Interrogation—Paul Heatley

Who: Paul Heatley

What: The author of THE MOTEL WHORE & OTHER STORIES, GUNS, DRUGS, AND DOGS, AN EYE FOR AN EYE, and FATBOY, as well as almost fifty short stories published online and in print at the likes of Thuglit, Spelk, Flash Fiction Offensive, Shotgun Honey, Horror Sleaze Trash, and Crime Factory.

Where: England

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

I just read FATBOY and thought it was great. Where did the idea for this dark tale come from?

Thank you! FATBOY stop-started a few times as a short story, but I either couldn’t settle on what it was supposed to be about, or else it kept growing beyond the confines of being a short story. The earliest iteration had the main character and his girlfriend working together to take down his boss at the garage where he worked in order to provide medical care for their son. I thought this sounded a bit too Breaking Bad, though. I read soon after starting of a serial killer called David Parker Ray who had created a torture chamber inside his trailer home. I thought to myself, okay, they’ll do something similar, they’ll create this room inside their home where they can hold the boss to ransom, prove to him they’re not fucking around. Ideas kept coming, things were spiralling. Eventually I just sat myself down, decided it wasn’t going to work as a short story, and wrote the first draft of what would eventually become FATBOY late at night over the course of a fortnight while listening to Ministry’s In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up. Elements from each round of attempts at making it a short made their way into the end product—the girlfriend and young son, the trailer park etc.so they weren’t completely wasted efforts.

The book starts with a bartender, Joey Hidalgo, on a several day bender. Why set this story in bars? Have you worked in bars yourself?

I’ve done minimal bar work, and I wasn’t very good at it! I don’t drink, never really have, so even the simple things like which drink goes in which glass were lost on me. Still, I think there’s a lot of life in bars, a lot of character, particularly dive bars. Maybe not the kind of life you want to live yourself, or characters you want to know, but it’s there. Brian Azzarello, writer of 100 Bullets, once said he would go to bars and just listen to the people there talk, for both inspiration and to shape the crafting of his own dialogue.

Having Joey in bars, on a bender, it was a way of showing his self-destructive personality. I think from the off you know that this guy, while he may have good intentions, is not afraid to do some bad things.

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Interrogation—John. L. Thompson

JLTWho: John. L. Thompson

What: When he is not searching for lost remnants of the old west or working his fingers to the bone, he can be found working on multiple writing projects. Thompson is known to have worked as a truck driver, heavy line diesel mechanic, armored truck guard, and corrections, along with a host of other professions. His true passion is collecting vintage books, writing and is the editor/publisher for Dead Guns Press.

Where: New Mexico

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

Dead Guns Press publishes “stories written in the new era of pulp…” Can you explain what that means? How did you become a publisher?

Answer to Question One: It’s pretty simple. Have you ever read the old stuff? I mean like stories from the old pulp dime mags from around the thirties and forties? There were some amazing stories and publications written during that time frame and some very prolific writers emerged from that era that had, and in some cases, they still have a hold of a large group of current readership. You got writers such as Phillip Jose Farmer, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and Mickey Spillane (to name a few) who broke the market and pushed the edges of the literature world with their cutting edge stuff. Farmer wrote about sex with aliens, which was a taboo at that time within the realms of sci-fi literature. Asimov, one of the largest prolific writers with some 500 titles to his credit, wrote across many genres including mystery, science fiction and fantasy. He explored many aspects of science including robots. Robert Heinlein is another writer who influenced a large group of readers with his books STARSHIP TROOPERS and A STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND. A note to add about STRANGER is that Heinlein would get the occasional hippy knocking on his door to thank him for that book since it helped influence the hippy culture back in the sixties. Remember Heinlein was best known for knocking out Military Sci-Fi. What I mean by ‘new age of pulp’ is just that. Even though you don’t see pulp mags anymore, we still got ‘pulp internet’.   We’re currently in the midst of change in the writing world as these literary giants of old pass on and I believe that you got tomorrow’s prolific writers just starting out within the last few years.

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