Wednesday 15 September 2010

Dancing WIth Myself: GERALD SO interviews GERALD SO

Gerald So is a writer and editor who has a lot to offer. Here's what he has to say. Don't forget to check out the links at the bottom of the page if they're places you haven't been to before - poems on crime have a wee mention of one David Thompson.

I know a lot of you knew David, so if you have it in you (and who knows if this works online) a minute's silence or a minute's applause might not go amiss before you move on.


Ladies and gents, GERALD SO.

1) Why does crime writing appeal to you?

I like its sense of purpose. The action is driven by the crimes committed, and watching those crimes unfold, regardless whether they are solved, reveals what drives the characters.

2) Most people know you as fiction editor for The Thrilling Detective Web Site or co-editor of The Lineup: Poems on Crime. What do you enjoy about editing?

I enjoy motivating writers beyond what they think they can write to what I know they can write. I enjoy finding the most powerful ways to deliver the emotional impact the writer wants.

3) You've known you wanted to write fiction since you were thirteen, but came to poetry much later. Which do you prefer?

I have no preference. I respect both fiction and poetry for what they can do. Each affects readers in ways the other can't. Poetry is more condensed, but it lets me zero in on intense moments and emotions that might be diluted over the course of a story or novel. By the same token, a story or novel lets me stay with the characters longer and play out the effects of that most intense moment.

4) When do you find time to write?

Obscenely early in the morning, most often four to seven A.M.

5) You've moderated online discussion lists for eleven years, from your own DetecToday to two years as president of The Short Mystery Fiction Society. What do you take away from the experience?

I've come to see my favorite writers more objectively. It has helped me approach them as people, not idols, to analyze their work, which informs my own.

6) Is there any experience or emotion that colors your writing in general?

Disappointment. I'm very familiar with planning and hoping for something, being let down, and figuring out what to do next. It happens to any number of characters in fiction. Of course, in noir fiction, they never quite get back up.

7) You also review movies and television? Who are some of your favorite movie or TV characters?

Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly), Michael Westen (Burn Notice), The Middleman.

8) What's your dream writing project?

A novel about my 1930s pilot-for-hire C.J. Stone, who so far has shown up for seven short stories. Then again, I wouldn't mind a collection of two dozen stories, either.

9) And whom would you love to see submit to The Lineup?

Off the top of my head: Lee Child, Christa Faust, Al Guthrie, Joe R. Lansdale, Dennis Lehane, S.J. Rozan, Marcus Sakey...

10) Any last words?

I have not yet begun to fight. Thanks for the interview, Nigel.

Thrilling Detective -


  1. Top stuff. C.J Stone sounds like classic BEAT TO A PULP stuff.

  2. That's early to write. No wonder it's crime fiction. I'd be pissed off, too.

  3. Gerald's the kind of editor we all need. Likes your stuff, but won't let you get away with anything less than your best. Certain bloated, to-big-to-be-edited writers(coughkingcough)could benefit greatly from such a guy. Terrific interview.
    PS:With me it's usually from 11:30 pm to 2:00 or 3:00 am.