Short, Sharp Interview: J David Osborne

short sharp interviews

PDB: Can you pitch LOW DOWN DEATH RIGHT EASY  in 25 words or less?

Surreal Oklahoma noir about brotherhood, responsibility, poverty and the way we destroy ourselves and others. How we can’t fix one without the other. Also, catfish.

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

I listen primarily to hip-hop. Recently it’s been Western Tink and Beautiful Lou’s “Mobbin No Sobbin.” Really great production out of Texas. Also a lot of Gucci Mane. I get a kick out of him.

The last book I read was “Crappalachia” by Scott McClanahan. One of the best books I’ve read in a very long time. There’s a music in the words that at first kind of put me off, but by the end of it I was totally there. It’s a sort-of autobiography about his younger years in West Virginia, living with his grandmother and uncle. No matter how I put it, I won’t be able to make anyone understand how deeply I loved this book. No words.

I watched “Spring Breakers” and thought that it was brilliant. There are some really interesting things happening with that film. It’s about the difference between how people see themselves and how they really are. And in the long run it’s about how we as moviegoers see ourselves as the characters in the film, how we relate versus how we’d really react. It’s also hypnotic, and James Franco is a man that I would like to stare at until he kissed me. TV? I’ve been watching Workaholics.

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

I don’t think so, not all the way. You can get better at it. But we’re all kind of thinking about how it should have been done at all times, and that can get in the way of things. Rearrange a sentence here. Cut that there. I have to constantly remind my stupid brain that there is no definitive standard for good writing, that it’s this slimy, slippery thing. There’s all kinds of good and all kinds of bad.

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

Hell yeah. I’d write for any of those. At the moment I’m working on another novel and trying to get Broken River Books up and running. But when some time opens up, I’m definitely writing some scripts. It’s kind of how I write, anyway. Short scenes, just the necessary details.

PDB: How much research goes into your writing?

For my first novel, BY THE TIME WE LEAVE HERE, WE’LL BE FRIENDS, I did a shitload of research. It’s based in a Siberian gulag, which I am happy to say I have no firsthand experience with. So I read Anne Applebaum’s “Gulag” which is one of the best books ever. And I read a lot of Russian literature, to maybe get into the mindset of these people who, I think, maybe wrongly, see things in a very different way than I do over here in Oklahoma. For LDDRE, I didn’t really research anything. Most of what happens in the book is pulled straight from things that I’ve actually experienced, minus the murder.

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

I Facebook all the time. I pretty much have verbal diarrhea. I just kind of put stuff out there. Lots of jokes. I’m of the mind that social media is there to be social, not to constantly pimp your wares. Though there is the occasional ware pimpage. I need to utilize Twitter better.

PDB: What’s on the cards for the rest of 2013?

For the rest of 2013, I’ll be busy working on projects that I’m not sure I can talk about yet. I’m working on a sequel to LDDRE that I’m tentatively calling BLACK GUM GODLESS HEATHEN. Whenever I write I need a mantra in my head that’ll bring my ass back to its place in the computer chair. And those words have a weird power over me. But I don’t know if it works as a title. I’m really excited about the book, where the characters are going. But I don’t know where I’ll put it. Swallowdown the fantastic and awesome publisher of my first two novels, is on a kind of hiatus. So I’ll be looking for an outlet. Also, like I mentioned, I’m starting Broken River Books. Cameron Pierce is helping me out as consulting editor. I am maybe the world’s biggest fan of his press, Lazy Fascist, and my eventual goal is to do with this, what he’s done over there. Only for crime fiction. I want to put out weird and wonderful books that focus on these characters, who oddly, I feel, get the short end of the stick in most modern crime fiction. The writing is pretty much uniformly wonderful across the board, but there aren’t very many writers who seem to care for their characters. No empathy. The way I put it is I want characters first, bad motherfuckers second. I think a lot of folks have that backwards.

PDB: Where can people find out more about your work?

8) I think the best way people could find out more about my work is by checking out some reviews of LOW DOWN DEATH RIGHT EASY, here and here and here. Litreactor named it their Book Club Pick of the Month for April, which should get rolling in a serious way once folks finish reading it. Other than that I’d say add me on Facebook. I’d love to see pictures of your cat and be alerted whenever you’re feeling sad or sexy. Oh, and Broken River Books is accepting queries at