Interrogation—Dietrich Kalteis

Who: Dietrich Kalteis

What: The award-winning author of RIDE THE LIGHTNING, THE DEADBEAT CLUB, TRIGGERFISH, HOUSE OF BLAZES and ZERO AVENUE. Nearly fifty of his short stories have been published internationally.

Where: Vancouver

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

Congrats on the release of your fifth novel, ZERO AVENUE. What inspired you to write about the late 70s punk scene in Vancouver?

Thank you, Steve. I guess when I started writing the story I was thinking of forgotten times and a music scene left behind. I liked punk’s edge and the way it threw a middle finger at the establishment. And Vancouver was this backwater place back then, a sharp contrast to what it is now. And the late seventies were also a time before Google Earth, Google Maps and satellite imagery, back when pot fields were a lot easier to hide. All of that seemed a perfect fit for the story I wanted to write.

You depict the denizens of that scene as destitute and a bit desperate. Do you think the history of punk rock has been sanitized? 

I think when punk came along, there was a certain shock that came with it. Outside of its small fan base, it wasn’t well received in the mainstream. Major labels were reluctant to sign punk bands, most radio stations wouldn’t play it, and clubs wouldn’t book punk acts. When I first heard it, I liked its edgy sound, but I thought of it as a kind of music experiment, a fad that would burn out as fast as it came, but it sure was a welcome change from disco.

Has it been sanitized over the years? Maybe it has, or maybe the shock has worn off from when it started over forty years ago. It’s interesting to note that stars like Johnny Rotten, Iggy Pop, Joey Shithead, Jello Biafra, Patti Smith and Mick Jones are still standing and involved in making music.

The drug trade plays a big role in this book. What came first for this story—the drugs or the music? How did one lead to the other?

The idea was for the heart of story to revolve around the indie music scene. The drugs came in as a way for Frankie del Rey to make ends meet and to scratch up enough cash to cut a record and get her band Waves of Nausea out on the road.

I couldn’t see someone like Frankie having a nine-to-five job. Running dope shows us something about her character, like she’s willing to take some risks. After she starts seeing Johnny Falco and he goes and rips off Marty Sayle’s pot field, the risks get stepped up.

Is the marijuana catapult real, or a figment of your imagination?!

A bit of both really. Back in the day, I did know a couple guys who found out about a pot field growing out in the country, and they couldn’t resist. Armed with plenty of big green garbage bags, they drove off to fill up the back of a pick-up and ended up having rock salt shot at them. Coming back with only a really good story to tell. And I guess that story stayed with me over the years. As a lot of story elements I use, this one just spun from something that really happened to what ended up in the book.  

Which was more fun—creating characters like Frankie Del Rey and Johnny Falco, or the names of the fictional punk bands in ZERO AVENUE?

It was a fun coming up with both. While I love dreaming up my characters, I wasn’t sure I could pull off a female main character like Frankie at first, but once I started writing her character it all came together and worked out. She’s just so punk and obsessed with her music, and I like how she never let anything get in the way of her dreams in spite of everything that comes at her. She’s definitely not someone to mess with, and that makes for a pretty good protagonist.

I loved dropping my imaginary characters among the real life ones like Wimpy Roy and Joey Shithead. And it was fun coming up with band names like Middle Finger and Waves of Nausea and dropping them among the real bands of the time, bands like the Subhumans, Pointed Sticks and the Braineaters.

Speaking of Joey “Shithead” Keithley (of legendary hardcore band, D.O.A.), why did you choose to feature him among the fictional punks in ZERO AVENUE?

Joey Shithead’s a punk legend around Vancouver, and he was right at the heart of the punk scene back then, and he’s still standing and going strong. In fact, he’s even run for public office, and his band D.O.A is still pumping out music. How could I not include him, even in a small way?

Why do crime fiction and punk rock go together?

Crime novels are fast-paced and packed with action, violence and desperation, and the punk scene was so edgy, raw and angry and had this us-against-them outlook. It just made a great backdrop and a perfect fit for a crime story.

What’s next for you?

After ZERO AVENUE comes POUGHKEEPSIE SHUFFLE which will be released by my publisher ECW Press next June. The story takes place in Toronto in the mid-eighties and centers on Jeff Nichols, a guy just released from the infamous Don Jail. When he lands himself a job at a used-car lot, he finds himself mixed up in a smuggling ring bringing guns in from Upstate New York. Jeff’s a guy who’s willing to break a few rules on the road to riches, living by the motto ‘why let the mistakes of the past get in the way of a good score in the future.’

I also have a short story that will be included in the upcoming VANCOUVER NOIR, part of Akashic Books’ Noir Series, edited by Sam Wiebe.

Find Dietrich Kalteis: Facebook, Twitter, Blog

Some Recent Interviews:

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S.W. Lauden is the Anthony Award-nominated author of the Tommy & Shayna Crime Caper novellas include CROSSWISE and CROSSED BONES (Down & Out Books). His Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION and GRIZZLY SEASON (Rare Bird Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in Los Angeles.

Interrogation—Robert R. Moss

Who: Robert R. Moss

What: As part of the Washington, D.C. music scene in the early 1980s, Robert played bass in Artificial Peace and Government Issue. He’s toured the country, and his music was released on Dischord Records and other labels. In DESCENDING MEMPHIS, Robert tells a detective/coming-of-age-story set just after the birth of rock ‘n’ roll.

Where: Portland

Congrats on the success of your debut novel, DESCENDING MEMPHIS. What was the inspiration for this story?

Thank you for asking. It began with a question. What if Johnny Cash never made it as a musician, but instead became a detective with all the character traits, quirks and flaws of the Man in Black? I considered writing such a story, and mentioned the idea to a friend who happens to be a lawyer. He saw it as a legal issue. Meaning, the Johnny Cash estate might not look favorably upon such an endeavor. So I created Tommy Rhodeen, a small-time private eye in Memphis whose dream is to make it big in rock ‘n’ roll. It was the right decision.

Continue reading

New GRIZZLY SEASON Review

Really love this new GRIZZLY SEASON review over at Sons Of Spade. This guy has been a supporter of the Greg Salem character from the beginning. He’s also a big fan of punk rock. Enjoy!

 


BCC Cover FinalS.W. Lauden’s debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, is available from Rare Bird Books. The second Greg Salem novel, GRIZZLY SEASON, was published on October 11, 2016. His novella, CROSSWISE, is available from Down & Out Books.

“Grizzly Season” Signings & Readings

grizzly-seasonHere’s a list of a few places you can find me in the next month or so. If you’re in the area, please stop by and say “Sup, bro?”

  • Mysterious Galaxy SD with Eric Beetner, David Moss and Dietrich Kalteis—San Diego CA, Saturday, Oct. 22 —> MORE INFO
  • Noir at the Bar LA—Los Angeles CA, Sunday, Oct. 23 —> MORE INFO
  • LitCrawl NoHo with SinC LA readers including Rochelle Staab, Tammy Kaehler, James Ziskin, Carlene O’Neil and Glen Erik Hamilton—North Hollywood CA, Wednesday Oct. 26 —> MORE INFO
  • Book Carnival signing with Tim Hallinan and Eric Beetner—Orange CA, Saturday, Nov 12 —> MORE INFO
  • WAITING TO BE FORGOTTEN/Replacement Anthology Launch with Josh Stallings, Eric Beetner and Jay Stringer (via Skype from Scotland) at Book Show—Los Angeles CA, Friday, Nov. 18 (NEW DATE!) —> MORE INFO

And you can also get info on where to find me at my WEBSITE.


BCC Cover FinalS.W. Lauden’s debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, is available from Rare Bird Books. The second Greg Salem novel, GRIZZLY SEASON, was published Oct. 11, 2016. His novella, CROSSWISE, is available from Down & Out Books.

It’s “Grizzly Season” Pub Day!

Grizzly Season Front CoverI’m thrilled that the second book in the Greg Salem series is available today!

The action in GRIZZLY SEASON picks up right where BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION left off—former punk musician and disgraced police officer Greg Salem is hiding out in the mountains with his sidekick Marco. They’re going for a hike, but stumble on a sophisticated marijuana growing operation run by a sociopathic cult leader who calls himself Magnus Ursus.

From there it’s all GROWL SNORT PUNCH PUNCH KICK POW POW VROOM BOOM!—set to a soundtrack of SoCal punk rock. You get the picture.

Big thanks to Tyson Cornell and the whole crew over at Rare Bird Books. And a special shout out to my editor, Elaine Ash.

I’ll also be taking the show on the road this month. You can find out about GRIZZLY SEASON signings and readings HERE.

In the meantime, here’s what a few people have had to say about GRIZZLY SEASON so far:

“Unflinching, GRIZZLY SEASON is a powder keg, a sustained, dissonant punk rock chord that shakes the reader until its final climactic cadence. Superb.”

—Stephen Jay Schwartz, Los Angeles Times bestselling author of BOULEVARD and BEAT

“Lauden’s new novel is wired with promises and threats that anything just might happen, and then it does—again and again. The furious pace never lets up. By the end you’ll be bruised by the ferocious beauty of Grizzly Season.”

Joseph Di Prisco, author of THE ALZHAMMER and THE POPE OF BROOKLYN

“GRIZZLY SEASON is a pulse-pounding, pulpy slice of LA noir that embroils an ex-cop punk-rock surfer, a lethal ‘Frankenstein’ hybrid strain of weed, and a seedy underbelly of grizzly mountain drug dealers in a break-neck thriller by S. W. Lauden that leaps off the page. A must read that echoes Raymond Chandler mixed with Kem Nunn.”

Lee Matthew Goldberg, author of SLOW DOWN and THE MENTOR

“Whether screaming from beneath the West Coast beach waves or rising above the Pacific Crest mountain heights, the continuing adventures of Punk Rock Cop Greg Salem will indeed rip your head off in the most mellow of ways.”

Delfin Vigil, author of DEATH OF A NEWSPAPERMAN

“Sex, drugs, rock & roll…and bears. Lauden’s latest has everything you want in a great thriller.”

Chantelle Aimée Osman, author, editor, creative consultant

“I finished this book and thought of Travis McGee—that Florida Keys shaggy PI that John McDonald came up with. Or, better, Ian MacKaye as Joaquin Phoenix from Inherent Vice…”

Adam Novak, author of TAKE FOUNTAIN and FREAKS OF THE INDUSTRY

“Hard-edged with a deft eye and ear portraying the stone cold graspers hustling for their illicit piece of the illusory rainbow, S. W. Lauden delivers the delicious jagged goods in Grizzly Season.”

Gary Phillips, author of 3 THE HARD WAY  and PEEPLAND

“The heart of Los Angeles pumps fast and hard in this modern noir mystery packed with immediate action that doesn’t stop for a beat. Lauden laces Grizzly Season with so many twists, readers won’t know what hit them.”

Anne Tibbets, author of CARRIER AND WALLED, plus EXTINCTION BIOME as Addison Gunn

rsz_bcc_coverS.W. Lauden’s debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, was published Sept. 2015 by Rare Bird Books. The second Greg Salem novel, GRIZZLY SEASON, was published Oct. 11, 2016. His novella, CROSSWISE, is out now from Down & Out Books.

“Grizzly Season” Now Available For Pre-Order

Grizzly Season Front CoverThe second Greg Salem mystery, GRIZZLY SEASON, is now available for pre-order. I’m thrilled to kick this eagle (bear?) from the nest and into the vicious world. I hope some of you will find a nice home for it. Info HERE.

“Hard-edged with a deft eye and ear portraying the stone cold graspers hustling for their illicit piece of the illusory rainbow, S.W. Lauden delivers the delicious jagged goods in Grizzly Season.”
Gary Phillips, author of 3 the Hard Way

“Lauden’s new novel is wired with promises and threats that anything just might happen, and then it does—again and again. The furious pace never lets up. By the end you’ll be bruised by the ferocious beauty of Grizzly Season.”
Joseph Di Prisco, author of The Alzhammer and The Pope of Brooklyn

“Grizzly Season” Cover Reveal

Grizzly Season Front CoverThrilled to share the cover of the second Greg Salem novel with you! GRIZZLY SEASON picks up where my debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, left off. Rare Bird Books will release it this October, but I’ll have a handful of copies with me at Bouchercon in New Orleans.

Here’s the synopsis: Former Los Angeles police officer Greg Salem and his sidekick Marco escape to a remote cabin in the backend of the Angeles National Forest, only to have their peaceful retreat upturned after stumbling across the marijuana farm operation called Grizzly Flats. When the drug lord Magnus Ursus’ latest marijuana crop leaves Greg’s hometown and closest friends in disarray—setting off a series of explosive scenes including high-speed motorcycle chases, violent porn shoots, high-altitude gun fights, Mexican drug smuggling and murder—Greg is forced out of retirement to avenge his home and save the lives of those closest him.

BCC Cover FinalS.W. Lauden’s debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, is available from Rare Bird Books. The second Greg Salem novel, GRIZZLY SEASON, will be published in Oct. 2016. His standalone novella, CROSSWISE, is available now from Down & Out Books.

For Your Consideration

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As I have previously stated, 2015 was one hell of a year. Not only did I publish my debut novel, “Bad Citizen Corporation,” but I also got to know a ton of kind, passionate, hilarious and wildly talented writers, publishers, readers, bloggers, reviewers and podcasters along the way. I couldn’t be more thrilled about the diverse and supportive crime/mystery community I have found myself a part of.

rsz_lcc_2016As I turn my attention to my upcoming Down & Out Books novella, CROSSWISE—while also making progress on the second Greg Salem book—I wanted to put the word out that “Bad Citizen Corporation” is eligible for “Best Mystery Novel set in LCC Geographic Region” in the Left Coast Crime convention’s Lefty Awards in Phoenix—info HERE. Ballots went out last week and (I believe) they are due Jan. 15. If you are eligible to vote and you have room on your ballot (there were lots of great Left Coast books published in 2015), please consider “Bad Citizen Corporation.”

BCC will also be eligible for various other “Debut,” “P.I.,” and “Best First,” contests in the coming months. So if you read it and you liked it, please keep it mind. If you haven’t read BCC, or you need a refresher, here are a few recent reviews: CRIME SYNDICATE, DEAD END FOLLIES and OUT OF THE GUTTER.

If you want to see a list of some of the books that I will consider voting for, check out my recommended reading list for 2015.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-10-09_at_75727_amThanks for a great year either way. An award nomination of any kind would only be icing on the cake.

Looking forward to connecting with more of you in 2016!

— Steve

S.W. Lauden’s debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, is available now from Rare Bird Books. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in March 2016.

A Little Weekend Reading

Really stoked that people are interested in my debut mystery novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION. Thank you all for the support. Please keep those Amazon reviews coming, it’s the best way to help authors spread the word in the Algorithm Age. At 16 now, aiming for 25 before the end of the year!

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, I’ll be reading at Book Show in Highland Park on Sunday, Nov. 22. This is the launch party for the new Josh Stallings novel, YOUNG AMERICANS. The party starts at 5pm and also features readings by Tony Peyser and Danny Gardner. Info HERE. Come say “Sup, bro?”

And if you have a little extra time this weekend, here are some guest blog posts and interviews from the last week You might even win a signed copy of BCC):

Jochem Vandersteen Interview—This Q&A is brand-spankin’-new! It was just posted today over at SONS OF SPADE. In it we talk about BCC, my protagonist Greg Salem, the eBook revolution, punk rock and genre fiction.

Holly West Interview—I love the DO SOME DAMAGE blog, so I was thrilled when Holly West asked to do an interview with me. In this one we talk a bit about how it feels to get published, my writing process, and some of my  influences.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-11-17_at_60347_am“A Classroom With Liquor”—My guest blog post over at THE SIRENS OF SUSPENSE. This one’s all about the lessons I learned on both sides of the bar, and how it influences my fiction. Leave a comment at the bottom of that blog post for your chance to win a signed copy of BCC.

S.W. Lauden’s debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, is available now from Rare Bird Books. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.

My 29 Favorite SoCal Punk Songs

My debut mystery novel may be named after a fictional SoCal punk band called BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, but the music that influenced this murderous story is very real.

Up above you’ll find a playlist including 29 of my favorite punk songs by SoCal bands from the 70s to the 2000s. I’m loosely defining SoCal as the region between San Diego and Santa Barbara for the purposes of this playlist. Likewise, the definition of “punk” is also pretty loose because it’s one of those words that means something different to everybody who uses it. So save your aggression for the pit, bro.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-09-08_at_101842_am-2The list currently includes Descendents, Red Cross, The Dickies, The Runaways, Circle Jerks, The Gun Club, Black Flag, X, Pennywise, The Bags, Unwritten Law, Minutemen, Face To Face, Agent Orange, War Called Peace, Lagwagon, Simpletones, Social Distortion, Adolescents, Black Randy & The Metro Squad, Wasted Youth, Germs, Rocket From The Crypt, Fidlar, Smut Peddlers, The Vandals, D.I., The Leaving Trains and Fear.

There are, of course, hundreds of other songs I could have included—and my “favorites” change from week-to-week—but I think this list would make my protagonist, Greg Salem, proud.

Take a listen and let me know what SoCal punk songs you would add in the comments below.

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 by Rare Bird Books on November 3, 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.