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: J. David Osborne

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Who: J. David Osborne

What: Publisher-in-chief of Broken River Books, a small press dedicated to publishing strange, left-of-center, transgressive fiction. He is also the author of five books, including the Wonderland-Award-winning BY THE TIME WE LEAVE HERE, WE’LL BE FRIENDS and his most recent, BLACK GUM. He lives with his partner and their dog.

Where: Portland, Oregon

Black GumI just finished reading BLACK GUM and was blown away. As a reader who writes reviews, I thought I’d ask your opinion of my review:
I think that’s a very kind review that does a good job of articulating how the book made you feel. You also provide punchy details that would pique my interest. 5/5, would read again.

We all know that reader reviews are a valuable tool for writers and publishers, but is it a double-edged sword? Do you even bother to read the reviews? When you do, do you read as a writer or a publisher?

I usually take about an hour out of the month to dig through Goodreads and Amazon and get up-to-date on what people are saying about the BRB catalog, or my own stuff. It’s kind of thrilling in its way. But I think balance is key. You can’t check that shit every day, because for one it’s a suck on your time, and secondly it creates manic, impulsive, obsessive behavior. I’ve seen writers go nuts, checking their Amazon page over and over. That’s like dropping your kid off at kindergarten, then hovering around the school, worrying. It’s bad for you, and it’s bad for the kid.

On the other hand, you have to take the temperature. You have to get a sense of what’s working for people, and what’s not. And also, folks take the time out of their day to write those reviews, so I think within reason it’s good manners to take a look at their feedback.

Outside of my personal relationship with reader reviews, they are objectively important to the success of a book. And I value the fact that a lot of folks out there take a minute or two to give their opinions. Authors work long hours and live inside strange bubbles, and to put all that work into something and then sell it for incredibly low prices (I mean, think about it…these books occasionally take years to write…and then LDDREthey’re available for a buck online). So, if you’re getting a little piece of someone for dirt cheap, I think it’s the right thing to do to at least pass the book on, whether it’s to a friend or to strangers on a website.

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Interrogation: Johnny Shaw (Audio)


rsz_screen_shot_2015-03-21_at_92217_pmWho: 
Johnny Shaw

What: Johnny Shaw was born and raised on the Calexico/Mexicali border, the setting for his novels DOVE SEASON, BIG MARIA and PLASTER CITY. He has won both the Spotted Owl Award and the Anthony Award. His shorter work has appeared in Plots With Guns, Thuglit, Shotgun Honey, Crime Factory, and numerous anthologies. Johnny also acts as the editor-in-chief and is a frequent contributor for the online fiction quarterly BLOOD & TACOS, a loving homage to the men’s adventure paperbacks of the 1970′s & 1980′s.

Where: Portland

Shaw_PlasterCity_frontcvr_finalBig Maria

I caught up with Johnny Shaw during the Left Coast Crime convention in Portland a couple of weekends ago. Johnny was the Program Coordinator for the event which meant that he spent most of his time running around to either make sure that panels he scheduled were happening, or to participate himself. I caught him early on Saturday morning shortly before he took part in the hilarious “Pants On Fire: A Liars Panel” along with moderator Simon WoodChris F. HolmJess Lourey and Catriona McPherson.

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