The Interrogation Room – Waiting To Be Forgotten Special – Angel Luis Colon

Next up in my series of interviews to celebrate the launch of the new Gutter Books anthology ‘Waiting To Be Forgotten: Stories of Crime and Heartbreak, Inspired by The Replacements’ is Angel Luis Colon, author of The Fury of Blacky Jaguar.


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Name: Angel Luis Colon

Story Title: Kiss Me On The Bus

Firstly, what drew you to this anthology?

I’d heard about it somewhere on social media (probably on Jay Stringer’s feed) and decided to harass Jay immediately about getting a slot.

How did you first get into the band, and what was the first Replacements album you owned? 

I really didn’t get much into The Replacements until college. Before then, I’d heard their radio singles on and off but was completely ignorant of the band’s full body of work. A friend had recommended them based on some other music I enjoyed at the time and I picked up Pleased to Meet Me (basically, the starter kit). It all snowballed from there.

How would you pitch your story to potential readers? 

If you’re tired of love stories having hope or happy endings, this one’s for you.

This story aside, does music have an important influence on your fiction? 

Always. I always put together a little soundtrack for whatever project I’m working on. I don’t obsess over whether all the music ‘fits’ the story, but it certainly helps the process when I listen to something that meets the tempo of the story at any moment (be it an action scene or something more somber).

Apart from your own one – do you have any favourite stories in Waiting To Be Forgotten? 

I just finished reading the entire collection and was very much blown away at the quality of all the stories in this one, but Gary’s Got A Boner by Johnny Shaw is probably about as perfect a piece as we’re going to get from said author. I also really dug Alex Segura’s Within Your Reach. Both stories were appropriately out there and endearing.

Do you have any additional publishing plans for the rest of 2016 and 2017? 

The struggle is indeed real. I’ve got a new novella coming from Down & Out Books later this year called No Happy Endings – it’s the story of a sperm bank heist during Superstorm Sandy without much of a heist. I’m also putting the last touches on a short story collection, Meat City on Fire and Other Debacles and the follow-up to my debut novella from 2015, The Fury of Blacky Jaguar (available wherever you like downloading cheap and quick reads). Those latter two are coming at some point next year. There are other plans for actual novels, but it’s too soon to talk about those.

Finally, if you had the opportunity to put together a music-themed anthology, which band or artist would you choose? 

I think an anthology using the music of Bauhaus as its theme would be a hell of a lot of fun. Opportunity there for some real moody, dark, and off-center work.

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The Interrogation Room – Waiting To Be Forgotten Special – William Boyle

Next up in my series of interviews to celebrate the launch of the new Gutter Books anthology ‘Waiting To Be Forgotten: Stories of Crime and Heartbreak, Inspired by The Replacements’ is William Boyle, author of Gravesend and Death Don’t Have No Mercy.

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Name: William Boyle

Story Title: “Unsatisfied”

Firstly, what drew you to this anthology?

The ‘Mats are my favorite band. I always want to write something that feels like their records sound. It seemed like a great challenge to build a story from one of my all-time top ten songs.

How did you first get into the band, and what was the first Replacements album you owned?

In college. My pal Mike Deuce was a big fan. He knew what I liked, and he made me listen to Let it Be and Tim while we were drinking one night. I went out and bought both records the next day.

How would you pitch your story to potential readers?

Alcoholic despair and bad decisions.

This story aside, does music have an important influence on your fiction?

Big time. It’s never not influencing me in some way. I’m listening as I work, but I’m also working songs into my stories. It’s important for me to know what my characters are listening to, what music they’ve cut their teeth on.

Apart from your own – do you have any favourite stories in Waiting To Be Forgotten?

Still reading through it. Dig Rory Costello’s and Alex Segura’s stories so far.

Do you have any additional publishing plans for the rest of 2016 and 2017?

A couple of new novels on the horizon.

Finally, if you had the opportunity to put together a music-themed anthology, which band or artist would you choose?

The Pogues.

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The Interrogation Room – Waiting To Be Forgotten Special – David Accampo

Next up in my new series of interviews to celebrate the launch of the new Gutter Books anthology ‘Waiting To Be Forgotten: Stories of Crime and Heartbreak, Inspired by The Replacements’ is David Accampo.

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Name: David Accampo

Story Title: “Androgynous”

Firstly, what drew you to this anthology?

Well, I’ll be honest – Jay mentioned he was doing the anthology, and I sort of shuffled it to the back of my head, but there was a part of my brain – the part that loves writing prompts and restrictions – that kept coming back to it. “What WOULD a Replacements-themed story mean to me? What is that voice?” And this guy popped into my head and started talking to me, and it felt like something I could follow. I emailed Jay and asked if there was still room for me.

How did you first get into the band, and what was the first Replacements album you owned?

So, this is going to sound a bit corny, but the first Replacement song I ever heard was probably when that 90s band The Crash Test Dummies did a cover of Androgynous. And I had no idea it was a cover. I had liked CTD’s “Superman’s Song,” and bought the album, and I just kept coming back to “Androgynous”. Around that same time, the Cameron Crowe film Singles was out, and I was experiencing the fantastic soundtrack and learning about Paul Westerberg. And somewhere along the line to two elements collided and I tracked it all back to the Replacements and started listening to Let It Be.

How would you pitch your story to potential readers?

Billy is a guy living a dead-end life in a dead end town. He gets in fights, he drinks, gets in fights again. But it’s what he knows and he’s good with it. And then an androgynous figure comes that just sort of opens up all of these buried feelings that Billy can’t even understand. I like character who are groping around for something they feel deeply but can’t quite process.

This story aside, does music have an important influence on your fiction?

That’s a really good question. I’m not sure I would’ve answered that the same way today that I would have five or ten years ago. I mean, on the one hand, I like instrumental music WHILE writing… I like stuff that gives me a pace or a tone to match what I’m trying to do. So that hasn’t changed. But as I’ve gotten older, I think I’ve begun to look back at the music that was so powerful to me as a teenager and young adult, and I’m looking at how songs can use a rich combination music and voice – and sometimes really blunt voice —   to expose rich emotional veins, you know? And that’s something I find myself wanting to emulate in fiction – it’s a different medium, but think about the songs that meant so much to you after you had your heartbroken at 18 or when you were raging against the system at 22; they remain almost a time capsule for that emotion. And I find myself unpacking that into my fiction more and more.

Apart from your own one – do you have any favourite stories in Waiting To Be Forgotten?

Oh, man… not a fair question. I’m genuinely digging all of the stories in the book. Many of these folks are friends and peers, and the talent is just amazing. But I guess the first one that comes to mind is Johnny Shaw’s “Gary’s Got a Boner” because… jeez… first, what a great title to start with, and second, he just nailed it. Great voice. Great story.

Do you have any additional publishing plans for the rest of 2016 and 2017?

My main work lately has been in comics. My graphic novel, LOST ANGELS, which I created with artist Chris Anderson is currently available from Comicker Press, and I have an upcoming graphic novel, THE MARGINS, co-written by Paul Montgomery with art by Amanda Donahue that may be out in late 2017. I’m also currently a part of the DC Comics Writer’s Workshop, which has been an incredible opportunity for me.

Finally, if you had the opportunity to put together a music-themed anthology, which band or artist would you choose?

You know, I’m almost tempted to think about an artist with fairly abstract lyrics because I think the more abstract the music the more open to interpretation the various songs would be to writers. But I can’t think of anything right now, so I’m going to go with a more convention answer and say Tom Waits or Nick Cave. Both superlative storytellers in their own right, but they each evoke such rich worlds, that I’d want to see what folks could do to spin off from those prompts.

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The Interrogation Room – Waiting To Be Forgotten Special – Gorman Bechard

Next up in my series of interviews to celebrate the launch of the new Gutter Books anthology ‘Waiting To Be Forgotten: Stories of Crime and Heartbreak, Inspired by The Replacements’ is Gorman Bechard – director of the documentary ‘Color Me Obsessed: A Film About The Replacements’.

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Name: Gorman Bechard

Story Title: “If Only You Were Lonely”

Firstly, what drew you to this anthology?

I’ve been a Mats fan since 1983 when I saw them open for REM at a small club in New Haven.  I directed the Replacements documentary, Color Me Obsessed.  I think they are probably the greatest rock band of all time.  How could I have not been drawn to it?!

How did you first get into the band, and what was the first Replacements album you owned?

I saw them open for REM in 1983.  Hated them.  They were quite possibly the worst band I had ever seen, and we were right at the stage.  They were drunk and obnoxious.  Then a few months later I go into my local record shop and get handed what the owner thinks I’ll like this week.  The “I Will Dare” 12 inch was in the pile.  I could not believe this was the same band I saw at Toad’s Place.  So I buy “Let It Be”, and realize this was the band that was going to save rock and roll!  It was everything I looked for in a record.

How would you pitch your story to potential readers?

Sex, violence, booze, repeat.  With a femme fatale that you would die – and/or kill for – to fuck.  (Perhaps literally.)

This story aside, does music have an important influence on your fiction?

Yes, every book has a soundtrack playing as I write and rewrite.

Apart from your own one – do you have any favourite stories in Waiting To Be Forgotten?

I am honestly waiting until I can hold a real copy of the book in my hand to read the others.  Not a fan of reading on electronic devices.

Do you have any additional publishing plans for the rest of 2016 and 2017?

Yes, this anthology sort of planted a seed.  I’ve just finished a novel called “Let It Be”, in which I deconstruct the eleven songs on the record, and turn them into a collection of eleven stories, which are all linked by a central character, a young woman.  We follow her story from age 7 to 38.  The stories don’t necessarily have anything to do with the songs, but are more about how the songs make me feel.

Finally, if you had the opportunity to put together a music-themed anthology, which band or artist would you choose?  

As much as I’d like to say Wilco or Archers of Loaf, I know right now it would be Lydia Loveless.  She is the new Replacements for me.

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The Interrogation Room – Waiting To Be Forgotten Special – Rick Ollerman

Next up in my series of interviews to celebrate the launch of the new Gutter Books anthology ‘Waiting To Be Forgotten: Stories of Crime and Heartbreak, Inspired by The Replacements’ is Rick Ollerman – author of Mad Dog Barked and Truth Always Kills.

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Author: Rick Ollerman

Story Title: “Run It”

Firstly, what drew you to this anthology?

I was born in Minneapolis and was there through college. I used to play basketball with members from The Time, and I’d see Prince out at the clubs. I was an extra in Purple Rain (with a full body shot about nine minutes in) and I was just really in to the local music scene in the days before it blew up. I’d see Sue Ann Carwell and Enterprise and Alexander O’Neal whenever they were playing. Bands like The Flaming O’s and The Replacements were doing a different sort of music but it was all part of the same scene. Contributing to this anthology was like a time capsule allowing me to go back to those days of pointed shoes, narrow red leather ties and that period in everyone’s life post-high school where you’re trying to figure out just who the hell you wanted to be.

How did you first get into the band, and what was the first Replacements album you owned?

I was a student at the University of Minnesota and at least for me, The ‘Mats were one of those bands I kept hearing about but hadn’t heard. When “Hootenany” came out, that was supposed to be the bomb and I picked that up at the record store on the edge of campus.

How would you pitch your story to potential readers?

I always want readers to feel something when they read my work. My story came from the song “Run It” (from the “Hootenany” album) and I hope it captures not only a sense of nostalgia from the eighties, but a bit of American car culture, and an emotional component that should leave you a little wondering.

This story aside, does music have an important influence on your fiction?

Generally speaking I’d have to say not really. When I write I listen to jazz music: Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Ben Webster, but I don’t write about music per se. Not only do I get so involved in my own stories, these days it seems cool to have your characters listen to opera or jazz, so much so that it’s almost a cliché, and I do what I can to avoid those.

Apart from your own one – do you have any favourite stories in Waiting To Be Forgotten?

I haven’t quite finished the book yet, but right now I’d say I really like Jay Stringer’s entry, “I Will Dare.”

Do you have any additional publishing plans for the rest of 2016 and 2017?

I have a short story coming out this year in an anthology of best New England crime writing for the year, two more short stories for conference books (NoirCon and C3), and a collection of my non-fiction essays on paperback original era authors should come out when I can spend the time. I’m also editing an anthology of short stories in honor of the late indie bookstore owner Gary Shulze called Blood Work, and I’m editing another book that’s a collection of letters between John D. MacDonald and his wife written during World War II. Last but not least I’m doing a true crime book with the woman who was directly involved, which I hope turns out to be an important project. My new novel, Mad Dog Barked, came out just before Bouchercon in September, 2016, and unfortunately with all the projects I’ve got myself involved in, I may not have a novel for 2017.

Finally, if you had the opportunity to put together a music-themed anthology, which band or artist would you choose?

That’s a difficult question. Some of the most interesting stories probably belong to lesser known bands. I think I’d look at something in the funk world, maybe George Clinton and Parliament and Funkadelic with a little Bootsy’s Rubber Band thrown in. If that’s too wild, maybe tone it down a bit with Marvin Gaye.

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The Interrogation Room – Waiting To Be Forgotten Special – S.W. Lauden

Kicking off a series of interviews to celebrate the launch of the new Gutter Books anthology ‘Waiting To Be Forgotten: Stories of Crime and Heartbreak, Inspired by The Replacements’ is S.W. Lauden – author of Bad Citizen Corporation and Grizzly Season.

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Author: S.W. Lauden

Story Title: “Customer”

Firstly, what drew you to this anthology?

We all have a band that defined our high school years. The Replacements was it for me. I’d grown up with heavy metal, mostly thanks to my older brothers, but eventually made the transition to punk when I started developing my own tastes. The sonic extremes of hardcore bands were great for getting drunk and smashing into each other, but the charm started to wear off in my mid-teens. The Replacements had the snotty, blue-collar attitude I loved, but they also wrote great songs with heartbreaking lyrics and killer hooks. In the end, they really helped me fall in love with rock and roll in its purest form.

How did you first get into the band, and what was the first Replacements album you owned?

I started my first real band with some kids I met in a high school English class. My new guitarist loaned me copies of “Let It Be” and “Tim,” and I was hooked—but when I went to buy some of their music, I decided to go back and start with their debut, “Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash.” The music on that first Replacements record is really influenced by fifties rock and roll, probably more so than the punk bands it gets lumped in with these days. It’s still The Replacements record I listen to the most, followed by “Stink” and “Pleased To Meet Me.”

How would you pitch your story to potential readers?

I chose a song from the first record, but I wanted my story to parallel the entire arc of the band and their aging, rabid fan base. As luck would have it, The Replacements mounted a reunion tour around the same time so I decided to write a flashback piece about getting old, the resentments we hold onto, and revenge. The song’s called “Customer,” so the liquor store setting was a no brainer.

This story aside, does music have an important influence on your fiction?

Absolutely. The main series I write is about a former beach cities punk musician named Greg Salem who becomes an East Los Angeles police officer later in life. The first book in that series, “Bad Citizen Corporation,” explores the collision of those two worlds wrapped around a series of murders in Salem’s hometown. The follow up, “Grizzly Season,” follows Salem as he leaves the police force and evolves into a jaded P.I. “Grizzly Season” was published in October by Rare Bird Books.

Apart from your own one – do you have any favourite stories in Waiting To Be Forgotten?

There are way too many amazing writers in this anthology to only pick a few. If you like crime fiction and The Replacements, you can’t go wrong with any of the stories in this collection.

Finally, if you had the opportunity to put together a music-themed anthology, which band or artist would you choose?

I’m slightly biased to LA-based punk bands, but I think that X would be the easy choice. They already paint some brutal, vivid imagery in their music. You could probably have a lot of fun with a surf noir-themed Black Flag tribute. And I wouldn’t mind being part of a Ryan Adams anthology.

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