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.
Continue reading

Five New Books From Double Life Press Today

Double Life Press First FiveDouble Life Press founder Craig T. McNeely is not a man with small ambitions. His company burst onto the Indie crime scene in 2014 with the quarterly pulp fiction magazine, DARK CORNERS. The formation of Double Life Press followed shortly thereafter, with the stated goal of publishing writing “without boundaries.”

So it should come as no surprise that his publishing company is releasing its first five books on the same day. They are:

  1. THE THRILLVILLE PULP FICTION COLLECTION by Will Viharo, Vol. 1-3, is a series of “double features” reprinting the best work of underground literary legend Will Viharo in new, definitive editions.
  2. TREVOR ENGLISH by Pablo D’Stair collects five novellas featuring the titular character in one volume as they were meant to be read. D’Stair is one of the most original voices in crime fiction, as well as a filmmaker and ten thousand other things.
  3. DEATH THING by Andrew Hilbert is a horror novella about a guy named Gilbert who converts his car into a death trap because he’s sick of people breaking into it at night. Its scary and mean and hilarious and unlike anything else you are likely to read this year.

Continue reading

Quick Quotes—The Week In Publishing

rsz_screen_shot_2015-05-16_at_81430_am_2

“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
Continue reading

Great Advice From Awesome Authors

I have been very lucky to interview some awesome authors and publishers over the last year. From short story masters to award-winning novelists, and everything in between, they all have great advice and words of encouragement for new and emerging writers.

Here is a collection of recent quotes along with links to the full interviews. Take a look and see if there is something here for you. If you like what they have to say, please make sure to check out some of their published works. And don’t be afraid to share their advice—these authors deserve to be discovered by even more readers and writers.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-03-08_at_75149_pm_2

Read the Rob Hart interview HERE.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-03-01_at_63630_pm_2

Read the Sarah M. Chen interview HERE.
Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

Quick Quotes—The Week in Publishing

rsz_screen_shot_2015-05-08_at_81939_am “There’s another advantage to being published by a traditional press that very few talk about or even acknowledge, and that’s the fact that your chances are good that your work will be soundly and professionally edited. And even traditional publishing isn’t what it used to be with editing, by and large.”—Les Edgerton at Electric Literature

“The best books deal with complicated, important, and often times controversial topics. Literature can be beautiful and unsettling all at once.”—Steven Petite at Huffington Post Books

“My reading of the report says that sanity is beginning to take hold in self-publishing and that the crazy days of unrealistic expectations are almost over. This is a very good thing.”—Derek Haines at Just Publishing

“When you are attempting to do something original, you are more likely to fail. However in my book, the attempt itself is success. Because when it works, you’ve created something that is entirely yours, that wouldn’t exist unless you had created it.”—Johnny Shaw at Boomtron

rsz_screen_shot_2015-05-03_at_81737_am

“I love how a short story can be anything. However, I always feel a little stingy while I’m writing short stories, because I only have 4000 to 8000 words to explore the idea.”—Erika Krouse at Bad Citizen Corporation

“To make what we write any good at all, we must put ourselves fully into our characters. We have to feel what they would feel, so we can distill those imagined emotions into words on the page, words we hone over and over to evoke an empathic echo in our readers.”—Lois Leveen at The Millions

“It’s easy to forget the impact that a book can have on an individual—especially on a young, impressionable, marginalized, pissed off, typically male individual.”—Mike Harvkey at Publisher’s Weekly

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 novella, CROSSWISE, and his debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published in 2015 and 2016.

Interrogation: Erika Krouse

Erika Krouse med-res2MBWho: Erika Krouse

What: Her short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Esquire.com, One Story, Ploughshares, and other magazines and anthologies. Erika’s collection of short stories, COME UP AND SEE ME SOMETIME (Scribner), won the Paterson Fiction Award, was chosen as a New York Times Notable Book of the year, and has been translated into six languages. Erika’s new novel, CONTENDERS, was published by Rare Bird Books in March, 2015, and will also be published by Aufbau-Verlag in Germany. Erika teaches at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, Colorado, and works part-time as a private investigator for Title IX and sexual assault cases.

Where: Boulder, Colorado

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

Congratulations! CONTENDERS, was just selected for my office book club. I have already read it, but my ten or so co-workers haven’t. What do you want them to know about your debut novel before they even crack it open?

Yay! I’m so glad, and thank you for the interview. Re: what people should know before reading, that’s a great question, and I don’t know the answer. I hope the book can stand on its own, or I’m in big trouble.

Now I’m worried.

All joking aside, CONTENDERS was one of the most original books I have read this year. How did you develop the concept, voice and tone?

Thank you so much! That’s great to hear. When I started CONTENDERS, I had already been writing a completely different novel for a couple of years. After I realized it was irredeemable crap, I threw it out in favor of a four-word idea: “a woman who fights.” That’s all I had. I was training a lot of martial arts at the time, and was asking questions without finding answers, so this was my way of exploring further.
Continue reading

Quick Quotes—The Week In Publishing

rsz_screen_shot_2015-04-29_at_25141_pm

“I’ve been writing fiction for next to nothing for over 12 years. I’d like to say that I’m completely over the question of ‘What is the value of my life’s work within a capitalist framework?’ But, you know, I’d also like to say that I’m over the question of ‘Is my body attractive according to Western beauty standards?’ Some questions you can’t escape without becoming a full-time monk.”—Hannah Gersen at The Millions

“There is no better promotion for one good book than another good book. Write more books, book monkey.”—Chuck Wendig at Terrible Minds

“There’s only one way to overcome writer’s block. To just write something.”—Barack Obama at Politico 

MWABanner-B“Each of us with an affinity for the horror genre owes a debt of gratitude to Edgar Allan Poe that cannot be overstated. The man who arguably invented two profound literary forms—the modern horror story and the modern detective story—also accomplished something even more incredible. He forced people—serious people—to take horror seriously Edgar Allan Poeas a literary device worthy of study and criticism, and did so while simultaneously fighting to define an actual school of American Literature that hardly anyone at the time was willing to recognize.”—Hank Schwaeble at Grey Matter Press

“I’m not a fan of mysteries, so to prepare for this experience of writing a mystery I started reading the most successful ones in the market in 2012. … And I realized I cannot write that kind of book. It’s too gruesome, too violent, too dark; there’s no redemption there. And the characters are just awful. Bad people. Very entertaining, but really bad people.”—Isabel Allende in NPR’s The Two Way

“I’m not sure how to make this any clearer. You do not have permission to promote your book in B&N stores or interact with B&N customers in any way. If you do, you’ll be asked to leave. If you refuse to leave, the police will be called to escort you from the premises.”—David Thorne at 27bslash6.com

“I usually edit by day and write at night. Something about darkness and the idea that you have the world to yourself has always occurred to me as really cool. However, if my schedule only allows me to write during the day, that’s what I’ll do. As soon as I start working, I forget about what time of day it is.”—Henry Rollins at Copy Blogger

“Is your book about vampires? If so, you’ve made a classic blunder. Those books don’t sell.”—James Ziskin at San Francisco Book Review 

rsz_screen_shot_2015-04-26_at_41529_pm_2

“Write the stories or books you want to write. Don’t worry about hitting the market because the market may be completely different by the time your work sees the light of day.”—Terrence McCauley at BadCitizenCorporation

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 novella, CROSSWISE, and his debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published in 2015 and 2016.

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.
Continue reading

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
Continue reading