Sunday, January 22, 2012

Guest Stephen Blackmoore Talks About Joe Lansdale

Hilary here, with a guest I'm thrilled to introduce you to: my friend Stephen Blackmoore. If his name sounds familiar, that's probably because his debut novel, CITY OF THE LOST, released by DAW Books on January 3rd, has been racking up raves. That's not hyperbole: Kirkus Reviews gave it a starred review, calling the book "A remarkable debut" and "A head-shakingly perfect blend of zombie schlock, deadpan wit, startling profanity, desperate improvisation and inventive brilliance." Judge for yourself: read the first three chapters of the book online at Criminal Element.

Stephen was already well-known—okay, fine, notorious—for his hard-kitting short stories, which have appeared in publications such as Needle, Crimefactory, Plots With Guns, and Thrilling Detective, to name a few. His work has also been featured in as anthologies such as Deadly Treats and Uncage Me. Stephen just had his launch party for CITY OF THE LOST at Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach, and if you're interested in finding out where else he'll be causing mayhem, check out his blog and Twitter for updates.

Glad to have you here today, Stephen. Take it away!

"Which author would you most want to take a master class from?"

Joe Lansdale.

What, you want more? You want to know why?

Man, you people are greedy.

Fine. First let's assume you don't know who I'm talking about. And if you don't you better not come 'round these parts, 'cause we shoot people like you.

Ha. Kidding.

We skin 'em.

Joe Lansdale writes horror, westerns, science fiction. He writes screenplays and comics. The man is a pulp writer's pulp writer. He's over the top and light as a feather. He can do humor and horror in equal measure. He can make you cry and think and laugh your ass off.

He's won eight Bram Stoker awards, nominated nine other times and recently got the Horror Writer's Association Lifetime Achievement award. He's been nominated nine times for World Fantasy Awards for his short stories, novellas and anthologies. He won the Edgar for Best Novel in 2001 for THE BOTTOMS.
He has a mastery of subtext. The things unsaid. The lines between the lines. And he does it the way a magician does a trick, hiding it among the outrageous, redirecting your attention to the pretty girl he's about to saw in half.

Take BUBBA HO-TEP, his novella about two men in a nursing home who believe they are Elvis and JFK fighting a soul-sucking mummy who's killing the residents. Only that's not what it's about. It's about old age. It's about fighting the inevitable. Pushing against entropy and time and going down fighting.

Or GODZILLA'S TWELVE STEP PROGRAM where the Tokyo destroying monster tries to go straight. It's a story about alcoholism, or maybe about anger management, or maybe it's about addiction in general and what it does to a person and how hard it is to fight it. Maybe it's just a jaunty little tale about a B movie monster who's hit rough times.

And then there's his voice. The way he phrases things is uniquely Lansdale.

Go read ON THE FAR SIDE OF THE CADILLAC DESERT WITH DEAD FOLKS, a twisted little zombie tale with post-apocalyptic cowboys. Here's a taste:
The last bounty hunter had been the famous Pink Lady McGuire—one mean mama—three hundred pounds of rolling, ugly meat that carried a twelve-gauge Remington pump and a bad attitude. Story was, Calhoun jumped her from behind, cut her throat, and as a joke, fucked her before she bled to death. This not only proved to Wayne that Calhoun was a dangerous sonofabitch, it also proved he had bad taste.
If that doesn't hook you, then, I got nothin' for ya.

You can learn a lot from reading Lansdale. Far as I'm concerned the man's a fucking living legend. And seeing as I can't actually, you know, take a class from him, looks like I'm just going to have to read everything the man's written.

Oh, what a hardship.

Thanks, Stephen. Now, since my modest friend hasn't said a word about his own book, let me tell you a bit about CITY OF THE LOST. A quick summary:
Sunday’s a thug, an enforcer, a leg-breaker for hire. When his boss sends him to kill a mysterious new business partner, his target strikes back in ways Sunday could never have imagined. Murdered, brought back to a twisted half-life, Sunday finds himself stuck in the middle of a race to find an ancient stone with the power to grant immortality. With it, he might live forever. Without it, he’s just another rotting extra in a George Romero flick.

Everyone’s got a stake, from a psycho Nazi wizard and a razor-toothed midget, to a nympho-demon bartender, a too-powerful witch who just wants to help her homeless vampires, and the one woman who might have all the answers — if only Sunday can figure out what her angle is.

Before the week is out he’s going to find out just what lengths people will go to for immortality. And just how long somebody can hold a grudge.


Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Nice to see you here, Stephen! I'm so sorry I couldn't make your launch, but I have a copy of CITY OF THE LOST!!! May you sell gazillions!

Rebecca Cantrell said...

You had me at startling profanity! I stopped swearing so much when I had a kid, so now I have to swear vicariously. :)

Sounds like a humdinger of a book!

Thanks for stopping by 7crims and sharing Joe Landsdale!

Meredith Cole said...

Thanks for being our guest on the blog, Stephen! Your book sounds intriguing--congrats on the rave reviews.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Thanks for having me. Had a great time writing it.

Hilary Davidson said...

It's wonderful to have you on Criminal Minds, Stephen! Thanks so much for your great post — and thanks to Sue Ann, Becky, & Meredith for stopping by with comments!