Quick Quotes—The Week In Publishing

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Robert Lamb at Stuff To Blow Your Mind (The Podcast)

“Once you start settling for no pay, then other magazines and anthologies will take note and offer you the same. Nobody’s going to pay you money if you don’t mind working for free. It is okay to love what you do and get paid for doing it.”—Max Booth lll via LitReactor

“All this has gotten me thinking about the language of writers and readers. My tribe! Of course there’s the craft language, like dramatize and close third, and there’s the business language, like galley and blurb. But there are a host of other moments in the life of a writer/reader that require their own special words.”—Edan Lepucki at The Millions

Noir at the Bar is full of writers who have made it, are in the processing of making it, or maybe aren’t there yet. The event can be raw or polished; the stories can be gritty or smooth. But overall, it has a punk sensibility, the stripped-down version of the craft, like seeing a band in a dive bar.”—Jen Conley at Los Angeles Review of Books

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Frank Portman (aka Dr. Frank) at Bad Citizen Corporation

“Artists need spaces off the grid, non-critical spaces, spaces where squares fear to tread. We need a laboratory. It’s the same reason comedians need underground clubs where they can try out new material and use language that respectable folks shy away from. For writers, genre fiction can be that laboratory.”—Sam Wiebe at Sirens Of Suspense

“Los Angeles is grit and grime. L.A. is glitz and sleaze; it’s the best (or worst, depending on your point of view) example of American excess blended with its rabid poverty. More or less, it’s the ideal city to place a crime story.”—Keith Rawson at LitReactor

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, Dead Guns Magazine, 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.

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.

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Quick Quotes—The Week In Publishing

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Eric Campbell at Bad Citizen Corporation

“Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm. Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers.”—Ceridwen Dovey at New Yorker

“The best advice that I could give you about networking is STOP TRYING TO NETWORK. If the goal is to connect with people who like the sorts of things you like, just go be you and it’ll happen.”—Chris Holm at Maine Crime Writers

“While technology often seems to move at the speed of light, books grow like trees do: slowly, meditatively.”—Claire Fallon at The Huffington Post

“My buying-to-actually-reading ratio is 387 to 1. I buy a ton of books. I have actually convinced myself that buying books is the same as reading.”—Judd Apatow at New York Times

“The writer who can master the art and craft of defining their characters by their actions is going to be the author whose work gets read.”—Les Edgerton at Writers In The Storm

“Genres only start existing when there’s enough of them to form a sort of critical mass in a bookshop, and even that can go away.”—Neil Gaiman at New Statesman

“The history of the novel, as much as that of any other art, is a history of experimentation and change. And, after decades of post-postmodern confusion, the novel is finally in a new phase of form expansion.”—William Pierce at Electric Literature

“Writing is a very solitary act, and it’s the communities we build around that act that elevate us.”—Rob Hart at LitReactor

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.

“Night Tremors” By Matt Coyle

Night Tremors final Jacket (2)Today marks the release of “Night Tremors,” the second Rick Cahill novel from Anthony Award-winner Matt Coyle. I was lucky enough to interview the author earlier this month about “Night Tremors” and his debut novel, “Yesterday’s Echo.” He had a lot of interesting things to say about his road to writing and publishing an award-winning novel, and about his writing process in general.

Here is an excerpt from my interview with Matt Coyle:

YESTERDAY’S ECHO won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel in 2014, in addition to other awards. Given the many accolades, were you tempted to wait another 30 years to write the follow-up? Did you feel any pressure—external or internal—to avoid the so-called “sophomore slump”?

I’m always tempted to wait instead of writing. It’s so much easier.

I never felt any external pressure to not write a crappy second novel. My agent and publisher are incredibly supportive. However, there’s always internal pressure, fear, and insecurity when it comes to writing. I wrote and rewrote YESTERDAY’S ECHO for ten years, getting it as close as I could to where I wanted it to be. I emptied my soul into it. When I starting writing NIGHT TREMORS, I didn’t know if I had any soul left. Luckily, I figured out that Rick had changed through his ordeals in the first book and I found fresh material in learning how he would deal with his new circumstances and new challenges.

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The second Rick Cahill novel, NIGHT TREMORS, comes out on June 2. How has the character evolved since we last saw him? What can readers expect from the new novel?

Rick made decisions and took actions in YESTERDAY’S ECHO that had consequences, both externally and internally. They changed him. Damaged him. Gave him a slightly harder shell. But underneath he’s still the guy who wants to do the right thing, only on his terms.

In the beginning of NIGHT TREMORS Rick is working for a large investigative firm in La Jolla and making more money than he ever has. He just bought his first home, but the work doesn’t feed his soul.

When the opportunity to help free a man who’d possibly been wrongly imprisoned, Rick grabs it. However, in doing so he risks losing his home, his job, his freedom, and even his life. Ultimately, he’ll have to make the most difficult decision of his life.

You can read the whole interview right HERE.

Pick up your copy of “Night Tremors” 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 in 2016.

Interrogation: Laurie Stevens

Laurie StevensWho: Laurie Stevens

What: Author of the best-selling Gabriel McRay psychological thrillers. The two books so far in the series, THE DARK BEFORE DAWN and DEEP INTO DUSK have won 9 awards, among them Kirkus Reviews Best of 2011 and the 2014 IPPY for Best Mystery/Thriller.

Where: Los Angeles

I just finished reading THE DARK BEFORE DAWN, the first Gabriel McRay novel. It was a real page-turner. What drew you to write a psychological thriller/suspense series like this?

I wanted to bring out subjects that cause people to face their fears. I envisioned the protagonist, Gabriel McRay, as sort of an everyman character, needing to go on a psychological healing journey.

Dark Before DawnGabriel McRay is a deeply flawed character with a troubled past. Did you set out to write him with such an intricate back story, or did it evolve along the way?

A little of both. I presented his character with a trauma, something that is way too prevalent in modern society unfortunately. Then I did a lot of research and interviewed professionals to help shape the direction of his psychological healing process. But every writer will tell you that the characters end up speaking for themselves. Gabriel is no exception.
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Quick Quotes—The Week In Publishing

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“All our criticisms of genre fiction—that it relies too much on the sensationalism of a shocking plot; that it is unwieldy and messy; that it is too contemporary, resisting the classic’s tight-lipped timelessness; that it appeals too much to its audience’s emotions—sidestep the fact that the novel began as a popular form, one as potentially mind-rotting as TV, comic books, or Candy Crush.”—Alice Bolin at Electric Literature

“My theory is that authors are no less opposed to making money any other type of professional; it’s the transaction that freaks them out.”—Jim Ruland on LitHub

“Whether it’s borne out of some kind of bizarro escapism or the desire to see the dark mind confirmed and confined on the page, the urge to read and write dark fiction has been steady in my life.”—Amelia Gray at Publishers Weekly
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