Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Do you like to dip into noir sometimes?

I sure do. Not sure what that says about me, but there it is.

I can go along writing cozy and traditional, I can dial my time machine way back and write about life 28,000 years ago, for a while. But then I have to bust out and write dark.

My dark writing isn’t as inky as some people’s, but it’s liberating for me to cross the lines. To use language that real people use—language that hasn’t been cleaned up for the kids or for publication. Come on, you know what I mean. Language that I learned in the tractor factory and at college. Both places run neck and neck for that sort of thing.

I can also write about the kinds of people I knew when I waited tables in places where you don’t get much in the way of tips. People I knew when I worked as a nurse’s aide. Good, solid, working people, but people without varnish.

Maybe this is because I didn’t grow up very far from the wrong side of the tracks, and had friends on the other side. My cousins and I were the first generation to go to college, so our veneer isn’t always that thick. Most of the sororities at Northwestern, where I went on scholarship, didn’t ask me back after they learned that my dad was an electrician. Blue collar is part of who I am, a big part.

Anyway, my story that is coming out in November from Akashic in MEMPHIS NOIR was very fun to write, and uses that part of me. The story is called “Heartbreak at Graceland” and I’d love to know if you like my murder method as much as I do. The book is available for preorder, so you can find out soon.

(Goodness, I didn’t know this was going to turn into the biography of my early life.)

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