Interrogation—Corey Lynn Fayman

clf_final_400Who: Corey Lynn Fayman

What: He has done hard time as a musician, songwriter, and sound designer, but still refuses to apologize for it. BLACK’S BEACH SHUFFLE, the first novel featuring the guitar-slinging detective Rolly Waters, was a San Diego Book Awards finalist. The second, BORDER FIELD BLUES, won the genre award at the 2013 Hollywood Book Festival. His third Rolly Waters mystery, DESERT CITY DIVA, has just been published by Severn House.

Where: San Diego

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

I just finished your latest Rolly Waters mystery, DESERT CITY DIVA. How did you come up with this story about alien-obsessed cults in San Diego?

This story had a long germination, beginning with a weekend driving trip to the Southern California desert my wife and I made about ten years ago. That’s when I first encountered Salvation Mountain and Slab City, and their essential ‘outsiderness’ appealed to me immediately. Salvation Mountain is a brightly painted fever dream of Christian faith that was constructed over many years by one man, Leonard Knight, who lived at the site. It’s a remarkable piece of folk architecture, like the Watts Towers.

DCD_cover_600Next to Salvation Mountain is Slab City, an unincorporated, off-the-grid trailer community of free spirits, retirees, and survivalists built on the remains of a WWII Marine Corps training facility. The Marines abandoned the camp after the war, leaving only the concrete slab foundations. Over the years it developed into a wintertime stopover for folks living in their RVs and trailers, to the point where it became a semi-permanent community. A cafe, library, and church have been set up, along with a sculpture garden of junk art called “East Jesus”. What really got my attention was “The Range”, an outdoor stage where they have jam sessions every weekend. I knew I had to get Rolly Waters, my guitar-playing protagonist out there and DESERT CITY DIVA is the result.

I originally based the UFO cult on the Unarius Academy of Science, which is headquartered in San Diego. Its founder had a local cable-access show in San Diego for years, which made for some fascinating early morning viewing when I got home after gigs. It was also one of the few things on at that hour. The Unarians owned a piece of land in the mountains east of San Diego, which they intended as a landing pad for the alien beings who are central to their cosmology. After some research, I found the Unarians outlook to be rather gentle and benign. I had to look further for something more villainous. I found that in the infamous Heaven’s Gate suicides that took place in another San Diego neighborhood.

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“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: Christopher Black & Matt Phillips

Redbone_CoverThis week we’re interviewing a publisher and one of his newest authors at the same time. Should be interesting. Let’s see what happens…

Who: Christopher Black & Matt Phillips

What: Christopher Black is a noir writer of little note and editor-in-chief of Number Thirteen Press—a project to publish thirteen quality crime novellas, one on the thirteenth of each month for thirteen months. He is passionate about crime fiction and films with a special interest in all things noir.

Matt Phillips’ short fiction has appeared in Pulp Metal MagazineFlash Fiction Offensive and Powder Burn Flash. REDBONE, from Number Thirteen Press, is his first short novel. A new novella, MESA BOYS, will be published this year by Severest Inks.

Where: Christopher Black lives in London. Matt Phillips lives in San Diego.

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

Number 13 pressChristopher, how did you come up with the concept for Number Thirteen Press?

C.B.: The driving idea was that I love novellas and short novels and see these as the perfect format for a certain style of crime/noir writing—think of THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON’T THEY? or THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE, or the more recent work of people like Allan Guthrie. Novellas have been out of fashion in mainstream publishing for a long time, but with e-publishing they are suddenly back with a vengeance and I wanted in on the action. But I didn’t want an open-ended project that could fizzle out: thirteen seemed a good, memorable number, it gave me definite end date and one book a month provides an impetus while being something to keep readers interested and coming back for more.

Matt, what made you want to submit REDBONE to Number Thirteen Press?

M.P.: Number Thirteen Press is publishing thirteen crime novellas/novels in thirteen months, consecutively, on the thirteenth of each month. When I heard about this, I thought—that takes some balls. I mean, think of the work involved. Why submit? Here’s a simple answer: Quality. The books they’ve published are good, damn good. A more nuanced answer is that REDBONE, to me, was pure noir, but I thought it was just different enough from what Number Thirteen had already published—it’s sort of a murder ballad-noir. Last year, I had a novella rejected by Number Thirteen (now, that sucker is in a fourth draft).

So, I did what any real writer does, I sat my ass in the chair and wrote another book.

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Christopher, your most recent release, REDBONE by Matt Phillips, is the seventh—so you are half way through. What have you learned about publishing along the way that you didn’t know before? What has been the most rewarding part of this experience so far?

C.B.: The most rewarding parts are the beginning and end of the process: going through submissions and getting excited about a writer with a lot of talent and a story with potential, and then finally seeing the end product and how excited the author is to get their book out to the public. In between is a lot of hard work, but all the authors have been really up for it and produced some stunning stuff.

As for what I’ve learned: everything else, from typesetting to social media. In particular: e-publishing is easy but producing quality manuscripts and books takes an incredible amount of time and effort.

the-mistakeMatt, do you feel any special honor or burden being the seventh release in a thirteen book cycle? Other than your own, which Number Thirteen Press release is your favorite?

You know, any time your work is published, it’s an honor. Halfway to thirteen is pretty damn cool in this case. Like we say in California, I’m stoked. This is my first book, so I feel a huge sense of pride and disbelief. I mean, I actually did it, right? But also, it’s like, I made all this stuff up… in my head. And now it’s out in the world. Kind of a trip.

Alright, at the risk of being pummeled by my fellow thirteeners, I’ll pick two favorites: OF BLONDES AND BULLETS by Michael Young and THE MISTAKE by Grant Nicol. The first is Number Thirteen’s initial release and it sets the tone—hard-hitting noir about how a good deed can really put a guy in some shit. The second is so atmospheric and well-written… Noir at its best. And, for good measure, it’s set in Iceland.

Click here to read the rest of the Christopher Black INTERVIEW 

Click here to read the rest of the Matt Phillips INTERVIEW

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: Matt Coyle

Coyle Head Shot jpeg IIWho: Matt Coyle

What: Matt Coyle has a degree in English from UC Santa Barbara. He’s taken detours into the restaurant, golf, and sports collectible businesses. His first novel, YESTERDAY’S ECHO, won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel, the San Diego Book Award for Best Mystery, and the Ben Franklin Silver Award. NIGHT TREMORS is Matt’s second novel in the Rick Cahill crime series. Matt lives in San Diego with his Yellow Lab, Angus.

Where: San Diego

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

You set out to write the “great American novel” after college, but didn’t publish your first book until thirty years later. How did your publishing dreams and writing style change over the course of three decades? 

yesterdays-echo-225First of all, thanks for having me. I think dreams is a great choice of words because my preparation and expectations were unrealistic when I first started writing. First of all, I had to get off my rear end and consistently write. That took about twenty years to figure out. Then I thought writing was a completely solitary endeavor: You write in a cocoon without outside intervention because it’s your story. How could anyone else have anything to add to it? Once I finally had a first draft done, I thought, “Okay, time to find an agent, sign a big book deal and quit my day job forever.” Hard knocks taught me that the life of a writer is quite different than my dreams.

My writing style evolved as it had to for me to have any chance of getting published. I took novel classes at UC San Diego Extension and joined writers groups. I broke out of the cocoon and realized that readers my not be reading the story I thought I was writing. Plus, I starting writing in first person and found the voice of my protagonist, Rick Cahill. That changed everything.
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