Tuesday 26 October 2010

Dancing With Myself: GRAHAM BOWLIN interviews GRAHAM BOWLIN

Busy times. Interesting times. Good times and bad.

Crimespree have another issue out today (huzzah!!). Download it for free or wait for a hard copy - you choose:


and they've gone and got themselves a blog:


While over in the corner, Chris Holm has a collection to check out:


and then there's Discount Noir (flash fun):

http://tinyurl.com/2e69nkf (at the time of writing there's a 25% discount, too)
and Beat To A Pulp Round 1:
and there are a couple of my poems, absurdities I'd call them, over at:
(you can be pleased there are only 2)
And then there's today's interview with Graham Bowlin. You can find out all about him by following the link to his blog during the interview.

He's talented and up and coming (growing from a whisper to a scream). Crime Factory, Needle and A Twist Of Noir - what more can one do?

And he's hard; must be - 'take the skinheads Bowlin,' I've heard them shout now and again:


(sorry Graham, my fingers type things as they come to mind).

Here we go then. Please check out his blog once you're done.

Graham, over to you.

1. How did you come to start writing crime fiction?

Well, to be honest, in prison I had nothing but time on my hands. Taking writing classes was a great way to creatively channel the rage and violence that had gotten me there in the first place.

Just kidding. I skipped prison and went straight to film school. Once I got out, I wanted to continue writing, continue telling stories. But I didn’t have immediate access to a ton of money and crew members. Conflict, right? Around the same time I discovered a Thuglit anthology at my local bookstore and realized there was a large community of writers and readers doing incredible stuff that I had believed to be long dead. I wanted in so I started writing and submitting.

2. What do you think makes a good crime story a great crime story?

As Brian Wilson once said, “Love and mercy, that’s what we need tonight.” I couldn’t say it better so I’ll just steal it from him. It’s that old adage of without meat there is no pudding. Without hatred there is no love, without cruelty there is no mercy.

Obviously, part of our job is to shed light on the darker aspects of the human condition. But I think we’re equally obligated to explore the opposite: hope in the face of desperation, love giving purpose to life.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes everybody’s gotta die in the end. But they should die trying.

3. How does geography effect your work?

I’m a big believer in all that “write what you know” crap. Of course, this means that most of my stuff revolves around douche bags screwing up their lives. It also means that a lot of what I write is pretty well tied into where I live.

I’ve done most of my growing up in North Carolina, so I’ve come to consider myself a southerner. Thus, a lot of my stuff has ended up being set down in the ol’ Dirty Dirty. I mostly do this because it makes everything a hell of a lot easier to write. But it also makes the work more honest. Home is where the heart is, along with the resentment, greed, fear, paranoia, self-loathing, and all the other stuff you need to make a good crime story.

Since my move to Los Angeles a couple of months ago, I’ve really begun to notice the effect that my surrounding geography and culture have had. Many of my story ideas now involve social alienation and economic failure in the City of Angels. Coincidence? I dunno, ask my landlord.

4. How do they say “fuck you” in L.A.?

“Trust me.”

5. What do you wish you knew when you first started writing?

How generous other writers are with their advice and time. Shortly after I started submitting stories I began writing to some authors in the community hectoring them, asking them for advice and what not. I can’t tell you how incredibly helpful everyone was and is. If you’re just starting to write, just starting to submit, or just beginning to fantasize about the exciting and glamorous world of online crime writing, we’d love to hear from you about almost anything. (I don’t do nudes, don’t ask.)

6. Do you have any advice on submitting to online magazines?

Do your research. There are many, many amazing websites out there, and some that aren’t as amazing. Don’t get me wrong, no matter what the website every writer, editor, publisher, and webmaster deserves high kudos for their work. Some just deserve a lot more.

Every website is different in their layout, art direction, quality control, and readership. Find a site that’s sexy to look at and simple to navigate, where a reader can easily locate your work. Read some of what they’ve published. Make sure that they host work that you enjoy and respect, and that fits what you’re going for.

In most cases you won’t get paid for your work, but you can still get something for it in the form of new readers, industry attention, and the pride that comes with publishing with a really quality rag.

Unlike your virginity, your work is actually worth something. Don’t just give it away to the first plain Jane skank who seductively sips from her Zima and beckons you into her dad’s Buick Skylark.

7. What do you find more challenging to attempt to write, the novel or the short story?

Novels are super long and hard to write.

Short stories are too short and hard to write.

They both have disadvantages.

As a beginning writer I’ve found that the short story is a great way to find your footing and get your name out there. What settings and locations do you enjoy the most? What themes do you find yourself attracted too? What are your greatest strengths? (The characters, dialogue, plotting, etc.) Short stories can be a great way to identify these and cut your teeth before starting your novel. I started out there and I’m glad I did.

8. Would you like to take a moment to shamelessly promote yourself?

Hell yes. I have two stories coming out soon with Crime Factory and Needle Magazine, two great venues I’m really proud to be a part of. I’m also working on a darkly comedic rural noir novel about a disgruntled private eye, a sexy cryptozoologist, and a small Southern town where nothing is what it seems. One day soon I’ll finish it.

Until then you can read more ridiculous babble at my website: http://www.thepulpprimer.com/

Bio: Graham Bowlin is a reformed southern gentleman newly moved to Los Angeles, where he is one of five card carrying NRA members. He likes short skirts and long cons, high heels and lowlifes. And bourbon. He works at the Mystery Bookstore. Stop by and say hello.

You can find him posting a bunch of self-aggrandizing horseshit over at his blog: http://www.thepulpprimer.com/


  1. Good stuff, man. Trust me. Good stuff.

  2. Robin, thanks for reading! I thought I might be getting a little overly serious or preachy or something, so I wanted to mix it up. Glad it worked.

    Nigel, I love that song! And I actually was known as Graham "Hard as Fuck" Bowlin back in high school. How did you know?

  3. anyone who can post a blog about using MEAT as a weapon is either tough or crazy. had to be one or the other.

  4. Hope is at the bottom of it all. Kindred spirit here, man. And, oh yeah, sure all of 'em's gotta die but that's not the point, right? I think Weddle's looking to put you into the other part of Hollyweird, development hell. Thanks for the thoughts. Glad to know I ain't the only one.

  5. You should have stuck with the prison rap and toughened up your image some. (kidding) And I'm a big believer in writing what you know. Most don't and you can read it in their writing. You're a hell of a talent, Graham, keep at it

  6. Thanks a lot for reading, everybody! Means a lot, trust me!