Interrogation: Terrence McCauley

McCauley2Who: Terrence McCauley

What: His first thriller, SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL, will be published by Polis Books in July 2015. In 2008, Terrence won the TruTV ‘Search for the Next Great Crime Writer’. In 2014, he won three New Pulp Awards for Best Short Story, Best Novel and Best Author. He has also had short stories featured in Thuglit, Action: Pulse Pounding Tales Vol. 1 and 2, Atomic Noir and Big Pulp among other places. He recently assisted with the compilation of GRAND CENTRAL NOIR, an anthology where 100% of the proceeds go directly to a non-profit called God’s Love We Deliver.

Where: New York

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

SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL FINAL COVERIt looks like 2015 is shaping up to be a really big year for you. How many years in the making was your overnight success?

I’ve been pawing at writing since I graduated college in 1996, but didn’t start to get serious about it until 2000. I was working on a book I’d called TENETS OF POWER, a business thriller where I took the dry toast of corporate finance and tried to make it compelling. People in my workshops generally liked it but, in hindsight, it was too long and elaborate for popular consumption. In hindsight, my style was too detailed and tough to read.

That’s when I decided to try my hand at the one genre I’d always loved to read: crime fiction. I didn’t want to get wrapped up in researching CSI procedures that a modern-day story would need to have, so I decided to blend my love of New York history with the crime genre. The result was a gangster tale told from the perspective of an enforcer for the Irish mob who had to use his brains as well as his brawn to find out who was undermining his boss’s criminal empire.
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Quick Quotes—The Week in Publishing

rsz_screen_shot_2015-04-25_at_93043_amLots of great information out there this week in the writing and publishing world. Here are just a few of my favorite quotes and articles:

“What most writers have in common is desire. We want and want and want and want.”—Lev Raphael at Huffington Post

“The most frustrating part of my year of reading diversely was not being able to access e-books for works published in other countries. In the United States, five of the books on my 2014 reading list are not available through Amazon’s Kindle store.”—Sunili Govinnage at The Washington Post

When were you happiest?
Right now. I keep getting happier.”—James Ellroy at The Guardian

“Subscription e-book services are currently in a ‘chicken and egg’ period of initial growth.  On the one hand, they are a totally new way of consuming books, just as subscription services were a totally new way of consuming music when they were first introduced in the early 2000s.  On the other hand, the major trade publishers are not embracing the model as enthusiastically as the major record labels did, even though subscription music services are now firmly in the mainstream.”—Bill Rosenblatt at Forbes
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Interrogation: Tom Pitts

Tom Pitts Photo 2Who: Tom Pitts

What: Tom Pitts received his education on the streets of San Francisco. He remains there, working, writing, and trying to survive. His novel, HUSTLE, and his novella, PIGGYBACK, are available from Snubnose Press. His new novella, KNUCKLEBALL, will be released by One Eye Press on March 24th. He is also an acquisitions editor at Gutter Books and a co-editor of the Flash Fiction Offensive.

Where: San Francisco

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

HUSTLE dealt with some pretty dark subject matter, but I found myself cheering for most of the tragic characters. Why did you decide to tackle junkies/hustlers in this novel? 

I was tired of reading characters who were drug addicts whose habits didn’t ring true. You know, junkies who had a needle in their arms when it was convenient to the story, but would then forget about having to shoot up as the plot unfolded—or never experienced withdrawal symptoms. That’s just not the way it is. In reality, there aren’t too many guns out there on the street, because street people sell ‘em for drugs. Nobody has a car, they don’t even have bus fare. Street life is miserable. It’s a desperate kind of lifestyle and I see it get misrepresented all the time. I wanted to throw my two cents in and show a different side to what people think of as the underbelly.

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Interrogation: Eric Beetner

Eric Author photo SMWho: Eric Beetner

What: Author of RUMRUNNERS, THE DEVIL DOESN’T WANT ME, DIG TWO GRAVES, WHITE HOT PISTOL, THE YEAR I DIED SEVEN TIMES, STRIPPER POLE AT THE END OF THE WORLD & the story collection, A BOUQUET OF BULLETS. He is co-author (with JB Kohl) of the novels ONE TOO MANY BLOWS TO THE HEAD and BORROWED TROUBLE and the upcoming OVER THEIR HEADS. He co-wrote the upcoming THE BLACKLIST with author Frank Zafiro. He has also written two novellas in the popular Fightcard series, SPLIT DECISION and A MOUTH FULL OF BLOOD.

Where: He lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts the Noir At The Bar reading series.

How long have you been writing? What/where was the first thing you published?

I’ve been writing in earnest since high school, though when I started writing it was screenplays and stage plays. I had an honorable mention in some young playwrights thing for a play I wrote in high school (which was terrible) and instead of a college essay, I wrote a script. It worked, I guess, since I got in.

rumrunnersI took one screenwriting class in college, which I didn’t care for. I wrote all the movies I made in college and finished my first feature script my junior year. Since then I wrote 17 full features and even made a few bucks along the way, although nothing I wrote ever got made other than a mid-length film I directed myself which played festivals.

I never thought I had the patience or the eye for detail to do a novel. Plus, I was just too movie obsessed. When I wrote my first novel in 2008 I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it since I wasn’t sure I would finish and I didn’t want to be that guy. But I did and I kept going from there. (that book, however, is permanently in the drawer, never to be seen. Trust me, it’s for the best)

Your new novel, RUMRUNNERS, is out in May 2015. The publisher, 280 Steps, describes it as “Smokey and the Bandit meets Justified and Fargo…” Is that an accurate description?

I love that they came up with that, and yes, I think it suits the book. People often tell me I’m funny when I write and I think it has that gallows humor I put in very unintentionally. It just sneaks in, I guess.

And yes there are car chases and explosions of violence, so I think the description fits quite well.

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