The Next Big Thing Interview

Fellow Weird Noir author Christopher Irvin asked me to participate in The Next Big Thing writers’ chain interview. It’s like a chain letter, where one writer asks other writers to answer a series of questions and then those writers find more writers who will be The Next Big Thing.

From what I understand, breaking this chain doesn’t invoke the Curse of Death, but you never know. And from what I’ve read of Mr. Irvin’s work, I wouldn’t want to fight the stinky, mysterious antagonists of “Charred Kraken with Plum Butter.”

You can see his answers here.  And you can find more author interviews on Twitter if you search with the hashtag #NextBigThing, which will probably also help you find all kinds of other next big things.

What is the working title of your book?

Weird Noir

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Weird Noir is anthology edited by K.A. Laity. I suspect that she had nebulous dreams of a hideous, cyclopean city of incomprehensible angles that was filled with femmes fatale and bone-tired gumshoes.  And when she awoke, she could still hear their whisperings in her mind driving her to create an anthology.

I’m not sure where the idea for my contribution, “Three Kings” and “A Mark In Blue” came from. All I really remember was listening to the Godzilla vs. The Astro Monster soundtrack while cackling. The next thing I knew, I had something about Godzilla working as a Chandlerian hardboiled detective.

What genre does your book fall under?

It’s helpfully labelled, “weird noir,” but I think it can fall under mystery, horror, hardboiled detective fiction and even science fiction. Each contributor offered their own take, so there’s quite a bit of variety in the book.

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Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

The most important thing for me would be that the movie adaptation be a series of animated shorts. I just don’t think live-action would work very well for stories about Godzilla investigating mysteries. Sydney Greenstreet would’ve been ideal for Mecha King Ghidorah. I certainly had him in mind while writing Ghidorah. Someone with some sweetness, like Keiko Sawai or Virginia Houston, the nice girl in so many classic noirs, would be good for Miss Mosura. I think Daran Norris would be a great voice actor for Godzilla and Maurice LaMarche for MechaGodzilla.

Weird Noir would make a fantastic anthology film, in the vein of Heavy Metal or Creep Show or even, Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

>Weird Noir is the ultimate pulp experience: “weird” + “noir.” Or as K.A. Laity writes: “Urban decay meets the eldritch borders of another world: Weird Noir, featuring thugs who sprout claws and fangs, gangsters with tentacles and the occasional succubus siren.”

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It was published through Fox Spirit a little over a month ago. It’s available in digital formats as well as in a limited edition print run. Right now, I’m excitedly waiting to receive my print copy.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first drafts took a few hours each. I’m not exactly sure how long because the first drafts for both came out fairly quickly. I remember cackling as I wrote and Godzilla vs. The Astro-Monster played in the background as I wrote “Three Kings.”

As always, making them good took much longer.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Other collections of weird, but often humorous genre-bending stories. Writers of the Purple Rage, for instance, or collections like, McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales. I’m not exactly sure what to compare my stories, too, in part because they are also formally weird, a collection of connected chapters that owes as much to narrative poetry as it does to pulp fiction.

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Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Godzilla, primarily, and Godzilla movies. But also a lifelong love of noir and hardboiled detective fiction and Raymond Chandler. Movies like Out of the Past, Metropolis and M. I was intensely aware that I was putting my pieces together more in the vein of writing poetry than in writing straightforward fiction. I give moments from the plot focusing on image and snippets of language and rely on the reader to be familiar enough with generic convention to connect the whole. And all of that comes out of a background of writing poetry rather than writing fiction. One of my poetry mentors, Diane Wakoski, taught me to appreciate narrative verse.

But all of that makes my stories sound more respectable than they are. They are slight and fun (I hope).

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Weird Noir has fantastic stories by an array of talented writers. There’s bound to be a story that is just the right weird noir for every reader. And the minimalist cover by S.L. Johnson is just gorgeous. I wish I had a poster or a t-shirt.

And to keep the chain going, here are two writers I think are The Next Big Thing:

I first met writer and Illustrator, Evan Munday when we tabled next to each other at Canzine in Toronto. He was promoting his comic series, Challengers of the Unknown. Since then he’s done illlustration for other authors, written a graphic novel, Quarter Life Crisis and written a YA mystery, The Dead Kid Detective Agency. See everything Evan’s been up to at his website.

David Foster is one of my fellow agents in the loose consortium of pop culture writers and podcast producers, The Mysterious Order of the Skeleton Suit. David also writes some pretty sweet pulp fiction, including the retro Cold War espionage thriller, The Librio Defection. Find more at David’s site, Permission To Kill.

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2 thoughts on “The Next Big Thing Interview

  1. "I suspect that she had nebulous dreams of a hideous, cyclopean city of incomprehensible angles that was filled with femmes fatale and bone-tired gumshoes. And when she awoke, she could still hear their whisperings in her mind driving her to create an anthology."That’s pretty much how it went. And glad we are of all of it.

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