Interrogation—Dave White

Who: Dave White

What: Derringer Award-winning author of six novels: WHEN ONE MAN DIES, THE EVIL THAT MEN DO, NOT EVEN PAST, AN EMPTY HELL and BLIND TO SIN in his Jackson Donne series, and the acclaimed thriller WITNESS TO DEATH.

Where: New Jersey

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

Congrats on the release of your fifth Jackson Donne novel, BLIND TO SIN. What does your protagonist get up to in this installment of the series?

Thanks, Steve!  Jackson Donne has spent the time in between his last book, AN EMPTY HELL, and this one in prison.  He put himself there voluntarily as a sort of penance for the deaths he’s been connected to over his years as a private investigator.  His sometimes partner, Matt Herrick, puts Donne in touch with his father Kenneth, a prisoner at the same prison.  Kenneth Herrick gets them both out of jail and immediately begins planning a heist involving the Federal Reserve of New Jersey.  Suddenly, Jackson Donne and Matt Herrick have to make a choice, participate in the heist or put their own lives on the line.  Yay horrible choices!  It often makes it so much fun for readers!

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Interrogation—Steph Post

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Who: Steph Post

What: Author of the novels A TREE BORN CROOKED and LIGHTWOOD. She teaches writing at a performing arts high school in St. Petersburg.

Where: Florida

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

Congrats on the release of LIGHTWOOD. How did this book come together?

Thank you! I think in a lot of ways LIGHTWOOD was sort of an evolution from my first novel, A TREE BORN CROOKED. After I finished A TREE BORN CROOKED, I knew that I wanted to go in a different direction, stylistically, but the area of north-central Florida still had its hooks in me. I still wanted to write about that particular place—the landscape, the people, the microcosmic circumstances—but I wanted to really ramp things up. I wanted to write about underdogs and unusual villains and beautiful-loser characters, but on somewhat of an epic scale. So that was the genesis. Everything else came from wherever it comes from in the writer universe: that swirling vortex of moments and interests we collect along the way that eventually surprise us by popping up on the page.

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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—Jason Pinter

Jason Pinter photoWho: Jason Pinter

What: Founder and Publisher of Polis Books, an independent publishing company he launched in 2013. He is the author of five thrillers and one middle grade novel, with over one million copies in print worldwide, which have been nominated for the Thriller Award, Strand Critics Award, Shamus Award, Barry Award and more.

Where: New Jersey

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

Congrats on the third anniversary of Polis Books! What have you learned about the company you started over the last thirty-six months?

Well, being a business owner is far more difficult and complicated than being an editor or writer, which were my previous professions. It’s the difference between painting a room and building a house. I’ve been in dozens of editorial board meetings, publicity meetings, sales conferences, and pitched my own books in innumerable outlets, hopefully without boring people to death. But I didn’t have much more than cursory experience on the finance and distribution side, largely doing P&Ls (profit and loss projections) on acquisitions. Learning that side was the most time-consuming part, simply because I didn’t have a background in it, but I thankfully have good accountants and lawyers and am a total data geek and work very closely with our distributor, our bank, and our printing partner to make sure everything runs smoothly on the back end of the publishing equation.

Reading submissions, working on cover designs and promoting our authors is the fun part. That’s the muscle. That’s the stuff people see publically. But the other stuff, the skeleton, the support system that holds everything up, that’s been the biggest challenge but also one of the biggest rewards because I know we can do this.

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Interrogation—Bryon Quertermous

BRYON2-1Who: Bryon Quertermous

What: Author of the novels MURDER BOY and RIOT LOAD. His short stories have appeared in a number of journals of varying repute. He was shortlisted for the Debut Dagger Award from the UK Crime Writers Association. As an editor, Bryon’s most recent position was as the commissioning editor for Angry Robot’s crime fiction imprint Exhibit A Books. Books he’s edited have been chosen as the best of the year by USA TodayLibrary Journal, and others.

Where: Michigan

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

Dominick Prince is back in your new book, RIOT LOAD. Have things gotten any easier for him since his debut in MURDER BOY?

No. No they have not. He’s suffering a form of PTSD from the events that happened to him in the first book and that’s forced him into this kind of cocoon where he just wants to work a boring job and live a boring life and maybe not be involved in any more murders or kidnappings. But his natural (unnatural) attraction to bad luck and his incredibly poor decision-making skills are put to the test in this book and things don’t go well. At all.

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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—Patricia Abbott

Who: Patricia Abbott

What: The author of more than 140 published short stories, one of which won the Derringer in 2009 (“My Hero”). She is the co-editor with Steve Weddle of DISCOUNT NOIR and the author of two ebooks: HOME INVASION, a novel in stories, and MONKEY JUSTICE (stories).

In 2015, Polis Books published her first print book CONCRETE ANGEL, which garnered a starred review from LIBRARY JOURNAL and a good review from BOOKLIST. In 2016, Polis will publish SHOT IN DETROIT. Both are standalone books. Figuring out how to write series detective stories is still in her future. She is also the senior movie reviewer for CRIMESPREE MAGAZINE.

Where: Detroit

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

I just read CONCRETE ANGEL and found it to be funny, dark and devastating. How did the multi-decade tale of Evelyn “Eve” Moran and her daughter Christine come together? Why is shoplifting central to the plot?

Shoplifting, most especially a crime of women, always interested me. I was guilty of lifting a skirt once myself. Rachel Shteir, in her cultural history of shoplifting, THE STEAL, makes the point that, in crime as in everything else, who you are has always mattered. Kerry Segrave, in SHOPLIFTING: A SOCIAL HISTORY—a study frequently cited by Shteir quotes Dr. David Reuben, writing in McCall’s in the nineteen-seventies, to the effect “that most amateur store thieves were married women between the ages of thirty-five and fifty-five. What they had in common, he said, was unhappy marriages, obesity, depression. Their sexual relationships with their husbands ranged from unsatisfactory to nonexistent. In effect, their lives have been drained of all emotional satisfaction. An afternoon roaming through a department store is a substitute for social relationships with other human beings.”

Does this sound like Eve? Eve was thus able to get away with shoplifting in the small towns that catered to military personnel. The stakes were upped in Philly though as shoplifting became an epidemic and stores found ways to clamp down on practitioners.

CONCRETE ANGEL was an amalgamation of two true stories: one that of a childhood friend and her mother, and the other a newspaper account. In both of them the woman shoplifted and the daughters stood guard in some fashion.

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Two Great Books Out Today

Ladies and gentlemen, today is a good day to be a fan of great writing. There are two new books that I really think you should go out and grab: SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL by Terrence McCauley, and THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR by Angel Luis Colon.

I was lucky enough to interview both authors recently, and here’s what they had to say about their respective works.

Let’s start with Terrence McCauley:

SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL FINAL COVERI just read your upcoming Polis Books novel SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL and I thought it was great. What was the inspiration for this novel?

The inspiration for the novel came from the gritty spy thrillers of the 1970s that depended on character and plot development. Movies like ‘Three Days of the Condor’ were gripping because they felt real to me, even when I was a kid. I don’t get that same feeling from modern-day spy tales that rely on gadgets and SWAT team raids and jump-cut fight sequences and the disavowed spy trying to clear his/her name. I certainly enjoy those kinds of stories, but they’re not the kind I wanted to tell.

Read the whole interview right HERE.

Buy SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL HERE.

Next up is Angel Luis Colon:

Fury BlackyI 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.

Read the whole interview right HERE.

Buy THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR 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, Dark Corners, 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.

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.