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.
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.