Interrogation—Warren Moore

Who: Warren Moore

What: His short fiction has been published in venues ranging from Spinetingler to The American Culture, and Out of the Gutter, as well as in three print anthologies edited by Lawrence Block. His 2013 novel, BROKEN GLASS WALTZES, has just been republished by Down & Out Books. Moore lives in Newberry with his wife and daughter.

Where: South Carolina

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

Congrats on the (re)release of BROKEN GLASS WALTZES. What was the inspiration for this story?

One rainy night in November of 1990, I was driving around Lexington, KY, listening to the Misfits. Suddenly, a scene popped into my head—it would become the first four pages of Chapter 10 of BGW. I knew I could build a book around it, and saved the scene under the title “Die, Die My Darling,” which was the song I was listening to when inspiration hit. The next day, I went to the University of KY library and found that the Misfits had lifted the title from a 1965 Tallulah Bankhead movie.

I put the title on hold, and started reverse-engineering my way from that scene. “Who are these people? How did they get there?” So I got hold of Kenny (the narrator)’s voice, and mainly tried to get out of the way. After a while, the new title showed up and resonated in my head, because it felt both literary and pulpy. I finished it a couple of years later, as I was working as a magazine editor in Cincinnati; I lived over the river in Kentucky, not far from Jean’s apartment in the book.

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Interrogation—Ryan Sayles

Who: Ryan Sayles

What: Author of SUBTLE ART OF BRUTALITY, WARPATHTHAT ESCALATED QUICKY! and the forthcoming GOLDFINCHES and I’M NOT HAPPY ‘TIL YOU’RE NOT HAPPY. He’s had over two dozen short stories in print and is a founding member of Zelmer Pulp.

Where: Missouri

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

I just read your intense and engrossing novel, THE SUBTLE ART OF BRUTALITY. How did you develop the “h​alf predator and half savior” c​haracter of ​Richard Dean Buckner? How about the story?

First off, thank you for the compliments. They really do mean a lot. The idea of Buckner popped up in 2006 while I was stationed in the San Francisco Bay Area. I wanted to write a hardboiled character who was so hardboiled he was scraping the line between awesome and cartoonish. I wanted to crank everything up to eleven and have people like him because everything he did was the writing equivalent of the scene in an action movie where a cool guy walks away from an explosion and doesn’t turn around. Eventually I found my voice with him and I feel comfortable where I landed.

The story was based on a real life event of mine. The house my wife and I bought had a woman who lived here before us. Delilah from SAOB made the same mistakes she did. In the book the Bellview couple was loosely based on us. A guy really did come to our front door asking for the woman. I found a crack pipe in our basement ceiling. Having the real life sketch of this woman’s troubles and mistakes, I just filled in the blanks as to why she’d gone there and then had Buckner look for her.

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Interrogation—Jedidiah Ayres

Photo on 2013-05-27 at 08.13 #3Who: Jedidiah Ayres

What: Jedidiah Ayres is his real name.

Where: St. Louis

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

I tore through PECKERWOOD, your small town epic from Broken River Books. What inspired you to write this story? How did you come up with the three main characters—Terry, Jimmy and Chowder?

Thanks, I’m glad somebody finally tore through it. Most folks say it took a huge guilt trip from me and a whole lot of mood-altering substances to finish it. And they never follow that up with comments about how glad they were that they stuck with it.

I actually wrote it when I failed to write the sequel. I was writing a novel that I couldn’t crack the structure of—I didn’t want to split it into two parts and I didn’t want to rely heavily on flashbacks. That novel (SHITBIRD) is about what happens in the aftermath of the events of PECKERWOOD… I realized I had to back up and write an entire other book to come before the original story I wanted to tell.

As far as the characters go—Terry is just me without a filter or functional conscience. He’s completely without the concept of responsibility or the social contract and un-interested in anything that doesn’t serve himself or immediately gratify whatever whim he’s taken with at the moment. Easily the most fun character to write and also the most unnerving. I’d step back from his point of view and think, “wow, that escalated quickly.” But I loved being able to let go with him. He has absolutely no need to justify himself.

Jimmy, on the other hand, does. He feels the weight of responsibility for the well-being of the folks he polices, but he’s also a pragmatist and engages in plenty of illegal and immoral activity in an attempt to protect and serve. When I feel guilty, I write Jimmy. He’s a moral failure like me—claiming ideals he can’t live up to. He’s of a prototype I first became interested in exploring after watching the Matthew McConaughey character, Buddy Deeds, in John Sayles’s amazing 1996 film Lonestar. Go see that film if you haven’t. You’ll thank me. I’ll wait.

Chowder is the devil Jimmy knows. He’s a lesser evil—a career criminal, but not a psychopath, not without conscience—someone Jimmy can reason with. Their relationship is symbiotic and they both seem to understand what they and their partner bring to the deal. I like too that he’s a small business man, who’s locally sourced and giving back to the community… and pretty evil. I hope there’s a nice contrast there.

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Interrogation: Josh Stallings

josh-stallings-aboutWho: Josh Stallings

What: The author of the multi-award winning Moses McGuire crime novels, BEAUTIFUL, NAKED & DEAD, OUT THERE BAD and ONE MORE BODY. And YOUNG AMERICANS, a ‘70’s glitter-rock disco heist novel coming September 2015. His short fiction has appeared in Beat to a Pulp, Blood and Tacos, Shotgun Honey, Protectors Anthology #1 & #2, Crime Factory and more. He lives with his wife Erika, two dogs and a cat named Riddle.

Where: Los Angeles

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

You have published three novels featuring Moses McGuire, a suicidal strip club bouncer. How did you conceive of this character? How did you create his mix of interesting character traits?

beautiful-naked-and-deadI knew I wanted to write about thugs and drunks, strippers and criminals, wholesome types like I grew up with. I was raised in the counterculture, think Leave it to Beaver directed by Federico Fellini. In my teen years Martin Scorsese took over the helm. I write for the outsiders.

Years ago a smart ass NY agent told me I would sell BN&D if I gave it a clean-cut protagonist, someone people could see my world through. I’m sure he was correct, but I wasn’t writing it for him.

What the fuck was the question? Oh yeah, where did Moses come from. Moses’ chassis was built on the tarnished knight archetype of Raymond Chandler. His drunken bull in a Stop-N-Go echoes my love of James Crumley. His bullmastiff was borrowed from Andrew Vachss. I say steal from the best. His suicidal tendencies came from asking myself who was the scariest man in the room? The one who doesn’t give a fuck if he makes it home for Christmas. That and I know a lot about self annihilation and solo boxing. Not that I thought about any of this while writing it. I just started on page one and typed until it was done. Then rewrote and rewrote and rewrote… until the prose stopped sucking.

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