SHORT SHARP INTERVIEW: ANDREZ BERGEN

 
PDB: Can you pitch The Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat in 25 words or less? AB: Er… a tankard of classic noir, peppered with sci-fi, humour and a heart, and accompanied by a hardboiled herring or two on the side?

PDB: Which books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently? AB: Film-wise, I’m constantly raiding the coffers of the old school – especially since I’m doing a lot of watching with my six-year-old daughter. In the past month we’ve been stuck into the Marx Brothers, classic Warner Bros. cartoons from the ’50s, and looking at Ray Harryhausen romps.

 
When Cocoa’s asleep, I’ve had the chance to re-watch stuff like ‘The Maltese Falcon’ and ‘Niagara‘ (which I’m actually using as a teaching tool in a movie class). 


I don’t get out to the cinema all that much here in Tokyo because they’re a little expensive. I did dig the ‘Captain America’ movie, which surprised me – it was fun – and I’m an admirer of Terrence Malick, so ‘The Tree of Life‘ was always going to grab me.On TV every Sunday morning, Cocoa and I religiously watch the kids’ anime ‘Precure‘, about super-powered girls in the mold of ‘Sailor Moon‘. I recently got the first three seasons of ‘The Mentalist‘, and my wife and I are whizzing through that. We love it!Books have been tricky since I’m flat-out with my own at the moment, but in recent months I have had time to read some absolute gems like ‘The Bastard Hand’ by Heath Lowrance, ‘Beautiful, Naked & Dead’ by Josh Stallings, Pearce Hansen’s ‘Stagger Bay’, Guy Salvidge’s ‘Yellowcake Springs’, Tim Maughan’s ‘Paintwork’, Gerard Brennan’s ‘The Point’, ‘The Cleaner’ by Brett Battles, Declan Burke’s ‘Absolute Zero Cool’, Chris F. Holm’s ‘Dead Harvest’, your own ‘Drunk on the Moon’, and so on.


I’m currently reading Adam Christopher’s ‘Empire State’ – which I just started, but I’m really digging it. I also got back into Raymond Chandlera lot, late last year – I’m a huge fan.There are some great writers doing very cool things, and while I’ve read bits and pieces of their work, I would love to invest a lot more time into reading the output from talented bods like Gordon Highland, McDroll, Nigel Bird, Chad Eagleton, Matthew C. Funk, Anthony Neil Smith, Julia Madeleine, Matthew McBride, Urban Waite, Victor Gischler, Doug Gelsleichter and Chad Rohrbacher. Many of these, I have to say, were recommended by the very cool Elizabeth A. White, who deserves a medal for all her support of the fledgling noir/crime writers out there.


PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader? 

Short answer this time! Yep, I do think so – although occasionally I get a bee in my bonnet about how I would’ve handled a character or situation myself. I’m more like that with movies and TV shows. My wife swears I’m psychic since I always pick the killer in the whodunnits.

PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television? 

I’ve done some music for stage performances and short indie films you’ve never heard of, but I would love to have a shot at writing for film or TV. I actually started out as a student writer/director just after I finished uni, but realized I was a crap director and I didn’t have any money to pay for it all – and my mates were poor actors who weren’t committed. Bah!

PDB: How much research goes into each book? 

Funnily enough, with ‘Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat‘, not much at all by the time I finished the final manuscript – most of it was sources from my own head space or influenced by movies I’d watched a hundred times. When I started the editing process with Another Sky Press, however, Kristopher Young and Bob Young were far more focused on accuracy (thank god!) and made sure I got a ton of things right.

With the new novel, ‘One Hundred Years of Vicissitude‘, I’m doing a lot of legwork and research since most of it is based in Japan, from 1929 on.


PDB: How useful or important are social media for you as a writer? 

These tools are insanely useful, something I discovered in recent years while I was doing the promotion for my music (as Little Nobody, etc.), but unfortunately I do believe they’re starting to tire and become less effective. Probably this is down to the glut of options (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Soundcloud, even MySpace still hanging round like a bad smell) and the proliferation of people like me hawking their goods. People get jaded. Still, they’re free and they’re fun – and I’ve met a lot of very cool people via these platforms.


PDB: What’s on the cards in 2012?
  

 
Ha Ha Ha… can I say too much? I’m still doing electronic/techno music stuff under the Little Nobodyalias, and just got one of my tracks remixed by Detroit veteran Alan Oldham (DJ T-1000).Book-wise I’m pushing on with my second novel, ‘One Hundred Years of Vicissitude‘, and should have a final draft ready by April – fingers crossed.But I’m also organizing an anthology for Another Sky Press that’s based around the noir/dystopia of ‘Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat, with several bloody brilliant writers and artists involved. Yep, artists as well – I decided this week to make it partially a graphic novel. We’re looking to have all the stories in by the end of June, so we can edit and have it out by the end of the year. I don’t want to name names just yet – that gives over-committed people the chance to back out! – but I will say I’m staggered (and chuffed, of course!) by the line-up.