By now, you've probably heard of S.W. Lauden. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, dropped on November 3 and people are digging it. I dug it myself. But prior to publication of the novel, he made a name for himself around town by writing bad ass short fiction and blogging, interviewing and promoting other authors. He even interviewed me once, announcing that mine was "probably" the first historical fiction book he'd ever read.
Now it's Steve's turn to wear the princess tiara. He was kind enough to stop by the blog today to answer my insightful questions. Here we go!
HW: Your debut, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION (BCC), is fast-paced, creepy and atmospheric straight out of the gate. Greg Salem, a cop/surfer/punk rock singer, is under investigation for a shooting in the line of duty when his best friend is murdered. In the book, Greg’s past intersects with his present as he searches for the killer. The murder aside, it reminded me of the different phases of my own life over the years—how they overlap and intersect, and how they’ve contributed to who I am now. To an extent, is Greg’s story a reflection of your own life?
Anyway, I knew that murder was going to be a main plot device in BCC from the beginning, but I was honestly more concerned with the character development and their motivations. What I didn't know when I started writing it was that there were so many sub genres within the greater crime/mystery world. Looking back I feel lucky because my ignorance, at least at the onset of this project, kept me from being beholden to any particular genre. More than anything, I wanted BCC to have the energy, intensity and darkness that I've always loved about my favorite punk songs.
I personally consider mysteries crime novels in the general sense so I refer to myself as a crime fiction writer. If the conversation goes further I say I write hardboiled historical mysteries.
All this to ask: How do you really feel about the fact that you wrote a mystery and not, as you say, a crime novel? Does it even matter? Also, can you ever see yourself writing a cozy?
Could I write a cozy? I honestly have to say that it looks much harder than what I currently do. I'm no expert, but anything with that many specific rules seems like it would be difficult for a writer like me. So instead of giving you a straight answer, I'll just quote Romeo Void: "Never say never."
HW: Obligatory geeky writer question: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
For BCC, I started with a plot that I quickly abandoned. My novella, CROSSWISE (coming from Down & Out Books in March, 2016), started as a short story that just didn't want to end. So...I guess I'm a "plotty pants." Is that a thing?
HW: You’ve quickly become known in writing circles as an indie publishing advocate. Is that by accident or design?
All excellent books, by the way. And they all started out the same way, as far as I know—with somebody sitting down in front of a computer and making shit up. From there it's up to the market to decide. Mostly, I would encourage people who think they want to do it to just go ahead and do it. Start a band, write a book, create a podcast, shoot a movie, go to clown school—whatever. Get weird.
HW: You’ve written quite a few flash fiction and short pieces that are published online. Tell me your favorite, why it’s your favorite, and provide a link.
HW: What’s up next for you?
SWL: Late lunch. And maybe a mani/pedi, if I think my boss won't notice that I'm gone for two hours...
I already mentioned that my novella, CROSSWISE, is coming out next year. That one's about an ex-NYPD cop who chases his coke-addict girlfriend to her hometown in Florida. She leaves him shortly after he gets a job as head of security at a sprawling retirement community filled with a colorful cast of septuagenarian characters. He's sad, drunk and lonely until the murders start.
I'm also writing the second Greg Salem novel. BCC was always meant to be the first installment in a three-book series. I'm a little over half way through book two and I have to say it's been fun reconnecting with some of the characters again. It's sort of like a high school reunion, only with a lot more violence.