The Interrogation Room – An Interview With Beau Johnson

This month in The Interrogation Room… Tom Leins catches up with Canadian crime writer Beau Johnson to discuss his brand new short story collection, A Better Kind of Hate (Down & Out Books).

Firstly, congratulations on the publication of A Better Kind of Hate. How hard was it to select the stories – and indeed the running order? Do they form part of a larger narrative?

Ah, Tom.  Thanks so much.  It’s been quite a ride!  It wasn’t too difficult to select the stories and running order at all.  All I did was pick the ones most relevant to body count.  I kid, of course.  It was a task, sure, but a fulfilling one.  As for a larger narrative… well I do have Bishop Rider in there before he goes rogue, and I do have him in there near the end of his life, so yes, I guess we could agree on that. His origin is spread throughout many stories though – as ever, it seems I am unable to info dump in clumps.

Do you have a favourite story in the collection? If so, why is it your favourite?

The more I think about it, I would have to say ‘Wonder Twin Powers Activate’.  I don’t know where that woman came from, nor have I heard from her since, but man was she a blast to write.

You are best known for your flash fiction. Do you have any ambitions to tackle a longer project, or does short fiction keep you satisfied?

Short fiction seems to be my bag, yup.  Get in, get out.  You know, never waste a word.  As for longer projects, I get this question a lot. All I will say is this: stay tuned!

I think it is fair to say you have something of a track record when it comes to wreaking all kinds of twisted vengeance against your antagonists. Where does this desire for fictional revenge stem from?

Probably from realizing people get away with more things than they should.  Each deserving what should always match their crime. Maybe a little more if I’m generous.  Sometimes a lot if I’m not.

Do you think crime fiction is too safe? Do you read mainstream crime fiction, or are your tastes firmly rooted in the independent scene?

Independent is me.  The only mainstream stuff I seem to read is by King.

Your collection has been published by Down & Out Books – do you have any favourite D&O authors or titles?

Well let me spin the wheel!  Nah, there are too many.  If I have to choose though – Beetner, Sayles, Pitts, Jerkins, Colon, too many others… a plethora.

Which writers do you consider to be your peers?

Ah, man, loaded question.  Tom, I’m just happy to be here!

If your career trajectory could follow that of any well-known writer, who would you choose, and why? 

King.  Hands down.  That Dude is my Vader.

Do you crave mainstream success, or is developing cult status satisfying enough?

Ha!  Any status would be great, cult or otherwise.

Finally, what are your future publishing plans?

Just to keep on chuggin’.  Wherever my imagination takes me.  Speaking of that, I think I hear Rider calling.  Damn, is that a head in his hands or is he just happy to see me?

Beau Johnson @ Down & Out Books


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