Monday 30 May 2011

Dancing With Myself: DAVID GORDON interviews DAVID GORDON

Before today's interview begins, may I thank Kate Horsley for hosting and interview I did with Dave White.  It gave me the opportunity to get to know Dave a little better and her site is the business, so it's great to be there.

Also just put up at Kate's site is the third extract from Charles Rzepka's interview with Elmore Leonard. 

Kate, these are for you:

Great to be there.

And now, it's my pleasure to be able to introduce David Gordon.  He's been a bridesmaid recently at the Edgars, here's hoping he can get to carry the bouquet with his next nomination.


Q) Good morning.

A) Good morning to you.

Q) You’ve been asked to interview yourself. Do you find that odd?

A) To have it written down and read by others is a bit awkward. But I’ve been told many times that I talk to myself, even waving my arms or enumerating points on my fingers, like I’m arguing and explaining myself to myself. It’s a writerly problem, I guess. I’ve even been spotted by acquaintances walking down the street alone and laughing.

Q) What are you working on now?

A) Well, right at this moment I was trying to decide if a minor character I always thought of as British might actually be German. It’s seems like a small point but he has a big monologue coming up and it would also mean altering various bits throughout the book. This is the kind of thing that can paralyze me indefinitely. British? German? British? German? I will probably end up mumbling that unconsciously to myself on the subway.

Q) OK fine, but aside from that, what is the book about?

A) It’s about an unemployed used-bookstore clerk and unpublished experimental novelist whose wife leaves him and insists in counseling that, among her various demands, he get a “real” job. Out of desperation, he takes the only offer than comes in, to assist an obese agoraphobe who lives with his mother and who is supposedly a brilliant detective, although our protagonist quickly begins to suspect that the case he’s working on exists only in the “detective’s” deranged mind and that following this mysterious lady around  is really stalking by proxy. But he needs the job. It takes place in Los Angeles and it’s called Mystery Date.

Q) What was the first mystery you wrote?

A) Back in grade school, inspired by books like Encyclopedia Brown, The Great Brain and One Minute Mysteries, I used to write little mystery stories and read them to the class at the end of the day. They would end with the detective naming the culprit, and then say “Why?” You had to name the clue. It would be something like a criminal claiming to be out of the country till February 31. No wonder I got chased around by bullies so much.

Q) Who are you reading now?

A) As far as mysteries go, I just read another Simenon book, Maigret and theKiller. I am a big fan and read these whenever I find them, but I have a lot, maybe forty or fifty in different editions with different names so it gets hard to be sure it’s really new to me. I also just read Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories, which I enjoyed a lot. And as research for my book, I am systematically going through all of Ross MacDonald’s Lew Archer books again. They are incredible.

Q) What about non-mystery?

A) I just read Francoise Gilot’s book about Matisse and Picasso. She was Picasso’s lover and a painter herself and she spent a lot of time just listening to them talk. It’s terrific. My favorite scene is Picasso and Matisse each talking jealously about how lucky the other one is and then lapsing into silence. Or Picasso telling her that once Matisse dies, there are things he will never be able to say to anyone.  I came across it when I was feeding my friend’s cat. She’s an art critic and she was out of town. I also just this week read Edward Said’s book on Late Style, which I found in a pile of books that another friend was re-shelving. So you see my ideas about research are pretty eccentric.

Q) How was it being nominated for an Edgar?

A)Amazing and totally unexpected. Among my mother’s artifacts somewhere is a crayon drawing entitled: “The Masque of the Red Death, A novel by David Gordon.” Right from the start I was plagiarizing Poe, so it really was astonishing to be there, with my agent and editor and the people from Simon & Schuster. I borrowed a tux and my girlfriend looked stunning. It was like the prom I never had. Now I am ready for the Oscars or a job valet parking. However my career goes.

Q) And how was losing?

A) Not so bad actually. I wish I’d known earlier, I would have relaxed and had more fun, but the thought of maybe having to get up and talk kept me squirming the whole night. Bruce DeSilva, who won, was so nice and warm-hearted, and he’s an ex-newspaper reporter, which I will always have a soft spot for. And his daughter had my book on her kindle. So all in all, it was pretty hard to be sour when he won. Plus I got the coolest tote bag ever as a consolation prize.

Q) Do you now consider yourself a mystery novelist?

A) Actually the Serialist was my first attempt. I have always written all kinds of things, from poems to sitcom pilots, and have several books in mind that aren’t mysteries. I just write what I think I’d like to read. That’s why the Edgar nomination and the whole experience of being taken in and welcomed by that community was so wonderful: Whatever kind of writer I turn out to be, I am certainly a true book lover and it was great to be among my own kind.

Q) Any other big news?

A) Yes, actually. Funny that you should ask. I just learned that The Serialist is one of three finalists for Virginia Commonwealth University’s VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. The winner is announced in June and gets to fly down and participate in a literary festival in November.

Q) Congratulations!

A) Thanks.

Q) Now get back to work.

A) You too.

Always good to host a Maigret fan.  Thanks David and good luck.

Sunday 29 May 2011


At the weekend we had the Pipe Bands festival in Dunbar.

Apart from trying hard to keep my children from the expensive rides and from eating too much cake from the soon to be launched Community Bakery, I had a few nice encounters.

The first was with a lovely artist who’s done some brilliant paintings of the area. Now I think about it, she was pretty as a picture herself. Anyway, I bought a handful of prints in the hope that it will ease my family Christmas present shop when December comes.

I was also really taken by a jewellery stall selling the wares of Lilac Millie. As it turns out, Lilac Millie is a friend of mine who’s been hiding her light under a bushel.

What I particularly like about what she does is the use of the local environment, collecting worn bits of glass (we call them precious stones in our house) and pebbles from our beautiful beaches and creates something entirely new from them.

And I think we have things in common, my jeweller friend and I. Both of us are on the lookout for interesting things around and about. Both use raw materials that many might think are utterly useless (in my case ideas, stories, faces, you name it) and both create something new, individual and utterly splendid (at least she does) in our re-shaping.

And apart from that, I’d love to write a story about someone called Lilac Millie. I’d say she’s either a gangster’s mol or a street girl from Paris. We’ll see if the idea develops from there – like I say, I’m a collector of random articles.

Should you find yourself in need of a gift, you could do a lot worse that supporting an entirely local enterprise. As you can see, the products and the prices are very appealing.

Till soon.

Saturday 28 May 2011

Vantage Points

I can lie on my bed

bent pillow to prop my head

green wall and her card

or I can sit in my lounge chair

facing the telly, telly on or telly off

red wall and a pile of mess

or I can sit in the kitchen

a white wall that needs a clean

or I can sit

on the toilet

with the washing machine.

You don’t have to live in

the countryside to enjoy

the scenery.

Friday 27 May 2011

Dancing With Myself: NOLAN KNIGHT interviews NOLAN KNIGHT

I had a great time last night at the launch of the book The Echo Chamber by Luke Williams.

As I mentioned on Twitter and Facebook, from what I picked up from the reading there's something intriguing about the novel.  It has a curious rythm to it, a sense of the poetic and the profound.  Luke's also introduced sections written by another author, Natasha Soobramanien, to alter the voice and to give a new perspective.  I have a feeling that he's attempting to push at the boundaries of the novel, maybe playfully stretching them into new shapes and patterns.

It says something that for the Scottish launch Luke chose WORD-POWER, the country's leading radical bookshop.

Needless to say, I bought a copy and managed to get an autograph.  It's a book I'm going to cherish and very much look forward to reading.

To cap it all, Luke came across as being a lovely, modest and likeable guy who I hope does very well with his writing - there's a shine to him that suggests he will without difficulty.  Fingers crossed.

Earlier on in the week, I had the pleasure of contacting the people behind Short Story eReader.  They were extremely courteous and helpful and agreed to showcase Dirty Old Town for 7 days. 

What I like about their site, other than the fact that they are clearly enthusiasts of the short form and are decent folk, is that they are selecting/working with authors of quality and from a broad range.  You'll see collections from Stephen King, Margaret Drabble, John Grisham, Ben Eisler and Tim O'Brien among others if you go this week.  Next it'll be something fresh.

In 'The Things They Carried' by Tim O'Brien, you have one of my favourite short stories ever, so that might indicate how pleased I am to be included on to their site.  

If you love short stories or have something you'd like a shop-window for, this should be in your favourites bar.

Something else you might want to get a hold of in your in-box on a regular basis is the newsletter from Jack Bates.  His interview featured here a few weeks ago and he's gone on to start something new.  To subscribe pop along to .  Jack describes it as 'A discussion of the latest in crime fiction with a dash of flash fiction for your entertainment.' Something tells me he's going to come up with the goods. 

And so to the Dancing With Myself interview

Warm welcome, please, for Nolan Knight.

                                  Dawn, Monday, Downtown…

Ugh, how you feelin’?

Pretty hagged.

Ain’t gotta tell me once. Do this—grab breakfast beers?


Born and raised?

Los Angeles, South Bay. Born in Torrance, lived in Redondo. Pretty much a blue collar beach community. Small town vibe, everyone knows everyone. My pals growing up were the kids of my parent’s pals, that kinda shit.

You surf then?

No. Skateboard. Everyone in my family surfs though.

A funny hometown story. Go!

Let’s see…my uncle’s buddy got into a fight with Tony Danza at the Wild Goose (a titty bar by LAX) a ways back. They caught Danza cheatin’ at pool. Said he got handled but “The Boss” was a Golden Glover or somethin’, so who really knows. Wish I coulda seen it though.

Huh, thought you were gonna spill about gettin’ arrested on the parents’ front lawn—

That wasn’t funny.

What’s on the record player?

Just grabbed the new OFF! 7-inch. Pretty kick-ass. The Bronx, U.S. Bombs, and Descendents always have a home on there too.

Seen any good movies lately?

The Nickel Ride hit the spot.

So, why write?

Hate math, suck at video games, good way to forget about the day job. Just something that has to get done in order to sleep most nights.

Any influences?

Sure, a bunch but the real draw comes from the city itself, Los Angeles. I’ve lived all over the county and every three blocks there’s a whole ’nother world—that’s only on the surface too. The underground is what really gets me. When I say underground, I mean certain streets or structures that everyday life commences but at night, it becomes a new beast. The backdoor of that barbershop or the basement of that Laundromat can open up and expose all kinds of weird—you name it, any vice, at your fingertips. Kinda like that debauched playground in Pinocchio. Hitting the streets at night, not all the time, but sometimes, takes you on a wild ass ride.

Thoughts on crafting the short story?

I dunno, shorts are strange creature. They demand patience and respect. If either of the two are lacking, it really stains the page. Soon as I think I’ve actually nailed one, I’ll have more thoughts on the subject. Right now, I’m just tryin’ to push the words a little further each day.

What do you think’s the hardest part?

Courage.  Reader attachment comes by baring the soul and right now I'm still a bit yellow in that area.

Who really pulls it off then?

Richard Lange. In his collection “Dead Boys”, he bleeds on every single page. Pure balls, man. Fuckin’ brilliant.

Any publications on the horizon?

Been sidetracked by a novel for the past six months but got a story picked up by Needle. Owe Mr. Cranmer one for summer too.

Famous last words?

Breakfast beers…

Wednesday 25 May 2011

Dancing With Myself: KAYE GEORGE interviews KAYE GEORGE

(squeak of chairs being settled into)

Interviewer: I'm happy to be talking to you today, Kaye. Kaye George is the author of many short stories and one novel, just released the first of May. There are details on her webpage at Not many people have actually heard of you, Kaye. I may be one of the few. Are you aware of that?

K: Yes, yes, I'm well aware of that. I'm doing everything I can, OK? I'm here, aren't I? I have two (two!) blogs, a website, multiple books for sale. What else can I do?

(much chair squeaking)

I: Calm down a little, please, if you can. Have you had your meds this morning? I think it would help if you told us a bit about your new book, CHOKE.

K: Well, there you go. You've heard of my new book. Except you left off the best part: CHOKE: An Imogene Duckworthy Mystery. It's supposed to be a funny book and Imogene Duckworthy is a funny name, so it sounds better with the whole title.

Here's a bit about this mystery: When Uncle Huey is found murdered in his diner in tiny Saltlick, TX, a half-frozen package of mesquite-smoked sausage stuffed down his throat, Imogene Duckworthy, an unwed mother who longs to be a PI, gets her chance to solve a real crime.

And yes, I've had the meds.
(sound of heavy sighing)

I: Huey Duckworthy? As in Huey, Dewey, and Louie?

K: That will eventually be revealed.

I: What will?

K: What you said, you idiot.

(loud puff of breath)
I: Have you thought about what someone actually named Imogene Duckworthy might think when they read this.

K: Hey, I googled it. No one is named that.

I: That's good enough, I'm sure. What are some of the other humorous names in the book?

K: Imogene's mother is Hortense and her daughter is Nancy Drew Duckworthy.

I: How did they get those names?

K: I didn't name them! Their mothers did. Imogene's name is a reflection on her mother. She's a little pretentious. Nancy Drew's name tells you that Immy, as she's usually called, has an intense interest in mysteries. A name always tells you more about the parents than it does about the person. Haven't you ever noticed that?

I: I'm not the most observant person, I guess. But you, as a writer, must be observant.

K: Yes, I'm constantly watching people. For instance, I observe that you seem nervous about this interview.

I: Can you blame me? I never know what you'll say.

K: Some other skills a writer needs are, um, typing. And--the ability to make things up as I go along.

I: You're a natural born liar?

K: I didn't say that.

I: Can you tell us what's in store for Immy in the future?

K: I thought you'd never ask. When SMOKE comes out, she's just landed a job assisting Mike Mallett in Wymee Falls, Texas. In the course of bringing a pot-bellied pig home as a birthday gift for her daughter, Drew, Immy discovers the owner of Jerry's Jerky hanging in his own smokehouse. The pig breeder, Amy JoBeth, is implicated, so Immy feels compelled to try to find the real killer. That gentle, somewhat depressed woman couldn't have killed Rusty Bucket. Could she?

I: I don't know. Could she?

K: See, that's why I'm a writer and you're not. That's what's known as a rhetorical question, a hook.

I: Ah. I must say it's been, it's been...interesting talking to you today. I wish you every success with your Imogene Duckworthy series.

K: You could buy a copy. That would help.

I: But you said you'd give me a free one.

(sound of door slamming)

I: Geez. I promised, so I'll post these buy  links:

CHOKE: An Imogene Duckworthy Mystery

ISBN: 978-0-9827952-7-9

Available at:

Sunday 22 May 2011

Dancing With Myself: FRANK TALLIS interviews FRANK TALLIS

After posting Mr Lawrence Block's interview a couple of months ago, I got in touch with him to mention that I thought he should experiment with lowering the prices of his e-books.

Like as not, I had nothing to do with what he said at his Facebook page earlier this week:

'E-book price break! The following titles have been dropped in price and are now widely available for $3.99: April North, Campus Tramp, Candy, Carla, Community of Women, Gigolo Johnny Wells, Random Walk, The Specialists, and Such Men Are Dangerous. This is an experiment, so the price may go back up again. I'm just sayin'. . .'

By supporting this move, we'll be telling the publishers something about their previous e-book pricing and maybe show them a better way ahead. 

Apart from that we can pick up the work of one of the world's finest writers at a price that isn't painful.

They're not quite there yet at Amazon, so keep a look out for the titles.

The most excellent Pablo D'Stair novella This Letter To Norman Court which was brought to life here a short while ago reached Anthony Neil Smith's home yesterday.  It continues to impress and has a following that is growing.  Just a reminder that Mr Smith has Yellow Medicine and a host of other stories out there for the kindle.

Meanwhile, Dirty Old Town picked up its 400th sale yesterday and that made me very happy.  Thanks to anyone who has picked it up.  There's a week left in May and I'd like to remind you that any profits from May's sales will be heading for the Red Cross.

Coming to the end of it's Amazon life is the charity story Jack And The Giant.  For those of you who don't know, it was produced my a class of 6 year olds where I work and has been an invaluable experience for them.  Some of the kids rarely see beyond Tranent, so to get them communication with folk from the US and China has been amazing for them.  Thanks again there to Stephen Leather for his contribution, not only financial but with his setting up of a (now deleted thread on the board.

And if you feel like a laugh, you could look at yesterday's recording of me reading a fun story; it's not the story, sadly, that will make you laugh though.

Today's interview now.

Please offer a warm welcome to Frank Tallis.

Take it away Frank:

1. What do you expect from a novel?

Style, form and content.

2. What is on your desk when you write?

A small statuette of a gargoyle (from the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris) known as Le Stryge and a book of psychoanalytic case studies by Freud (once owned by Sigmund Freud).

3. What book would you take to your desert island - you already have the Bible and Shakespeare? (Can I have the Tao Te Ching instead of the Bible) Oh ... all right.

Remberance of Things Past by Marcel Proust. I've tried to read it several times but can only get half through volume one.

4. What is your favourite speech from Shakespeare?

Prospero: 'Our revels now are ended ... ' The greatest writer ever signing off (for all of us) Gets me every time.

5. Could God create a stone too heavy for him to lift - if he wanted?

This question is self contradictory and therefore does not qualify as a valid question.

6. What is the meaning of life?

We must assume that if there is a meaning, then it must - necessarily - be beyond human comprehension. It is probably better to accept this than to seek purpose in infantile anthropocentric ideas.

7. Do you believe in God?

It all seesm so unlikely .... but not impossible. The Aristotelian proof of a first cause still poses a problem for atheism (whatever Stephen Hawking says).

8. How many pizzas have you eaten this year?

About ten - three of which were in Rome.

9. Can you name a few books that you think deserve a wider readership?

The Lost Stradivarius by John Meade Falkner. The Glamour by Christopher Priest. Confessions of an English Opium Eater by Thomas de Quincey.

10. What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Don't pay too much attention to any advice you are given.

11. Can a 10 question interview sometimes have 11 questions?

Yes. Particularly if the interviewer has a Zen mentality.

Death And The Maiden

Fatal Lies

Deadly Communion 

Darkness Rising

Sea Minor - Speaking of Freud, I'm convinced I created a new joke yesterday (It may not be so - I also had a dream that I'd found the perfect title for my novel.  It was Bury Me Deep).

Anyway, here goes.

Did you hear about Dave Gilmour dropping his plectrum?

It was a Floydian slip.


Saturday 21 May 2011

Family Matters

and this is what really matters (not the ballet exam, the children)

A Moment Of Madness

on a good day, i look better than this.  sadly for me, there aren't too many good days.

and i know what you'll be thinking at the end of this - 'crime writer my arse'
(am working on public persona and menace)

Friday 20 May 2011

Dancing With Myself: MARKO HAUTALA interviews MARKO HAUTALA

I've been juggling this week and maybe had a few too many balls to keep in the air at one time.  A couple may have dropped, but I'm keeping hold of my favourites.

One of the things I've been trying hard to do is to keep Dirty Old Town (and other stories) in view and I'm afraid some of you might be feeling overkill because of that.  I can only apologise for my zeal and reckon it's time to change my focus a little.

Having said that, being over at My Friends Call Me Kate has been a treat that felt really special and I loved doing the guest post.  I hope it wasn't my last there.

I also had an interview up at Kindle Author and that reached some of the places other interviews hadn't reached.

Pulp Ink moves from strength to strength.  I read David Cranmer's submission today and to say that it's clever and clearly the product of an amazing imagination would be an understatement.  I've done some Tweeting about stories received over the past week - Naomi Johnson, Jason Duke and Hilary Davidson have all quickened my pulse with their magic.  I thought the project was something special when we began it, now I realise that it's going to be better than even I imagined.  It's totally amazing.

There's also a cool competition up at the Guardian with the theme of 'summer'.  It's well worth a look.  I'm still trying to get a hook on the 'horse' theme for the Watery Grave, though I might just have tripped over something this morning that might spark something.

I'm also really chuffed to be part of a new publication calle Voluted Tales.  It looks like a tasty collection and there's some pretty good art work to be enjoyed.  Think 'Australian Dark Valentine' and you'd be close(ish).  The story in their is something a little different, but I love the main character - wish I'd met her myself way back.  They have their own website if you want to check them out.  As they pay for stories, you might be interested in taking a look if you write them.

And now to Finland. 

Jumpers on.

Q: First of all, can we find any of your writing in English?

A: Only some poems and a short story at the moment, but I hope that will change in the not-too-distant future. At the moment you can read a summary and a reading sample of my novel Shrouds online.  And if you speak German or Italian, you can read the whole novel quite soon. I take it that you don’t speak Finnish?

Q: Of course not.

A: Very few people do.

Q: Ok, but let’s get something straight: could you pick a genre that would best describe your work. This is very important for many people, including publishers, booksellers, agents, librarians, readers, etc.

A: No.

Q: Why? Genres help people. They make life easier.

A: I know, but for me the very thing that enabled me to start writing stories that I think are worth writing came through the realization that I don’t need to think about genres, that it’s not my problem. It was a kind of a revelation and I feel I have to stay faithful to that. It may sound a bit pompous, but that’s how it is.

Q: Can you at least tell me then how other people have described your work?

A: That I can do. My novels have been called psychological thrillers, mystery fiction, horror stories but also just plain mainstream prose. I have no problem with those labels at all as long as someone else than me is giving them.

Q: Why is that?

A: Because for me the most important thing is to create an atmosphere where the reader hasn’t got the slightest idea of what’s going to happen next. A feeling that anything can happen, the story might turn into supernatural horror or whodunit mystery or plain psychological realism. I think that is the best way to make the reader fascinated, emotionally involved and even scared. Philosophers have this fancy concept of ‘ontological uncertainty.’ It means that you start to suspect even the very basic things around you. That’s what really unsettles people, I think.

Q: Where does your fascination with that kind of uncertainty come from?

A: At least part of it comes from my work history. I used to work as a nurse in a mental institute where many patients had committed horrible crimes and lived in a world of their own making. Talking with people who believe they live in Sirius or in a black hole makes you think about your own conception of reality, you know. I wrote about my hospital experiences in Shrouds.

Q: Any literary influences?

A: I’ve always been fascinated by the British author Ramsey Campbell, especially by some of his short stories in which he loses the genre expectations of horror fiction and creates something that is genuinely creepy (in stories like ‘The Gap’ and ‘No End of Fun’). I’m also a big fan of Haruki Murakami, who has the knack of taking the reader into some very, very strange places. Here I have to also mention the new generation of Finnish authors who have pushed the boundaries of literary expression in my home country. A good introduction to that would be for example this overview by the American author Jeff VanderMeer.

Q: Any others?

A: Oh, William Blake. But it’s not an influence. More like a religion, I would say.

Q: Ok, thank you very much. This was the most interesting interview you’ve ever had, wasn’t it?

A: Definitely.


Wednesday 18 May 2011

Dancing With Myself: DECLAN CONNER interviews DECLAN CONNER

At about this time last year, I found out that I was the winner of the WATERY GRAVE INVITATIONAL competition.  I can't put into words exactly what it meant to me; suffice to say it was a point in my writing life when I no longer felt the need to add clarification if I ever mentioned to anyone that I was a writer.

The fact that the winner the year before had been Hilary Davidson made it all the sweeter.

When the wonderful Naomi Johnson contaced me a couple of weeks ago to see if I wanted to take my place in this year's contest, I had mixed feelings.  The first was great pride.  The second was fear.

In the end I felt that the pros outweighed the cons.   I didn't want to feel like I'd backed off like a nervy sportsperson feigning injury and I do like the idea of the stimulation the contest offers.

Now the list is out at the Drowning Machine, I'm wondering if I shouldn't have pulled the 'dodgy hamstring' line out of the bag.  The list is intimidating and quite amazing. 

It's not the winning, it's the taking part they say.  To all of us involved, good luck and let's enjoy the zing of rubbing such a lot of talented shoulders.

Yesterday I had a tough teaching day.  There are times when working with children can drain everything out of you. 

Thankfully, a review of Dirty Old Town by the enigmatic Sabrina Ogden put the spring back in my step.

I'll be over at My Friends Call Me Kate with a piece on punch-lines, so I hope I'll see you there.

Today's Dancing With Myself interview is by a writer who is doing rather well with his e-books.  Declan Conner came up with the excellent idea of writing mysteries for lunch-breaks and it works really well.  Coming up with the concept is never enough on its own, so it's nice to have the quality there to back up the idea.

Here he is, the charming Declan Conner.

Dancing with yourself: DECLAN CONNER interviews DECLAN CONNER

Do you think you're mad to agree to interview yourself?

At first the notion skipped through my mind, but then I thought, Why not, I've had some practice from developing my serial killer's character.

Survival Instinct, (The dark side of dating,) the name of your book. Does it get confusing having two titles?

Not really, Survival Instinct is the name of the thriller series. The dark side of dating gives you an idea of the theme. The book is the first of the series. The second book, Russian Brides is almost complete and will be released in late July/August.

Does Survival Instinct fit neatly into a slot on the genre bookshelf?

I would say so, If were to expand on the thriller tag, I think the best description would be as a psychological, serial killer, mystery thriller.

So it's all blood and guts.

No there is more depth to it than that, although it has its share of characters brought to life (and to death). It's a sort of a Two and a Half Men meets Psycho.

Don't you think there are enough serial Killer books on the market? What makes yours different?

Well, I don't have my 'Crossword Killer' leaving things in every orifice, or skinning his victims. A serial killer is what he is and just that ... a scumbag.

'Crossword Killer'. You mean he kills crosswords. That's different.

Don't be so stupid, I knew you'd say that. I suppose it comes from our being on the same wavelength.

Wait a moment; I nearly missed something, Two and a Half Men and Psycho? How do you justify mixing humor with death?

It's not a question of justifying it; I like to take the reader through a whole raft of emotions as the story develops. If I were to shock them at every turn of the page, I would have to change the genre to horror.

 So what's the story about? (Yawn)

Well, as I said, it's a mystery thriller, so I can't give too much away. Having said that, I give the reader all the serial killer's motives in the first chapter, but I don't tell them who he is. It is then for the reader to discover which of the characters I introduce who could be the killer. As the story develops, I add another dimension to the mystery as to why the killer appears to be stalking my main character, Jamie Jameson and implicating him in the murders he commits.

Hero or villain?

Hero for me. Jamie is the type of guy women will want to take home, to put him under their wing, and to give him a big hug. The guys may see him differently and want to give him a kick in the pants for his naivety with women. One thing is for sure, they'll both want him around when things get tough.

So where does Survival Instinct come into it?

Surviving life is something we all have to face in everyday modern life, whatever your gender. Particularly if you're middle aged and single. Many faced with divorce, or the breakdown of a relationship, have to overcome fears and self-doubt when cast out of the safe cocoon of a relationship to start life again. Survival instinct comes from meeting those hidden fears head on and for some it is not easy. This is especially true for my main character.

Jamie is newly divorced and coerced to join the local singles' club by his work colleagues. Instead of finding a woman, he finds a friend in Bill, a womanizer and his alter ego to Jamie's bashful nature. They make for a fun team with their antics, trawling the local dating scene. But danger is never far away. Needless to say, the stakes are raised when the local police chief, Detective Hogan and FBI agent Hammond go after Jamie as the main suspect, after the women he dates start turning up as corpses. But just what the CIA have got to do with the case and why the serial killer would take hostages to lure Jamie into a showdown with the cryptic messages he leaves, I'll leave you to find out as it heads for an explosive ending.

What's the best compliment you have had from a reader? And the worst?

The best was from a lady author when she said. "Freakin' awesome, you must have had so much fun writing and developing the characters of Jamie and Bill. I couldn't put the read down. I was reading it on my computer and on my iPod on the train and at work. I want everyone to know this is a gem that keeps you guessing the outcome until the end."

The worst was from a forum troll. it read, "Give up writing."

Why is it so cheap? Was the forum troll nearer the mark?

Lol, I hope not, I spent a year having the work in progress critiqued over 1,000 times on an author site before putting to a professional editor. The price reflects a motivation to reach as wider audience as possible.

Is this the only book you have published?

No, I have Lunch Break Thrillers, a compilation of not so short mystery thrillers. I published the book in February and it hit the bestseller rank for its category in the UK. It's quite a Buzz, being sandwiched between Stephen King and Agatha Christie. (In the charts that is).

Just one last question. You haven't treated this interview like a psychological test, by telling me what you think I want to know, rather than the truth?

Who ... me? I'm as straight as my plot twists.

That's what I figured; I suppose I'd better ask where we could buy it.

Monday 16 May 2011

Dancing With Myself: ED LYNSKEY interviews ED LYNSKEY

Q: Have we met before, Mr. Lynskey? You look awfully familiar to me.

A: I don’t think so. I’m certain the resemblance is only coincidental.

Q: Then shall we get started?...Good…So, tell us a little about yourself.

A: First off, let’s be sure to thank Nigel for hosting our Q&A.

Q: Absolutely. Should I repeat my first question?

A: No. I write the Private Investigator Frank Johnson mystery series. This year’s installment is The Zinc Zoo. Frank sees his move to the big city is like living at “the zinc zoo.” And like Frank is, I’m also a laconic cuss.

Q: So I see. This interview will be like pulling teeth. Did I read or hear somewhere you also penned a—cough, cough—cozy mystery?

A: Yep, I sure did. Quiet Anchorage is about a pair of 70-something sisters living in a small town of the same name, and they are forced to investigate a murder that their niece is arrested for committing. It was fun to write Quiet Anchorage. I’ll reveal here for the first time that the sisters Alma and Isabel are, in fact, my real life aunties who have long since passed away. Before I forget it, let me get my plug in. Quiet Anchorage is on sale, as we speak.

Q: That’s quite a change of pace for a hardboiled guy like you are. Any idea why you wrote it?

A: Not really. My birth sign is Gemini, so maybe I suffer from a split personality. Either that or I’m a Renaissance Man of multiple talents.

Q: Moving right along, my note cards show you’ve got a third book on tap this year. Lake Charles. Sounds as if there’s a lot on your plate right now.

A: Indeed. It feels like a three-course meal at a royal banquet.

Q: Impressive. Are your books flying off the shelves and selling like hot cakes?

A: Short answer: hardly that. I stated it feels like, not that it is a royal banquet. Anyway, Lake Charles is up for pre-sale orders on Amazon. The release date is set for June.

Q: What then possessed you to sit down and write Lake Charles?

A: Cell phones are why. Seeing them being used everywhere pissed me off big time. They make things too easy and convenient. I remember a time when communication wasn’t that way. So I wrote Lake Charles set in the 1970s when cell phones only existed in science fiction tales.

Q: Speaking of science fiction, I heard Lake Charles features an eerie dream sequence. Care to comment?

A: You bet. I spent a lot of time on weaving it into the storyline. In fact, Lake Charles took me some eight years to write, edit, submit, and now publish. The late, great George W. Scithers edited it for Wildside Press. Anyway, eight years is a long time, and I don’t want to do that with every future book. I’m not Rip Van Winkle, and nobody is getting any younger, now are we?

Q: No sir, but I’ll ask the questions, if you don’t mind. Why should I want to read Lake Charles?

A: Because it’s a simmering stewpot of sex, violence, deceit, rage, and a dash of humor. Brendan Fishback is a troubled young man trying to beat a murder rap, detox from a pot habit, and find his missing sister. Lake Charles takes place in the Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee, a picturesque region. I’ve spent some time there digging the scene and vibe.

Q: Sweet. It sounds noir to the bone, my kind of a book. So, tell me, does our hero Brendan ever bail out of the ‘simmering stewpot?’

A: Why ask me? Buy and read the fricking book. My cat and I have to eat.

Q: Our time is running tight. We better wind this up. Any last words to share with our readers?

A: Thanks for chatting with me. Thanks to Nigel again, too.

Q: Okay, then this is a wrap. Be well and persevere, Mr. Lynskey.

A: Always, and right back at you.

Links to purchase Quiet Anchorage and Lake Charles: