Wednesday 10 November 2010

Dancing With Myself: CHRIS BENTON interviews CHRIS BENTON

Here's a young man who deserves to be taken seriously. Check out that photo of him at Plots With Guns -it's written on his face.

Chris Benton.

BC: Describe yourself in a single word.

CB: Flawed.

BC: When did you first start writing?

CB: fourteen, maybe fifteen, I didn’t get serious until I was in my early twenties.

BC: Define serious.

CB: Studying the basic stylistic tools all by my lonesome; declarative sentences, dialogue, sentence fragments, when to end a fucking paragraph, essential shit. I’m still learning.

BC: Who is the artist you most admire?

CB: Emma Segasture, not because I admire her talent as a painter and certainly not because I have intimate knowledge of her mind and body, but because she is the one person I know who would scare away death’s agents in twenty words or less. She’s the real deal, if you pulled up beside her in whatever, a Cadillac SUV or a fucking 77’ Ford pickup and pointed a fucking shotgun at her and demanded that she get inside, she would literally roar your ass away with a brief, brutal genealogy of your moronic morals. She is a small, gifted, generous lady and the only person I would choose to watch my back in the darkest moment.

BC: How did you stumble into this coven of crime writers more talented than yourself?

CB: About a year and a half ago Keith Rawson hooked me up with a handful of links. A TWIST OF NOIR and PLOTS WITH GUNS were titles that had a nice ring to them, so I sent both Christopher Grant and Anthony N. Smith a story. Christopher took my first story about a remorseless grandmother which knocked me off my stool, and a few months after Neil accepted a work of mine I consider more of an exorcism than a story, but I’m still glad he dug it. Anyway though, I have to thank Keith for the year-and-a-half-ago-encouragement he probably completely forgot or maybe not. Most of all I have to thank Christopher Grant for his ongoing, passionate support of my vision of noir.

BC: And what is your vision of noir?

CB: Noir is the destruction of the illusion called safety, it can happen in slow-motion or it can happen at warp-speed.

BC: Who are the writers that hurt you?

CB: Christ in a crock pot I could go on for a few pages, but off the top of my head, Isaac Babel, Jim Harrison, Thom Jones, Harry Crews, Breece D’J Pancake, Raymond Carver, Larry Brown, Flannery O’Connor, Denis Johnson, Chester Himes, Ernest Hemmingway (yeah baby, he was good) Kevin Canty, Richard Ford, Jim Thompson, James Dickey, Joyce Carol Oates…

BC: Who are the peers that impress you the most?

CB: That’s a fucked up question because I’m only beginning to feel the warmth of these impressive monsters.

BC: Ok, Who is the most impressive person in your life?

CB: My mom, she’s on her third chemo regiment and treats it like a tedious hobby, her spirit will burn the uninitiated, burn them badly.

BC: Any closing thoughts?

CB: Yeah, I’m poor, I’m desperate, and writing a novel, whose working title is NO COUNTRY FOR OLD WOMEN. Watch out motherfuckers.


  1. A straight shooter, through and through.Good stuff.

  2. Truly splendid to get to know you better, Chris. We share similar mirrors. Good to see it.

    Also, a tip of the ten-gallon to you for broadcasting the name of Isaac Babel. He is a marvel that deserves to be handed out on street corners.

    See you somewhere between the drain and the stars.

  3. Pay attention to this guy motherfuckers, he's important. It's a lucky thing for the bestselling supermarket wirerack weenies that he's only just beginning. It'll give 'em a chance to run away. The thing that attracts me to Chris'es work is the plain simple fact that there ain't one single ounce of bullshit anywhere in the man. That and his ability to shine light into pitch black places and depict them with absolute clarity. Like I said, pay attention, he's good.

  4. I like your vision of noir--it comes through your work.

  5. You had me at 'flawed'.
    Good luck with the novel, Chris.