perhaps there are parallels in our emotional fields.

perf5.000x8.000.inddWhen I was very young, and my life was ill-defined, I got off to a big start in stand-up comedy. Through all of that, I grew up a lot, and realized I wanted my creativity for me. Not to impress anyone else. Not to become rich, or famous. Yay me! Except then, I had to reconcile real life against desire. After doing television and a few movies, I wound up back in Chicago sitting on a help desk, not doing what I felt I was meant to do. I felt things were over for me before I really got started.

In an IT support capacity, there’s a lot of waiting around for the phone to ring. Left alone with my own thoughts in my own cubical, I’d write screenplays. The one that stuck in my wakeful consciousness was about Elliot. Elliot’s world is very real, visual. Palpable. I’d retreat in there when life was really roughin’ me up. Perhaps that’s how I built it. Seeking emotional solitude.

The story unfolded moment to moment. I make loose outlines about situations, but the rest comes from visceral experience. There are some realtime current events that influence the plot, of course. It just kind of folds in, like ingredients in a cake. Otherwise, it happens for me experientially, not empirically. I’m a witness. I hope that makes sense.
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Noir Slam—Weds., Sept. 2—Downtown LA

Noir SlamI am very excited to be part of NOIR SLAM, 20 mystery/crime authors taking you on a fierce, fast-paced trip to the edge of modern noir—60 seconds at a time. The event takes place starting at 7pm Wednesday, Sept. 2 in downtown Los Angeles at The Last Bookstore. I was there for an Erika Krouse reading just last night and the place is amazing.

Just imagine how cool all of your friends will think you are when you click this Facebook link and tell them you’re “going” to Noir Slam!

Not convinced? Well, here’s a list of the amazing authors included on the bill: Christa Faust, Brett Battles, Anonymous-9, Danny Gardner, James Queally, Maxine Nunes, Eric Beetner, Samuel Gailey, Craig Faustus Buck, Stephen Blackmoore, Ashley Erwin, John Shepphird, Aaron Philip Clark, Travis Richardson, Paul D. Marks, Josh Stallings, Hannah Sward, and your’s truly.

If you aren’t familiar with some of these scribblers, I have been lucky enough to interview several of them on this blog over the last year. Here are a few of my favorite quotes, along with links to the original interviews. Of course, there is no better way to get to know an author than by reading one of their books…just saying.


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Read the Josh Stallings interview HERE.

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Read the Anonymous-9 interview HERE.

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Read the Eric Beetner interview HERE.

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Read the Travis Richardson interview HERE.

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Read the Paul D. Marks interview HERE.

S.W. Lauden’s short fiction has been accepted for publication 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 in October 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.

So This Is What It’s Like To Get Published (Part 1)

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(Updated August 23, 2015)

As many of you already know, Down & Out Books will be publishing my novella, CROSSWISE, in March of next year. I am beyond thrilled to work with D&OB and their fearless leader Eric Campbell (read my interview with him HERE). This is one publisher I have had my sights on since I decided to start writing mystery/crime fiction a few years ago. I can’t wait to see my name on the incredible author roster alongside Eric Beetner, Les Edgerton, Anonymous-9, Jack Getze, Anthony Neil Smith, Gary Phillips, Terrence McCauley and many, many others.

And just last week I announced that my novel BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION—the book that started all of this for me, and the first in a planned series—has been picked up by Rare Bird Books. It should be available (GULP) in October of THIS year. Guess I’ll be seeing you at Bouchercon in Raleigh.

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Read my interview with Rare Bird founder Tyson Cornell HERE.

Given the sudden increase in publishing activity around here, I thought I would start a semi-regular blog series about my beginner’s path to publishing. I am no expert, not by a long shot, and I don’t pretend to be. But as a rookie myself, I appreciate any insight I can get into this mysterious and often frustrating world. I hope you will enjoy what I have to share—whether you say “That sounds like a good idea. I think I’ll do that too,” “Why would anybody publish this idiot?!?” or something in between.

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