Short, Sharp Interview: Tom Pitts

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PDB: You latest book is called 101. What’s it all about?

In a nutshell, it’s set against the Northern California pot business on the cusp of legalization. A kid on the run from trouble in San Francisco goes to hide out there and brings a whole lot of trouble with him. There’s a wild array of characters who’re in on the chase and they race back down the 101, converging in Oakland to settle their scores.

PDB: How has pot legalisation changed life in America?

The worst is yet to come. So far, in California, all we’ve seen is more and more laws and regulations. They’re coming up with new ones every week. If it keeps up, the black market will be back in business. A lot of the laws seemed designed to cut out the little guy, the small-time grower who previously flourished. It takes a pile of money to get in on the legal side now, the kind of money that comes from corporations and tech and venture capitalists. Out on the street things are generally the same, except you can smell weed everywhere. No exaggeration.  Bars, malls, restaurants, billowing out of cars.

PDB:  What’s best, critical or commercial success?

Critical. No question. There’s the pragmatic in me that says take the money. But, the truth is, you create what you create. If it’s going to last, it’s got to be good. You don’t need millions of dollars to be happy. You know what’ll make you happy? Leaving behind something great. If a critical success is also a commercial success, then good for the creator. Pretty unlikely it’ll happen with one of my books though. But if you start off looking for commercial success, you’ll end up with something watered down and forgettable. This is what I learned from music. Forget about what the audience wants and just create. Then, if it’s good, it’ll resonate.

PDB: Do you judge a book by its cover?

You have to judge a book by its cover. You do it whether you want to or not. Are there exceptions? Of course there are and I don’t want to discuss them. The reality is, if you’re standing at the store, staring at shelf, it’s the cover that’s got to pull you in. That’s its job. The word-of-mouth, the oohing and awing over blurbs, sizzling sleeve description all come after.

PDB: Was Huey Lewis right, is it hip to be square?

Perhaps he was right. Out here in Silicon Valley we’re living a real-life revenge of the nerds.  I, unfortunately, was way too cool back then, so I’m now part of the ostracized, marginalized sect.  The calculus majors and computer labs kids are now running the world, so fire up your bong, stream your Netflix, and let go of the steering wheel. Someone else is in control.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

tom pittsFor me? My novel American Static just came out as an audiobook, it’s up there on Audible, Apple, and wherever else. 101 is out on November 5th, ask any bookstore to order it, or you can find it on line. I’ve got another book coming out in 2020 called Coldwater, but until then I have to roll up my sleeves and get to work. These babies don’t write themselves, you know.

Bio: Tom Pitts received his education on the streets of San Francisco. He’s recently been called the underworld bard of the Bay.  He is the author of AMERICAN STATIC, HUSTLE, and the novellas PIGGYBACK and KNUCKLEBALL. His new novel, 101, will be released by Down & Out Books November 5th, 2018.

 

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Short, Sharp Interview: David Nolan

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PDB: What’s going on?

I’m just recovering from the shock of my first novel being published. I still struggle saying the N Word… novel. It sounds so weird. Author is quite utilitarian but novelist still sounds suspect to me. This is the bit where I plug the book, right? It’s called Black Moss and it’s set in Manchester in 1990 during the Strangeways prison riot. It’s very sweary and unpleasant. It’s not knowing, there are no winks to the audience. It’s just unpleasant.

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?

Yes. I like noise. I spent most of my working life in newsrooms with clattering typewriters, three TVs on and people screaming at each other. So yes, always music helps fill the silence: bit of punk, bit of electronica, bit of power pop, bit of reggae. Nearly all my previous books are music-related (I Swear I Was There, Tony Wilson, Damon Albarn) so I have an endless capacity for music.

PDB: What makes you laugh?

My daughter is 15 and she’s very funny. She calls me chief. Or Dave. Neither of which I like. Actually, she’s not funny, she’s annoying.

PDB: What’s the best cure for a hangover?

Being teetotal. Like me. And then being very smug about it. Like me.

PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

The far north of Scotland. Which is where I’m planning to move in a couple of years. I’d prefer to live on an island on a loch on an island that is impossible to get to, but I suspect I won’t manage to sell that idea to my wife (who’s Scottish). So a nice seaside village is more likely.

PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?

Nope. I’ve led a charmed life. Honestly, if I died tomorrow I’d be happy with what I’ve done.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

I’m doing quite a few radio interviews this week about the book. It’s set in a radio station, so that’ll be a bit weird. They’ll ask me if the characters are based on real people. I’ll say no. Which will be a lie.

PDB: Anything else?

Yes. Buy my book and I promise I’ll write another one.

nolanBio: David Nolan is a multi award-winning author, television producer and crime reporter. He has written a dozen books including Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil, the true story of the largest historic abuse case ever mounted by Greater Manchester Police.

He presented a BBC Radio 4 documentary based on the book called The Abuse Trial. It won both the Rose D’Or and the New York International radio awards in 2016.

Officers involved in the case helped David with the police procedures featured in Black Moss, particularly the way the system deals with missing children.

Short, Sharp Interview: Paul Heatley

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PDB: What’s going on?

 

Nothing much, I’m just coming off a chest infection so I’m taking my time with most things as I get breathless very easily. Other than that, it’s same old, same old. Plugging away, writing, reading – the usual.

 

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?

 

Sometimes, but not always. If I’m editing then I need silence in order to concentrate, but if I’m writing I can get away with some music. Often I’ll just hit some random tracks on YouTube, lately I’ve listened to a lot of Childish Gambino, REM, Ministry, and, of course, Mark Lanegan.

 

PDB: What makes you laugh?

 

My son. He’s six, and he keeps calling me Paul. Cheeky bugger.

 

PDB: What’s the best cure for a hangover?

 

I don’t drink, so you’re asking the wrong person! Or maybe prevention truly is the best cure, I’ve never had a hangover.

 

PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

 

I’m quite happy in Northumberland. It’s the right kind of secluded. As I get older it becomes more and more clear to me I like to be away from people. I’m not a city boy.

 

PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?

 

I don’t, actually. I’m pretty boring. All my plans revolve around writing.

 

PDB: What’s on the cards?

 

The third part of the Eye For An Eye series, Violent By Design, will be released on September 28th, and I’m very excited for that to get out in the world and to hear what people have to say about it. I think the three covers are amazing, Craig Douglas of Near To The Knuckle has really excelled himself.

 

PDB: Anything else?

 

Just recently found out the release date for my next book, Guillotine, from All Due Respect, and that will be dropping on February 22nd of 2019. Other than that, I’m editing a couple of other things and planning some new ones, so I’m keeping busy going forward.

 

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Bio: Paul Heatley is the author of The Motel Whore & Other Stories, the Eye For An Eye series, Guns, Drugs, And Dogs, and Fatboy. His short stories have appeared online and in print for a variety of publications including Thuglit, Mystery Tribune, Spelk, Horror Sleaze Trash, and Shotgun Honey. He lives in the north east of England.

Short, Sharp Interview: Alex Shaw

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PDB: What’s going on?

I’m sitting in Doha, and crossing my fingers in preparation for the release of the HQ Digital/HarperCollins editions of my Aidan Snow thrillers – Cold Blood, Cold East and Cold Black. They’re out in ebook on the 14th of September and then the paperback release dates are staged by a month from the 20th of September.

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?

I’m not really a music person. If I’m not writing on location, I prefer quiet when I work, or BBC World News.

PDB: What makes you laugh?

Anyone who takes themselves too seriously. Someone said I should do ‘stand-up’, but I’m too lazy so it would have to be ‘sit-down’.

PDB: What’s the best cure for a hangover?

Carry on drinking, failing that stick your head in a snowdrift, failing that take two sachets of Dioralyte with a large glass of water and a pair of ibuprofen tablets before you go to bed, then repeat in the morning. Add whisky where appropriate.

PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I’ve lived in the UK, Kyiv and Doha but I’d love to live in Barbados.

PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?40371397_1126584314164622_8511433859823304704_n

Travel more, get fit, and get cast as either Jack Reacher or James Bond, oh and buy a bucket.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

As well as promoting my Aidan Snow series, I’ve two new thrillers finished and am writing the sequels to both.

PDB: Anything else

I’m editing and publishing the third Death Toll anthology – ‘End Game’, which will be out in December. And you’re in it.

41356478_1700674410044410_3583505044294598656_nBio:  Alex Shaw spent the late 1990s in Kyiv, teaching and running his own business consultancy before being head-hunted for a division of Siemens. The next few years saw him doing business for the company across the former USSR, the Middle East, and Africa. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers organisation, the Crime Writers Association and the author of the Aidan Snow SAS thrillers. Alex, his wife and their two sons divide their time between homes in Kyiv – Ukraine, Doha – Qatar and Worthing, England. Alex can be followed on twitter: @alexshawhetman

Alex’s Aidan Snow series can be found in most good bookshops, some odd ones and here. 

Short, Sharp Interview: Dietrich Kalteis

PoughkeepsieShuffleCover.jpgWhat the hell is a Poughkeepsie Shuffle?

It’s when you take the story’s main character, Jeff Nichols, and release him from prison. He tries to get his life in order, but no matter what move he makes, it’s the wrong one. But, dancing as fast as he can, Jeff’s not one to give up easily. And he’s willing to bend some rules and break a few laws in pursuit of easy money, getting mixed up with some guys running guns from Poughkeepsie up to Toronto. What makes things worse for Jeff, he’s never been one to let the lessons from his past mistakes get in the way of a good score in the future.

 

What are your favourite ‘man out of prison’ books or films?

The Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King (1982) is a great novel as well as a great film. One of my favourite scenes is when Red (played by Morgan Freeman in the 1994 film version) tells the review board about whether he’s been rehabilitated or not.

Then there’s Out of Sight by Elmore Leonard (1996). The scene where Jack Foley and Karen Sisko end up in the trunk of a fleeing car is one of my all-time favorite jail break scenes, and one of the funniest too. The movie version was directed by Steven Soderbergh, and starred George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez.

Also on my list is Escape from Alcatraz, one of the top-rated films of 1979, starring Clint Eastwood. It’s about the real-life prison escape of Frank Morris, an inmate who disappeared off the Rock without a trace, escaping along with the Anglin brothers back on June 11, 1962.

On the lighter side of escape films, there’s the animated Chicken Run (2000), directed by Peter Lord and Nick Park of Wallace & Gromit fame. A band of chickens plot their escape from certain death, not from a prison, but from the farm where they live after the farm goes from selling eggs to selling chicken pot pies.

And on the classic side, there’s Cool Hand Luke by Donn Pearce (1965). Paul Newman earned an Oscar in the film version (1967), playing the lead about a guy who refuses to play by the rules. Midnight Express by Billy Hayes (1977) is a great story about drug running gone wrong and the horrors of landing in a foreign prison. And there’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, written by Ken Kesey, published in 1962. It centers on a guy who fakes being crazy to get transferred from the state pen to a state hospital, which seems a lighter sentence – till he meets Nurse Ratched. The film starring Jack Nicholson won all five major Academy Awards, and is considered one of the best films ever made.

I also enjoyed reading On the Rock (2008), the biography of Alvin Creepy Carpis, written by Robert Livesey.

 

Did Poughkeepsie Shuffle require a lot of research?

I lived in Toronto at the time the story takes place, so a lot of the sights, sounds and setting came from memory. I often travel back to my former hometown, and I’m always amazed at all the changes happening, but I’m also aware of familiar places being torn away and giving way to taller buildings and wider roads. So I wanted to bring back a grittier, character-filled Toronto, the way I remember it back in the mid-eighties. But not wanting to rely totally on memory, I gave myself a refresher by digging through a lot of archives, old street maps and a lot of old photos, aiming to restore the character of that era.

A couple of things helped sparked the story. One was a news article I read about a large gun-running ring operating between upstate New York and southern Ontario that got busted by the OPP and several U.S. agencies. The other was the increased gang violence happening in the city at the time.

 

Music features strongly in Zero Avenue. Is that so with Poughkeepsie Shuffle?

Frankie Del Rey, the main character from Zero Avenue, struggles to get her music career off the ground, and her whole life revolves around her music. Poughkeepsie Shuffle’s Jeff Nichols just wants to make ends meet. He’s not as cool as Frankie, but what they have in common, they’re both willing to do whatever it takes to get what they want. Jeff’s not so much into music, but it does find its way into the story. Nena’s singing about red balloons on a ghetto blaster when two thugs come to cut off Jeff’s finger, using the music to muffle his screams. Then there’s the scene when the rocker Meatloaf gets spotted at a birthday party in a restaurant. And there’s an Elvis impersonator in flip-flops who belts out “Love Me Tender” in a barber shop. There’s also a guy named Conway who gives singing lessons, claiming he can teach anyone to sing like a canary, guaranteed. And toward the end of the story, Jeff starts hearing an angel choir. So, while music isn’t featured as strongly in this one, it’s still there.

 

What’s next?

I’m pleased to have a short story called “Bottom Dollar” included in the anthology Vancouver Noir, coming this fall from Akashic Books. And my next novel is complete and signed with ECW Press and due to be released next year. It’s called Call Down the Thunder, and it’s about a Kansas man and his wife who find some interesting ways to survive the dustbowl days of the late 1930s. Currently I’m working on a story that takes place in the far reaches of northwestern Canada and Alaska, about a guy on the run from a gangster he ripped off. Not only did he steal his money, but he stole his woman, too.

 

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Dietrich Kalteis is the award-winning author of Ride the Lightning (bronze medal winner, 2015 Independent Publisher Book Awards, for best regional fiction), The Deadbeat Club, Triggerfish, House of Blazes (silver medal winner, 2017 Independent Publisher Book Awards, for best historical fiction), and Zero Avenue. His novel The Deadbeat Club has been translated to German, and 50 of his short stories have also been published internationally. He lives with his family on Canada’s West Coast.

His website is http://www.dietrichkalteis.com/,

and he regularly contributes to the blogs

Off the Cuff: http://www.dietrichkalteis.blogspot.ca/

And at 7 Criminal Minds: http://www.7criminalminds.blogspot.ca/

You can also find him on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dietrich.kalteis/

and Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dietrichkalteis/

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Short, Sharp Interview: Beau Johnson

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PDB: What’s going on?

BJ:  Let’s see…oh yes, I have a new book coming out.  It’s called THE BIG MACHINE EATS.  A loose follow-up to my first collection, A BETTER KIND OF HATE, it includes direct sequels to a few of the stories found there, and of course, the ongoing narrative of Bishop Rider, but there are also new adventures as well.  Release date is November 26th.   If you see me, there might be cake.

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?

BJ: Sometimes.  The (Tragically) Hip, mostly.  A Canadian band I believe everyone should seek out.

PDB: What makes you laugh?

BJ: How much space do I have?  No, I kid.  The Office as of late, a show my boys turned me on to.  I also seem to laugh at gentlemen who have non-existent lats but walk about the earth as if they do.  Weird.

PDB: What’s the best cure for a hangover?

BJ: I know the correct answer is NOT to drink.  This is something I fail at, of course, but I’ve found if I use ice in my beer I seem to function better the next day.  I get flack for it, sure, but I will take it over a massive hangover any day.

PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

BJ:  My igloo is just fine, thank you!

PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?

BJ:  I’d say abducti…meeting the Master, Mr. King, and envision how we’d laugh when people began to believe that life was imitating art…

PDB: What’s on the cards?

bjBJ:  I have a few new stories in the pipe, a couple upcoming from Story and Grit.  Speaking of Mark Westmoreland and Story and Grit: they will also be hosting a giveaway for THE BIG MACHINE EATS.  One I will post about on Facebook.  The other over there on the Twitter.  Each winner will receive a signed copy I will mail to anywhere in the world on my own dime.  Sounds like a win-win to me!

PDB: Anything else?

BJ:  Nothing but a thank-you, Paul.  Was fun.  Appreciate you having me.  Cheers.

Beau is on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @beaujohnson44

Short, Sharp Interview: David Owain Hughes

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PDB: What’s going on?

So much! This new release has me chasing my tail, what with having to contact copious amounts of editors for local magazines and newspapers, bloggers, reviewers and anyone else with a dark, dingy corner on the internet willing to advertise it on their website. I’m also knee-deep in interviews. Combined, it’s taking up my days, and it’s forced me to put the writing on hold for the time being, which isn’t a bad thing as I’m getting plenty of reading done. Something I’ve neglecting of late.

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work? 

It depends if I’m in the zone or not. If I’m going great guns, I’ll tend to stick some music on. If I’m struggling, I prefer silence, so I can concentrate. More often than not, I have music playing. But never, ever when I’m reading – that would drive me bonkers.

 

PDB: What makes you laugh?

King of Queens, Laurel and Hardy, Only Fools and Horses, Bottom, TheInbetweeners, One Foot in the Grave, Carry On and anything dark, crude or lewd. It’s how I roll, man. King of Queens is definitely my ‘go to’ show. If I’m down, in need of cheering or stuck for something to watch, any series of that show is the first thing I reach for. It calms me.      

 

PDB: What’s the best cure for a hangover? 

Surplus amounts of tea and a full English breakfast. Is there a better cure?! If there is, I’ve not heard about it. Also, I’ll have a cheeky ‘hair of the dog’, too. Shh!

 

PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? 

Anywhere near a beach, fairground and amusement arcade.   

 

PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?

 I don’t have a bucket list but if I did, getting my arse to the States before I die would be at the top with a bullet! I have daydreams of tearing down Route 66 in an American muscle car. Who doesn’t, I suppose. I’d also like to see the Great Wall of China and visit a strip club. I think the latter’s fairly doable, what do you think?

 

PDB: What’s on the cards? 

A sequel to South by Southwest Walesthat’s for sure. I plan to start writing Any Which Way but South Wales in the coming weeks. For now, it’s the only project I have planned, bar a few short stories I may write for anthology calls, etc.  

 

received_10213192081906758PDB: Anything else?

 Not off the top of my head. Thanks for the awesome interview.

Bio: David Owain Hughes is a horror freak! He grew up on ninja, pirate and horror movies from the age of five, which helped rapidly instil in him a vivid imagination. When he grows up, he wishes to be a serial killer with a part-time job in women’s lingerie…He’s had multiple short stories published in various online magazines and anthologies, along with articles, reviews and interviews. He’s written for This Is Horror, Blood Magazine, and Horror Geeks Magazine. He’s the author of the popular novels “Walled In” (2014), “Wind-Up Toy” (2016), “Man-Eating Fucks” (2016), and “The Rack & Cue” (2017), “South By Southwest Wales, along with his short story collections “White Walls and Straitjackets” (2015) and “Choice Cuts” (2015). He’s also written three novellas – “Granville” (2016), “Wind-Up Toy: Broken Plaything & Chaos Rising” (2016).

His Amazon author page is here.

His website is here.

He’s on Twitter here.

 

Short, Sharp Interview: John Bowie

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PDB: What’s going on?

 

JB: Reading, drinking, being a silly father, reading more, being a trying husband, and… drinking more. Oh, and scribbling and writing — for my sanity and madness; all in perfect balance. Teetering on life’s beautiful edge that’s fueled by all the pre-mentioned that put me there in the first place.

 

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?

 

JB: I’ve had a permanent soundtrack running in my head as long as I remember.

 

Some tracks are constant; however I do get pests for the day: Russ Abbott’s – ‘Atmosphere’, R Kelly – ‘I believe I Can Fly’, or for some weird-ass reason Richard Blackwood’s – ‘1234 Getin’ with a wicked’ – You’re all welcome by the way!

 

The constants have accompanied me down the aisle, both in my head and literally played at the time (‘I Wanna Be Adored’ – The Stone Roses). And before taking a leap, needing strength; balls out (‘Force of Nature’ – Oasis). I blame Rhys Ifans and the film ‘Love Honour and Obey’ for this.

 

Joy Division’s ‘Transmission’ is my creative comfort blanket or on-hold music. It’s where my head goes when I block everything else out. This will come clear in my next book: Transference. All four in the coming tetralogy have intentional, multi-layered, single title Joy Division type titles like this.

 

PDB: What makes you laugh?

 

JB: Often it’s the things that shouldn’t that do. And the things that should… just don’t.

 

I frequently don’t realise my reaction and my wife picks me up on it. I often can’t explain the cause of a smile, giggle or involuntary snort that I didn’t realise I was doing, because when I think about it it’s often just plain wrong, absurd or weird. I write some of these down and into stories to distance myself in a way – disowning the filth, dark, weird and absurd. Until next time.

 

PDB: What’s the best cure for a hangover?

 

JB: Holy-fuck-a-saurus – the Holy Grail – if only!!!

 

An antidote to that pig that ‘shat in our heads’… ‘a bastard behind the eyes’. Sorry, shameless ‘Withnail & I’ Quotes. I was so surprised to learn the best acted drunk (Withnail) was played by a non-drinker (Richard E. Grant). Maybe that’s a clue to the answer though – don’t touch it! Or, if you do, don’t stop and ‘go all the way’ (Bukowski).

 

I have studied this matter in some detail though and as the years pass the hangovers intensify, and with it so does the need for a cure. So, I’ll share what I’ve gathered so far:

 

Pre-age 20: the ‘hangover’ doesn’t exist.

Early 20s: a Marlboro and a shit is enough to keep going on (after a midday rise).

Late 20s: a strong coffee, Marlboro and shit (after an early afternoon rise).

Early 30s: cider… ‘ice in the cider’.

Late 30s: cider with ice again. But now a nap is required before yet more cider – cycle is to be repeated as required.

Now: milk thistle (600mg min), N.A.C (N-Acetyl-Cysteine 600mg), vitamin C (500mg min) before starting first drink and another dose repeated before the last drink and bed.

In the future: I’m pretty sure a full-on transfusion, drip and head transplant is going to be required mixed with most of the above.

 

PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

 

JB: I’ve been lucky; travelled and visited a lot of places. Pulau Tiga, Pangkor Laut, Gozo, Krakow, Cambodia, Vietnam all stick in the memory. Manchester, Porlock Weir, Edinburgh, Dublin and Newcastle are in my blood, heart and soul though —  Bristol seems to be a smorgasbord of all them — I love it. I’ve discovered I need to be near the water or I feel wrong (and not in a good way). Maybe a Viking thing…

 

PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?

 

JB: No, I don’t.

 

I did drink a bucket (maybe 2,3,4…) in Cambodia after visiting Angkor Wat and the Killing Fields. Also fired a colt .45 as an ex Khmer Rouge soldier let the safety off his own pistol as he held a ‘reassuring’ hand on my shoulder. Later that night, after the buckets, we found ourselves in a Cambodian club. Westerners weren’t allowed on the dance floor all at once so we had to take it in turns. Between the rehearsed local Karaoke, dancers, troops, public announcements and fashion parades –  I got up alone and the stony-faced locals circled, with another armed guard watching on at my bucket fueled cross between ‘the robot’, Rab C. Nesbit and Ian Curtis.

 

I ticked a lot off what I could’ve put on a bucket list that trip, and on others since.

 

The thing is… If I had written a list, it wouldn’t have kept up with what was going on. Life’s a bit like that. Convince yourself to aim for sweet and you could miss the pleasure of the sour. And your taste changes anyway the more, or less, you do.

 

PDB: What’s on the cards?

 

JB: Researching and writing the second in the Black Viking P.I. series: Transference. It’s set in Manchester so I’m revisiting it physically and, in the head, to test if it matches memory: the smell, sights… the sounds of it all — I’m savouring it! It’s nice to revisit the idea of the Hacienda again too. It and Factory Records were so fundamental to my creative journey then and now. The next books could be a homage to the city and them —  doubt it’ll feel like that to read though.

 

PDB: Anything else?

 

JB: I’m currently pondering my first person, present tense style with jumps to the past to give context. Is it in-fact poetic, lyrical, immediate and … right? Or, is it restrictive and switching some readers off… and are they maybe the ones that should be?

 

Wait…

 

‘Another?’

‘Yes.’

‘… with ice?’

Bye x

John BowieBio: John Bowie grew up on the coast in rural Northumberland, a region steeped with a history of battles, Vikings, wars and struggles. These tales and myths fascinated him as a child, and then as an adult. In the mid to late nineties he studied in Salford enjoying the bands, music, clubs and general urban industrial-ness of Greater Manchester, including the club scene and the infamous Hacienda. He was also there when the IRA bomb went off in 1996.

Short, Sharp Interview: Gary M. Dobbs

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PDB: What’s going on?

 

I’m pretty much working flat out – the day job, writing and now trying to push my wartime crime thriller, Down Among The Dead. There are some brilliant authors out there with wonderful books and each writer has to compete, try to shout louder to get their work noticed in the crowded, though vibrant marketplace.

 

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?

 

Strangely NO – strange because music is a huge part of my life, I have thousands of CD’s and have over recent years began collecting Vinyl again, but when I’m writing I need the good old sound of silence….and I don’t mean the Simon and Garfunkel track.

 

PDB: What makes you laugh?

 

Sometimes the blackest things. I have a very dark sense of humour, which I think is interesting because I feel that people with a well developed black funny bone can cope with the absurdities of life far better than those without. I’m especially attuned to bad taste memes on Facebook and Twitter.

 

PDB: What’s the best cure for a hangover?

 

Don’t sober up in the first place.

 

PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

 

Somewhere in the wilderness where all I could see out of my windows was miles and miles of undeveloped nature. I’d be happy somewhere like that.

 

PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?

 

Does sleeping with Cameron Diaz count? Or are we both too long in the tooth now?

 

PDB: What’s on the cards?

 

I’ve got a study of the home front during World War II coming out from Pen and Sword later this year, I’m working on a new western for Crowood Books, and I’m trying to reach an audience with my first Chief Inspector Frank Parade mystery – that’s Down Among The Dead…I’m very proud of that book.

 

PDB: Anything else?

Isn’t that enough?

29634876_10155479695552883_1368181523_oBio:  As Jack Martin I am responsible for a string of successful westerns published first by Robert Hale Ltd and now by Crowood Press. I have also written non fiction such as my two books on the Home front during the first and second world wars, and Dark Valleys which looks at historical crimes that occurred in the South Wales Valleys. My crime series featuring Granny Smith is doing really well in the digital format, and now with Down Among the Dead I have entered the world of more mainstream crime novels with this the first in a proposed series of crime novels set during the Second World War. I used to act and have appeared in Doctor Who and several movies but the realization that I wan’t hot enough to be a screen heartthrob made me quite the so called world of glitz and glamour – bloody hard work it was.

Short, Sharp Interview: Alex Segura

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PDB: What’s going on?

Right this second, I’m on a train to Charlottesville, VA for the Virginia Festival of the Book, with fellow Polis Books crime writer Rob Hart – who writes the acclaimed Ash McKenna series. In a more macro sense, I’m prepping for the launch of Blackout, my fourth Pete Fernandez Miami Mystery, which hits on May 8, also from Polis. In the book, Pete Fernandez is pulled back to his hometown of Miami when a frigid-cold case bubbles up to the surface again. This is a case that’s haunted Pete since before he even decided to become a PI, and is somehow tied into a once-thought-dead cult. It brings Pete face to face with his own mistakes, and how his addictions prevented him from solving the crime when he had his first chance. It’s a story about second chances, making the most out of the time we’re given and how we deal with regrets, wrapped in a dark, tropical Miami bow.

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?

I don’t, actually. I need absolute silence while I work. But I do think about music a lot, and I listen to a lot of music when I’m plotting or planning a novel. For Blackout, which deals with obsessions and past mistakes in the form of a fading, deadly cult returning to prominence in Miami, I found myself listening to a lot of Velvet Underground, Neil Young, Sonic Youth, Jason Isbell, St. Vincent and the Breeders.

PDB: What makes you laugh?

Awkward, anxiety-inducing humor – the best examples I can think of off the top of my head is stuff like Curb Your Enthusiasm or It’s Always Sunny. Jokes that make you laugh, think and cringe at the same time.

PDB: What’s the best cure for a hangover?

Not drinking.

PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I live in New York now, which to me is as metropolitan as you can hope for, in terms of culture, people, food, variety. It can be exhausting, but I love it.

PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?

Not a literal, written list, but I do have goals I’d love to achieve. Some of them have happened already, which is exhilarating. I’d love to see the Pete books adapted in some way, that’s definitely on there.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

Finishing up co-writing The Archies comic book series. In the early stages of the next, potentially last Pete book slated to hit next year, then a standalone crime novel. Some comic book stuff I can’t talk about yet.

PDB: Anything else?

Thanks for having me! I hope people enjoy Blackout.

SeguraAuthorPicBio: Alex Segura is a novelist and comic book writer. He is the author of the Pete Fernandez Miami Mystery novels, which include SILENT CITY, DOWN THE DARKEST STREET, and DANGEROUS ENDS, all via Polis Books.

He has also written a number of comic books, including the best-selling and critically acclaimed ARCHIE MEETS KISS storyline, the “Occupy Riverdale” story, and the ARCHIE MEETS RAMONES and THE ARCHIES one-shots.

His work has appeared in the anthologies PROTECTORS 2, WAITING TO BE FORGOTTEN: STORIES OF CRIME AND HEARTBREAK INSPIRED BY THE REPLACEMENTS and APOLLO’S DAUGHTERS and in publications including The Daily Beast, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Literary Hub, The Strand, Mental Floss, LitReactor, and more.

A Miami native, he lives in New York with his wife and son.

Short, Sharp Interview: Richard Godwin

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PDB: What’s going on?

Well my new novel Android Love, Human Skin is newly released. It’s a sci fi dystopian thriller with a lot of scenes exploring sexuality and gender. Here’s the blurb:

Welcome to a world of four genders. A dystopian science fiction novel that explores the nature of gender and sexual conflict and the addition to pleasure in a virtual world. Welcome to the four genders in a future with no planned conflict, a utopia of pleasure engineered by the union. Society has been revolutionised by gender control and the technologisation of man and woman. In a future where a biochemical weapon has removed the skins of the population, the rulers hunt for the beautiful ones, those men and women who still have skins. The union is the new government, a faceless body of politicians who were behind the order to use the weapon that backfired on them, leaving them skinless. In the glass citadel, the new utopia, where the only surviving humans with skin are placed, they recreate the world of gender by offering humans four types of robot with which to have relationships. All the humans are placed in relationships with machines, apart from Gerald, who appears to be a spy for the union and is filming the humans, and Elliott, a robot programmer. The union watches it all, political voyeurs in a totalitarian state of enforced sexual ecstasies. Humanity falls into four categories…

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?

I do.

PDB: What makes you laugh?

Politicians.

Especially that hideous freak in North Korea.

PDB: What’s the best cure for a hangover?

Gherkin water.

PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Italy. Rome.

PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?

Egypt.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

Many, many more novels and my Mexico trip catalogued.

20180101_135345PDB: Anything else?

Here’s the Amazon link.

Bio: Richard Godwin is the critically acclaimed author of Apostle Rising, Mr. Glamour, One Lost Summer, Noir City, Meaningful Conversations, Confessions Of A Hit Man, Paranoia And The Destiny Programme, Wrong Crowd, Savage Highway, Ersatz World, The Pure And The Hated, Disembodied, Buffalo And Sour Mash, Locked In Cages, Crystal On Electric Acetate, The Glass House, and Android Love, Human Skin. His stories have been published in numerous paying magazines and over 34 anthologies, among them an anthology of his stories, Piquant: Tales Of The Mustard Man, and The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime and The Mammoth Book Of Best British Mystery, alongside Lee Child. He was born in London and lectured in English and American literature at the University of London. He also teaches creative writing at University and workshops. You can find out more about him at his website www.richardgodwin.net , where you can read a full list of his works, and where you can also read his Chin Wags At The Slaughterhouse, his highly popular and unusual interviews with other authors.

Short, Sharp Interview: Donna Collins

Book 1 Sacrifice

PDB: What’s going on?

I have my debut trilogy launching on 5th January 2018 and to say I’m excited is an understatement.

These three books: The Sacrifice, Resurrection, and The Undoing, have been years in the making, kicking off when my Aussie friend Natalie Joppich asked me to write a screenplay with her. Fast-forward many LA trips and meetings later and the HUNTED novels were born.

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?

Depends. It is very difficult to listen to Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On while I’m trying to torture and butcher a character to death. But when I do listen to music, it has to be an eighties tune. Give me a bit of Wham! Or Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up any day of the week. If I’m happy my characters survive another chapter.

Book 2 ResurrectionPDB: What makes you laugh?

Everything makes me laugh: Brian Conley, the Rush Hour films, Fawlty Towers, Greg Davis’s Taskmaster, my Pug. In fact, just a good, dirty sense of humour will bring a smile to my lips.

Apparently, according to my friends, I laugh like Harriot Potter from the Carry on Camping film – something I strongly disagree with.

PDB: What’s the best cure for a hangover?

Ha! Is there one? If there is, I’ve never found it.

PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Book 3 The UndoingEither Fowey or Polperro in Cornwall, Yosemite, or somewhere in Australia.

PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?

Oh yes. I have a long bucket list. Cage diving with sharks in Guadalupe, hiking (crawling) the Inca Trail, Exploring the Amazon, travelling the Australian Outback, doing a cattle drive in Montanna…the list in endless.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

Now the HUNTED series is done, I can move back to my original novel, which I started back in 2012. It’s a London-based thriller where a forensic scientist tries to help a woman who’s been left with amnesia after a mugging goes wrong. Of course, nothing is as it seems.

PDB: Anything else?

I may pop across the pond for the ITW conference this summer, and I’ve had an idea for a story buzzing around in my head for a few years now, so maybe that will be my fifth novel. Beyond that, it is just promoting the HUNTED and non-stop working.

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Bio: Donna Collins was born at home in Romford, Essex, England. Five minutes later, she was one-hundred-per cent a bookworm. Her favourite novel, Enid Blyton’s The Children of Cherry Tree Farm, was a gift from her parents and now the most worn book on her bookshelf.

It was this book, and her love for 70’s and 80’s TV shows such as Hart to Hart, Charlie’s Angels, Hunter, and Dempsey and Makepeace, that lured Donna to the dark side of mystery and thriller writing. Since then, Donna has racked up many favourite authors, including Paula Gosling (A Running Duck is the second most worn book on her bookshelf), Jonathan Kellerman, Patricia Cornwell, and A. J. Quinnell.

Although Donna loves to write, she also loves crime – and her career proves it. Having founded her school magazine, her professional career includes not only working at OK! Magazine but also for Essex Police, Ormiston Prison Services, and Essex Offender Services. With publishing credits for freelance and commissioned magazine articles under her belt, Donna has now turned her attention and imagination to what she is best at -– storytelling.

In her spare time (what spare time?), Donna loves anything scary that will get her adrenaline pumping, including storm chasing, fright nights, zombie-infested shopping malls, and séance panic rooms – with her all-time goal involving the open sea, a cage, and a whole heap of great white sharks. Donna also proudly boasts finishing the 2010 London Marathon, but you’ll have to ask nicely if you want her to tell you where she was placed and who overtook her.

Website: www.donnacollins.co.uk

Short, Sharp Interview: Jack Strange

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PDB: What’s going on?

Right now I’m heavily into promoting my latest book – a noir crime thriller called Manchester Vice.

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?

No, I prefer silence and the view out the window. Plus the occasional low groan from the victims I keep chained up in my cellar.

PDB: What makes you laugh?

The scrapes I get myself into – but only when I’ve gotten out of them. Like my near head-on collision with a truck in Spain a month ago. Brought me out in a sweat while it was happening, but afterwards I laughed a lot, and so did the Mrs.

PDB: What’s the best cure for a hangover?

Getting another hangover.

PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Where I live right now –  Huddersfield. I love my hometown and the close friends I have here. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I guess I’m just a homeboy at heart.

PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?

No bucket list: I just aim to do good things right away rather than putting them off until some imagined better time comes along. Me and my wife have an agreement: whatever we want to do, we do it now – because we might not be around tomorrow.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

A large glass of red wine and a toast to future sales of my new book Manchester Vice. I do hope you’ll join me!

PDB: Anything else?

Well, now you come to mention it, there is something: I’m giving away a book free on Kobo. It’s called Dirty Noir and it’s packed with the sort of good stuff that crime fans love. You can get it here:  https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/dirty-noir

Bio: The mysterious Jack Strange hails from the town of Huddersfield, in West Yorkshire, England. He’s a man with a checkered past, having worked in a morgue, been a labourer, and a salesman. He’s dug holes… professionally (to what end, he refuses to say – sales? corpses? possibly both?),  even more terrifying – he’s a former Lawyer. He enjoys parties and keeps himself fit (the kind of fit that makes you think he may engage in fisticuffs with Vinnie Jones on a semi-regular basis, or possibly drink stout with both hands while also throwing  a perfect game of darts.) He is allegedly married with two adult daughters. They have yet to be located for comment.

Short, Sharp Interview: K S Hunter

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PDB: What’s going on?

I’ve been busy becoming K.S. Hunter. That’s not my real name. As myself, I’m an international bestselling author and I’ve written three novels. I’m typically a crime thriller writer, so when a new avenue made itself apparent, K.S. Hunter was born.

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?

Absolutely. I tend to choose a song that helps me feel a certain mood that is necessary for a scene or a novel in general. It’s a great tool for atmosphere building. With my latest novel, Just One Time, which is about a woman who becomes obsessed with a man and ultimately tries to destroy him, I listened to ‘Poison’ by Alice Cooper again and again.

PDB: What makes you laugh?

The sitcoms of the past. Even though I’ve seen some so many times, they never fail to lighten me up. I’m thinking of shows like Fawlty TowersOnly Fools and Horses and Keeping Up Appearances. I also love 3rd Rock from the Sun.

PDB: What’s the best cure for a hangover?

Drink more.

PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

San Francisco. It’s the only place I’ve ever truly felt at peace. Gorgeous green mountains in the near distance, a beautiful bay and a bustling city. It has everything.

PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?

Take a cruise somewhere glamorous and travel to the Far East and Australia.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

I’m preparing for the release of my ‘first’ novel, Just One Time, which will be out on December 7th. It’s a steamy psychological thriller about a woman who won’t take no for an answer from an unsuspecting man she meets at the theatre in London. She pursues him to New York, where she reveals she’ll only leave him alone if he sleeps with her, just one time.

PDB: Anything else?

If Just One Time is a success, K.S. Hunter will return with another novel, which I’ve already started. But if things don’t work out, I think that story will become a sequel to my international bestseller. Time will tell…

Bio: K.S. Hunter is the pseudonym of an international bestselling author. The identity of the author, who lives in the United Kingdom, will remain a mystery.