It’s A Bad, Bad World – Keith Rawson –Interview
Keith Rawson is ‘a little known pulp writer who lives in the alkaline desert wastelands of southern Arizona with his wife and very energetic three-year-old daughter.’
His stories have appeared in such publications as Needle Magazine, Plots with Guns, Pulp Pusher, CrimeWav.com, Bad Things, Powder Burn Flash, A Twist of Noir, Beat to a Pulp and many others.
He is also an editor of Crime Factory Magazine.
His blog is here:
|PDB) Can you pitch me ‘Keith Rawson’ in 25 words or less?|
Keith) Personally: Obsessive and hard working.
As a writer: Degenerate, violent, and slightly humorous.
|PDB) Can you choose three of your stories as examples of the weird and frightening world of Keith Rawson?|
Keith)Shit, that’s kind of a tough one, but I’ll give it a try:
1) Performance Anxiety, Bad Things issue #1
Borderlines between so-called “transgressive ” fiction and crime fiction. Filled with gallows humor with a slightly viscous undercurrent. I wrote it in about two hours and knew that it was the story that would define my writing style for the next few years.
2) What I lost Along with my keys, A Twist of Noir ( http://a-twist-of-noir.blogspot.com/2009/08/twist-of-noir-130-keith-rawson.html)
It’s another ‘not quite crime fiction, but still is kind of is’ type of story. I love writing about drunks and damaged people who exist in mainstream society but are haunting the fringes and could easily find themselves living in some flop on skidrow drinking sterno and pimping themselves in order to buy their next meal
3) Pornstar Moses, Plots with Guns #7
This is my first follow up story to Performance Anxiety and it’s a straight up hardcore crime story. I love writing straight crime fiction, and I think this story best represents where I’m going with my overall career as a writer.
It’s scummy, violent, and a little funny. All of the characters from Performance Anxiety have been living in my skull since I first wrote the story. The other two follow ups have grown to the point that I’m looping all four points into a nov
PDB) You introduced me to the term ‘transgressive’ fiction. What the hell is that?
Keith) Transgressive fiction for me is writing that straddles genre and is all about extremes and darker than dark humor. Writers who I would probably hold up as the best examples of transgressive fiction are novelists like Chuck Palahniuk, Dennis Cooper, Craig Clevenger, Will Christopher Baer, and Bret Easton Ellis.
I’d even go so far as to say “genre” writers such as Duane Swierczyski, Victor Gischler, and Jeff Vandermeer could be fit into this category as well. I will say this, I am trying to distance myself from the whole label, because I’ve started to take the attitude that writers who use it to so because they don’t want to be label as a “genre” writer.
When it comes right down to it, I’m a crime writer, pure and simple
PDB) You’ve interviewed a lot of famous writers for BSC reviews& Spinetingler. Who was the funniest?
Keith) In print, without a doubt, Victor Gischler. Victor is just plain funny, and I plan on doing a far more in depth interview with him in the near future, I just have to schedule a time with him when it’s good for him and me (Time has become a pretty scarce commodity for me, so I’m having to plan out everything I do weeks in advance.)
On video, Reed Farrel Coleman was flat out funny and a fun interview to conduct. It’s also my favorite interview to date as well. I pretty much got to spend 3 and half hours with Reed before his appearance with Michael Connelly. I also learned a ton about writing and the business of it during those three hours, so it was a real learning experience for me.
Joseph Wambaugh was also a great experience for me. The man is funny and charming and yet another huge source of writing knowledge.
I have a ton of interviews coming up this year that I’m really excited about. I’ll be meeting with Craig McDonald at the end of February and I’m trying to set one up with Walter Mosley in March. Plus, it’s looking like I’ll be heading to Noircon in Philly in November, so I’m going to try to corner and trap guys like Scott Phillips,Duane Swierczyski, Al Guthrie, and Daniel Woodrell while I’m their.
PDB) You sometimes write under a psuedonym. Why?
Keith) I mostly write poetry under another name. And the reason why? Deniability, my man, deniability.
PDB) You’re one of editors of Crime Factory magazine. How easy a job is that?
Keith) It hasn’t been too hard yet. It’s a lot of e-mailing–either with contributors or Cam and Liam–and the web design thing was a bit of a bitch because I was new to it, but other than that, it’s been more fun than anything else.
|PDB)You’re bloody footprints are all over the internet crimezines, what were the fisrt places you had your stories published?|
Keith) My first published story was called ‘An Appointment with Larry‘ at the now defunct webzine DZ Allen’s Muzzle flash fiction (it’s now up at Powder Burn Flash) after that my stories ‘Shutting up Aunt Sarah’ and ‘Say Cheese’ made their way on to Powder Burn Flash and then I started to pop up everywhere. The last two years have been an extremely prolific period for me, and at this point it doesn’t look like it’s letting up anytime soon
PDB) Which writers did you admire when you were younger that don’t inspire you now and vice versa?
Keith) There’s a dozen or so writers who I read when I was younger that I can’t bring myself to read now. Bukowski’s a big one. William S. Burroughs, Clive Barker, Tolkien, Jim Carroll, Frank O’Hara, Carson Mccullers, Celine, John Fante, (I love what his son, Dan Fante, is writing)Camus, Nabokov, Ed McBain. Don’t get me wrong, none of them are bad writers (except Burroughs, who’s flat out awful.) I was just in a different place in my life when I was reading them and they don’t have the same resonance for me as they once did.
On the opposite end, I started reading Faulkner a couple of years ago after spending years of picking up and putting down his books after twenty or so pages and I’ve found myself really enjoying his work, especially the short stories . Same thing goes for Ross MacDonald.
The big guns are still the same for me, though: Hemingway, Thompson, Stark, Ellroy. Bruen, Stella, Hubert Selby Jr., Ed Bunker.
|PDB) Colin Wilson’s in-laws once found a manuscript of a book he was writing about sexual deviants and they demanded that their daughter leave Wilson and attacked him with a bullwhip. Has anything similar happened to you?|
Keith) No. I don’t think my in-laws have ever read anything I’ve ever written (neither one of them are big into surfing the net.) and the wife reads just about everything I write and if something upsets her too much, she stops reading and lets me know that she thinks I’ve gone too far, but for the most part she understands that sex and violence is part of what I write
PDB) What’s in the pipeline for Keith Rawson’s writing in 2010? How’s the novel coming along?
Keith)Good question. My first one, Retirement, (I don’t know if I’m even calling it that anymore) recently went under an editorial eye and I walked away with some great notes that are helping me tighten it. I’m aiming for the end of February to start sending it out. I finished a 32,000 word novella called Pervert #16 that I don’t know what to do with. I’m thinking about expanding it another ten or fifteen thousand words, but right now it’s just sitting on my hard drive.
What I’m working on now is based off the characters from my story, “performance anxiety’. I’m having fun with it.
I’m also working on some interesting stuff with Crime Factory.
Nothing I’m ready to talk about yet, but it’s got me pretty excited
This interview first appeared at PULP METAL MAGAZINE