Interrogation—William E. Wallace

WEW with gunsWho: William E. Wallace

What: A former award-winning investigative reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, Naval intelligence analyst, private eye, house painter, cook, dishwasher, magazine writer and journalism professor. His most recent book, DEAD HEAT WITH THE REAPER, was released by All Due Respect books in August 2015. His short fiction has appeared in All Due Respect, Shotgun Honey, Out of the Gutter Online, Near to the Knuckle, Over My Dead Body, Dead Guns, Plan B, Spinetingler and Dark Corners.

Where: Oakland

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

The first of the two novellas in DEAD HEAT WITH THE REAPER is called “Legacy”. Is the character Frank Trask based on anybody specific?

Trask is an amalgam of a number of people I’ve met, but he is primarily modeled on my own father, a construction mechanic and blacksmith who drank heavily and died in 1994. In fact, the backhanding of the biker, one of the incidents of violence in the story involving Trask, is based on a confrontation my dad once had with a drunk who was bothering my late sister in a bar in Pollock Pines, California.

The second novella in DEAD HEAT WITH THE REAPER, “The Creep,” features a disfigured vet named Alan Baldocchi. What was your inspiration?

I just wondered what it would be like if a young woman fortuitously crossed paths with somebody who was  so ugly that he made the hair on the back of your neck stand on end, but came to realize he was actually not a “creep” at all—just a person unlucky enough to be really horrible looking. I wrote the first scene where Susan meets Baldocchi on the stairway and set it aside. A while later I read through what I had written and the story began to suggest itself in my mind.

Continue reading

Interrogation: Frank Portman

PORTMAN 1Who: Frank Portman (a.k.a. Dr. Frank)

What: The singer/songwriter/guitarist of the Bay Area punk band Mr. T Experience and the author of three young adult novels including most recently KING DORK APPROXIMATELY, a sequel to the coming of age cult classic KING DORK.

Where: San Francisco

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

You published your debut novel, KING DORK, in 2006. What made you want to write a Young Adult novel at that time? Do you think you will ever write a non-YA novel?

In 2004 my band released it’s final/most recent album and attempted to tour on it and promote it in the usual way, not realizing that in the time since the last time we’d done that the world’s music consumers had all gotten together and decided not to buy records anymore.  The tour disintegrated at the end as they always do, leaving me at a loose end and running out of ideas now that recording another essentially valueless album and touring to promote its valuelessness was out of the question despite it being pretty much the only thing I knew how to do.  Writing a YA novel was suggested to me by an agent who was a fan of my songs and who thought the sensibility in them could work in fiction.  I had nothing but time so I gave it a shot.

King_Dork_coverThere’s a lot of arguing over “what is YA” these days (similar to the “what is punk?” trope that used to bedevil me way back when.)  Teen fiction is certainly where I feel most comfortable, and is a logical place to go from rock and roll, which is teenage music if it’s anything.  As a frame for fiction, exploring the teenage self coming of age has a quite a bit going for it, as I am certainly not the first person to note.  And this tradition is a long and great one that I’m pleased to be a part of.  That said, what makes a book YA is that it is marketed that way.  I’m fortunate that this marketing has worked so well for my books, but even in a different marketing category I’d write them the same way.  Which is a roundabout way of saying, I guess, that I don’t see the great gulf between YA and “non-YA” that the question assumes.

Continue reading

Eryk Pruitt’s HASHTAG Is Out Today

Eryk Pruitt is screenwriter, author and filmmaker living in Durham, NC. 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. His novel DIRTBAGHashtagCover350S was published in April 2014, and his follow-up novel, HASHTAG, was published today by 280 Steps.

I was lucky enough to catch up with the author last month between book and film projects, long enough to have him answer a few questions. Here is an excerpt from my interview with Eryk Pruitt.

How does your new novel, HASHTAG, differ from your debut novel, DIRTBAGS?

HASHTAG, for one, is a little longer. Much like DIRTBAGS, it is told in three parts. It also gets a prologue and an epilogue, which I’m pretty happy about. Our characters get a chance to leave town some in HASHTAG, which is fun. I think there’s no place more beautiful, more sinister, more dangerous and more blessed than the American South, and I wanted to take the readers on a little ride, so we manage to get out of Lake Castor. How we do it… well, that’s a different story.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-04-05_at_73753_amWas writing a novel easier the second time around? 

I was fortunate enough to have already written HASHTAG by the time DIRTBAGS was published. However, after having gone through line edits and copy edits, it fiddled with my head during HASHTAG rewrites. I kept rewriting it and rewriting it, and even after 280 Steps took it, I still emailed them and asked if I could rewrite it one more time. Since I’ve been lucky enough to get some good reactions from people regarding DIRTBAGS, I put a lot of pressure on myself to make a book that people will like. I kind of forgot that I was supposed to have a lot of fun and that’s what people will respond to. It took me a while to get that through my thick skull, but I think I’ve got it down now. Have fun while you’re writing and everything will be just fine… I hope.

Read the whole INTERVIEW 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.

“Swinging Party” Is Up On!


I am thrilled to announce that my short story, “Swinging Party,” is now up as part of Akashic’s “Mondays Are Murder” short fiction series.

It’s only 750 words, so please go read it and (if you enjoy it) please Like, Tweet and share. I appreciate all of your support.

As you know, I have been working on my debut novel, “Bad Citizen Corporation,” for the last couple of years. “Swinging Party” is a back story study based on one of the main characters from the novel, a rock drummer and junkie named Marco. The story takes place in a SoCal beach cities record store and references some of my favorite punk bands from the region including Black Flag, Social Distortion, Pennywise and Agent Orange.

I hope to have more publishing news for you again in the near future.

Click to read “Swinging Party.”