Johnny Cash Anthology Roundtable

Last week, Gutter Books released their latest music-themed anthology, JUST TO WATCH THEM DIE: CRIME FICTION INSPIRED BY THE SONGS OF JOHNNY CASH. The collection was curated by Joe Clifford who got an Anthony Award nomination for his previous rock anthology, TROUBLE IN THE HEARTLAND: CRIME FICTION BASED ON THE SONGS OF BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN.

I was aware of Johnny Cash growing up, but didn’t develop a passion for his music until I discovered roots-influenced punk bands like The Blasters, X, The Cramps, Social Distortion and The Gun Club. By the time I reached college, Cash’s music was in heavy rotation on my stereo. To this day, one of the best concerts I ever saw was The Man In Black live at The Pantages Theater in Hollywood with Beck as the opener. So when I heard Gutter Books was putting this collection together, I knew I had to submit a short story. The song I chose was “25 Minutes To Go.”

Now that the collection’s out in the world, I’m thrilled to see my name alongside talented authors like Rob Hart, Jen Conley, David James Keaton, Lynne Barrett, David Corbett, Tom Hazuka, Mike Creeden, Nik Korpon, Sarah M. Chen, Terence McCauley, Gabino Iglesias, James Grady, Danny Gardner, Rene Asher Pickup, Hector Duarte Jr., Ryan Leone, James R. Tuck, Angel Luis Colón, Jennifer Maritza McCauley, Steven Ostrowski, Terri Lynn Coop, Max Booth III and Heath Lowrance.

In honor of the release, I contacted Joe Clifford and a handful of contributors to find out what Johnny Cash means to them. I think you’ll enjoy their responses almost as much as this fantastic anthology (which you can snag RIGHT HERE).

Joe Clifford—Editor

What inspired you to create a Johnny Cash-themed crime anthology? 

We did the Springsteen one, which did pretty well, in terms of sales. But, man, so many people wanted to be in it (and were sorta pissed at me for not asking them). So we tried to do another Springsteen one, but his lawyers said no. So I tried to think of another Americana artist who embodies that crime fiction spirit, and who better than Cash? So I asked a bunch of new writers (and then there were some more writers I didn’t ask who sorta got pissed.)

What Johnny Cash song were you surprised that nobody claimed?

I’ll cheat a little here. Ryan Leone took “Folsom Prison Blues,” but his story was originally called something else, and when he learned that no one had claimed FPB, he changed his title (which works better for the piece anyway).

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“Crosswise” Is Only $.99 Right Now

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The nice people at Down & Out Books have put the ebook of my crime novella, “Crosswise,” on sale for $.99. If that’s the price you’ve been waiting for, just click right HERE.

Need a little more convincing? Well, you can see what the amazing Matt Coyle has to say up above. Or maybe you’d prefer to hear from Scott Adlerberg:

And here’s an amazing Amazon review from the one-and-only Michelle Isler (aka “Godmother”):

“I loved this smart, crime novella. S.W. Lauden just keeps getting better with his books. Crosswise just grabs you from the very beginning and keeps you guessing and entertained through the whole book. Nice, crisp, gruesome, and stuffed with interesting characters.”

Go ahead, give “Crosswise” a whirl!

Interrogation: Erik Arneson & Scott Detrow

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Who: Erik Arneson & Scott Detrow – Title 18: Word Crimes podcast and audiobook

Where: Pennsylvania/Washington D.C.

erik arnesonWhat: Erik Arneson hosts the Title 18: Word Crimes podcast and free audiobook, and is an editor for Shotgun Honey. His crime fiction has appeared in the anthologies Kwik Krimes, Shotgun Honey Reloaded: Both Barrels Vol. 2 and Off the Record 2: At the Movies; in the magazines NEEDLE: A Magazine of Noir, GRIFT, and Mary Higgins Clark Mystery Magazine; and on the websites Shotgun Honey, Out of the Gutter Online, BEAT to a PULP, and Near to the Knuckle.

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Scott Detrow is the voice of the Title 18: Word Crimes podcast and free audiobook. He is a Washington D.C.-based journalist currently covering energy issues for ClimateWire. He spent the bulk of his reporting career in public radio, working for WITF in Pennsylvania and KQED in California. Scott’s work has been heard on NPR programs like Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Interview conducted by email. Some answers have been edited.

What was the inspiration for the Title 18: Word Crimes podcast? How did you two become partners on it?

Erik Arneson: Back in the early 1990s, I was a radio disc jockey, so I’ve always loved audio as a format. When I found Seth Harwood’s CrimeWAV podcast, a lightbulb turned on. I wanted to be on his show – where authors read their own work – but I wanted to do something a little different as well. I contacted Scott, whom I met when he was a reporter for WITF in Harrisburg (I work for a state Senator), and convinced him to record one of my stories.

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