Next up in The Interrogation Room… Tom Leins catches up with Paul Greenberg to discuss his new short story collection, Dead Guy in the Bathtub (All Due Respect).
Firstly, congratulations on the publication of Dead Guy in the Bathtub! How hard was it to select the stories – and indeed the running order?
Thanks Tom. I really appreciate it. Choosing the stories was easy. I sent everything to my editor and publisher, Chris Rhatigan and I let him decide!
My biggest concern about the running order was where do you place the title piece? It’s like making an album. Do you lead with the title track or bury it on side two? We put it towards the top of the order.
Do you have a favourite story in the collection? If so, why is it your favourite?
I like “He Touched Me.” It’s about the underbelly of an extreme collectibles market. It’s got Elvis, passion and decapitation.
What is the oldest story in the book? How do you think your style has evolved since then?
The oldest story in the collection is “Bobby’s Big Brain.” It’s the first story I ever had accepted at Out of the Gutter, back in 2012. As style goes, I try to adhere to Elmore Leonard’s ‘10 Rules of Writing’. Why? Because Elmore Leonard. So you won’t find me “using an adverb to modify the verb said, he admonished gravely”.
Do you think crime fiction is too safe? Do you read mainstream crime fiction, or are your tastes firmly rooted in the independent scene?
I’ve read a ton. Mainstream, indy, vintage pulp fiction, hardboiled and noir authors. Plenty of unsafe out there. Unsafe is good. Like you for example, Tom! (Make out the check to Paul S. Greenberg…)
Your collection has been published by All Due Respect/Down & Out Books – do you have any favourite ADR/D&O authors or titles you would like to recommend?
I’ve read: Chris Irvin, Beau Johnson, Marietta Miles, Tom Pitts and Paul Brazill. All highly recommended. Did I forget Joe Clifford?
Which contemporary writers do you consider to be your peers?
Peers? I have no peers. They just won’t have me.
If your career trajectory could follow that of any well-known writer, who would you choose, and why?
If I had an Andy Warhol ‘15 Minutes of Fame’ trajectory I’d be happy. Then again, probably not…
Do you crave mainstream success, or is developing cult status satisfying enough?
I’m just here for the groupies.
Finally, what are your future publishing plans?
I’m working hard on a second collection of stories. The working title is “Dead Guy in the Dumpster.” See you next year!
Paul Greenberg has been writing since he was a child. His first published work was a review of The Police at The Rat, a legendary Punk club in Boston. An avid reader of crime fiction Paul started writing and submitting to crime fiction journals in 2012. Since then his work has been placed in Out of the Gutter/The Flash Fiction Offensive, Shotgun Honey, All Due Respect, Horror Sleaze Trash, Yellow Mama, Spelk, Thrills Kills & Chaos and Near to the Knuckle. Paul spent many years working in record stores in the Boston area, and is a former employee of Capitol Records. He resides on the Northshore of Boston with his wife and two sons.