Interrogation—Nik Korpon

Who: Nik Korpon

What: Author of THE REBELLION’S LAST TRAITOR, QUEEN OF THE STRUGGLE (2018), and THE SOUL STANDARD, among others.

Where: Baltimore

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

We are two weeks out from the release of your new novel, THE REBELLION’S LAST TRAITOR. What can readers expect this time around?

It’s a lot different from my other books, but at the same time it’s very similar. I’ve never written an out-and-out sci-fi novel (though TRAITOR splits the line between sci-fi, murder mystery, and revolution novel), but at the heart of it, it’s a novel about families—whether that’s blood relations, friends-who-are-family, fellow countrymen, all that. But there are still a couple dick jokes and a Shaun of the Dead reference, so it’s definitely a Nik Korpon book.

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Interrogation—Danny Gardner

 Who: Danny Gardner

What: Danny Gardner enjoys careers as a comedian (HBO’s Def Comedy Jam), actor, director, and screenwriter. His debut novel, A NEGRO AND AN OFAY, is published by Down & Out Books. He is a proud member of the Mystery Writers of America and the International Thriller Writers and is a regular blogger at 7 Criminal Minds.

Where: Los Angeles (by way of Chicago)

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

Congrats on the rebirth of your excellent debut novel, A NEGRO AND AN OFAY. For readers who are new to Elliot Caprice, tell us about the book.

In 1952, we find disgraced Chicago police officer Elliot Caprice in the St. Louis County jail after being on the run from his old employers and the Chicago Outfit. He wants to remain on the move, for obvious reasons, but also because he doesn’t want to return to the small town where he was raised by his uncle. Circumstances obligate him to go home, take a gig as a process server and try to save the family farm from foreclosure. That puts him on a path where murder, mystery and social change confront him at every turn. Eventually, his past catches up with him, but he’s not the same man when it does. Oh yeah, and the effect of race, class, and politics on a mixed-race guy from the Midwest sort of play a part in there, too.

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Interrogation—Scotch Rutherford (Switchblade)

Who: Scotch Rutherford

What: An independent screenwriter and short fiction author of THE NEON GLARE, a novelette available now from Pro Se Press. His short fiction has appeared in Pulp Modern, Shotgun Honey, The Flash Fiction Offensive, Pulp Metal Magazine, and All Due Respect. He is the creator and managing editor for Switchblade Magazine.

Where: Los Angeles

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

Congrats on the launch of Switchblade. What was the inspiration?

Thanks, man. Being a short fiction author writing in the noir genre, I would make the rounds on the different online platforms and indie print mags. I realized a lot of indie ‘zines had gone away. About that time, I started attending Noir at the Bar LA events and networking.

I like to read, and have some experience as a project manager as well as some graphic arts skills, to handle the art direction. So I took a shot. I know there isn’t any money in it, but it’s something I can build on. I wanted to create a forum for hard luck tales with no limits. An outlet for noir fiction that defies political correctness. I want Switchblade to reflect that.

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Interrogation—Scott Montgomery

Who: Scott Montgomery

What: Crime fiction coordinator of MysteryPeople, the mystery bookstore within Austin’s BookPeople, and founder, co-editor, and contributor of the MysteryPeople blog. He is the author of several short stories  published in webzines such as The Big Adios and Shotgun Honey, and the anthology MURDER ON WHEELS.

Where: Austin

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

What does the role of Crime Fiction Coordinator for BookPeople entail? What’s the biggest misconception about what you do?

It’s sort of jack of all trades when dealing with crime fiction. I assist the buyer in finding what I think are the best books to stock in our mystery bookstore within a bookstore, MysteryPeople. I also help our marketing department get authors for events, oversee our MysteryPeople blog and contribute content, deal with direct sales from independent presses, work with self-published authors, and simply sell books out of the section. The biggest misconception is that I wield any kind of power in publishing.

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Steph Post Interviewed Me

“S.W. Lauden has written one of the craziest, wildest novels I’ve read this year and I’m thrilled to be able to catch up with him to discuss Crossed Bones, a strange crime tale of low-lifes, bad decisions and, oh yeah, pirates.”— Steph Post, author of A TREE BORN CROOKED and LIGHTWOOD.

Check out the INTERVIEW.

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

Interrogation—Dana King

Who: Dana King

What: His Penns River series of police procedurals includes WORST ENEMIES and GRIND JOINT, which Woody Haut, writing for the L.A. Review of Books, cited as one of the fifteen best noir reads of 2013. His newest is RESURRECTION MALL, recently released from Down & Out Books.

Where: Maryland

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

Congrats on the upcoming release of RESURRECTION MALL. What can readers expect from the third installment of the Penns River series?

Trouble. Just as a television minister’s religious-themed mall looks like it could provide a counterweight to the casino, the murder of five drug dealers sets the town back during one of the coldest winters on record.

A lot of modern crime fiction is set in urban locations. What’s the appeal of the rural setting in the Penns River series?

As you said, a lot of crime fiction takes place in urban settings. What I want to show is how less but still serious crime can affect a smaller community that lacks the resources and resilience of a larger city.

I don’t look at the setting as a challenge. I’m not comfortable in cities and like that a smaller town allows me to play counter to a lot of current tendencies. For example, Penns River can’t afford state of the art forensics equipment and has no crime lab. The cops have to solve crimes the old-fashioned way. This forces people to interact, which I find inherently more interesting.

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Interrogation—Joe Ide

Who: Joe Ide

What: He grew up in South Central Los Angeles. Ide earned a graduate degree and had several careers before writing his debut novel, IQ, inspired by his early experiences and his love of Sherlock Holmes. The second IQ book, RIGHTEOUS, will be released this October.

Where: Santa Monica

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

Congrats on the success of your debut novel, IQ. Can you tell us about the genesis and evolution of this story?

I grew up in South Central LA. My friends were primarily black and like most kids, my main aspiration was to belong, so I co-opted their speech, style and attitudes. I was envious of them too. We all came from struggling families and wore the same sad, hand-me-downs but somehow they managed to look cool while I looked like I’d jumped off a freighter from North Korea. I also learned to love the street vernacular which always struck me as a kind of poetry. The cadence, syntax, word choices and inflections. The endlessly creative slang. I listened to it like music. Although I was never quite convincing as a black kid who happened to be Japanese, I’ll always be grateful for that version of myself. The façade gave me a way to be in the world and not be afraid.

My favorite books were the original Sherlock Holmes stories. By the time I was twelve, I’d read all fifty-six stories and four novels multiple times. Like me, Sherlock was an introvert, a misfit and not a tough guy. But unlike me he was able to defeat his enemies and control his world with only the power of his intelligence. I grew up in an area where walking home from school could be life threatening so that was a very powerful idea. When it came time to write the book, all those elements came together virtually by themselves and Sherlock in the hood was born.

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Interrogation—Kate & Dan Malmon

Who: Kate and Dan Malmon

What: Kate Malmon is the author of numerous documents that were written for the Minnesota Judicial Branch, and you’ve probably never read any of them. She is also a book reviewer for Crimespree Magazine. You’ve probably read some of those reviews.

Dan Malmon is an avid reader of crime fiction, mystery fiction, comic books, science fiction and fantasy. If your parents were afraid it would rot your brain, he’s read it. Or it’s on his TBR pile, waiting to be read, stressing him out.

Kate and Dan are also the resident reviewers for the Writer Types podcast.

Where: Minnesota

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

You two are among the most recognizable reviewers on the Indie crime/mystery scene and conference circuit. How did you fall into reviewing?

Kate: We’re “the most recognizable reviewers”? Really? That’s not false modesty; we thought just my mom read our reviews.

Dan: I think he’s saying he saw our picture on that milk carton.

Kate: Dan has always been a comic book reader. He picked up his first book in 1987: West Coast Avengers #1. I hung out in a comic book shop in high school. I didn’t necessarily read any comics, but I was aware of the X-Men, Batman, and other titles. Dan always tried to get me to read different comics, but I wasn’t interested. Why would I want to read about spandex-clad, anatomically-incorrect people? (I was exposed to a lot of Jim Lee & Rob Lefield books in high school.) He finally won me over when he suggested I do a “live reading” of a comic book on Twitter. So I would read old Dr. Strange and Batman books and post my comments about it under #KateReads on Twitter. I thought it was entertaining and it made the comics a little more fun to read.

At the 2011 Bouchercon in St. Louis, Crimespree Magazine’s Jeremy Lynch approached us about doing book reviews for their website saying, “You know that funny stuff you write when you read comic books? Yeah, we want you to do that for the blog.” We said yes and our reviewing careers were born.

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Interrogation—Thomas Pluck

Who: Thomas Pluck

What: He’s slung hash, worked on the docks, trained in martial arts in Japan, and even swept the Guggenheim museum (but not as part of a clever heist). He is the author of BAD BOY BOOGIE, his first Jay Desmarteaux crime thriller, and BLADE OF DISHONOR.

Where: New Jersey

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

Congrats on the release of BAD BOY BOOGIE. Can you tell us a little about your protagonist, Jay Desmarteaux?

Jay is a Louisiana boy transplanted to New Jersey when he was a kid, he’s got Cajun gumption and Jersey attitude. His mama said there are some people who just need killing, and his papa Andre was a hard-working man… and he’s constantly torn between the two, where people with money, power, muscle, or all three think they can step on your face if you’re “little people.”

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Interrogation—Hector Acosta

Who: Hector Acosta

What: He was born in Mexico City and moved to the United States, his time living on the border left an impression on him, and much of his writing revolves around that area and its people. In his free time he enjoys watching wrestling and satisfying a crippling Lego addiction. HARDWAY is his debut novella.

Where: New York

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

Congrats on the release of HARDWAY. What’s the story behind this story?

I had the basic concept—kids steal a wrestler’s championship belt and things escalate—banging around my head for a while, with the first draft being a 5k piece for a crime writing contest. By the time I finished it, I found myself having more to say, and that was right around the time that Shotgun Honey opened up for submissions, so I decided to go back to the story and see what I could produce without a word count restriction.

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