By Mike Knowles
I had a great interview with this week with a guy from The Satellite, the Mohawk College Newspaper. He found out about me through this blog and we got in touch. While we were talking, we touched upon how I got started and the more I thought about it afterward I realized it was mostly from guerrilla tactics. The dictionary says that guerrilla’s are members of an irregular, group operating in small bands in occupied territory. I think this description fits me pretty well.
To start with, it doesn’t get more irregular than writing hardboiled crime fiction in 2009. People reading this will know of plenty of writer’s who do, but go down to any book shop and look for one of them on the shelves. You know 9 times out of 10 you had to order all of your hardboiled stuff on line. And why did you have to do this? Because it is irregular. Cool, but irregular.
I’ve been fighting in occupied territory for a little while now and it has been hard to crack the mainstream. With Generals like James Patterson, Colonels like Robert. B. Parker, and Lieutenants such as the Twilight lady, I find my attacks on success have been superficial. But what progress I make as I shoot from the trees comes from the help of others like me. Crime writers, I have found, are simply put the coolest s.o.b.’s around. I have rarely encountered a crime writer who wasn’t willing to help me out in some way for no other reason than to see me do better.
When I needed to get blurbs for my first and second book, I contacted everyone myself. The publisher didn’t rely on a huge list of contacts that could be coerced into giving me a good sentence to put on the cover. I had to track down people I respected and ask them to read my book. Think about your day. How busy you are. How many things you still have on your to do list. Now imagine you get an e-mail from a Canadian guy asking you to read a book that isn’t even on the shelves yet. How many people are really going to take it seriously? I would have thought none, but guys like John McFetridge, Allan Guthrie, Thomas Perry, Victor Gischler, and Ken Bruen (still makes me woozy) all agreed to help me out. In my war to sell books, these guys are responsible for putting weapons in my hands. I have been able to get my foot in a lot of doors with the help these wonderful men and it’s a debt I can never repay.
This blog is just another tactic. Seven writers needed a voice so we organized and made our own underground news network (I use we loosely because I had little to do with the organization, I was invited to the party by Guthrie. But someone did do some organizing somewhere and they stupidly let me in). Everyday one of seven writers contributes information that furthers our agenda and combats the status quo. We’re sort of like the A-Team only with pens and laptops instead of a van.
While Stephen King invades cities and sells out auditoriums to do his book readings, I come out of the jungle and attack stealthily in the night. Sometimes no one even knows the reading took place until it was too late. Occasionally, no one ever even knows it happened. My attacks do not appear to make sense, nor do they stop my enemy, but that is because they are a part of a bigger plan. One by one I will convert people and turn them into guerrilla’s in my war. They will convert others, and one day Steven King will be slamming his fist down onto a table while screaming into his speaker phone, “What do you mean my signing is postponed. Who is this Mike Knowles?... Oh, the Grinder guy. I love that book.”
Viva la revolution.