Short, Sharp Interview: Richard Thomas

PDB: Can you pitch your latest publication in 25 words or less?

 

I have a story coming out this month in Weird Fiction Review #3, and that’s probably the most recent publication I have. I know, it’s not out yet, but I’m really excited about it. This is with Centipede Press and they do some really amazing work. I also love that the editor (S. T. Joshi) really gets my work. This story, “Flowers for Jessica,” is a dark, strange story, part of the new magical realism I’ve been working on. I wanted something at the center of the story that was built around nostalgia, romance, and love. So when he took this story, I was thrilled, because as dark as it was, I thought it was kind of beautiful, the sentiment, the feeling. Oh, wait, that’s way more than 25 words.

PDB: Which books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?

Really loved Matt Bell’s Cataclysm Baby, these post-apocalyptic stories all centered around birth, children, fables, and deformity. That one still lingers with me. Haven’t seen much in the way of films, but Looper looks really good, trying to make it to that one. On television, it’s a mixed bag. Justified is probably my favorites show, right now.

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

I think you can only bring your own history to everything you read. So, while you can be objective, it’s all framed in the life you’ve lived, what you’ve seen and done. So, I guess, in many ways, the answer is no. It’s always going to be subjective, right?

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

Sure. Just have no idea how to do it. I’ve seen screenplays, and it’s very minimalist, where I’m more of a maximalist, so…not sure how THAT will work.

PDB: How much research goes into each book?

Depends on what I’m writing. I like to sit on an idea for hours, days, weeks. I think about it as I fall asleep. I keep an eye out for things that can contribute to my mental and emotional state. I start grabbing photos off the internet and putting them in a folder. I listen to music that feels right, that creates a mood. If there’s something specific, a moment in history, or some aspect of life, from guns to cooking to prairie life, I’ll do some research. Mostly I try to fake it and use what I do know as the backdrop.

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

Very important. I probably wouldn’t have half the success I have now if it wasn’t for the network I’ve built. And FREE! Facebook and Twitter, Goodreads, they all help me connect with people that are into the same things. And I’ve met so many successful authors this way as well.

PDB: What’s on the cards in 2012?

Herniated Roots, my collection of neo-noir stories, just came out with Snubnose Press.

My agent is shopping Disintegration, my second book, a mix of Dexter and Falling Down. We’ve gotten really close, but no offer yet. She’s also shopping Four Corners, a collection of four novellas I wrote with Nik Korpon, Axel Taiari, and Caleb J. Ross—it’s so great, those guys are amazing, a kind of Sin City vibe.

The story I mentioned, “Flowers for Jessica” out soon. I’m shopping the stories from my MFA thesis, so I keep hoping one of those will stick soon. I’m teaching a class at Story Studio Chicago on writing dark fiction. And I’m re-writing Transubstantiate as a YA title, in third-person. That should be fun. That, plus I’m still involved writing my Storyville columns at Lit Reactor, book reviews at The Nervous Breakdown, and some pop culture stuff for ManArchy. So, overall, kind of slow.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT RICHARD THOMAS HERE.