The Interrogation Room – Wrestle Maniacs Special – Ed Kurtz

Next up in my series of interviews to celebrate the launch of the new anthology WRESTLE MANIACS is… Ed Kurtz!

Name: Ed Kurtz

Story Title: Duluth

Firstly, how would you pitch your story to potential readers?

“Duluth” is a bit of period supernatural noir, early 20th century carnival lore, where whatever line between fantasy and reality exists in the world of performance is blurred and an old-school carnie barnstormer seeking long overdue vengeance is given a bizarre view into his own past by a mysterious visitor with a movie camera. It’s a spiritual cousin to my novel, The Rib from Which I Remake the World, so anyone who dug that will dig this.

Did it turn out how you expected?

No, but only because I had no idea where it was headed. I wrote the first paragraph months before the rest of the story, with only the vaguest notion of what might follow. I think it came out pretty okay, though.

What is the first wrestling match that you can recall watching?

I’ve never actually seen one — but I have seen most of El Santo’s movies, and I like Santo vs. las Mujeres Vampiro the best.

Do you have any favourite eras, or matches?

Related to the above, the closest I can answer is 1960s lucha movies. (Though No Holds Barred is pretty goddamned great, too.)

If you had to compare your fiction to any wrestler, who would it be and why?

Roddy Piper, because once you see it through the right lens, it becomes a much darker world both on and off the page. So bring plenty of bubblegum.

Which of your fellow contributors would be most likely to win a Battle Royale?

Eryk Pruitt. Because he fights dirty.

Finally, do you have any additional publishing plans for 2017/18 and beyond?

Plenty! I have a collection of brand new novellas coming in April 2018 from Journalstone called At the Mercy of Beasts, all of them historical creature stories. My crime novels Angel of the Abyss and Nausea are due to be re-released soon by Crossroad Press, who will also be publishing my epic post-Civil War revenge novel Sawbones. And ChiZine publications is releasing Caliban in early 2019, a survival horror novel set during the French and Indian War in the summer of 1755.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Advertisements

The Interrogation Room – Wrestle Maniacs Special – Eryk Pruitt

Next up in my series of interviews to celebrate the launch of the new anthology WRESTLE MANIACS is… Eryk Pruitt!

Name: Eryk Pruitt

Story Title: The Last of the High-Flying Van Alstynes

Firstly, how would you pitch your story to potential readers?

The last member of a powerful Texas wrestling dynasty prepares for his final match.

Did it turn out how you expected?

I was never sure what to expect, but I’m very happy with the result.

What is the first wrestling match that you can recall watching?

When Kerry Von Erich took on Ric Flair and won the title in memory of his brother David who had recently died from a (reported) stomach virus.

Do you have any favourite eras, or matches?

I love the old days at the Dallas Sportatorium when the Von Erich brothers ruled the World Class Championship Wrestling federation. This was before WWE, and it preceded the theatrics of the WWF. Everyone in Dallas grew up knowing how to administer The Iron Claw and had a favorite Von Erich brother. (Mine was Kevin.) I dug the tag team matches, when the brothers got to wrestle together, and I loved to hate Percy Pringle, who later became famous in WWE as Paul Bearer.

If you had to compare your fiction to any wrestler, who would it be and why?

Probably Bruiser Brody because my fiction is a big fella, goes back and forth between heel and face, is known to be difficult, and can be a scrappy brawler. Also, if a friend goes down hard, my fiction is the type to hide the drugs before the cops get there.

Which of your fellow contributors would be most likely to win a Battle Royale?

Definitely not Handsome Ed Kurtz, because he’d be too busy looking in the mirror while the hijinks ensue around him. Nor would I put my money on Gabino Iglesias, because he’s too nice a guy. Naw, you need someone who knows when to fight dirty, so I think Hector Acosta is your man.

Finally, do you have any additional publishing plans for 2017/18 and beyond?

Yessir. Our eight-part, true crime podcast The Long Dance about an unsolved double homicide in Durham, North Carolina will be going live over the holidays and we hope the story about the murders of Patricia Mann and Jesse McBane will resonate with fans of true crime. Hopefully this helps promote a nonfiction book.

Also, my short film GOING DOWN SLOW, starring Meredith Sause and Michael Howard should premiere in the late Spring. That is the story of a married couple at a crossroads in their relationship who must put aside their differences to bury a hobo.

Other than that, I will continue promoting my latest novel, What We Reckon, which was published in October.


Amazon US

Amazon UK

The Interrogation Room – Wrestle Maniacs Special – James Newman

Next up in my series of interviews to celebrate the launch of the new anthology WRESTLE MANIACS is… James Newman!

Name: James Newman

Story Title:  A Fiend In Need (A Nick Bullman Story)

Firstly, how would you pitch your story to potential readers?

“A Fiend In Need” is inspired by a real-life tragedy that occurred in the wrestling world a few years ago.  Chris Benoit – a.k.a. “The Canadian Crippler” – murdered his family then took his own life.  Benoit’s autopsy revealed that he had taken too many hits to the head with steel chairs through the years – not to mention struggles with steroid abuse and alcoholism – and as a result the damage to his brain was so severe it was comparative to that of someone suffering from late-stage Alzheimer’s.

I thought it would be interesting for Nick “The Widowmaker” Bullman (the disfigured ex-wrestler from my novel UGLY AS SIN) to encounter a fellow like Benoit right when this all going down, as he’s preparing to do commit these terrible crimes against his loved ones.  How would you deal with something like that, knowing that your friend has lost his mind and it’s up to you to save four innocent lives?  That’s “A Fiend In Need.”

Did it turn out how you expected?

For the most part.  I will say that it’s a lot more fun when the characters take over and tell the story themselves.  Things don’t always go exactly like the writer thought they would, and that’s a good thing.  Because if I’m surprised the reader will be too.  Sometimes it’s like I’m just watching it all from nearby, dictating the events as they unfold.  Love it when that happens.

What is the first wrestling match that you can recall watching?

I honestly can’t remember.  I recall my dad watching wrestling a lot when I was a kid, and  I know I shouldn’t admit this, since we’re promoting an anthology of wrestling-themed stories here – I hated it with a passion.  I think my disdain for it was mostly due to dealing with bullies quite a bit when I was growing up, and back then said bullies loved nothing more than to use on their victims the latest moves they had seen their spandex-clad heroes do on TV.  The “Russian sickle” was a fave.  Unless you were on the receiving end of it.

My wife and I briefly got into watching wrestling in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s.  Pretty obsessively, in fact, which is weird considering I despised it when I was younger.  We bought every Pay-Per-View, even went to a live event or two when the W.W.F. came to town, but then we suddenly got out of it again and I haven’t watched it in over a decade.

Do you have any favourite eras, or matches?

Like I said, I got into it very late in the game.  There’s an unintentional pun in that last sentence, because the era my wife and I loved so much was when Triple H (“The Game”) and Stephanie McMahon were always battling with the Rock.  When the sledgehammer came out, my eyes were glued to the TV.  Triple H was such a great heel.

If you had to compare your fiction to any wrestler, who would it be and why?

The Rock.  Because I like to think my stuff is bad-ass and ballsy, but at the same time pretty damned funny when it wants to be.  Out of all the crazy stuff we’ve seen in the wrestling world through the years, I’m not sure there’s ever been a wrestler like the Rock who kept me laughing so hard.  Man, he could cut a promo like nobody’s business.

Then again, there’s probably some Mick Foley in there too, as far as my fiction is concerned.  It’s a tad schizophrenic, the way I’ve always tended to jump back and forth between various dark-fiction genres without concern for what it might do to my career.

Which of your fellow contributors would be most likely to win a Battle Royale?

Adam Howe.  Because that fucker doesn’t stop.  I have no doubt he’d be bleeding from a hideous gash in his brow after a deadline nearly decapitated him, bruised from head to toe after an all-night bout of word-slinging, feeling aches and pains in places he’d never felt them before following a hardcore editing session (“killing your darlings” is never easy, in fact it’s often brutal) . . . and through it all I’d be willing to bet he would have his kid on one hip.  He never stops.  Sumbitch is relentless, always has his eye on the ultimate prize.

Finally, do you have any additional publishing plans for 2017/18 and beyond?

By the end of 2017 there should be an official announcement from the publisher regarding my next release, a short novel called DOG DAYS O’ SUMMER.  It’s a coming-of-age horror tale that I co-wrote with my friend Mark Allen Gunnells (author of FLOWERS IN THE DUMPSTER and THE QUARRY).   Also, sometime within the next year or so, readers can expect to see a crazy-ass occult horror novel called SCAPEGOAT, co-written with the aforementioned last-man-standing himself, Adam Howe.  Folks are gonna dig the hell out of it . . . and I should mention that ‘GOAT has a rasslin’ connection too, as it takes place on the night of Wrestlemania III.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

The Interrogation Room – Wrestle Maniacs Special – Pulverizing Pat McCrunch

WRESTLE MANIACS editor Adam Howe trawled gymnasiums, carnivals, flophouses and hospital wards looking for a big-name wrestler who was brain-damaged and attention-starved enough to write the foreword for this new collection. He really hit pay-dirt when Jeff Strand introduced him to the frankly terrifying Pulverizing Pat McCrunch – a true icon of the squared circle, and a legend in his own lunchtime…

Name: Pulverizing Pat McCrunch

Story Title: Foreword

Firstly, how would you pitch your story to potential readers?

It’s not a story. It’s the foreword. A little research on your part would be nice.

Did it turn out how you expected?

Better. Way better. Readers are in for a great big let-down when they read the stories that follow it.

What is the first wrestling match that you can recall watching?

My brother’s head bashing into the floor. (Chill out. The floor was carpeted. His memory came back less than two weeks later.)

Do you have any favourite eras, or matches?

Every match from every era of the career of Pulverizing Pat McCrunch. Roar!!!

If you had to compare your fiction to any wrestler, who would it be and why?

I don’t write fiction. I mentioned that in the very first question. I’m a busy guy, and I don’t have time for these questions if you can’t even bother to get your facts straight. In fact, I’m done answering them. Bug somebody else.

Which of your fellow contributors would be most likely to win a Battle Royale?

See my response to your previous question. This interview is over.

Finally, do you have any additional publishing plans for 2017/18 and beyond?

You’re not going to let up, are you? My experience with publishing has been that it’s filled with scrawny whiners, and I want no further part of it. If I wanted to read a book, I wouldn’t have spent so much time sculpting this hot bod. Go away.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

The Interrogation Room – Wrestle Maniacs Special – Adam Howe

Introductory Note by Adam Howe

Before we start this Q&A, I have a confession make, a scandalous confession for any man, let alone the editor of an anthology of wrestling fiction…but until recently I was not really much of a rasslin fan. Sure, I loved it as a kid. But once I found other combat sports – dare I say REAL ones – I never really looked back.

That all changed with my story DAMN DIRTY APES, the first of the Reggie Levine escapades, which you can read in my DIE DOG OR EAT THE HATCHET collection. There I wrote what I presumed to be a throwaway line, in which I suggested that the mating call of the Arkansan skunk ape (a type of redneck Bigfoot) sounds like “Ric Flair being sodomized by a moose with his pecker greased in pepper spray.”  (And who’s to say it doesn’t?) To my surprise, I was deluged with messages from readers asking if I was a wrestling fan; mostly I was surprised that wrestling fans could read. One of these readers pitched me the idea for a book of wrestling fiction. The idea held little appeal for me, at first. I felt I didn’t know enough about the sport(s entertainment) to do it justice. But I did a little research, and soon found myself immersed in a cartoonish world of rival promoters and warring wrestling territories, not to mention the larger than life personalities of the wrestlers themselves. Professional wrestling, it turned out, fit the kind of pulp Americana I write like a pair of spandex rasslin briefs.

WRESTLE MANIACS was originally set up with an established small press publisher, who authorized me to assemble a team of writers and have at it. Things were moving along when, due to circumstances I won’t go into here – no sense adding to the ongoing dramas within the indie publishing community – the project unexpectedly lost funding, and the publisher and I parted ways within a couple of weeks of the deadline for stories, a bunch of which I’d already received from my writers. Now these things happen in publishing. Publishers go under. Projects fall apart.  It’s certainly happened to writer-me before. But editor-me was pissed off. So I dug my heels in, and decided to self-publish the book under my new Honey Badger Press banner. Financing the book myself meant I had to downscale my ambitions, and lose a bunch of great writers – I’m hoping these writers will be onboard for any future volumes of WRESTLE MANIACS.  Still, I’m gotta-pinch-myself amazed at the line-up in THIS book, and I’m grateful to these writers for not bailing when the project hit that early speed bump. You guys rock!

Name: Adam Howe

Story Title: Rassle Hassle (A Reggie Levine Clusterfuck)

Firstly, how would you pitch your story to potential readers?

My story, RASSLE HASSLE, marks the return of anti-hero Reggie Levine, ex-boxer turned strip club bouncer, and perennial shit-magnet, as he attempts to assist a past-prime Jake “The Snake” Roberts-style wrestler at a small hall rasslin’ show. This is now the third Reggie Levine misadventure after the novellas DAMN DIRTY APES and TIJUANA DONKEY SHOWDOWN, and for regular readers I’m happy to report that Reggie’s luck hasn’t improved this time out.

Did it turn out how you expected?

With Reggie, it rarely ever does. Things tend to snowball. Often bodily fluids.

What is the first wrestling match that you can recall watching?

I don’t recall a specific match, but “my” era was the early 90s. Back when WWE was the WWF. Before pandas got involved. WWF wrestling wasn’t on UK terrestrial television, only SKY, and my old man was too much of a miser to shell out for a satellite dish, which meant I only got to watch the odd big event (a Summer Slam here, a Royal Rumble there) at a buddy’s house. So I remember the likes of the Ultimate Warrior, Sgt. Slaughter, The Million Dollar Man, Big Boss Man; the Undertaker was making his first appearance around then – hard to believe that guy is STILL wrestling at the top level; and of course, Jake “The Snake” Roberts. I felt Jake’s pain when Earthquake squished Damian. Heartbreaking. I’m getting misty just remembering it… Before I could get too carried away with this wrestling malarkey, my dad used it as a gateway to his sport, boxing. After watching a Mike Tyson knockout reel, it was hard for the likes of Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake to compete, and I gradually lost interest in wrestling.

Do you have any favourite eras, or matches?

While developing this project, I did my research, tried to catch up on some of what I’d missed, and I’m sorry I didn’t catch the Attitude Era as it happened. That seemed like a lot of fun. The Stone Cold Steve Austin / Mr. McMahon rivalry in particular.

If you had to compare your fiction to any wrestler, who would it be and why?

Ric Flair. Why? Well, to quote The Nature Boy: “Whether you like it or not, learn to love it, because it’s the best thing going.” The “Wooooo!” is optional.

Which of your fellow contributors would be most likely to win a Battle Royale?

Ed Kurtz. If only because the man is so damn handsome that no one would have the heart to lay a hand on him, he’d walk it. Ed’s basically the Kelly LeBrock of fiction: Don’t hate him because he’s beautiful.

Finally, do you have any additional publishing plans for 2017/18 and beyond?

Up next for me – hopefully in 2018 – is SCAPEGOAT. Co-written with fellow WRESTLE MANIAC James Newman, it’s an 80s-set occult thriller about a group of dudes on a RV-trip to Wrestlemania III, who take an ill-advised shortcut through the woods and find themselves hunted by a cult of religious crazies. We’re looking forward to sharing that one. Beyond that? I have a few other projects (wrestling and non-wrestling related) in various stages of development. Perhaps even a second volume of WRESTLE MANIACS. Depends how this one fares. Have I overestimated the reader demand for a book of hard-hitting, high-flying rasslin’ fiction? Time will tell.

Amazon US

Amazon UK